Infomotions, Inc.Sketches New and Old / Twain, Mark, 1835-1910



Author: Twain, Mark, 1835-1910
Title: Sketches New and Old
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): wormeley; samuel; mark; day; clemens; time; katharine; prescott; sketches; twain; man; complete
Contributor(s): Wormeley, Katharine Prescott, 1830-1908 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 99,754 words (short) Grade range: 10-13 (high school) Readability score: 59 (average)
Identifier: etext3189
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Title: Sketches New and Old, Complete

Author: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Release Date: August 19, 2006 [EBook #3189]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK SKETCHES NEW AND OLD, COMPLETE ***




Produced by David Widger




SKETCHES NEW AND OLD

by Mark Twain



CONTENTS:

  Preface
  My Watch
  Political Economy
  The Jumping Frog
  Journalism In Tennessee
  The Story Of The Bad Little Boy
  The Story Of The Good Little Boy
  A Couple Of Poems By Twain And Moore
  Niagara
  Answers To Correspondents
  To Raise Poultry
  Experience Of The Mcwilliamses With Membranous Croup
  My First Literary Venture
  How The Author Was Sold In Newark
  The Office Bore
  Johnny Greer
  The Facts In The Case Of The Great Beef Contract
  The Case Of George Fisher
  Disgraceful Persecution Of A Boy
  The Judges "Spirited Woman"
  Information Wanted
  Some Learned Fables, For Good Old Boys And Girls
  My Late Senatorial Secretaryship
  A Fashion Item
  Riley-Newspaper Correspondent
  A Fine Old Man
  Science Vs. Luck
  The Late Benjamin Franklin
  Mr. Bloke's Item
  A Medieval Romance
  Petition Concerning Copyright
  After-Dinner Speech
  Lionizing Murderers
  A New Crime
  A Curious Dream
  A True Story
  The Siamese Twins
  Speech At The Scottish Banquet In London
  A Ghost Story
  The Capitoline Venus
  Speech On Accident Insurance
  John Chinaman In New York
  How I Edited An Agricultural Paper
  The Petrified Man
  My Bloody Massacre
  The Undertaker's Chat
  Concerning Chambermaids
  Aurelia's Unfortunate Young Man
  "After" Jenkins
  About Barbers
  "Party Cries" In Ireland
  The Facts Concerning The Recent Resignation
  History Repeats Itself
  Honored As A Curiosity
  First Interview With Artemus Ward
  Cannibalism In The Cars
  The Killing Of Julius Caesar "Localized"
  The Widow's Protest
  The Scriptural Panoramist
  Curing A Cold
  A Curious Pleasure Excursion
  Running For Governor
  A Mysterious Visit




PREFACE

I have scattered through this volume a mass of matter which has never
been in print before (such as "Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and
Girls," the "Jumping Frog restored to the English tongue after martyrdom
in the French," the "Membranous Croup" sketch, and many others which I
need not specify): not doing this in order to make an advertisement of
it, but because these things seemed instructive.

HARTFORD, 1875.
                                             MARK TWAIN.






SKETCHES NEW AND OLD




MY WATCH--[Written about 1870.]

AN INSTRUCTIVE LITTLE TALE

My beautiful new watch had run eighteen months without losing or gaining,
and without breaking any part of its machinery or stopping.  I had come
to believe it infallible in its judgments about the time of day, and to
consider its constitution and its anatomy imperishable.  But at last, one
night, I let it run down.  I grieved about it as if it were a recognized
messenger and forerunner of calamity.  But by and by I cheered up, set
the watch by guess, and commanded my bodings and superstitions to depart.
Next day I stepped into the chief jeweler's to set it by the exact time,
and the head of the establishment took it out of my hand and proceeded to
set it for me.  Then he said, "She is four minutes slow-regulator wants
pushing up."  I tried to stop him--tried to make him understand that the
watch kept perfect time.  But no; all this human cabbage could see was
that the watch was four minutes slow, and the regulator must be pushed up
a little; and so, while I danced around him in anguish, and implored him
to let the watch alone, he calmly and cruelly did the shameful deed.  My
watch began to gain.  It gained faster and faster day by day.  Within the
week it sickened to a raging fever, and its pulse went up to a hundred
and fifty in the shade.  At the end of two months it had left all the
timepieces of the town far in the rear, and was a fraction over thirteen
days ahead of the almanac.  It was away into November enjoying the snow,
while the October leaves were still turning.  It hurried up house rent,
bills payable, and such things, in such a ruinous way that I could not
abide it.  I took it to the watchmaker to be regulated.  He asked me if I
had ever had it repaired.  I said no, it had never needed any repairing.
He looked a look of vicious happiness and eagerly pried the watch open,
and then put a small dice-box into his eye and peered into its machinery.
He said it wanted cleaning and oiling, besides regulating--come in a
week.  After being cleaned and oiled, and regulated, my watch slowed down
to that degree that it ticked like a tolling bell.  I began to be left by
trains, I failed all appointments, I got to missing my dinner; my watch
strung out three days' grace to four and let me go to protest;
I gradually drifted back into yesterday, then day before, then into last
week, and by and by the comprehension came upon me that all solitary and
alone I was lingering along in week before last, and the world was out of
sight.  I seemed to detect in myself a sort of sneaking fellow-feeling
for the mummy in the museum, and a desire to swap news with him.  I went
to a watchmaker again.  He took the watch all to pieces while I waited,
and then said the barrel was "swelled."  He said he could reduce it in
three days.  After this the watch averaged well, but nothing more.  For
half a day it would go like the very mischief, and keep up such a barking
and wheezing and whooping and sneezing and snorting, that I could not
hear myself think for the disturbance; and as long as it held out there
was not a watch in the land that stood any chance against it.  But the
rest of the day it would keep on slowing down and fooling along until all
the clocks it had left behind caught up again.  So at last, at the end of
twenty-four hours, it would trot up to the judges' stand all right and
just in time.  It would show a fair and square average, and no man could
say it had done more or less than its duty.  But a correct average is
only a mild virtue in a watch, and I took this instrument to another
watchmaker.  He said the king-bolt was broken.  I said I was glad it was
nothing more serious.  To tell the plain truth, I had no idea what the
king-bolt was, but I did not choose to appear ignorant to a stranger.
He repaired the king-bolt, but what the watch gained in one way it lost
in another.  It would run awhile and then stop awhile, and then run
awhile again, and so on, using its own discretion about the intervals.
And every time it went off it kicked back like a musket.  I padded my
breast for a few days, but finally took the watch to another watchmaker.
He picked it all to pieces, and turned the ruin over and over under his
glass; and then he said there appeared to be something the matter with
the hair-trigger.  He fixed it, and gave it a fresh start.  It did well
now, except that always at ten minutes to ten the hands would shut
together like a pair of scissors, and from that time forth they would
travel together.  The oldest man in the world could not make head or tail
of the time of day by such a watch, and so I went again to have the thing
repaired.  This person said that the crystal had got bent, and that the
mainspring was not straight.  He also remarked that part of the works
needed half-soling.  He made these things all right, and then my
timepiece performed unexceptionably, save that now and then, after
working along quietly for nearly eight hours, everything inside would let
go all of a sudden and begin to buzz like a bee, and the hands would
straightway begin to spin round and round so fast that their
individuality was lost completely, and they simply seemed a delicate
spider's web over the face of the watch.  She would reel off the next
twenty-four hours in six or seven minutes, and then stop with a bang.
I went with a heavy heart to one more watchmaker, and looked on while he
took her to pieces.  Then I prepared to cross-question him rigidly, for
this thing was getting serious.  The watch had cost two hundred dollars
originally, and I seemed to have paid out two or three thousand for
repairs.  While I waited and looked on I presently recognized in this
watchmaker an old acquaintance--a steamboat engineer of other days, and
not a good engineer, either.  He examined all the parts carefully, just
as the other watchmakers had done, and then delivered his verdict with
the same confidence of manner.

He said:

"She makes too much steam-you want to hang the monkey-wrench on the
safety-valve!"

I brained him on the spot, and had him buried at my own expense.

My uncle William (now deceased, alas!) used to say that a good horse was,
a good horse until it had run away once, and that a good watch was a good
watch until the repairers got a chance at it.  And he used to wonder what
became of all the unsuccessful tinkers, and gunsmiths, and shoemakers,
and engineers, and blacksmiths; but nobody could ever tell him.






POLITICAL ECONOMY

     Political Economy is the basis of all good government.  The wisest
     men of all ages have brought to bear upon this subject the--

[Here I was interrupted and informed that a stranger wished to see me
down at the door.  I went and confronted him, and asked to know his
business, struggling all the time to keep a tight rein on my seething
political-economy ideas, and not let them break away from me or get
tangled in their harness.  And privately I wished the stranger was in the
bottom of the canal with a cargo of wheat on top of him.  I was all in a
fever, but he was cool.  He said he was sorry to disturb me, but as he
was passing he noticed that I needed some lightning-rods.  I said, "Yes,
yes--go on--what about it?"  He said there was nothing about it, in
particular--nothing except that he would like to put them up for me.
I am new to housekeeping; have been used to hotels and boarding-houses
all my life.  Like anybody else of similar experience, I try to appear
(to strangers) to be an old housekeeper; consequently I said in an
offhand way that I had been intending for some time to have six or eight
lightning-rods put up, but--The stranger started, and looked inquiringly
at me, but I was serene.  I thought that if I chanced to make any
mistakes, he would not catch me by my countenance.  He said he would
rather have my custom than any man's in town.  I said, "All right," and
started off to wrestle with my great subject again, when he called me
back and said it would be necessary to know exactly how many "points" I
wanted put up, what parts of the house I wanted them on, and what quality
of rod I preferred.  It was close quarters for a man not used to the
exigencies of housekeeping; but I went through creditably, and he
probably never suspected that I was a novice.  I told him to put up eight
"points," and put them all on the roof, and use the best quality of rod.
He said he could furnish the "plain" article at 20 cents a foot;
"coppered," 25 cents; "zinc-plated spiral-twist," at 30 cents, that would
stop a streak of lightning any time, no matter where it was bound, and
"render its errand harmless and its further progress apocryphal."  I said
apocryphal was no slouch of a word, emanating from the source it did,
but, philology aside, I liked the spiral-twist and would take that brand.
Then he said he could make two hundred and fifty feet answer; but to do
it right, and make the best job in town of it, and attract the admiration
of the just and the unjust alike, and compel all parties to say they
never saw a more symmetrical and hypothetical display of lightning-rods
since they were born, he supposed he really couldn't get along without
four hundred, though he was not vindictive, and trusted he was willing to
try.  I said, go ahead and use four hundred, and make any kind of a job
he pleased out of it, but let me get back to my work.  So I got rid of
him at last; and now, after half an hour spent in getting my train of
political-economy thoughts coupled together again, I am ready to go on
once more.]

     richest treasures of their genius, their experience of life, and
     their learning.  The great lights of commercial jurisprudence,
     international confraternity, and biological deviation, of all ages,
     all civilizations, and all nationalities, from Zoroaster down to
     Horace Greeley, have--

[Here I was interrupted again, and required to go down and confer further
with that lightning-rod man.  I hurried off, boiling and surging with
prodigious thoughts wombed in words of such majesty that each one of them
was in itself a straggling procession of syllables that might be fifteen
minutes passing a given point, and once more I confronted him--he so calm
and sweet, I so hot and frenzied.  He was standing in the contemplative
attitude of the Colossus of Rhodes, with one foot on my infant tuberose,
and the other among my pansies, his hands on his hips, his hat-brim
tilted forward, one eye shut and the other gazing critically and
admiringly in the direction of my principal chimney.  He said now there
was a state of things to make a man glad to be alive; and added, "I leave
it to you if you ever saw anything more deliriously picturesque than
eight lightning-rods on one chimney?"  I said I had no present
recollection of anything that transcended it.  He said that in his
opinion nothing on earth but Niagara Falls was superior to it in the way
of natural scenery.  All that was needed now, he verily believed, to make
my house a perfect balm to the eye, was to kind of touch up the other
chimneys a little, and thus "add to the generous 'coup d'oeil' a soothing
uniformity of achievement which would allay the excitement naturally
consequent upon the 'coup d'etat.'"  I asked him if he learned to talk
out of a book, and if I could borrow it anywhere?  He smiled pleasantly,
and said that his manner of speaking was not taught in books, and that
nothing but familiarity with lightning could enable a man to handle his
conversational style with impunity.  He then figured up an estimate, and
said that about eight more rods scattered about my roof would about fix
me right, and he guessed five hundred feet of stuff would do it; and
added that the first eight had got a little the start of him, so to
speak, and used up a mere trifle of material more than he had calculated
on--a hundred feet or along there.  I said I was in a dreadful hurry,
and I wished we could get this business permanently mapped out, so that I
could go on with my work.  He said, "I could have put up those eight
rods, and marched off about my business--some men would have done it.
But no; I said to myself, this man is a stranger to me, and I will die
before I'll wrong him; there ain't lightning-rods enough on that house,
and for one I'll never stir out of my tracks till I've done as I would be
done by, and told him so.  Stranger, my duty is accomplished; if the
recalcitrant and dephlogistic messenger of heaven strikes your--"
"There, now, there," I said, "put on the other eight--add five hundred
feet of spiral-twist--do anything and everything you want to do; but calm
your sufferings, and try to keep your feelings where you can reach them
with the dictionary.  Meanwhile, if we understand each other now, I will
go to work again."

I think I have been sitting here a full hour this time, trying to get
back to where I was when my train of thought was broken up by the last
interruption; but I believe I have accomplished it at last, and may
venture to proceed again.]

     wrestled with this great subject, and the greatest among them have
     found it a worthy adversary, and one that always comes up fresh and
     smiling after every throw.  The great Confucius said that he would
     rather be a profound political economist than chief of police.
     Cicero frequently said that political economy was the grandest
     consummation that the human mind was capable of consuming; and even
     our own Greeley had said vaguely but forcibly that "Political--

[Here the lightning-rod man sent up another call for me.  I went down in
a state of mind bordering on impatience.  He said he would rather have
died than interrupt me, but when he was employed to do a job, and that
job was expected to be done in a clean, workmanlike manner, and when it
was finished and fatigue urged him to seek the rest and recreation he
stood so much in need of, and he was about to do it, but looked up and
saw at a glance that all the calculations had been a little out, and if a
thunder-storm were to come up, and that house, which he felt a personal
interest in, stood there with nothing on earth to protect it but sixteen
lightning-rods--"Let us have peace!" I shrieked.  "Put up a hundred and
fifty!  Put some on the kitchen!  Put a dozen on the barn!  Put a couple
on the cow!  Put one on the cook!--scatter them all over the persecuted
place till it looks like a zinc-plated, spiral-twisted, silver-mounted
canebrake!  Move!  Use up all the material you can get your hands on, and
when you run out of lightning-rods put up ramrods, cam-rods, stair-rods,
piston-rods--anything that will pander to your dismal appetite for
artificial scenery, and bring respite to my raging brain and healing to
my lacerated soul!"  Wholly unmoved--further than to smile sweetly--this
iron being simply turned back his wrist-bands daintily, and said he would
now proceed to hump himself.  Well, all that was nearly three hours ago.
It is questionable whether I am calm enough yet to write on the noble
theme of political economy, but I cannot resist the desire to try, for it
is the one subject that is nearest to my heart and dearest to my brain of
all this world's philosophy.]

     economy is heaven's best boon to man."  When the loose but gifted
     Byron lay in his Venetian exile he observed that, if it could be
     granted him to go back and live his misspent life over again, he
     would give his lucid and unintoxicated intervals to the composition,
     not of frivolous rhymes, but of essays upon political economy.
     Washington loved this exquisite science; such names as Baker,
     Beckwith, Judson, Smith, are imperishably linked with it; and even
     imperial Homer, in the ninth book of the Iliad, has said:

                    Fiat justitia, ruat coelum,
                    Post mortem unum, ante bellum,
                    Hic facet hoc, ex-parte res,
                    Politicum e-conomico est.

     The grandeur of these conceptions of the old poet, together with the
     felicity of the wording which clothes them, and the sublimity of the
     imagery whereby they are illustrated, have singled out that stanza,
     and made it more celebrated than any that ever--

["Now, not a word out of you--not a single word.  Just state your bill
and relapse into impenetrable silence for ever and ever on these
premises.  Nine hundred, dollars?  Is that all?  This check for the
amount will be honored at any respectable bank in America.  What is that
multitude of people gathered in the street for?  How?--'looking at the
lightning-rods!'  Bless my life, did they never see any lightning-rods
before?  Never saw 'such a stack of them on one establishment,' did I
understand you to say?  I will step down and critically observe this
popular ebullition of ignorance."]

THREE DAYS LATER.--We are all about worn out.  For four-and-twenty hours
our bristling premises were the talk and wonder of the town.  The
theaters languished, for their happiest scenic inventions were tame and
commonplace compared with my lightning-rods.  Our street was blocked
night and day with spectators, and among them were many who came from
the country to see.  It was a blessed relief on the second day when a
thunderstorm came up and the lightning began to "go for" my house, as the
historian Josephus quaintly phrases it.  It cleared the galleries, so to
speak.  In five minutes there was not a spectator within half a mile of
my place; but all the high houses about that distance away were full,
windows, roof, and all.  And well they might be, for all the falling
stars and Fourth-of-July fireworks of a generation, put together and
rained down simultaneously out of heaven in one brilliant shower upon one
helpless roof, would not have any advantage of the pyrotechnic display
that was making my house so magnificently conspicuous in the general
gloom of the storm.

By actual count, the lightning struck at my establishment seven
hundred and sixty-four times in forty minutes, but tripped on one of
those faithful rods every time, and slid down the spiral-twist and shot
into the earth before it probably had time to be surprised at the way the
thing was done. And through all that bombardment only one patch of slates
was ripped up, and that was because, for a single instant, the rods in
the vicinity were transporting all the lightning they could possibly
accommodate.  Well, nothing was ever seen like it since the world began.
For one whole day and night not a member of my family stuck his head out
of the window but he got the hair snatched off it as smooth as a
billiard-ball; and; if the reader will believe me, not one of us ever
dreamt of stirring abroad.  But at last the awful siege came to an
end-because there was absolutely no more electricity left in the clouds
above us within grappling distance of my insatiable rods.  Then I sallied
forth, and gathered daring workmen together, and not a bite or a nap did
we take till the premises were utterly stripped of all their terrific
armament except just three rods on the house, one on the kitchen, and one
on the barn--and, behold, these remain there even unto this day.  And
then, and not till then, the people ventured to use our street again.
I will remark here, in passing, that during that fearful time I did not
continue my essay upon political economy.  I am not even yet settled
enough in nerve and brain to resume it.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.--Parties having need of three thousand two
hundred and eleven feet of best quality zinc-plated spiral-twist
lightning-rod stuff, and sixteen hundred and thirty-one silver-tipped
points, all in tolerable repair (and, although much worn by use, still
equal to any ordinary emergency), can hear of a bargains by addressing
the publisher.






THE JUMPING FROG [written about 1865]

IN ENGLISH.  THEN IN FRENCH.  THEN CLAWED BACK INTO A CIVILIZED LANGUAGE
ONCE MORE BY PATIENT, UNREMUNERATED TOIL.

Even a criminal is entitled to fair play; and certainly when a man who
has done no harm has been unjustly treated, he is privileged to do his
best to right himself.  My attention has just been called to an article
some three years old in a French Magazine entitled, 'Revue des Deux
Mondes' (Review of Some Two Worlds), wherein the writer treats of "Les
Humoristes Americaines" (These Humorist Americans).  I am one of these
humorists American dissected by him, and hence the complaint I am making.

This gentleman's article is an able one (as articles go, in the French,
where they always tangle up everything to that degree that when you start
into a sentence you never know whether you are going to come out alive or
not).  It is a very good article and the writer says all manner of kind
and complimentary things about me--for which I am sure thank him with all
my heart; but then why should he go and spoil all his praise by one
unlucky experiment?  What I refer to is this: he says my jumping Frog is
a funny story, but still he can't see why it should ever really convulse
any one with laughter--and straightway proceeds to translate it into
French in order to prove to his nation that there is nothing so very
extravagantly funny about it.  Just there is where my complaint
originates.  He has not translated it at all; he has simply mixed it all
up; it is no more like the jumping Frog when he gets through with it than
I am like a meridian of longitude.  But my mere assertion is not proof;
wherefore I print the French version, that all may see that I do not
speak falsely; furthermore, in order that even the unlettered may know my
injury and give me their compassion, I have been at infinite pains and
trouble to retranslate this French version back into English; and to tell
the truth I have well-nigh worn myself out at it, having scarcely rested
from my work during five days and nights.  I cannot speak the French
language, but I can translate very well, though not fast, I being
self-educated.  I ask the reader to run his eye over the original English
version of the jumping Frog, and then read the French or my
retranslation, and kindly take notice how the Frenchman has riddled the
grammar.  I think it is the worst I ever saw; and yet the French are
called a polished nation.  If I had a boy that put sentences together as
they do, I would polish him to some purpose.  Without further
introduction, the jumping Frog, as I originally wrote it, was as follows
[after it will be found the French version--(French version is deleted
from this edition)--, and after the latter my retranslation from the
French]




THE NOTORIOUS JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS COUNTY [Pronounced Cal-e-va-ras]

In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from the
East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and inquired
after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to do, and I
hereunto append the result.  I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W.
Smiley is a myth that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he
on conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him
of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me to death
with some exasperating reminiscence him as long and as tedious as it
should be useless to me.  If that was the design, it succeeded.

I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of the
dilapidated tavern in the decayed mining camp Angel's, and I noticed that
he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness
and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance.  He roused up, and gave me
good day.  I told him that a friend of mine had commissioned me to make
some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood named Leonidas
W. Smiley--Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, a young minister of the Gospel, who
he had heard was at one time resident of Angel's Camp.  I added that if
Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley,
I would feel under many obligations to him.

Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his
chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which
follows this paragraph.  He never smiled he never frowned, he never
changed his voice from the gentle flowing key to which he tuned his
initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of
enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein
of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that,
so far from his imagining that there was anything ridiculous or funny
about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired
its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in 'finesse.'  I let him go
on in his own way, and never interrupted him once.

"Rev. Leonidas W.  H'm, Reverend Le--well, there was a feller here, once
by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of '49--or maybe it was the
spring of '50--I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me
think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume warn't
finished when he first come to the camp; but anyway, he was the
curiousest man about always betting on anything that turned up you ever
see, if he could get anybody to bet on the other side; and if he couldn't
he'd change sides.  Any way that suited the other man would suit him any
way just so's he got a bet, he was satisfied.  But still he was lucky,
uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner.  He was always ready and
laying for a chance; there couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned but
that feller'd offer to bet on it, and take any side you please, as I was
just telling you.  If there was a horse-race, you'd find him flush or
you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog-fight, he'd
bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a
chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there was two birds setting on a
fence, he would bet you which one would fly first; or if there was a
camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar to bet on Parson Walker, which he
judged to be the best exhorter about here, and so he was too, and a good
man.  If he even see a straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet
you how long it would take him to get to--to wherever he was going to,
and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico but
what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the
road.  Lots of the boys here has seen that Smiley, and can tell you about
him.  Why, it never made no difference to him--he'd bet on any thing--the
dangdest feller.  Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once, for a good
while, and it seemed as if they warn't going to save her; but one morning
he come in, and Smiley up and asked him how she was, and he said she was
considerable better--thank the Lord for his inf'nite mercy--and coming on
so smart that with the blessing of Prov'dence she'd get well yet; and
Smiley, before he thought, says, 'Well, I'll resk two-and-a-half she
don't anyway.'

"Thish-yer Smiley had a mare--the boys called her the fifteen-minute nag,
but that was only in fun, you know, because of course she was faster than
that--and he used to win money on that horse, for all she was so slow and
always had the asthma, or the distemper, or the consumption, or something
of that kind.  They used to give her two or three hundred yards' start,
and then pass her under way; but always at the fag end of the race she
get excited and desperate like, and come cavorting and straddling up,
and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the air, and
sometimes out to one side among the fences, and kicking up m-o-r-e dust
and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing and blowing her
nose--and always fetch up at the stand just about a neck ahead, as near
as you could cipher it down.

"And he had a little small bull-pup, that to look at him you'd think he
warn't worth a cent but to set around and look ornery and lay for a
chance to steal something.  But as soon as money was up on him he was a
different dog; his under-jaw'd begin to stick out like the fo'castle of
a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover and shine like the furnaces.
And a dog might tackle him and bully-rag him, and bite him, and throw him
over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson--which was the
name of the pup--Andrew Jackson would never let on but what he was
satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else--and the bets being doubled
and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money was all up;
and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog jest by the j'int
of his hind leg and freeze to it--not chaw, you understand, but only just
grip and hang on till they throwed up the sponge, if it was a year.
Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog once
that didn't have no hind legs, because they'd been sawed off in a
circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far enough, and the money
was all up, and he come to make a snatch for his pet holt, he see in a
minute how he'd been imposed on, and how the other dog had him in the
door, so to speak, and he 'peared surprised, and then he looked sorter
discouraged-like and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so he got
shucked out bad.  He give Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was
broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog that hadn't no hind
legs for him to take holt of, which was his main dependence in a fight,
and then he limped off a piece and laid down and died.  It was a good
pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for hisself if
he'd lived, for the stuff was in him and he had genius--I know it,
because he hadn't no opportunities to speak of, and it don't stand to
reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them
circumstances if he hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when
I think of that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out.

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and tomcats
and all them kind of things, till you couldn't rest, and you couldn't
fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match you.  He ketched a frog
one day, and took him home, and said he cal'lated to educate him; and so
he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn
that frog to jump. And you bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him a
little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in
the air like a doughnut--see him turn one summerset, or maybe a couple,
if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like a
cat. He got him up so in the matter of ketching flies, and kep' him in
practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as fur as he could
see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do
'most anything--and I believe him.  Why, I've seen him set Dan'l Webster
down here on this floor--Dan'l Webster was the name of the frog--and sing
out, 'Flies, Dan'l, flies!' and quicker'n you could wink he'd spring
straight up and snake a fly off'n the counter there, and flop down on the
floor ag'in as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to scratching the side of
his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd
been doin' any more'n any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest
and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted.  And when it
come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more
ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you ever see.
Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand; and when it
come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him as long as he had a red.
Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might be, for fellers
that had traveled and been everywheres all said he laid over any frog
that ever they see.

"Well, Smiley kep' the beast in a little lattice box, and he used to
fetch him down-town sometimes and lay for a bet.  One day a feller
--a stranger in the camp, he was--come acrost him with his box, and says:

"'What might it be that you've got in the box?'

"And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, 'It might be a parrot, or it
might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't--it's only just a frog.'

"And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round
this way and that, and says, 'H'm--so 'tis.  Well, what's HE good for.

"'Well,' Smiley says, easy and careless, 'he's good enough for one thing,
I should judge--he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County.

"The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular look,
and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate,  'Well,' he says,
'I don't see no pints about that frog that's any better'n any other
frog.'

"'Maybe you don't,' Smiley says.  'Maybe you understand frogs and maybe
you don't understand 'em; maybe you've had experience, and maybe you
ain't only a amature, as it were.  Anyways, I've got my opinion, and I'll
resk forty dollars the he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County.'

"And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad-like, 'Well,
I'm only a stranger here, and I ain't got no frog; but if I had a frog,
I'd bet you.

"And then Smiley says, 'That's all right--that's all right if you'll hold
my box a minute, I'll go and get you a frog.'  Any so the feller took the
box, and put up his forty dollars along with Smiley's, and set down to
wait.

"So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to himself and then
he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and
filled him full of quail-shot-filled him pretty near up to his chin--and
set him on the floor.  Smiley he went to the swamp and slopped around in
the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him
in, and give him to this feller and says:

"'Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his fore paws
just even with Dan'l's, and I'll give the word.' Then he says,
'One-two-three--git' and him and the feller touches up the frogs from
behind, and the new frog hopped off lively but Dan'l give a heave, and
hysted up his shoulders---so-like a Frenchman, but it warn't no use--he
couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as a church, and he couldn't no
more stir than if he was anchored out.  Smiley was a good deal surprised,
and he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter was
of course.

"The Teller took the money and started away; and when he was going out at
the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulder--so--at Dan'l, and
says again, very deliberate, 'Well,' he says, 'I don't see no pints about
that frog that's any better'n any other frog.'

"Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long
time, and at last he says, 'I do wonder what in the nation that frog
throw'd off for--I wonder if there ain't something the matter with him
--he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow.'  And he ketched Dan'l by the
nap of the neck, and hefted him, and says, 'Why blame my cats if he don't
weigh five pound!' and turned him upside down and he belched out a double
handful of shot.  And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man
--he set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he never
ketched him.  And--"

[Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got up
to see what was wanted.]  And turning to me as he moved away, he said:
"Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy--I ain't going to be
gone a second."

But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the history of
the enterprising vagabond Jim Smiley would be likely to afford me much
information concerning the Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and so I started
away.

At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he buttonholed me
and recommenced:

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yaller one-eyed cow that didn't have no
tail, only just a short stump like a bannanner, and--"

However, lacking both time and inclination, I did not wait to hear about
the afflicted cow, but took my leave.


Now let the learned look upon this picture and say if iconoclasm can
further go:

[From the Revue des Deux Mondes, of July 15th, 1872.]

          .......................


THE JUMPING FROG

"--Il y avait, une fois ici un individu connu sous le nom de Jim Smiley:
c'etait dans l'hiver de 49, peut-etre bien au printemps de 50, je ne me
reappelle pas exactement.  Ce qui me fait croire que c'etait l'un ou
l'autre, c'est que je me souviens que le grand bief n'etait pas acheve
lorsqu'il arriva au camp pour la premiere fois, mais de toutes facons il
etait l'homme le plus friand de paris qui se put voir, pariant sur tout
ce qui se presentaat, quand il pouvait trouver un adversaire, et, quand
n'en trouvait pas il passait du cote oppose.  Tout ce qui convenaiat
l'autre lui convenait; pourvu qu'il eut un pari, Smiley etait satisfait.
Et il avait une chance! une chance inouie:  presque toujours il gagnait.
It faut dire qu'il etait toujours pret a'exposer, qu'on ne pouvait
mentionner la moindre chose sans que ce gaillard offrit de parier
la-dessus n'importe quoi et de prendre le cote que l'on voudrait, comme
je vous le disais tout a l'heure.  S'il y avait des courses, vous le
trouviez riche ou ruine a la fin; s'il y avait un combat de chiens, il
apportait son enjeu; il l'apportait pour un combat de chats, pour un
combat de coqs;--parbleu! si vous aviez vu deux oiseaux sur une haie il
vous aurait offert de parier lequel s'envolerait le premier, et s'il y
aviat 'meeting' au camp, il venait parier regulierement pour le cure
Walker, qu'il jugeait etre le meilleur predicateur des environs, et qui
l'etait en effet, et un brave homme.  Il aurai rencontre une punaise de
bois en chemin, qu'il aurait parie sur le temps qu'il lui faudrait pour
aller ou elle voudrait aller, et si vous l'aviez pris au mot, it aurait
suivi la punaise jusqu'au Mexique, sans se soucier d'aller si loin, ni du
temps qu'il y perdrait.  Une fois la femme du cure Walker fut tres malade
pendant longtemps, il semblait qu'on ne la sauverait pas; mai un matin le
cure arrive, et Smiley lui demande comment ella va et il dit qu'elle est
bien mieux, grace a l'infinie misericorde tellement mieux qu'avec la
benediction de la Providence elle s'en tirerait, et voila que, sans y
penser, Smiley repond:--Eh bien! ye gage deux et demi qu'elle mourra tout
de meme.

"Ce Smiley avait une jument que les gars appelaient le bidet du quart
d'heure, mais seulement pour plaisanter, vous comprenez, parse que, bien
entendu, elle etait plus vite que ca!  Et il avait coutume de gagner de
l'argent avec cette bete, quoi-qu'elle fut poussive, cornarde, toujours
prise d'asthme, de colique ou de consomption, ou de quelque chose
d'approchant. On lui donnait 2 ou 300 'yards' au depart, puffs on la
depassait sans peine; mais jamais a la fin elle ne manquait de
s'echauffer, de s'exasperer et elle arrivait, s'ecartant, se defendant,
ses jambes greles en l'ai devant les obstacles, quelquefois les evitant
et faisant avec cela plus de poussiare qu'aucun cheval, plus de bruit
surtout avec ses eternumens et reniflemens.---crac! elle arrivaat donc
toujour premiere d'une tete, aussi juste qu'on peut le mesurer.  Et il
avait un petit bouledogue qui, a le voir, ne valait pas un sou; on aurait
cru que parier contre lui c'etait voler, tant il etait ordinaire; mais
aussitot les enjeux faits, il devenait un autre chien.  Sa machoire
inferieure commencait a ressortir comme un gaillard d'avant, ses dents se
decouvcraient brillantes commes des fournaises, et un chien pouvait le
taquiner, l'exciter, le mordre, le jeter deux ou trois fois par-dessus
son epaule, Andre Jackson, c'etait le nom du chien, Andre Jackson prenait
cela tranquillement, comme s'il ne se fut jamais attendu a autre chose,
et quand les paris etaient doubles et redoubles contre lui, il vous
saisissait l'autre chien juste a l'articulation de la jambe de derriere,
et il ne la lachait plus, non pas qu'il la machat, vous concevez, mais il
s'y serait tenu pendu jusqu'a ce qu'on jetat l'eponge en l'air, fallut-il
attendre un an.  Smiley gagnait toujours avec cette bete-la;
malheureusement ils ont fini par dresser un chien qui n'avait pas de
pattes de derriere, parce qu'on les avait sciees, et quand les choses
furent au point qu'il voulait, et qu'il en vint a se jeter sur son
morceau favori, le pauvre chien comprit en un instant qu'on s'etait moque
de lui, et que l'autre le tenait.  Vous n'avez jamais vu personne avoir
l'air plus penaud et plus decourage; il ne fit aucun effort pour gagner
le combat et fut rudement secoue, de sorte que, regardant Smiley comme
pour lui dire:--Mon coeur est brise, c'est to faute; pourquoi m'avoir
livre a un chien qui n'a pas de pattes de derriere, puisque c'est par la
que je les bats?--il s'en alla en clopinant, et se coucha pour mourir.
Ah! c'etait un bon chien, cet Andre Jackson, et il se serait fait un nom,
s'il avait vecu, car il y avait de l'etoffe en lui, il avait du genie,
je la sais, bien que de grandes occasions lui aient manque; mais il est
impossible de supposer qu'un chien capable de se battre comme lui,
certaines circonstances etant donnees, ait manque de talent.  Je me sens
triste toutes les fois que je pense a son dernier combat et au denoument
qu'il a eu.  Eh bien! ce Smiley nourrissait des terriers a rats, et des
coqs combat, et des chats, et toute sorte de choses, au point qu'il etait
toujours en mesure de vous tenir tete, et qu'avec sa rage de paris on
n'avait plus de repos. Il attrapa un jour une grenouille et l'emporta
chez lui, disant qu'il pretendait faire son Education; vous me croirez si
vous voulez, mais pendant trois mois il n'a rien fait que lui apprendre a
sauter dans une cour retire de sa maison. Et je vous reponds qu'il avait
reussi.  Il lui donnait un petit coup par derriere, et l'instant d'apres
vous voyiez la grenouille tourner en l'air comme un beignet au-dessus de
la poele, faire une culbute, quelquefois deux, lorsqu'elle etait bien
partie, et retomber sur ses pattes comme un chat.  Il l'avait dressee
dans l'art de gober des mouches, er l'y exercait continuellement, si bien
qu'une mouche, du plus loin qu'elle apparaissait, etait une mouche
perdue. Smiley avait coutume de dire que tout ce qui manquait a une
grenouille, c'etait l'education, qu'avec l'education elle pouvait faire
presque tout, et je le crois.  Tenez, je l'ai vu poser Daniel Webster la
sur se plancher,--Daniel Webster etait le nom de la grenouille,--et lui
chanter: Des mouches! Daniel, des mouches!--En un clin d'oeil, Daniel
avait bondi et saisi une mouche ici sur le comptoir, puis saute de
nouveau par terre, ou il restait vraiment a se gratter la tete avec sa
patte de derriere, comme s'il n'avait pas eu la moindre idee de sa
superiorite.  Jamais vous n'avez grenouille vu de aussi modeste, aussi
naturelle, douee comme elle l'etait!  Et quand il s'agissait de sauter
purement et simplement sur terrain plat, elle faisait plus de chemin en
un saut qu'aucune bete de son espece que vous puissiez connaitre. Sauter
a plat, c'etait son fort! Quand il s'agissait de cela, Smiley en tassait
les enjeux sur elle tant qu'il lui, restait un rouge liard. Il faut le
reconnaitre, Smiley etait monstrueusement fier de sa grenouille, et il en
avait le droit, car des gens qui avaient voyage, qui avaient tout vu,
disaient qu'on lui ferait injure de la comparer a une autre; de facon que
Smiley gardait Daniel dans une petite boite a claire-voie qu'il emportait
parfois a la Ville pour quelque pari.

"Un jour, un individu etranger au camp l'arrete aver sa boite et lui
dit:--Qu'est-ce que vous avez donc serre la dedans?

"Smiley dit d'un air indifferent:--Cela pourrait etre un perroquet ou un
serin, mais ce n'est rien de pareil, ce n'est qu'une grenouille.

"L'individu la prend, la regarde avec soin, la tourne d'un cote et de
l'autre puis il dit.--Tiens! en effet!  A quoi estelle bonne?

"--Mon Dieu! repond Smiley, toujours d'un air degage, elle est bonne pour
une chose a mon avis, elle peut battre en sautant toute grenouille du
comte de Calaveras.

"L'individu reprend la boite, l'examine de nouveau longuement, et la rend
a Smiley en disant d'un air delibere:--Eh bien! je ne vois pas que cette
grenouille ait rien de mieux qu'aucune grenouille.

"--Possible qua vous ne le voyiez pat, dit Smiley, possible que vous vous
entendiez en grenouilles, possible que vous ne vous y entendez point,
possible qua vous avez de l'experience, et possible que vous ne soyez
qu'un amateur.  De toute maniere, je parie quarante dollars qu'elle
battra en sautant n'importe quelle grenouille du comte de Calaveras.

"L'individu reflechit one seconde et dit comma attriste:--Je ne suis
qu'un etranger ici, je n'ai pas de grenouille; mais, si j'en
avais une, je tiendrais le pari.

"--Fort bien! repond Smiley.  Rien de plus facile. Si vous voulez tenir
ma boite one minute, j'irai vous chercher une grenouille.--Voile donc
l'individu qui garde la boite, qui met ses quarante dollars sur ceux de
Smiley et qui attend.  Il attend assez longtemps, reflechissant tout
seul, et figurez-vous qu'il prend Daniel, lui ouvre la bouche de force at
avec une cuiller a the l'emplit de menu plomb de chasse, mail l'emplit
jusqu'au menton, puis il le pose par terre.  Smiley pendant ce temps
etait a barboter dans une mare.  Finalement il attrape une grenouille,
l'apporte cet individu et dit:--Maintenant, si vous etes pret, mettez-la
tout contra Daniel, avec leurs pattes de devant sur la meme ligne, et je
donnerai le signal; puis il ajoute:--Un, deux, trois, sautez!

"Lui et l'individu touchent leurs grenouilles par derriere, et la
grenouille neuve se met h sautiller, mais Daniel se souleve lourdement,
hausse les epaules ainsi, comma un Francais; a quoi bon? il ne pouvait
bouger, il etait plante solide comma une enclume, il n'avancait pas plus
que si on l'eut mis a l'ancre. Smiley fut surpris et degoute, mais il ne
se doutait pas du tour, bien entendu.  L'individu empoche l'argent, s'en
va, et en s'en allant est-ce qu'il ne donna pas un coup de pouce
pardessus l'epaule, comma ca, au pauvre Daniel, en disant de son air
delibere:--Eh bien! je ne vois pas qua cette grenouille ait rien de muiex
qu'une autre.

"Smiley se gratta longtemps la tete, les yeux fixes Sur Daniel; jusqu'a
ce qu'enfin il dit:--je me demande comment diable il se fait qua cette
bite ait refuse, . . . Est-ce qu'elle aurait quelque chose? . . . On
croirait qu'elle est enflee.

"Il empoigne Daniel par la peau du coo, le souleve et dit:--Le loup me
croque, s'il ne pese pas cinq livres.

"Il le retourne, et le malheureux crache deux poignees de plomb.  Quand
Smiley reconnut ce qui en etait, il fut comme fou.  Vous le voyez d'ici
poser sa grenouille par terra et courir apres cet individu, mais il ne le
rattrapa jamais, et ...."



[Translation of the above back from the French:]

THE FROG JUMPING OF THE COUNTY OF CALAVERAS

It there was one time here an individual known under the name of Jim
Smiley; it was in the winter of '89, possibly well at the spring of '50,
I no me recollect not exactly.  This which me makes to believe that it
was the one or the other, it is that I shall remember that the grand
flume is not achieved when he arrives at the camp for the first time, but
of all sides he was the man the most fond of to bet which one have seen,
betting upon all that which is presented, when he could find an
adversary; and when he not of it could not, he passed to the side
opposed.  All that which convenienced to the other to him convenienced
also; seeing that he had a bet Smiley was satisfied.  And he had a
chance! a chance even worthless; nearly always he gained.  It must to say
that he was always near to himself expose, but one no could mention the
least thing without that this gaillard offered to bet the bottom, no
matter what, and to take the side that one him would, as I you it said
all at the hour (tout a l'heure).  If it there was of races, you him find
rich or ruined at the end; if it, here is a combat of dogs, he bring his
bet; he himself laid always for a combat of cats, for a combat of cocks
--by-blue!  If you have see two birds upon a fence, he you should have
offered of to bet which of those birds shall fly the first; and if there
is meeting at the camp (meeting au camp) he comes to bet regularly for
the cure Walker, which he judged to be the best predicator of the
neighborhood (predicateur des environs) and which he was in effect, and a
brave man.  He would encounter a bug of wood in the road, whom he will
bet upon the time which he shall take to go where she would go--and if
you him have take at the word, he will follow the bug as far as Mexique,
without himself caring to go so far; neither of the time which he there
lost.  One time the woman of the cure Walker is very sick during long
time, it seemed that one not her saved not; but one morning the cure
arrives, and Smiley him demanded how she goes, and he said that she is
well better, grace to the infinite misery (lui demande comment elle va,
et il dit qu'elle est bien mieux, grace a l'infinie misericorde) so much
better that with the benediction of the Providence she herself of it
would pull out (elle s'en tirerait); and behold that without there
thinking Smiley responds: "Well, I gage two-and-half that she will die
all of same."

This Smiley had an animal which the boys called the nag of the quarter of
hour, but solely for pleasantry, you comprehend, because, well
understand, she was more fast as that! [Now why that exclamation?--M. T.]
And it was custom of to gain of the silver with this beast,
notwithstanding she was poussive, cornarde, always taken of asthma, of
colics or of consumption, or something of approaching.  One him would
give two or three hundred yards at the departure, then one him passed
without pain; but never at the last she not fail of herself echauffer,
of herself exasperate, and she arrives herself ecartant, se defendant,
her legs greles in the air before the obstacles, sometimes them elevating
and making with this more of dust than any horse, more of noise above
with his eternumens and reniflemens--crac! she arrives then always first
by one head, as just as one can it measure.  And he had a small bulldog
(bouledogue!) who, to him see, no value, not a cent; one would believe
that to bet against him it was to steal, so much he was ordinary; but as
soon as the game made, she becomes another dog.  Her jaw inferior
commence to project like a deck of before, his teeth themselves discover
brilliant like some furnaces, and a dog could him tackle (le taquiner),
him excite, him murder (le mordre), him throw two or three times over his
shoulder, Andre Jackson--this was the name of the dog--Andre Jackson
takes that tranquilly, as if he not himself was never expecting other
thing, and when the bets were doubled and redoubled against him, he you
seize the other dog just at the articulation of the leg of behind, and he
not it leave more, not that he it masticate, you conceive, but he himself
there shall be holding during until that one throws the sponge in the
air, must he wait a year.  Smiley gained always with this beast-la;
unhappily they have finished by elevating a dog who no had not of feet of
behind, because one them had sawed; and when things were at the point
that he would, and that he came to himself throw upon his morsel
favorite, the poor dog comprehended in an instant that he himself was
deceived in him, and that the other dog him had.  You no have never seen
person having the air more penaud and more discouraged; he not made no
effort to gain the combat, and was rudely shucked.

Eh bien! this Smiley nourished some terriers a rats, and some cocks of
combat, and some pats, and all sorts of things; and with his rage of
betting one no had more of repose.  He trapped one day a frog and him
imported with him (et l'emporta chez lui) saying that he pretended to
make his education.  You me believe if you will, but during three months
he not has nothing done but to him apprehend to jump (apprendre a sauter)
in a court retired of her mansion (de sa maison).  And I you respond that
he have succeeded.  He him gives a small blow by behind, and the instant
after you shall see the frog turn in the air like a grease-biscuit, make
one summersault, sometimes two, when she was well started, and refall
upon his feet like a cat.  He him had accomplished in the art of to
gobble the flies (gober des mouches), and him there exercised continually
--so well that a fly at the most far that she appeared was a fly lost.
Smiley had custom to say that all which lacked to a frog it was the
education, but with the education she could do nearly all--and I him
believe.  Tenez, I him have seen pose Daniel Webster there upon this
plank--Daniel Webster was the name of the frog--and to him sing, "Some
flies, Daniel, some fifes!"--in a flash of the eye Daniel 30
had bounded and seized a fly here upon the counter, then jumped anew at
the earth, where he rested truly to himself scratch the head with his
behind foot, as if he no had not the least idea of his superiority.
Never you not have seen frog as modest, as natural, sweet as she was.
And when he himself agitated to jump purely and simply upon plain earth,
she does more ground in one jump than any beast of his species than you
can know.  To jump plain-this was his strong.  When he himself agitated
for that, Smiley multiplied the bets upon her as long as there to him
remained a red.  It must to know, Smiley was monstrously proud of his
frog, and he of it was right, for some men who were traveled, who had all
seen, said that they to him would be injurious to him compare, to another
frog.  Smiley guarded Daniel in a little box latticed which he carried
bytimes to the village for some bet.

One day an individual stranger at the camp him arrested with his box and
him said:

"What is this that you have them shut up there within?"

Smiley said, with an air indifferent:

"That could be a paroquet, or a syringe (ou un serin), but this no is
nothing of such, it not is but a frog."

The individual it took, it regarded with care, it turned from one side
and from the other, then he said:

"Tiens! in effect!--At what is she good?"

"My God!" respond Smiley, always with an air disengaged, "she is good for
one thing, to my notice (A mon avis), she can better in jumping (elle pent
battre en sautant) all frogs of the county of Calaveras."

The individual retook the box, it examined of new longly, and it rendered
to Smiley in saying with an air deliberate:

"Eh bien! I no saw not that that frog had nothing of better than each
frog."  (Je ne vois pas que cette grenouille ait rien de mieux qu'aucune
grenouille.) [If that isn't grammar gone to seed, then I count myself no
judge.--M.  T.]

"Possible that you not it saw not," said Smiley, "possible that you--you
comprehend frogs; possible that you not you there comprehend nothing;
possible that you had of the experience, and possible that you not be but
an amateur.  Of all manner (De toute maniere) I bet forty dollars that
she better in jumping no matter which frog of the county of Calaveras."

The individual reflected a second, and said like sad:

"I not am but a stranger here, I no have not a frog; but if I of it had
one, I would embrace the bet."

"Strong well!" respond Smiley; "nothing of more facility.  If you will
hold my box a minute, I go you to search a frog (j'irai vous chercher)."

Behold, then, the individual, who guards the box, who puts his forty
dollars upon those of Smiley, and who attends (et qui attend).  He
attended enough long times, reflecting all solely.  And figure you that
he takes Daniel, him opens the mouth by force and with a teaspoon him
fills with shot of the hunt, even him fills just to the chin, then he him
puts by the earth.  Smiley during these times was at slopping in a swamp.
Finally he trapped (attrape) a frog, him carried to that individual, and
said:

"Now if you be ready, put him all against Daniel with their before feet
upon the same line, and I give the signal"--then he added: "One, two,
three--advance!"

Him and the individual touched their frogs by behind, and the frog new
put to jump smartly, but Daniel himself lifted ponderously, exalted the
shoulders thus, like a Frenchman--to what good? he not could budge, he
is planted solid like a church he not advance no more than if one him had
put at the anchor.

Smiley was surprised and disgusted, but he no himself doubted not of the
turn being intended (mais il ne se doutait pas du tour, bien entendu).
The individual empocketed the silver, himself with it went, and of it
himself in going is it that he no gives not a jerk of thumb over the
shoulder--like that--at the poor Daniel, in saying with his air
deliberate--(L'individu empoche l'argent, s'en va et en s'en allant
est-ce qu'il ne donne pas un coup d pouce par-dessus l'epaule, comme ga,
au pauvre Daniel, en disant de son air delibere):

"Eh bien! I no see not that that frog has nothin of better than another."

Smiley himself scratched longtimes the head, the eyes fixed upon Daniel,
until that which at last he said:

"I me demand how the devil it makes itself that this beast has refused.
Is it that she had something?  One would believe that she is stuffed."

He grasped Daniel by the skin of the neck, him lifted and said:

"The wolf me bite if he no weigh not five pounds:"

He him reversed and the unhappy belched two handfuls of shot (et le
malheureux, etc.).  When Smiley recognized how it was, he was like mad.
He deposited his frog by the earth and ran after that individual, but he
not him caught never.


Such is the jumping Frog, to the distorted French eye.  I claim that I
never put together such an odious mixture of bad grammar and delirium
tremens in my life.  And what has a poor foreigner like me done, to be
abused and misrepresented like this?  When I say, "Well, I don't see no
pints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog," is it kind,
is it just, for this Frenchman to try to make it appear that I said, "Eh
bien! I no saw not that that frog had nothing of better than each frog"?
I have no heart to write more.  I never felt so about anything before.

HARTFORD, March, 1875.






JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE--[Written about 1871.]

     The editor of the Memphis Avalanche swoops thus mildly down upon a
     correspondent who posted him as a Radical:--"While he was writing
     the first word, the middle, dotting his i's, crossing his t's, and
     punching his period, he knew he was concocting a sentence that was
     saturated with infamy and reeking with falsehood."--Exchange.

I was told by the physician that a Southern climate would improve my
health, and so I went down to Tennessee, and got a berth on the Morning
Glory and Johnson County War-Whoop as associate editor.  When I went on
duty I found the chief editor sitting tilted back in a three-legged chair
with his feet on a pine table.  There was another pine table in the room
and another afflicted chair, and both were half buried under newspapers
and scraps and sheets of manuscript.  There was a wooden box of sand,
sprinkled with cigar stubs and "old soldiers," and a stove with a door
hanging by its upper hinge.  The chief editor had a long-tailed black
cloth frock-coat on, and white linen pants.  His boots were small and
neatly blacked.  He wore a ruffled shirt, a large seal-ring, a standing
collar of obsolete pattern, and a checkered neckerchief with the ends
hanging down.  Date of costume about 1848.  He was smoking a cigar, and
trying to think of a word, and in pawing his hair he had rumpled his
locks a good deal.  He was scowling fearfully, and I judged that he was
concocting a particularly knotty editorial.  He told me to take the
exchanges and skim through them and write up the "Spirit of the Tennessee
Press," condensing into the article all of their contents that seemed of
interest.

I wrote as follows:

                    SPIRIT OF THE TENNESSEE PRESS

     The editors of the Semi-Weekly Earthquake evidently labor under a
     misapprehension with regard to the Dallyhack railroad.  It is not
     the object of the company to leave Buzzardville off to one side.
     On the contrary, they consider it one of the most important points
     along the line, and consequently can have no desire to slight it.
     The gentlemen of the Earthquake will, of course, take pleasure in
     making the correction.

     John W. Blossom, Esq., the able editor of the Higginsville
     Thunderbolt and Battle Cry of Freedom, arrived in the city
     yesterday.  He is stopping at the Van Buren House.

     We observe that our contemporary of the Mud Springs Morning Howl has
     fallen into the error of supposing that the election of Van Werter
     is not an established fact, but he will have discovered his mistake
     before this reminder reaches him, no doubt.  He was doubtless misled
     by incomplete election returns.

     It is pleasant to note that the city of Blathersville is endeavoring
     to contract with some New York gentlemen to pave its well-nigh
     impassable streets with the Nicholson pavement.  The Daily Hurrah
     urges the measure with ability, and seems confident of ultimate
     success.

I passed my manuscript over to the chief editor for acceptance,
alteration, or destruction.  He glanced at it and his face clouded.  He
ran his eye down the pages, and his countenance grew portentous.  It was
easy to see that something was wrong.  Presently he sprang up and said:

"Thunder and lightning! Do you suppose I am going to speak of those
cattle that way?  Do you suppose my subscribers are going to stand such
gruel as that?  Give me the pen!"

I never saw a pen scrape and scratch its way so viciously, or plow
through another man's verbs and adjectives so relentlessly.  While he was
in the midst of his work, somebody shot at him through the open window,
and marred the symmetry of my ear.

"Ah," said he, "that is that scoundrel Smith, of the Moral Volcano--he
was due yesterday."  And he snatched a navy revolver from his belt and
fired--Smith dropped, shot in the thigh.  The shot spoiled Smith's aim,
who was just taking a second chance and he crippled a stranger.  It was
me.  Merely a finger shot off.

Then the chief editor went on with his erasure; and interlineations.
Just as he finished them a hand grenade came down the stove-pipe, and the
explosion shivered the stove into a thousand fragments.  However, it did
no further damage, except that a vagrant piece knocked a couple of my
teeth out.

"That stove is utterly ruined," said the chief editor.

I said I believed it was.

"Well, no matter--don't want it this kind of weather.  I know the man
that did it.  I'll get him.  Now, here is the way this stuff ought to be
written."

I took the manuscript.  It was scarred with erasures and interlineations
till its mother wouldn't have known it if it had had one.  It now read as
follows:

                    SPIRIT OF THE TENNESSEE PRESS

     The inveterate liars of the Semi-Weekly Earthquake are evidently
     endeavoring to palm off upon a noble and chivalrous people another
     of their vile and brutal falsehoods with regard to that most
     glorious conception of the nineteenth century, the Ballyhack
     railroad.  The idea that Buzzardville was to be left off at one side
     originated in their own fulsome brains--or rather in the settlings
     which they regard as brains.  They had better, swallow this lie if
     they want to save their abandoned reptile carcasses the cowhiding
     they so richly deserve.

     That ass, Blossom, of the Higginsville Thunderbolt and Battle Cry of
     Freedom, is down here again sponging at the Van Buren.

     We observe that the besotted blackguard of the Mud Springs Morning
     Howl is giving out, with his usual propensity for lying, that Van
     Werter is not elected.  The heaven-born mission of journalism is to
     disseminate truth; to eradicate error; to educate, refine, and
     elevate the tone of public morals and manners, and make all men more
     gentle, more virtuous, more charitable, and in all ways better, and
     holier, and happier; and yet this blackhearted scoundrel degrades
     his great office persistently to the dissemination of falsehood,
     calumny, vituperation, and vulgarity.

     Blathersville wants a Nicholson pavement--it wants a jail and a
     poorhouse more.  The idea of a pavement in a one-horse town composed
     of two gin-mills, a blacksmith shop, and that mustard-plaster of a
     newspaper, the Daily Hurrah!  The crawling insect, Buckner, who
     edits the Hurrah, is braying about his business with his customary
     imbecility, and imagining that he is talking sense.


"Now that is the way to write--peppery and to the point.  Mush-and-milk
journalism gives me the fan-tods."

About this time a brick came through the window with a splintering crash,
and gave me a considerable of a jolt in the back.  I moved out of range
--I began to feel in the way.

The chief said, "That was the Colonel, likely.  I've been expecting him
for two days.  He will be up now right away."

He was correct.  The Colonel appeared in the door a moment afterward with
a dragoon revolver in his hand.

He said, "Sir, have I the honor of addressing the poltroon who edits this
mangy sheet?"

"You have.  Be seated, sir.  Be careful of the chair, one of its legs is
gone.  I believe I have the honor of addressing the putrid liar, Colonel
Blatherskite Tecumseh?"

"Right, Sir.  I have a little account to settle with you.  If you are at
leisure we will begin."

"I have an article on the 'Encouraging Progress of Moral and Intellectual
Development in America' to finish, but there is no hurry.  Begin."

Both pistols rang out their fierce clamor at the same instant.  The chief
lost a lock of his hair, and the Colonel's bullet ended its career in the
fleshy part of my thigh.  The Colonel's left shoulder was clipped a
little.  They fired again.  Both missed their men this time, but I got my
share, a shot in the arm.  At the third fire both gentlemen were wounded
slightly, and I had a knuckle chipped.  I then said, I believed I would
go out and take a walk, as this was a private matter, and I had a
delicacy about participating in it further.  But both gentlemen begged me
to keep my seat, and assured me that I was not in the way.

They then talked about the elections and the crops while they reloaded,
and I fell to tying up my wounds.  But presently they opened fire again
with animation, and every shot took effect--but it is proper to remark
that five out of the six fell to my share.  The sixth one mortally
wounded the Colonel, who remarked, with fine humor, that he would have to
say good morning now, as he had business uptown.  He then inquired the
way to the undertaker's and left.

The chief turned to me and said, "I am expecting company to dinner, and
shall have to get ready.  It will be a favor to me if you will read proof
and attend to the customers."

I winced a little at the idea of attending to the customers, but I was
too bewildered by the fusillade that was still ringing in my ears to
think of anything to say.

He continued, "Jones will be here at three--cowhide him.  Gillespie will
call earlier, perhaps--throw him out of the window.  Ferguson will be
along about four--kill him.  That is all for today, I believe.  If you
have any odd time, you may write a blistering article on the police--give
the chief inspector rats.  The cowhides are under the table; weapons in
the drawer--ammunition there in the corner--lint and bandages up there in
the pigeonholes.  In case of accident, go to Lancet, the surgeon,
downstairs.  He advertises--we take it out in trade."

He was gone.  I shuddered.  At the end of the next three hours I had been
through perils so awful that all peace of mind and all cheerfulness were
gone from me.  Gillespie had called and thrown me out of the window.
Jones arrived promptly, and when I got ready to do the cowhiding he took
the job off my hands.  In an encounter with a stranger, not in the bill
of fare, I had lost my scalp.  Another stranger, by the name of Thompson,
left me a mere wreck and ruin of chaotic rags.  And at last, at bay in
the corner, and beset by an infuriated mob of editors, blacklegs,
politicians, and desperadoes, who raved and swore and flourished their
weapons about my head till the air shimmered with glancing flashes of
steel, I was in the act of resigning my berth on the paper when the chief
arrived, and with him a rabble of charmed and enthusiastic friends.  Then
ensued a scene of riot and carnage such as no human pen, or steel one
either, could describe.  People were shot, probed, dismembered, blown up,
thrown out of the window.  There was a brief tornado of murky blasphemy,
with a confused and frantic war-dance glimmering through it, and then all
was over.  In five minutes there was silence, and the gory chief and I
sat alone and surveyed the sanguinary ruin that strewed the floor around
us.

He said, "You'll like this place when you get used to it."

I said, "I'll have to get you to excuse me; I think maybe I might write
to suit you after a while; as soon as I had had some practice and learned
the language I am confident I could.  But, to speak the plain truth, that
sort of energy of expression has its inconveniences, and a man is liable
to interruption.

"You see that yourself.  Vigorous writing is calculated to elevate the
public, no doubt, but then I do not like to attract so much attention as
it calls forth.  I can't write with comfort when I am interrupted so much
as I have been to-day.  I like this berth well enough, but I don't like
to be left here to wait on the customers.  The experiences are novel,
I grant you, and entertaining, too, after a fashion, but they are not
judiciously distributed.  A gentleman shoots at you through the window
and cripples me; a bombshell comes down the stovepipe for your
gratification and sends the stove door down my throat; a friend drops in
to swap compliments with you, and freckles me with bullet-holes till my
skin won't hold my principles; you go to dinner, and Jones comes with his
cowhide, Gillespie throws me out of the window, Thompson tears all my
clothes off, and an entire stranger takes my scalp with the easy freedom
of an old acquaintance; and in less than five minutes all the blackguards
in the country arrive in their war-paint, and proceed to scare the rest
of me to death with their tomahawks.  Take it altogether, I never had
such a spirited time in all my life as I have had to-day.  No; I like
you, and I like your calm unruffled way of explaining things to the
customers, but you see I am not used to it.  The Southern heart is too
impulsive; Southern hospitality is too lavish with the stranger.  The
paragraphs which I have written to-day, and into whose cold sentences
your masterly hand has infused the fervent spirit of Tennesseean
journalism, will wake up another nest of hornets.  All that mob of
editors will come--and they will come hungry, too, and want somebody for
breakfast.  I shall have to bid you adieu.  I decline to be present at
these festivities.  I came South for my health, I will go back on the
same errand, and suddenly.  Tennesseean journalism is too stirring for
me."

After which we parted with mutual regret, and I took apartments at the
hospital.






THE STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE BOY--[Written about 1865]

Once there was a bad little boy whose name was Jim--though, if you will
notice, you will find that bad little boys are nearly always called James
in your Sunday-school books.  It was strange, but still it was true, that
this one was called Jim.

He didn't have any sick mother, either--a sick mother who was pious and
had the consumption, and would be glad to lie down in the grave and be at
rest but for the strong love she bore her boy, and the anxiety she felt
that the world might be harsh and cold toward him when she was gone.
Most bad boys in the Sunday books are named James, and have sick mothers,
who teach them to say, "Now, I lay me down," etc., and sing them to sleep
with sweet, plaintive voices, and then kiss them good night, and kneel
down by the bedside and weep.  But it was different with this fellow.
He was named Jim, and there wasn't anything the matter with his mother
--no consumption, nor anything of that kind.  She was rather stout than
otherwise, and she was not pious; moreover, she was not anxious on Jim's
account.  She said if he were to break his neck it wouldn't be much loss.
She always spanked Jim to sleep, and she never kissed him good night; on
the contrary, she boxed his ears when she was ready to leave him.

Once this little bad boy stole the key of the pantry, and slipped in
there and helped himself to some jam, and filled up the vessel with tar,
so that his mother would never know the difference; but all at once a
terrible feeling didn't come over him, and something didn't seem to
whisper to him, "Is it right to disobey my mother?  Isn't it sinful to do
this?  Where do bad little boys go who gobble up their good kind mother's
jam?" and then he didn't kneel down all alone and promise never to be
wicked any more, and rise up with a light, happy heart, and go and tell
his mother all about it, and beg her forgiveness, and be blessed by her
with tears of pride and thankfulness in her eyes.  No; that is the way
with all other bad boys in the books; but it happened otherwise with this
Jim, strangely enough.  He ate that jam, and said it was bully, in his
sinful, vulgar way; and he put in the tar, and said that was bully also,
and laughed, and observed "that the old woman would get up and snort"
when she found it out; and when she did find it out, he denied knowing
anything about it, and she whipped him severely, and he did the crying
himself.  Everything about this boy was curious--everything turned out
differently with him from the way it does to the bad Jameses in the
books.

Once he climbed up in Farmer Acorn's apple tree to steal apples, and the
limb didn't break, and he didn't fall and break his arm, and get torn by
the farmer's great dog, and then languish on a sickbed for weeks, and
repent and become good.  Oh, no; he stole as many apples as he wanted and
came down all right; and he was all ready for the dog, too, and knocked
him endways with a brick when he came to tear him.  It was very strange
--nothing like it ever happened in those mild little books with marbled
backs, and with pictures in them of men with swallow-tailed coats and
bell-crowned hats, and pantaloons that are short in the legs, and women
with the waists of their dresses under their arms, and no hoops on.
Nothing like it in any of the Sunday-school books.

Once he stole the teacher's penknife, and, when he was afraid it would be
found out and he would get whipped, he slipped it into George Wilson's
cap poor Widow Wilson's son, the moral boy, the good little boy of the
village, who always obeyed his mother, and never told an untruth, and was
fond of his lessons, and infatuated with Sunday-school.  And when the
knife dropped from the cap, and poor George hung his head and blushed,
as if in conscious guilt, and the grieved teacher charged the theft upon
him, and was just in the very act of bringing the switch down upon his
trembling shoulders, a white-haired, improbable justice of the peace did
not suddenly appear in their midst, and strike an attitude and say,
"Spare this noble boy--there stands the cowering culprit!  I was passing
the school door at recess, and, unseen myself, I saw the theft
committed!"  And then Jim didn't get whaled, and the venerable justice
didn't read the tearful school a homily, and take George by the hand and
say such boy deserved to be exalted, and then tell him come and make his
home with him, and sweep out the office, and make fires, and run errands,
and chop wood, and study law, and help his wife do household labors, and
have all the balance of the time to play and get forty cents a month, and
be happy.  No it would have happened that way in the books, but didn't
happen that way to Jim.  No meddling old clam of a justice dropped in to
make trouble, and so the model boy George got thrashed, and Jim was glad
of it because, you know, Jim hated moral boys.  Jim said he was "down on
them milksops."  Such was the coarse language of this bad, neglected boy.

But the strangest thing that ever happened to Jim was the time he went
boating on Sunday, and didn't get drowned, and that other time that he
got caught out in the storm when he was fishing on Sunday and didn't get
struck by lightning.  Why, you might look, and look, all through the
Sunday-school books from now till next Christmas, and you would never
come across anything like this.  Oh, no; you would find that all the bad
boys who go boating on Sunday invariably get drowned; and all the bad
boys who get caught out in storms when they are fishing on Sunday
infallibly get struck by lightning.  Boats with bad boys in them always
upset on Sunday, and it always storms when bad boys go fishing on the
Sabbath.  How this Jim ever escaped is a  mystery to me.

This Jim bore a charmed life--that must have been the way of it.  Nothing
could hurt him.  He even gave the elephant in the menagerie a plug of
tobacco, and the elephant didn't knock the top of his head off with his
trunk.  He browsed around the cupboard after essence-of peppermint, and
didn't make a mistake and drink aqua fortis.  He stole his father's gun
and went hunting on the Sabbath, and didn't shoot three or four of his
fingers off.  He struck his little sister on the temple with his fist
when he was angry, and she didn't linger in pain through long summer
days, and die with sweet words of forgiveness upon her lips that
redoubled the anguish of his breaking heart.  No; she got over it.  He
ran off and went to sea at last, and didn't come back and find himself
sad and alone in the world, his loved ones sleeping in the quiet
churchyard, and the vine-embowered home of his boyhood tumbled down and
gone to decay.  Ah, no; he came home as drunk as a piper, and got into
the station-house the first thing.

And he grew up and married, and raised a large family, and brained them
all with an ax one night, and got wealthy by all manner of cheating and
rascality; and now he is the infernalest wickedest scoundrel in his
native village, and is universally respected, and belongs to the
legislature.

So you see there never was a bad James in the Sunday-school books that
had such a streak of luck as this sinful Jim with the charmed life.






THE STORY OF THE GOOD LITTLE BOY--[Written about 1865]

Once there was a good little boy by the name of Jacob Blivens.  He always
obeyed his parents, no matter how absurd and unreasonable their demands
were; and he always learned his book, and never was late at
Sabbath-school.  He would not play hookey, even when his sober judgment
told him it was the most profitable thing he could do.  None of the other
boys could ever make that boy out, he acted so strangely.  He wouldn't
lie, no matter how convenient it was.  He just said it was wrong to lie,
and that was sufficient for him.  And he was so honest that he was simply
ridiculous.  The curious ways that that Jacob had, surpassed everything.
He wouldn't play marbles on Sunday, he wouldn't rob birds' nests, he
wouldn't give hot pennies to organ-grinders' monkeys; he didn't seem to
take any interest in any kind of rational amusement.  So the other boys
used to try to reason it out and come to an understanding of him, but
they couldn't arrive at any satisfactory conclusion.  As I said before,
they could only figure out a sort of vague idea that he was "afflicted,"
and so they took him under their protection, and never allowed any harm
to come to him.

This good little boy read all the Sunday-school books; they were his
greatest delight.  This was the whole secret of it.  He believed in the
good little boys they put in the Sunday-school book; he had every
confidence in them.  He longed to come across one of them alive once;
but he never did.  They all died before his time, maybe.  Whenever he
read about a particularly good one he turned over quickly to the end to
see what became of him, because he wanted to travel thousands of miles
and gaze on him; but it wasn't any use; that good little boy always died
in the last chapter, and there was a picture of the funeral, with all his
relations and the Sunday-school children standing around the grave in
pantaloons that were too short, and bonnets that were too large, and
everybody crying into handkerchiefs that had as much as a yard and a half
of stuff in them.  He was always headed off in this way.  He never could
see one of those good little boys on account of his always dying in the
last chapter.

Jacob had a noble ambition to be put in a Sunday school book.  He wanted
to be put in, with pictures representing him gloriously declining to lie
to his mother, and her weeping for joy about it; and pictures
representing him standing on the doorstep giving a penny to a poor
beggar-woman with six children, and telling her to spend it freely, but
not to be extravagant, because extravagance is a sin; and pictures of him
magnanimously refusing to tell on the bad boy who always lay in wait for
him around the corner as he came from school, and welted him so over the
head with a lath, and then chased him home, saying, "Hi! hi!" as he
proceeded.  That was the ambition of young Jacob Blivens.  He wished to
be put in a Sunday-school book.  It made him feel a lithe uncomfortable
sometimes when he reflected that the good little boys always died.  He
loved to live, you know, and this was the most unpleasant feature about
being a Sunday-school-boo boy.  He knew it was not healthy to be good.
He knew it was more fatal than consumption to be so supernaturally good
as the boys in the books were he knew that none of them had ever been
able to stand it long, and it pained him to think that if they put him in
a book he wouldn't ever see it, or even if they did get the book out
before he died it wouldn't be popular without any picture of his funeral
in the back part of it.  It couldn't be much of a Sunday-school book that
couldn't tell about the advice he gave to the community when he was
dying.  So at last, of course, he had to make up his mind to do the best
he could under the circumstances--to live right, and hang on as long as
he could and have his dying speech all ready when his time came.

But somehow nothing ever went right with the good little boy; nothing
ever turned out with him the way it turned out with the good little boys
in the books.  They always had a good time, and the bad boys had the
broken legs; but in his case there was a screw loose somewhere, and it
all happened just the other way.  When he found Jim Blake stealing
apples, and went under the tree to read to him about the bad little boy
who fell out of a neighbor's apple tree and broke his arm, Jim fell out
of the tree, too, but he fell on him and broke his arm, and Jim wasn't
hurt at all.  Jacob couldn't understand that.  There wasn't anything in
the books like it.

And once, when some bad boys pushed a blind man over in the mud, and
Jacob ran to help him up and receive his blessing, the blind man did not
give him any blessing at all, but whacked him over the head with his
stick and said he would like to catch him shoving him again, and then
pretending to help him up.  This was not in accordance with any of the
books.  Jacob looked them all over to see.

One thing that Jacob wanted to do was to find a lame dog that hadn't any
place to stay, and was hungry and persecuted, and bring him home and pet
him and have that dog's imperishable gratitude.  And at last he found one
and was happy; and he brought him home and fed him, but when he was going
to pet him the dog flew at him and tore all the clothes off him except
those that were in front, and made a spectacle of him that was
astonishing.  He examined authorities, but he could not understand the
matter.  It was of the same breed of dogs that was in the books, but it
acted very differently.  Whatever this boy did he got into trouble.  The
very things the boys in the books got rewarded for turned out to be about
the most unprofitable things he could invest in.

Once, when he was on his way to Sunday-school, he saw some bad boys
starting off pleasuring in a sailboat.  He was filled with consternation,
because he knew from his reading that boys who went sailing on Sunday
invariably got drowned.  So he ran out on a raft to warn them, but a log
turned with him and slid him into the river.  A man got him out pretty
soon, and the doctor pumped the water out of him, and gave him a fresh
start with his bellows, but he caught cold and lay sick abed nine weeks.
But the most unaccountable thing about it was that the bad boys in the
boat had a good time all day, and then reached home alive and well in the
most surprising manner.  Jacob Blivens said there was nothing like these
things in the books.  He was perfectly dumfounded.

When he got well he was a little discouraged, but he resolved to keep on
trying anyhow.  He knew that so far his experiences wouldn't do to go in
a book, but he hadn't yet reached the allotted term of life for good
little boys, and he hoped to be able to make a record yet if he could
hold on till his time was fully up.  If everything else failed he had his
dying speech to fall back on.

He examined his authorities, and found that it was now time for him to go
to sea as a cabin-boy.  He called on a ship-captain and made his
application, and when the captain asked for his recommendations he
proudly drew out a tract and pointed to the word, "To Jacob Blivens, from
his affectionate teacher."  But the captain was a coarse, vulgar man, and
he said, "Oh, that be blowed! that wasn't any proof that he knew how to
wash dishes or handle a slush-bucket, and he guessed he didn't want him."
This was altogether the most extraordinary thing that ever happened to
Jacob in all his life.  A compliment from a teacher, on a tract, had
never failed to move the tenderest emotions of ship-captains, and open
the way to all offices of honor and profit in their gift it never had in
any book that ever he had read.  He could hardly believe his senses.

This boy always had a hard time of it.  Nothing ever came out according
to the authorities with him.  At last, one day, when he was around
hunting up bad little boys to admonish, he found a lot of them in the old
iron-foundry fixing up a little joke on fourteen or fifteen dogs, which
they had tied together in long procession, and were going to ornament
with empty nitroglycerin cans made fast to their tails.  Jacob's heart
was touched.  He sat down on one of those cans (for he never minded
grease when duty was before him), and he took hold of the foremost dog by
the collar, and turned his reproving eye upon wicked Tom Jones.  But just
at that moment Alderman McWelter, full of wrath, stepped in.  All the bad
boys ran away, but Jacob Blivens rose in conscious innocence and began
one of those stately little Sunday-school-book speeches which always
commence with "Oh, sir!" in dead opposition to the fact that no boy, good
or bad, ever starts a remark with "Oh, sir."  But the alderman never
waited to hear the rest.  He took Jacob Blivens by the ear and turned him
around, and hit him a whack in the rear with the flat of his hand; and in
an instant that good little boy shot out through the roof and soared away
toward the sun with the fragments of those fifteen dogs stringing after
him like the tail of a kite.  And there wasn't a sign of that alderman or
that old iron-foundry left on the face of the earth; and, as for young
Jacob Blivens, he never got a chance to make his last dying speech after
all his trouble fixing it up, unless he made it to the birds; because,
although the bulk of him came down all right in a tree-top in an
adjoining county, the rest of him was apportioned around among four
townships, and so they had to hold five inquests on him to find out
whether he was dead or not, and how it occurred.  You never saw a boy
scattered so.--[This glycerin catastrophe is borrowed from a floating
newspaper item, whose author's name I would give if I knew it.--M. T.]

Thus perished the good little boy who did the best he could, but didn't
come out according to the books.  Every boy who ever did as he did
prospered except him.  His case is truly remarkable.  It will probably
never be accounted for.






A COUPLE OF POEMS BY TWAIN AND MOORE--[Written about 1865]


                         THOSE EVENING BELLS

                           BY THOMAS MOORE

               Those evening bells! those evening bells!
               How many a tale their music tells
               Of youth, and home, and that sweet time
               When last I heard their soothing chime.

               Those joyous hours are passed away;
               And many a heart that then was gay,
               Within the tomb now darkly dwells,
               And hears no more those evening bells.

               And so 'twill be when I am gone
               That tuneful peal will still ring on;
               While other bards shall walk these dells,
               And sing your praise, sweet evening bells.


                         THOSE ANNUAL BILLS

                           BY MARK TWAIN

               These annual bills! these annual bills!
               How many a song their discord trills
               Of "truck" consumed, enjoyed, forgot,
               Since I was skinned by last year's lot!

               Those joyous beans are passed away;
               Those onions blithe, O where are they?
               Once loved, lost, mourned--now vexing ILLS
               Your shades troop back in annual bills!

               And so 'twill be when I'm aground
               These yearly duns will still go round,
               While other bards, with frantic quills,
               Shall damn and damn these annual bills!






NIAGARA [ Written about 1871.]

Niagara Falls is a most enjoyable place of resort.  The hotels are
excellent, and the prices not at all exorbitant.  The opportunities for
fishing are not surpassed in the country; in fact, they are not even
equaled elsewhere.  Because, in other localities, certain places in the
streams are much better than others; but at Niagara one place is just as
good as another, for the reason that the fish do not bite anywhere, and
so there is no use in your walking five miles to fish, when you can
depend on being just as unsuccessful nearer home.  The advantages of this
state of things have never heretofore been properly placed before the
public.

The weather is cool in summer, and the walks and drives are all pleasant
and none of them fatiguing.  When you start out to "do" the Falls you
first drive down about a mile, and pay a small sum for the privilege of
looking down from a precipice into the narrowest part of the Niagara
River.  A railway "cut" through a hill would be as comely if it had the
angry river tumbling and foaming through its bottom.  You can descend a
staircase here a hundred and fifty feet down, and stand at the edge of
the water.  After you have done it, you will wonder why you did it; but
you will then be too late.

The guide will explain to you, in his blood-curdling way, how he saw the
little steamer, Maid of the Mist, descend the fearful rapids--how first
one paddle-box was out of sight behind the raging billows and then the
other, and at what point it was that her smokestack toppled overboard,
and where her planking began to break and part asunder--and how she did
finally live through the trip, after accomplishing the incredible feat of
traveling seventeen miles in six minutes, or six miles in seventeen
minutes, I have really forgotten which.  But it was very extraordinary,
anyhow.  It is worth the price of admission to hear the guide tell the
story nine times in succession to different parties, and never miss a
word or alter a sentence or a gesture.

Then you drive over to Suspension Bridge, and divide your misery between
the chances of smashing down two hundred feet into the river below, and
the chances of having the railway-train overhead smashing down onto you.
Either possibility is discomforting taken by itself, but, mixed together,
they amount in the aggregate to positive unhappiness.

On the Canada side you drive along the chasm between long ranks of
photographers standing guard behind their cameras, ready to make an
ostentatious frontispiece of you and your decaying ambulance, and your
solemn crate with a hide on it, which you are expected to regard in the
light of a horse, and a diminished and unimportant background of sublime
Niagara; and a great many people have the incredible effrontery or the
native depravity to aid and abet this sort of crime.

Any day, in the hands of these photographers, you may see stately
pictures of papa and mamma, Johnny and Bub and Sis or a couple of country
cousins, all smiling vacantly, and all disposed in studied and
uncomfortable attitudes in their carriage, and all looming up in their
awe-inspiring imbecility before the snubbed and diminished presentment of
that majestic presence whose ministering spirits are the rainbows, whose
voice is the thunder, whose awful front is veiled in clouds, who was
monarch here dead and forgotten ages before this sackful of small
reptiles was deemed temporarily necessary to fill a crack in the world's
unnoted myriads, and will still be monarch here ages and decades of ages
after they shall have gathered themselves to their blood-relations, the
other worms, and been mingled with the unremembering dust.

There is no actual harm in making Niagara a background whereon to display
one's marvelous insignificance in a good strong light, but it requires a
sort of superhuman self-complacency to enable one to do it.

When you have examined the stupendous Horseshoe Fall till you are
satisfied you cannot improve on it, you return to America by the new
Suspension Bridge, and follow up the bank to where they exhibit the Cave
of the Winds.

Here I followed instructions, and divested myself of all my clothing, and
put on a waterproof jacket and overalls.  This costume is picturesque,
but not beautiful.  A guide, similarly dressed, led the way down a flight
of winding stairs, which wound and wound, and still kept on winding long
after the thing ceased to be a novelty, and then terminated long before
it had begun to be a pleasure.  We were then well down under the
precipice, but still considerably above the level of the river.

We now began to creep along flimsy bridges of a single plank, our persons
shielded from destruction by a crazy wooden railing, to which I clung
with both hands--not because I was afraid, but because I wanted to.
Presently the descent became steeper and the bridge flimsier, and sprays
from the American Fall began to rain down on us in fast increasing sheets
that soon became blinding, and after that our progress was mostly in the
nature of groping.  Nova a furious wind began to rush out from behind the
waterfall, which seemed determined to sweep us from the bridge, and
scatter us on the rocks and among the torrents below.  I remarked that I
wanted to go home; but it was too late.  We were almost under the
monstrous wall of water thundering down from above, and speech was in
vain in the midst of such a pitiless crash of sound.

In another moment the guide disappeared behind the deluge, and bewildered
by the thunder, driven helplessly by the wind, and smitten by the arrowy
tempest of rain, I followed.  All was darkness.  Such a mad storming,
roaring, and bellowing of warring wind and water never crazed my ears
before.  I bent my head, and seemed to receive the Atlantic on my back.
The world seemed going to destruction.  I could not see anything, the
flood poured down savagely.  I raised my head, with open mouth, and the
most of the American cataract went down my throat.  If I had sprung a
leak now I had been lost.  And at this moment I discovered that the
bridge had ceased, and we must trust for a foothold to the slippery and
precipitous rocks.  I never was so scared before and survived it.  But we
got through at last, and emerged into the open day, where we could stand
in front of the laced and frothy and seething world of descending water,
and look at it.  When I saw how much of it there was, and how fearfully
in earnest it was, I was sorry I had gone behind it.

The noble Red Man has always been a friend and darling of mine.  I love
to read about him in tales and legends and romances.  I love to read of
his inspired sagacity, and his love of the wild free life of mountain and
forest, and his general nobility of character, and his stately
metaphorical manner of speech, and his chivalrous love for the dusky
maiden, and the picturesque pomp of his dress and accoutrements.
Especially the picturesque pomp of his dress and accoutrements.  When I
found the shops at Niagara Falls full of dainty Indian beadwork, and
stunning moccasins, and equally stunning toy figures representing human
beings who carried their weapons in holes bored through their arms and
bodies, and had feet shaped like a pie, I was filled with emotion.
I knew that now, at last, I was going to come face to face with the noble
Red Man.

A lady clerk in a shop told me, indeed, that all her grand array of
curiosities were made by the Indians, and that they were plenty about the
Falls, and that they were friendly, and it would not be dangerous to
speak to them.  And sure enough, as I approached the bridge leading over
to Luna Island, I came upon a noble Son of the Forest sitting under a
tree, diligently at work on a bead reticule.  He wore a slouch hat and
brogans, and had a short black pipe in his mouth.  Thus does the baneful
contact with our effeminate civilization dilute the picturesque pomp
which is so natural to the Indian when far removed from us in his native
haunts.  I addressed the relic as follows:

"Is the Wawhoo-Wang-Wang of the Whack-a-Whack happy?  Does the great
Speckled Thunder sigh for the war-path, or is his heart contented with
dreaming of the dusky maiden, the Pride of the Forest?  Does the mighty
Sachem yearn to drink the blood of his enemies, or is he satisfied to
make bead reticules for the pappooses of the paleface?  Speak, sublime
relic of bygone grandeur--venerable ruin, speak!"

The relic said:

"An' is it mesilf, Dennis Hooligan, that ye'd be takon' for a dirty
Injin, ye drawlin', lantern-jawed, spider-legged divil!  By the piper
that played before Moses, I'll ate ye!"

I went away from there.

By and by, in the neighborhood of the Terrapin Tower, I came upon a
gentle daughter of the aborigines in fringed and beaded buckskin
moccasins and leggins, seated on a bench with her pretty wares about her.
She had just carved out a wooden chief that had a strong family
resemblance to a clothes-pin, and was now boring a hole through his
abdomen to put his bow through.  I hesitated a moment, and then addressed
her:

"Is the heart of the forest maiden heavy?  Is the Laughing Tadpole
lonely?  Does she mourn over the extinguished council-fires of her race,
and the vanished glory of her ancestors?  Or does her sad spirit wander
afar toward the hunting-grounds whither her brave Gobbler-of-the-
Lightnings is gone?  Why is my daughter silent?  Has she ought against
the paleface stranger?"

The maiden said:

"Faix, an' is it Biddy Malone ye dare to be callin' names?  Lave this, or
I'll shy your lean carcass over the cataract, ye sniveling blaggard!"

I adjourned from there also.

"Confound these Indians!" I said.  "They told me they were tame; but, if
appearances go for anything, I should say they were all on the warpath."

I made one more attempt to fraternize with them, and only one.  I came
upon a camp of them gathered in the shade of a great tree, making wampum
and moccasins, and addressed them in the language of friendship:

"Noble Red Men, Braves, Grand Sachems, War Chiefs, Squaws, and High
Muck-a-Mucks, the paleface from the land of the setting sun greets you!
You, Beneficent Polecat--you, Devourer of Mountains--you, Roaring
Thundergust--you, Bully Boy with a Glass eye--the paleface from beyond
the great waters greets you all! War and pestilence have thinned your
ranks and destroyed your once proud nation.  Poker and seven-up, and a
vain modern expense for soap, unknown to your glorious ancestors, have
depleted your purses.  Appropriating, in your simplicity, the property of
others has gotten you into trouble.  Misrepresenting facts, in your
simple innocence, has damaged your reputation with the soulless usurper.
Trading for forty-rod whisky, to enable you to get drunk and happy and
tomahawk your families, has played the everlasting mischief with the
picturesque pomp of your dress, and here you are, in the broad light of
the nineteenth century, gotten up like the ragtag and bobtail of the
purlieus of New York.  For shame!  Remember your ancestors!  Recall their
mighty deeds!  Remember Uncas!--and Red jacket! and Hole in the Day!--and
Whoopdedoodledo!  Emulate their achievements!  Unfurl yourselves under my
banner, noble savages, illustrious guttersnipes--"

"Down wid him!"  "Scoop the blaggard!"  "Burn him!"  "Bang him!"
"Dhround him!"

It was the quickest operation that ever was.  I simply saw a sudden flash
in the air of clubs, brickbats, fists, bead-baskets, and moccasins--a
single flash, and they all appeared to hit me at once, and no two of them
in the same place.  In the next instant the entire tribe was upon me.
They tore half the clothes off me; they broke my arms and legs; they gave
me a thump that dented the top of my head till it would hold coffee like
a saucer; and, to crown their disgraceful proceedings and add insult to
injury, they threw me over the Niagara Falls, and I got wet.

About ninety or a hundred feet from the top, the remains of my vest
caught on a projecting rock, and I was almost drowned before I could get
loose.  I finally fell, and brought up in a world of white foam at the
foot of the Fall, whose celled and bubbly masses towered up several
inches above my head.  Of course I got into the eddy.  I sailed round and
round in it forty-four times--chasing a chip and gaining on it--each
round trip a half-mile--reaching for the same bush on the bank forty-four
times, and just exactly missing it by a hair's-breadth every time.

At last a man walked down and sat down close to that bush, and put a pipe
in his mouth, and lit a match, and followed me with one eye and kept the
other on the match, while he sheltered it in his hands from the wind.
Presently a puff of wind blew it out.  The next time I swept around he
said:

"Got a match?"

"Yes; in my other vest.  Help me out, please."

"Not for Joe."

When I came round again, I said:

"Excuse the seemingly impertinent curiosity of a drowning man, but will
you explain this singular conduct of yours?"

"With pleasure.  I am the coroner.  Don't hurry on my account.  I can
wait for you.  But I wish I had a match."

I said: "Take my place, and I'll go and get you one."

He declined.  This lack of confidence on his part created a coldness
between us, and from that time forward I avoided him.  It was my idea,
in case anything happened to me, to so time the occurrence as to throw my
custom into the hands of the opposition coroner on the American side.

At last a policeman came along, and arrested me for disturbing the peace
by yelling at people on shore for help.  The judge fined me, but had the
advantage of him.  My money was with my pantaloons, and my pantaloons
were with the Indians.

Thus I escaped.  I am now lying in a very critical condition.  At least I
am lying anyway---critical or not critical.  I am hurt all over, but I
cannot tell the full extent yet, because the doctor is not done taking
inventory.  He will make out my manifest this evening.  However, thus far
he thinks only sixteen of my wounds are fatal.  I don't mind the others.

Upon regaining my right mind, I said:

"It is an awful savage tribe of Indians that do the beadwork and
moccasins for Niagara Falls, doctor.  Where are they from?"

"Limerick, my son."






ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS--[Written about 1865.]

"MORAL STATISTICIAN."--I don't want any of your statistics; I took your
whole batch and lit my pipe with it.  I hate your kind of people.  You
are always ciphering out how much a man's health is injured, and how much
his intellect is impaired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he
wastes in the course of ninety-two years' indulgence in the fatal
practice of smoking; and in the equally fatal practice of drinking
coffee; and in playing billiards occasionally; and in taking a glass of
wine at dinner, etc., etc., etc.  And you are always figuring out how
many women have been burned to death because of the dangerous fashion of
wearing expansive hoops, etc., etc., etc.  You never see more than one
side of the question.  You are blind to the fact that most old men in
America smoke and drink coffee, although, according to your theory, they
ought to have died young; and that hearty old Englishmen drink wine and
survive it, and portly old Dutchmen both drink and smoke freely, and yet
grow older and fatter all the time.  And you never by to find out how
much solid comfort, relaxation, and enjoyment a man derives from smoking
in the course of a lifetime (which is worth ten times the money he would
save by letting it alone), nor the appalling aggregate of happiness lost
in a lifetime your kind of people from not smoking.  Of course you can
save money by denying yourself all the little vicious enjoyments for
fifty years; but then what can you do with it?  What use can you put it
to?  Money can't save your infinitesimal soul.  All the use that money
can be put to is to purchase comfort and enjoyment in this life;
therefore, as you are an enemy to comfort and enjoyment, where is the use
of accumulating cash?  It won't do for you say that you can use it to
better purpose in furnishing a good table, and in charities, and in
supporting tract societies, because you know yourself that you people who
have no petty vices are never known to give away a cent, and that you
stint yourselves so in the matter of food that you are always feeble and
hungry.  And you never dare to laugh in the daytime for fear some poor
wretch, seeing you in a good humor, will try to borrow a dollar of you;
and in church you are always down on your knees, with your eyes buried in
the cushion, when the contribution-box comes around; and you never give
the revenue officer: full statement of your income.  Now you know these
things yourself, don't you?  Very well, then what is the use of your
stringing out your miserable lives to a lean and withered old age?  What
is the use of your saving money that is so utterly worthless to you?  In
a word, why don't you go off somewhere and die, and not be always trying
to seduce people into becoming as "ornery" and unlovable as you are
yourselves, by your villainous "moral statistics"?  Now I don't approve
of dissipation, and I don't indulge in it, either; but I haven't a
particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices, and so
I don't want to hear from you any more.  I think you are the very same
man who read me a long lecture last week about the degrading vice of
smoking cigars, and then came back, in my absence, with your
reprehensible fireproof gloves on, and carried off my beautiful parlor
stove.


"YOUNG AUTHOR."--Yes, Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because
the phosphorus in it makes brain.  So far you are correct.  But I cannot
help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat--at least, not
with certainty.  If the specimen composition you send is about your fair
usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple of whales would be
all you would want for the present.  Not the largest kind, but simply
good, middling-sized whales.


"SIMON WHEELER," Sonora.--The following simple and touching remarks and
accompanying poem have just come to hand from the rich gold-mining region
of Sonora:

     To Mr. Mark Twain: The within parson, which I have set to poetry
     under the name and style of "He Done His Level Best," was one among
     the whitest men I ever see, and it ain't every man that knowed him
     that can find it in his heart to say he's glad the poor cuss is
     busted and gone home to the States.  He was here in an early day,
     and he was the handyest man about takin' holt of anything that come
     along you most ever see, I judge.  He was a cheerful, stirnn'
     cretur, always doin' somethin', and no man can say he ever see him
     do anything by halvers.  Preachin was his nateral gait, but he
     warn't a man to lay back a twidle his thumbs because there didn't
     happen to be nothin' do in his own especial line--no, sir, he was a
     man who would meander forth and stir up something for hisself.  His
     last acts was to go his pile on "Kings-and" (calkatin' to fill, but
     which he didn't fill), when there was a "flush" out agin him, and
     naterally, you see, he went under.  And so he was cleaned out as you
     may say, and he struck the home-trail, cheerful but flat broke.  I
     knowed this talonted man in Arkansaw, and if you would print this
     humbly tribute to his gorgis abilities, you would greatly obleege
     his onhappy friend.

                    HE DONE HIS LEVEL BEST
                    Was he a mining on the flat--
                    He done it with a zest;
                    Was he a leading of the choir--
                    He done his level best.

                    If he'd a reg'lar task to do,
                    He never took no rest;
                    Or if 'twas off-and-on-the same--
                    He done his level best.

                    If he was preachin' on his beat,
                    He'd tramp from east to west,
                    And north to south-in cold and heat
                    He done his level best.

                    He'd yank a sinner outen (Hades),**
                    And land him with the blest;
                    Then snatch a prayer'n waltz in again,
                    And do his level best.

     **Here I have taken a slight liberty with the original MS.  "Hades"
     does not make such good meter as the other word of one syllable, but
     it sounds better.

                    He'd cuss and sing and howl and pray,
                    And dance and drink and jest,
                    And lie and steal--all one to him--
                    He done his level best.

                    Whate'er this man was sot to do,
                    He done it with a zest;
                    No matter what his contract was,
                    HE'D DO HIS LEVEL BEST.

Verily, this man was gifted with "gorgis abilities," and it is a
happiness to me to embalm the memory of their luster in these columns.
If it were not that the poet crop is unusually large and rank in
California this year, I would encourage you to continue writing, Simon
Wheeler; but, as it is, perhaps it might be too risky in you to enter
against so much opposition.


"PROFESSIONAL BEGGAR."--NO; you are not obliged to take greenbacks at
par.


"MELTON MOWBRAY," Dutch Flat.--This correspondent sends a lot of
doggerel, and says it has been regarded as very good in Dutch Flat.  I
give a specimen verse:

          The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold,
          And his cohorts were gleaming with purple and gold;
          And the sheen of his spears was like stars on the sea,
          When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.**

     **This piece of pleasantry, published in a San Francisco paper, was
     mistaken by the country journals for seriousness, and many and loud
     were the denunciations of the ignorance of author and editor, in not
     knowing that the lines in question were "written by Byron."

There, that will do.  That may be very good Dutch Flat poetry, but it
won't do in the metropolis.  It is too smooth and blubbery; it reads like
butter milk gurgling from a jug.  What the people ought to have is
something spirited--something like "Johnny Comes Marching Home."  However
keep on practising, and you may succeed yet.  There is genius in you, but
too much blubber.


     "ST. CLAIR HIGGINS." Los Angeles.--"My life is a failure; I have
     adored, wildly, madly, and she whom I love has turned coldly from me
     and shed her affections upon another.  What would you advise me to
     do?"

You should set your affections on another also--or on several, if there
are enough to go round.  Also, do everything you can to make your former
flame unhappy.  There is an absurd idea disseminated in novels, that the
happier a girl is with another man, the happier it makes the old lover
she has blighted.  Don't allow yourself to believe any such nonsense as
that.  The more cause that girl finds to regret that she did not marry
you, the more comfortable you will feel over it.  It isn't poetical, but
it is mighty sound doctrine.


     "ARITHMETICUS." Virginia, Nevada.--"If it would take a cannon-ball
     3 and 1/3 seconds to travel four miles, and 3 and 3/8 seconds to
     travel the next four, and 3 and 5/8 to travel the next four, and if
     its rate of progress continued to diminish in the same ratio, how
     long would it take it to go fifteen hundred million miles?"

I don't know.


"AMBITIOUS LEARNER," Oakland.--Yes; you are right America was not
discovered by Alexander Selkirk.


     "DISCARDED LOVER."--"I loved, and still love, the beautiful Edwitha
     Howard, and intended to marry her.  Yet, during my temporary absence
     at Benicia, last week, alas! she married Jones.  Is my happiness to
     be thus blasted for life? Have I no redress?"

Of course you have.  All the law, written and unwritten, is on your side.
The intention and not the act constitutes crime--in other words,
constitutes the deed.  If you call your bosom friend a fool, and intend
it for an insult, it is an insult; but if you do it playfully, and
meaning no insult, it is not an insult.  If you discharge a pistol
accidentally, and kill a man, you can go free, for you have done no
murder; but if you try to kill a man, and manifestly intend to kill him,
but fail utterly to do it, the law still holds that the intention
constituted the crime, and you are guilty of murder.  Ergo, if you had
married Edwitha accidentally, and without really intending to do it, you
would not actually be married to her at all, because the act of marriage
could not be complete without the intention.  And ergo, in the strict
spirit of the law, since you deliberately intended to marry Edwitha, and
didn't do it, you are married to her all the same--because, as I said
before, the intention constitutes the crime.  It is as clear as day that
Edwitha is your wife, and your redress lies in taking a club and
mutilating Jones with it as much as you can.  Any man has a right to
protect his own wife from the advances of other men.  But you have
another alternative--you were married to Edwitha first, because of your
deliberate intention, and now you can prosecute her for bigamy, in
subsequently marrying Jones.  But there is another phase in this
complicated case:  You intended to marry Edwitha, and consequently,
according to law, she is your wife--there is no getting around that; but
she didn't marry you, and if she never intended to marry you, you are not
her husband, of course.  Ergo, in marrying Jones, she was guilty of
bigamy, because she was the wife of another man at the time; which is all
very well as far as it goes--but then, don't you see, she had no other
husband when she married Jones, and consequently she was not guilty of
bigamy.  Now, according to this view of the case, Jones married a
spinster, who was a widow at the same time and another man's wife at the
same time, and yet who had no husband and never had one, and never had
any intention of getting married, and therefore, of course, never had
been married; and by the same reasoning you are a bachelor, because you
have never been any one's husband; and a married man, because you have a
wife living; and to all intents and purposes a widower, because you have
been deprived of that wife; and a consummate ass for going off to Benicia
in the first place, while things were so mixed.  And by this time I have
got myself so tangled up in the intricacies of this extraordinary case
that I shall have to give up any further attempt to advise you--I might
get confused and fail to make myself understood.  I think I could take up
the argument where I left off, and by following it closely awhile,
perhaps I could prove to your satisfaction, either that you never existed
at all, or that you are dead now, and consequently don't need the
faithless Edwitha--I think I could do that, if it would afford you any
comfort.


"ARTHUR AUGUSTUS."--No; you are wrong; that is the proper way to throw a
brickbat or a tomahawk; but it doesn't answer so well for a bouquet; you
will hurt somebody if you keep it up.  Turn your nosegay upside down,
take it by the stems, and toss it with an upward sweep.  Did you ever
pitch quoits? that is the idea.  The practice of recklessly heaving
immense solid bouquets, of the general size and weight of prize cabbages,
from the dizzy altitude of the galleries, is dangerous and very
reprehensible.  Now, night before last, at the Academy of Music, just
after Signorina had finished that exquisite melody, "The Last Rose of
Summer," one of these floral pile-drivers came cleaving down through the
atmosphere of applause, and if she hadn't deployed suddenly to the right,
it would have driven her into the floor like a shinglenail.  Of course
that bouquet was well meant; but how would you like to have been the
target?  A sincere compliment is always grateful to a lady, so long as
you don't try to knock her down with it.


"YOUNG MOTHER."--And so you think a baby is a thing of beauty and a joy
forever?  Well, the idea is pleasing, but not original; every cow thinks
the same of its own calf. Perhaps the cow may not think it so elegantly,
but still she thinks it nevertheless.  I honor the cow for it.  We all
honor this touching maternal instinct wherever we find it, be it in the
home of luxury or in the humble cow-shed.  But really, madam, when I
come to examine the matter in all its bearings, I find that the
correctness of your assertion does not assert itself in all cases.
A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot be conscientiously regarded
as a thing of beauty; and inasmuch as babyhood spans but three short
years, no baby is competent to be a joy "forever."  It pains me thus to
demolish two-thirds of your pretty sentiment in a single sentence; but
the position I hold in this chair requires that I shall not permit you to
deceive and mislead the public with your plausible figures of speech.
I know a female baby, aged eighteen months, in this city, which cannot
hold out as a "joy" twenty-four hours on a stretch, let alone "forever."
And it possesses some of the most remarkable eccentricities of character
and appetite that have ever fallen under my notice.  I will set down here
a statement of this infant's operations (conceived, planned, and earned
out by itself, and without suggestion or assistance from its mother or
any one else), during a single day; and what I shall say can be
substantiated by the sworn testimony of witnesses.

It commenced by eating one dozen large blue-mass pills, box and all; then
it fell down a flight of stairs, and arose with a blue and purple knot on
its forehead, after which it proceeded in quest of further refreshment
and amusement. It found a glass trinket ornamented with brass-work
--smashed up and ate the glass, and then swallowed the brass.
Then it drank about twenty drops of laudanum, and more than a dozen
tablespoonfuls of strong spirits of camphor.  The reason why it took no
more laudanum was because there was no more to take.  After this it lay
down on its back, and shoved five or six, inches of a silver-headed
whalebone cane down its throat; got it fast there, and it was all its
mother could do to pull the cane out again, without pulling out some of
the child with it.  Then, being hungry for glass again, it broke up
several wine glasses, and fell to eating and swallowing the fragments,
not minding a cut or two.  Then it ate a quantity of butter, pepper,
salt, and California matches, actually taking a spoonful of butter, a
spoonful of salt, a spoonful of pepper, and three or four lucifer matches
at each mouthful. (I will remark here that this thing of beauty likes
painted German lucifers, and eats all she can get of them; but she
prefers California matches, which I regard as a compliment to our home
manufactures of more than ordinary value, coming, as it does, from one
who is too young to flatter.)  Then she washed her head with soap and
water, and afterward ate what soap was left, and drank as much of the
suds as she had room for; after which she sallied forth and took the cow
familiarly by the tail, and got kicked heels over head.  At odd times
during the day, when this joy forever happened to have nothing particular
on hand, she put in the time by climbing up on places, and falling down
off them, uniformly damaging her self in the operation.  As young as she
is, she speaks many words tolerably distinctly; and being plain spoken in
other respects, blunt and to the point, she opens conversation with all
strangers, male or female, with the same formula, "How do, Jim?"

Not being familiar with the ways of children, it is possible that I have
been magnifying into matter of surprise things which may not strike any
one who is familiar with infancy as being at all astonishing.  However, I
cannot believe that such is the case, and so I repeat that my report of
this baby's performances is strictly true; and if any one doubts it,
I can produce the child.  I will further engage that she will devour
anything that is given her (reserving to myself only the right to exclude
anvils), and fall down from any place to which she may be elevated
(merely stipulating that her preference for alighting on her head shall
be respected, and, therefore, that the elevation chosen shall be high
enough to enable her to accomplish this to her satisfaction).  But I find
I have wandered from my subject; so, without further argument, I will
reiterate my conviction that not all babies are things of beauty and joys
forever.


     "ARITHMETICUS." Virginia, Nevada.--"I am an enthusiastic student of
     mathematics, and it is so vexatious to me to find my progress
     constantly impeded by these mysterious arithmetical technicalities.
     Now do tell me what the difference is between geometry and
     conchology?"

Here you come again with your arithmetical conundrums, when I am
suffering death with a cold in the head.  If you could have seen the
expression of scorn that darkened my countenance a moment ago, and was
instantly split from the center in every direction like a fractured
looking-glass by my last sneeze, you never would have written that
disgraceful question.  Conchology is a science which has nothing to do
with mathematics; it relates only to shells.  At the same time, however,
a man who opens oysters for a hotel, or shells a fortified town, or sucks
eggs, is not, strictly speaking, a conchologist-a fine stroke of sarcasm
that, but it will be lost on such an unintellectual clam as you.  Now
compare conchology and geometry together, and you will see what the
difference is, and your question will be answered.  But don't torture me
with any more arithmetical horrors until you know I am rid of my cold.  I
feel the bitterest animosity toward you at this moment-bothering me in
this way, when I can do nothing but sneeze and rage and snort
pocket-handkerchiefs to atoms.  If I had you in range of my nose now
I would blow your brains out.






TO RAISE POULTRY

--[Being a letter written to a Poultry Society that had conferred a
complimentary membership upon the author.  Written about 1870.]

Seriously, from early youth I have taken an especial interest in the
subject of poultry-raising, and so this membership touches a ready
sympathy in my breast.  Even as a schoolboy, poultry-raising was a study
with me, and I may say without egotism that as early as the age of
seventeen I was acquainted with all the best and speediest methods of
raising chickens, from raising them off a roost by burning lucifer
matches under their noses, down to lifting them off a fence on a frosty
night by insinuating the end of a warm board under their heels.  By the
time I was twenty years old, I really suppose I had raised more poultry
than any one individual in all the section round about there.  The very
chickens came to know my talent by and by.  The youth of both sexes
ceased to paw the earth for worms, and old roosters that came to crow,
"remained to pray," when I passed by.

I have had so much experience in the raising of fowls that I cannot but
think that a few hints from me might be useful to the society.  The two
methods I have already touched upon are very simple, and are only used in
the raising of the commonest class of fowls; one is for summer, the other
for winter.  In the one case you start out with a friend along about
eleven o'clock' on a summer's night (not later, because in some states
--especially in California and Oregon--chickens always rouse up just at
midnight and crow from ten to thirty minutes, according to the ease or
difficulty they experience in getting the public waked up), and your
friend carries with him a sack.  Arrived at the henroost (your
neighbor's, not your own), you light a match and hold it under first one
and then another pullet's nose until they are willing to go into that bag
without making any trouble about it.  You then return home, either taking
the bag with you or leaving it behind, according as circumstances shall
dictate.  N. B.--I have seen the time when it was eligible and
appropriate to leave the sack behind and walk off with considerable
velocity, without ever leaving any word where to send it.

In the case of the other method mentioned for raising poultry, your
friend takes along a covered vessel with a charcoal fire in it, and you
carry a long slender plank.  This is a frosty night, understand.  Arrived
at the tree, or fence, or other henroost (your own if you are an idiot),
you warm the end of your plank in your friend's fire vessel, and then
raise it aloft and ease it up gently against a slumbering chicken's foot.
If the subject of your attentions is a true bird, he will infallibly
return thanks with a sleepy cluck or two, and step out and take up
quarters on the plank, thus becoming so conspicuously accessory before
the fact to his own murder as to make it a grave question in our minds as
it once was in the mind of Blackstone, whether he is not really and
deliberately, committing suicide in the second degree.  [But you enter
into a contemplation of these legal refinements subsequently not then.]

When you wish to raise a fine, large, donkey voiced Shanghai rooster, you
do it with a lasso, just as you would a bull.  It is because he must
choked, and choked effectually, too.  It is the only good, certain way,
for whenever he mentions a matter which he is cordially interested in,
the chances are ninety-nine in a hundred that he secures somebody else's
immediate attention to it too, whether it day or night.

The Black Spanish is an exceedingly fine bird and a costly one.
Thirty-five dollars is the usual figure and fifty a not uncommon price
for a specimen.  Even its eggs are worth from a dollar to a dollar and a
half apiece, and yet are so unwholesome that the city physician seldom or
never orders them for the workhouse.  Still I have once or twice procured
as high as a dozen at a time for nothing, in the dark of the moon.  The
best way to raise the Black Spanish fowl is to go late in the evening and
raise coop and all.  The reason I recommend this method is that, the
birds being so valuable, the owners do not permit them to roost around
promiscuously, they put them in a coop as strong as a fireproof safe and
keep it in the kitchen at night.  The method I speak of is not always a
bright and satisfying success, and yet there are so many little articles
of vertu about a kitchen, that if you fail on the coop you can generally
bring away something else.  I brought away a nice steel trap one night,
worth ninety cents.

But what is the use in my pouring out my whole intellect on this subject?
I have shown the Western New York Poultry Society that they have taken to
their bosom a party who is not a spring chicken by any means, but a man
who knows all about poultry, and is just as high up in the most efficient
methods of raising it as the president of the institution himself.
I thank these gentlemen for the honorary membership they have conferred
upon me, and shall stand at all times ready and willing to testify my
good feeling and my official zeal by deeds as well as by this hastily
penned advice and information.  Whenever they are ready to go to raising
poultry, let them call for me any evening after eleven o'clock.






EXPERIENCE OF THE McWILLIAMSES WITH MEMBRANOUS CROUP

[As related to the author of this book by Mr. McWilliams, a pleasant New
York gentleman whom the said author met by chance on a journey.]

Well, to go back to where I was before I digressed to explain to you how
that frightful and incurable disease, membranous croup,[Diphtheria D.W.]
was ravaging the town and driving all mothers mad with terror, I called
Mrs. McWilliams's attention to little Penelope, and said:

"Darling, I wouldn't let that child be chewing that pine stick if I were
you."

"Precious, where is the harm in it?"  said she, but at the same time
preparing to take away the stick for women cannot receive even the most
palpably judicious suggestion without arguing it, that is married women.

I replied:

"Love, it is notorious that pine is the least nutritious wood that a
child can eat."

My wife's hand paused, in the act of taking the stick, and returned
itself to her lap.  She bridled perceptibly, and said:

"Hubby, you know better than that.  You know you do.  Doctors all say
that the turpentine in pine wood is good for weak back and the kidneys."

"Ah--I was under a misapprehension.  I did not know that the child's
kidneys and spine were affected, and that the family physician had
recommended--"

"Who said the child's spine and kidneys were affected?"

"My love, you intimated it."

"The idea!  I never intimated anything of the kind."

"Why, my dear, it hasn't been two minutes since you said--"

"Bother what I said!  I don't care what I did say.  There isn't any harm
in the child's chewing a bit of pine stick if she wants to, and you know
it perfectly well.  And she shall chew it, too.  So there, now!"

"Say no more, my dear.  I now see the force of your reasoning, and I will
go and order two or three cords of the best pine wood to-day.  No child
of mine shall want while I--"

"Oh, please go along to your office and let me have some peace.  A body
can never make the simplest remark but you must take it up and go to
arguing and arguing and arguing till you don't know what you are talking
about, and you never do."

"Very well, it shall be as you say.  But there is a want of logic in your
last remark which--"

However, she was gone with a flourish before I could finish, and had
taken the child with her.  That night at dinner she confronted me with a
face a white as a sheet:

"Oh, Mortimer, there's another!  Little Georgi Gordon is taken."

"Membranous croup?"

"Membranous croup."

"Is there any hope for him?"

"None in the wide world.  Oh, what is to be come of us!"

By and by a nurse brought in our Penelope to say good night and offer the
customary prayer at the mother's knee.  In the midst of "Now I lay me
down to sleep," she gave a slight cough!  My wife fell back like one
stricken with death.  But the next moment she was up and brimming with
the activities which terror inspires.

She commanded that the child's crib be removed from the nursery to our
bedroom; and she went along to see the order executed.  She took me with
her, of course.  We got matters arranged with speed.  A cot-bed was put
up in my wife's dressing room for the nurse.  But now Mrs. McWilliams
said we were too far away from the other baby, and what if he were to
have the symptoms in the night--and she blanched again, poor thing.

We then restored the crib and the nurse to the nursery and put up a bed
for ourselves in a room adjoining.

Presently, however, Mrs. McWilliams said suppose the baby should catch it
from Penelope?  This thought struck a new panic to her heart, and the
tribe of us could not get the crib out of the nursery again fast enough
to satisfy my wife, though she assisted in her own person and well-nigh
pulled the crib to pieces in her frantic hurry.

We moved down-stairs; but there was no place there to stow the nurse, and
Mrs. McWilliams said the nurse's experience would be an inestimable help.
So we returned, bag and baggage, to our own bedroom once more, and felt a
great gladness, like storm-buffeted birds that have found their nest
again.

Mrs. McWilliams sped to the nursery to see how things were going on
there.  She was back in a moment with a new dread.  She said:

"What can make Baby sleep so?"

I said:

"Why, my darling, Baby always sleeps like a graven image."

"I know.  I know; but there's something peculiar about his sleep now.
He seems to--to--he seems to breathe so regularly.  Oh, this is
dreadful."

"But, my dear, he always breathes regularly."

"Oh, I know it, but there's something frightful about it now.  His nurse
is too young and inexperienced.  Maria shall stay there with her, and be
on hand if anything happens."

"That is a good idea, but who will help you?"

"You can help me all I want.  I wouldn't allow anybody to do anything but
myself, anyhow, at such a time as this."

I said I would feel mean to lie abed and sleep, and leave her to watch
and toil over our little patient all the weary night.  But she reconciled
me to it.  So old Maria departed and took up her ancient quarters in the
nursery.

Penelope coughed twice in her sleep.

"Oh, why don't that doctor come!  Mortimer, this room is too warm.  This
room is certainly too warm.  Turn off the register-quick!"

I shut it off, glancing at the thermometer at the same time, and
wondering to myself if 70 was too warm for a sick child.

The coachman arrived from down-town now with the news that our physician
was ill and confined to his bed.  Mrs. McWilliams turned a dead eye upon
me, and said in a dead voice:

"There is a Providence in it.  It is foreordained.  He never was sick
before.  Never.  We have not been living as we ought to live, Mortimer.
Time and time again I have told you so.  Now you see the result.  Our
child will never get well.  Be thankful if you can forgive yourself; I
never can forgive myself."

I said, without intent to hurt, but with heedless choice of words, that I
could not see that we had been living such an abandoned life.

"Mortimer!  Do you want to bring the judgment upon Baby, too!"

Then she began to cry, but suddenly exclaimed:

"The doctor must have sent medicines!"

I said:

"Certainly.  They are here.  I was only waiting for you to give me a
chance."

"Well do give them to me!  Don't you know that every moment is precious
now?  But what was the use in sending medicines, when he knows that the
disease is incurable?"

I said that while there was life there was hope.

"Hope!  Mortimer, you know no more what you are talking about than the
child unborn.  If you would--As I live, the directions say give one
teaspoonful once an hour!  Once an hour!--as if we had a whole year
before us to save the child in!  Mortimer, please hurry.  Give the poor
perishing thing a tablespoonful, and try to be quick!"

"Why, my dear, a tablespoonful might--"

"Don't drive me frantic!  .  .  .  There, there, there, my precious, my
own; it's nasty bitter stuff, but it's good for Nelly--good for mother's
precious darling; and it will make her well.  There, there, there, put
the little head on mamma's breast and go to sleep, and pretty soon--oh,
I know she can't live till morning!  Mortimer, a tablespoonful every
half-hour will--Oh, the child needs belladonna, too; I know she does--and
aconite.  Get them, Mortimer.  Now do let me have my way.  You know
nothing about these things."

We now went to bed, placing the crib close to my wife's pillow.  All this
turmoil had worn upon me, and within two minutes I was something more
than half asleep.  Mrs. McWilliams roused me:

"Darling, is that register turned on?"

"No."

"I thought as much.  Please turn it on at once.  This room is cold."

I turned it on, and presently fell asleep again.  I was aroused once
more:

"Dearie, would you mind moving the crib to your side of the bed?  It is
nearer the register."

I moved it, but had a collision with the rug and woke up the child.  I
dozed off once more, while my wife quieted the sufferer.  But in a little
while these words came murmuring remotely through the fog of my
drowsiness:

"Mortimer, if we only had some goose grease--will you ring?"

I climbed dreamily out, and stepped on a cat, which responded with a
protest and would have got a convincing kick for it if a chair had not
got it instead.

"Now, Mortimer, why do you want to turn up the gas and wake up the child
again?"

"Because I want to see how much I am hurt, Caroline."

"Well, look at the chair, too--I have no doubt it is ruined.  Poor cat,
suppose you had--"

"Now I am not going to suppose anything about the cat.  It never would
have occurred if Maria had been allowed to remain here and attend to
these duties, which are in her line and are not in mine."

"Now, Mortimer, I should think you would be ashamed to make a remark like
that.  It is a pity if you cannot do the few little things I ask of you
at such an awful time as this when our child--"

"There, there, I will do anything you want.  But I can't raise anybody
with this bell.  They're all gone to bed.  Where is the goose grease?"

"On the mantelpiece in the nursery.  If you'll step there and speak to
Maria--"

I fetched the goose grease and went to sleep again.  Once more I was
called:

"Mortimer, I so hate to disturb you, but the room is still too cold for
me to try to apply this stuff.  Would you mind lighting the fire?  It is
all ready to touch a match to."

I dragged myself out and lit the fire, and then sat down disconsolate.

"Mortimer, don't sit there and catch your death of cold.  Come to bed."

As I was stepping in she said:

"But wait a moment.  Please give the child some more of the medicine."

Which I did.  It was a medicine which made a child more or less lively;
so my wife made use of its waking interval to strip it and grease it all
over with the goose oil.  I was soon asleep once more, but once more I
had to get up.

"Mortimer, I feel a draft.  I feel it distinctly.  There is nothing so
bad for this disease as a draft.  Please move the crib in front of the
fire."

I did it; and collided with the rug again, which I threw in the fire.
Mrs. McWilliams sprang out of bed and rescued it and we had some words.
I had another trifling interval of sleep, and then got up, by request,
and constructed a flax-seed poultice.  This was placed upon the child's
breast and left there to do its healing work.

A wood-fire is not a permanent thing.  I got up every twenty minutes and
renewed ours, and this gave Mrs. McWilliams the opportunity to shorten
the times of giving the medicines by ten minutes, which was a great
satisfaction to her.  Now and then, between times, I reorganized the
flax-seed poultices, and applied sinapisms and other sorts of blisters
where unoccupied places could be found upon the child.  Well, toward
morning the wood gave out and my wife wanted me to go down cellar and get
some more.  I said:

"My dear, it is a laborious job, and the child must be nearly warm
enough, with her extra clothing.  Now mightn't we put on another layer of
poultices and--"

I did not finish, because I was interrupted.  I lugged wood up from below
for some little time, and then turned in and fell to snoring as only a
man can whose strength is all gone and whose soul is worn out.  Just at
broad daylight I felt a grip on my shoulder that brought me to my senses
suddenly.  My wife was glaring down upon me and gasping.  As soon as she
could command her tongue she said:

"It is all over!  All over!  The child's perspiring!  What shall we do?"

"Mercy, how you terrify me!  I don't know what we ought to do.  Maybe if
we scraped her and put her in the draft again--"

"Oh, idiot!  There is not a moment to lose!  Go for the doctor.
Go yourself.  Tell him he must come, dead or alive."

I dragged that poor sick man from his bed and brought him.  He looked at
the child and said she was not dying.  This was joy unspeakable to me,
but it made my wife as mad as if he had offered her a personal affront.
Then he said the child's cough was only caused by some trifling
irritation or other in the throat.  At this I thought my wife had a mind
to show him the door.  Now the doctor said he would make the child cough
harder and dislodge the trouble.  So he gave her something that sent her
into a spasm of coughing, and presently up came a little wood splinter or
so.

"This child has no membranous croup," said he.  "She has been chewing a
bit of pine shingle or something of the kind, and got some little slivers
in her throat.  They won't do her any hurt."

"No," said I, "I can well believe that.  Indeed, the turpentine that is
in them is very good for certain sorts of diseases that are peculiar to
children.  My wife will tell you so."

But she did not.  She turned away in disdain and left the room; and since
that time there is one episode in our life which we never refer to.
Hence the tide of our days flows by in deep and untroubled serenity.

[Very few married men have such an experience as McWilliams's, and so the
author of this book thought that maybe the novelty of it would give it a
passing interest to the reader.]






MY FIRST LITERARY VENTURE

I was a very smart child at the age of thirteen--an unusually smart
child, I thought at the time.  It was then that I did my first newspaper
scribbling, and most unexpectedly to me it stirred up a fine sensation in
the community.  It did, indeed, and I was very proud of it, too.  I was a
printer's "devil," and a progressive and aspiring one.  My uncle had me
on his paper (the Weekly Hannibal journal, two dollars a year in advance
--five hundred subscribers, and they paid in cordwood, cabbages, and
unmarketable turnips), and on a lucky summer's day he left town to be
gone a week, and asked me if I thought I could edit one issue of the
paper judiciously.  Ah! didn't I want to try!  Higgins was the editor on
the rival paper.  He had lately been jilted, and one night a friend found
an open note on the poor fellow's bed, in which he stated that he could
not longer endure life and had drowned himself in Bear Creek.  The friend
ran down there and discovered Higgins wading back to shore.  He had
concluded he wouldn't.  The village was full of it for several days,
but Higgins did not suspect it.  I thought this was a fine opportunity.
I wrote an elaborately wretched account of the whole matter, and then
illustrated it with villainous cuts engraved on the bottoms of wooden
type with a jackknife--one of them a picture of Higgins wading out into
the creek in his shirt, with a lantern, sounding the depth of the water
with a walking-stick.  I thought it was desperately funny, and was
densely unconscious that there was any moral obliquity about such a
publication.  Being satisfied with this effort I looked around for other
worlds to conquer, and it struck me that it would make good, interesting
matter to charge the editor of a neighboring country paper with a piece
of gratuitous rascality and "see him squirm."

I did it, putting the article into the form of a parody on the "Burial of
Sir John Moore"--and a pretty crude parody it was, too.

Then I lampooned two prominent citizens outrageously--not because they
had done anything to deserve, but merely because I thought it was my duty
to make the paper lively.

Next I gently touched up the newest stranger--the lion of the day, the
gorgeous journeyman tailor from Quincy.  He was a simpering coxcomb of
the first water, and the "loudest" dressed man in the state.  He was an
inveterate woman-killer.  Every week he wrote lushy "poetry" for the
journal, about his newest conquest.  His rhymes for my week were headed,
"To MARY IN H--l," meaning to Mary in Hannibal, of course.  But while
setting up the piece I was suddenly riven from head to heel by what I
regarded as a perfect thunderbolt of humor, and I compressed it into a
snappy footnote at the bottom--thus: "We will let this thing pass, just
this once; but we wish Mr. J. Gordon Runnels to understand distinctly
that we have a character to sustain, and from this time forth when he
wants to commune with his friends in h--l, he must select some other
medium than the columns of this journal!"

The paper came out, and I never knew any little thing attract so much
attention as those playful trifles of mine.

For once the Hannibal Journal was in demand--a novelty it had not
experienced before.  The whole town was stirred.  Higgins dropped in with
a double-barreled shotgun early in the forenoon.  When he found that it
was an infant (as he called me) that had done him the damage, he simply
pulled my ears and went away; but he threw up his situation that night
and left town for good.  The tailor came with his goose and a pair of
shears; but he despised me, too, and departed for the South that night.
The two lampooned citizens came with threats of libel, and went away
incensed at my insignificance.  The country editor pranced in with a
war-whoop next day, suffering for blood to drink; but he ended by
forgiving me cordially and inviting me down to the drug store to wash
away all animosity in a friendly bumper of "Fahnestock's Vermifuge."
It was his little joke.  My uncle was very angry when he got back
--unreasonably so, I thought, considering what an impetus I had given the
paper, and considering also that gratitude for his preservation ought to
have been uppermost in his mind, inasmuch as by his delay he had so
wonderfully escaped dissection, tomahawking, libel, and getting his head
shot off.

But he softened when he looked at the accounts and saw that I had
actually booked the unparalleled number of thirty-three new subscribers,
and had the vegetables to show for it, cordwood, cabbage, beans, and
unsalable turnips enough to run the family for two dears!






HOW THE AUTHOR WAS SOLD IN NEWARK--[Written about 1869.]

It is seldom pleasant to tell on oneself, but some times it is a sort of
relief to a man to make a confession.  I wish to unburden my mind now,
and yet I almost believe that I am moved to do it more because I long to
bring censure upon another man than because I desire to pour balm upon my
wounded heart. (I don't know what balm is, but I believe it is the
correct expression to use in this connection--never having seen any
balm.) You may remember that I lectured in Newark lately for the young
gentlemen of the-----Society?  I did at any rate.  During the afternoon
of that day I was talking with one of the young gentlemen just referred
to, and he said he had an uncle who, from some cause or other, seemed to
have grown permanently bereft of all emotion.  And with tears in his
eyes, this young man said, "Oh, if I could only see him laugh once more!
Oh, if I could only see him weep!"  I was touched.  I could never
withstand distress.

I said: "Bring him to my lecture.  I'll start him for you."

"Oh, if you could but do it!  If you could but do it, all our family
would bless you for evermore--for he is so very dear to us.  Oh, my
benefactor, can you make him laugh? can you bring soothing tears to those
parched orbs?"

I was profoundly moved.  I said: "My son, bring the old party round.
I have got some jokes in that lecture that will make him laugh if there
is any laugh in him; and if they miss fire, I have got some others that
will make him cry or kill him, one or the other."  Then the young man
blessed me, and wept on my neck, and went after his uncle.  He placed him
in full view, in the second row of benches, that night, and I began on
him.  I tried him with mild jokes, then with severe ones; I dosed him
with bad jokes and riddled him with good ones; I fired old stale jokes
into him, and peppered him fore and aft with red-hot new ones; I warmed
up to my work, and assaulted him on the right and left, in front and
behind; I fumed and sweated and charged and ranted till I was hoarse and
sick and frantic and furious; but I never moved him once--I never started
a smile or a tear!  Never a ghost of a smile, and never a suspicion of
moisture!  I was astounded.  I closed the lecture at last with one
despairing shriek--with one wild burst of humor, and hurled a joke of
supernatural atrocity full at him!

Then I sat down bewildered and exhausted.

The president of the society came up and bathed my head with cold water,
and said: "What made you carry on so toward the last?"

I said: "I was trying to make that confounded old fool laugh, in the
second row."

And he said: "Well, you were wasting your time, because he is deaf and
dumb, and as blind as a badger!"

Now, was that any way for that old man's nephew to impose on a stranger
and orphan like me?  I ask you as a man and brother, if that was any way
for him to do?






THE OFFICE BORE--[Written about 1869]

He arrives just as regularly as the clock strikes nine in the morning.
And so he even beats the editor sometimes, and the porter must leave his
work and climb two or three pairs of stairs to unlock the "Sanctum" door
and let him in.  He lights one of the office pipes--not reflecting,
perhaps, that the editor may be one of those "stuck-up" people who would
as soon have a stranger defile his tooth-brush as his pipe-stem.  Then he
begins to loll--for a person who can consent to loaf his useless life
away in ignominious indolence has not the energy to sit up straight.
He stretches full length on the sofa awhile; then draws up to half
length; then gets into a chair, hangs his head back and his arms abroad,
and stretches his legs till the rims of his boot-heels rest upon the
floor; by and by sits up and leans forward, with one leg or both over the
arm of the chair.  But it is still observable that with all his changes
of position, he never assumes the upright or a fraudful affectation of
dignity.  From time to time he yawns, and stretches, and scratches
himself with a tranquil, mangy enjoyment, and now and then he grunts a
kind of stuffy, overfed grunt, which is full of animal contentment.  At
rare and long intervals, however, he sighs a sigh that is the eloquent
expression of a secret confession, to wit "I am useless and a nuisance,
a cumberer of the earth."  The bore and his comrades--for there are
usually from two to four on hand, day and night--mix into the
conversation when men come in to see the editors for a moment on
business; they hold noisy talks among themselves about politics in
particular, and all other subjects in general--even warming up, after a
fashion, sometimes, and seeming to take almost a real interest in what
they are discussing.  They ruthlessly call an editor from his work with
such a remark as: "Did you see this, Smith, in the Gazette?" and proceed
to read the paragraph while the sufferer reins in his impatient pen and
listens; they often loll and sprawl round the office hour after hour,
swapping anecdotes and relating personal experiences to each other
--hairbreadth escapes, social encounters with distinguished men, election
reminiscences, sketches of odd characters, etc.  And through all those
hours they never seem to comprehend that they are robbing the editors of
their time, and the public of journalistic excellence in next day's
paper.  At other times they drowse, or dreamily pore over exchanges, or
droop limp and pensive over the chair-arms for an hour.  Even this solemn
silence is small respite to the editor, for the next uncomfortable thing
to having people look over his shoulders, perhaps, is to have them sit by
in silence and listen to the scratching of his pen.  If a body desires to
talk private business with one of the editors, he must call him outside,
for no hint milder than blasting-powder or nitroglycerin would be likely
to move the bores out of listening-distance.  To have to sit and endure
the presence of a bore day after day; to feel your cheerful spirits begin
to sink as his footstep sounds on the stair, and utterly vanish away as
his tiresome form enters the door; to suffer through his anecdotes and
die slowly to his reminiscences; to feel always the fetters of his
clogging presence; to long hopelessly for one single day's privacy; to
note with a shudder, by and by, that to contemplate his funeral in fancy
has ceased to soothe, to imagine him undergoing in strict and fearful
detail the tortures of the ancient Inquisition has lost its power to
satisfy the heart, and that even to wish him millions and millions and
millions of miles in Tophet is able to bring only a fitful gleam of joy;
to have to endure all this, day after day, and week after week, and month
after month, is an affliction that transcends any other that men suffer.
Physical pain is pastime to it, and hanging a pleasure excursion.






JOHNNY GREER

"The church was densely crowded that lovely summer Sabbath," said the
Sunday-school superintendent, "and all, as their eyes rested upon the
small coffin, seemed impressed by the poor black boy's fate.  Above the
stillness the pastor's voice rose, and chained the interest of every ear
as he told, with many an envied compliment, how that the brave, noble,
daring little Johnny Greer, when he saw the drowned body sweeping down
toward the deep part of the river whence the agonized parents never could
have recovered it in this world, gallantly sprang into the stream, and,
at the risk of his life, towed the corpse to shore, and held it fast till
help came and secured it.  Johnny Greer was sitting just in front of me.
A ragged street-boy, with eager eye, turned upon him instantly, and said
in a hoarse whisper,

"'No; but did you, though?'

"'Yes.'

"'Towed the carkiss ashore and saved it yo'self?'

"'Yes.'

"'Cracky!  What did they give you?'

"'Nothing.'

"'W-h-a-t [with intense disgust]!  D'you know what I'd 'a' done?  I'd 'a'
anchored him out in the stream, and said, Five dollars, gents, or you
carn't have yo' nigger.'"






THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT--[Written about 1867.]

In as few words as possible I wish to lay before the nation what's here,
howsoever small, I have had in this matter--this matter which has so
exercised the public mind, engendered so much ill-feeling, and so filled
the newspapers of both continents with distorted statements and
extravagant comments.

The origin of this distressful thing was this--and I assert here that
every fact in the following resume can be amply proved by the official
records of the General Government.

John Wilson Mackenzie, of Rotterdam, Chemung County, New Jersey,
deceased, contracted with the General Government, on or about the 10th
day of October, 1861, to furnish to General Sherman the sum total of
thirty barrels of beef.

Very well.

He started after Sherman with the beef, but when he got to Washington
Sherman had gone to Manassas; so he took the beef and followed him there,
but arrived too late; he followed him to Nashville, and from Nashville to
Chattanooga, and from Chattanooga to Atlanta--but he never could overtake
him.  At Atlanta he took a fresh start and followed him clear through his
march to the sea.  He arrived too late again by a few days; but hearing
that Sherman was going out in the Quaker City excursion to the Holy Land,
he took shipping for Beirut, calculating to head off the other vessel.
When he arrived in Jerusalem with his beef, he learned that Sherman had
not sailed in the Quaker City, but had gone to the Plains to fight the
Indians.  He returned to America and started for the Rocky Mountains.
After sixty-eight days of arduous travel on the Plains, and when he had
got within four miles of Sherman's headquarters, he was tomahawked and
scalped, and the Indians got the beef.  They got all of it but one
barrel.  Sherman's army captured that, and so, even in death, the bold
navigator partly fulfilled his contract.  In his will, which he had kept
like a journal, he bequeathed the contract to his son Bartholomew W.
Bartholomew W.  made out the following bill, and then died:

     THE UNITED STATES

               In account with JOHN WILSON MACKENZIE, of New Jersey,
               deceased, .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .          Dr.

     To thirty barrels of beef for General Sherman, at $100, $3,000
     To traveling expenses and transportation .  .  .  .  .  14,000

               Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $17,000
               Rec'd Pay't.


He died then; but he left the contract to Wm. J. Martin, who tried to
collect it, but died before he got through.  He left it to Barker J.
Allen, and he tried to collect it also.  He did not survive.  Barker J.
Allen left it to Anson G. Rogers, who attempted to collect it, and got
along as far as the Ninth Auditor's Office, when Death, the great
Leveler, came all unsummoned, and foreclosed on him also.  He left the
bill to a relative of his in Connecticut, Vengeance Hopkins by name, who
lasted four weeks and two days, and made the best time on record, coming
within one of reaching the Twelfth Auditor.  In his will he gave the
contract bill to his uncle, by the name of O-be-joyful Johnson.  It was
too undermining for joyful.  His last words were: "Weep not for me--I am
willing to go."  And so he was, poor soul.  Seven people inherited the
contract after that; but they all died.  So it came into my hands at
last.  It fell to me through a relative by the name of, Hubbard
--Bethlehem Hubbard, of Indiana.  He had had a grudge against me for a
long time; but in his last moments he sent for me, and forgave me
everything, and, weeping, gave me the beef contract.

This ends the history of it up to the time that I succeeded to the
property.  I will now endeavor to set myself straight before the nation
in everything that concerns my share in the matter.  I took this beef
contract, and the bill for mileage and transportation, to the President
of the United States.

He said, "Well, sir, what can I do for you?"

I said, "Sire, on or about the 10th day of October, 1861, John Wilson
Mackenzie, of Rotterdam, Chemung County, New Jersey, deceased, contracted
with the General Government to furnish to General Sherman the sum total
of thirty barrels of beef--"

He stopped me there, and dismissed me from his presence--kindly, but
firmly.  The next day called on the Secretary of State.

He said, "Well, sir?"

I said, "Your Royal Highness: on or about the 10th day of October, 1861,
John Wilson Mackenzie of Rotterdam, Chemung County, New Jersey, deceased,
contracted with the General Government to furnish to General Sherman the
sum total of thirty barrels of beef--"

"That will do, sir--that will do; this office has nothing to do with
contracts for beef."

I was bowed out.  I thought the matter all over and finally, the
following day, I visited the Secretary of the Navy, who said, "Speak
quickly, sir; do not keep me waiting."

I said, "Your Royal Highness, on or about the 10th day of October, 1861,
John Wilson Mackenzie of Rotterdam, Chemung County, New Jersey, deceased,
contracted with the General Government to General Sherman the sum total
of thirty barrels of beef--"

Well, it was as far as I could get.  He had nothing to do with beef
contracts for General Sherman either.  I began to think it was a curious
kind of government.  It looked somewhat as if they wanted to get out of
paying for that beef.  The following day I went to the Secretary of the
Interior.

I said, "Your Imperial Highness, on or about the 10th day of October--"

"That is sufficient, sir.  I have heard of you before.  Go, take your
infamous beef contract out of this establishment.  The Interior
Department has nothing whatever to do with subsistence for the army."

I went away.  But I was exasperated now.  I said I would haunt them;
I would infest every department of this iniquitous government till that
contract business was settled.  I would collect that bill, or fall, as
fell my predecessors, trying.  I assailed the Postmaster-General;
I besieged the Agricultural Department; I waylaid the Speaker of the
House of Representatives.  They had nothing to do with army contracts for
beef.  I moved upon the Commissioner of the Patent Office.

I said, "Your August Excellency, on or about--"

"Perdition! have you got here with your incendiary beef contract, at
last?  We have nothing to do with beef contracts for the army, my dear
sir."

"Oh, that is all very well--but somebody has got to pay for that beef.
It has got to be paid now, too, or I'll confiscate this old Patent Office
and everything in it."

"But, my dear sir--"

"It don't make any difference, sir.  The Patent Office is liable for that
beef, I reckon; and, liable or not liable, the Patent Office has got to
pay for it."

Never mind the details.  It ended in a fight.  The Patent Office won.
But I found out something to my advantage.  I was told that the Treasury
Department was the proper place for me to go to.  I went there.  I waited
two hours and a half, and then I was admitted to the First Lord of the
Treasury.

I said, "Most noble, grave, and reverend Signor, on or about the 10th day
of October, 1861, John Wilson Macken--"

"That is sufficient, sir.  I have heard of you.  Go to the First Auditor
of the Treasury."

I did so.  He sent me to the Second Auditor.  The Second Auditor sent me
to the Third, and the Third sent me to the First Comptroller of the
Corn-Beef Division.  This began to look like business.  He examined his
books and all his loose papers, but found no minute of the beef contract.
I went to the Second Comptroller of the Corn-Beef Division.  He examined
his books and his loose papers, but with no success.  I was encouraged.
During that week I got as far as the Sixth Comptroller in that division;
the next week I got through the Claims Department; the third week I began
and completed the Mislaid Contracts Department, and got a foothold in the
Dead Reckoning Department.  I finished that in three days.  There was
only one place left for it now.  I laid siege to the Commissioner of Odds
and Ends.  To his clerk, rather--he was not there himself.  There were
sixteen beautiful young ladies in the room, writing in books, and there
were seven well-favored young clerks showing them how.  The young women
smiled up over their shoulders, and the clerks smiled back at them, and
all went merry as a marriage bell.  Two or three clerks that were reading
the newspapers looked at me rather hard, but went on reading, and nobody
said anything.  However, I had been used to this kind of alacrity from
Fourth Assistant Junior Clerks all through my eventful career, from the
very day I entered the first office of the Corn-Beef Bureau clear till I
passed out of the last one in the Dead Reckoning Division.  I had got so
accomplished by this time that I could stand on one foot from the moment
I entered an office till a clerk spoke to me, without changing more than
two, or maybe three, times.

So I stood there till I had changed four different times.  Then I said to
one of the clerks who was reading:

"Illustrious Vagrant, where is the Grand Turk?"

"What do you mean, sir? whom do you mean?  If you mean the Chief of the
Bureau, he is out."

"Will he visit the harem to-day?"

The young man glared upon me awhile, and then went on reading his paper.
But I knew the ways of those clerks.  I knew I was safe if he got through
before another New York mail arrived.  He only had two more papers left.
After a while he finished them, and then he yawned and asked me what I
wanted.

"Renowned and honored Imbecile: on or about--"

"You are the beef-contract man.  Give me your papers."

He took them, and for a long time he ransacked his odds and ends.
Finally he found the Northwest Passage, as I regarded it--he found the
long lost record of that beef contract--he found the rock upon which so
many of my ancestors had split before they ever got to it.  I was deeply
moved.  And yet I rejoiced--for I had survived.  I said with emotion,
"Give it me.  The government will settle now."  He waved me back, and
said there was something yet to be done first.

"Where is this John Wilson Mackenzie?"  said he.

"Dead."

"When did he die?"

"He didn't die at all--he was killed."

"How?"

"Tomahawked."

"Who tomahawked him?"

"Why, an Indian, of course.  You didn't suppose it was the superintendent
of a Sunday-school, did you?"

"No.  An Indian, was it?"

"The same."

"Name of the Indian?"

"His name?  I don't know his name."

"Must have his name.  Who saw the tomahawking done?"

"I don't know."

"You were not present yourself, then?"

"Which you can see by my hair.  I was absent.

"Then how do you know that Mackenzie is dead?"

"Because he certainly died at that time, and have every reason to believe
that he has been dead ever since.  I know he has, in fact."

"We must have proofs.  Have you got this Indian?"

"Of course not."

"Well, you must get him.  Have you got the tomahawk?"

"I never thought of such a thing."

"You must get the tomahawk.  You must produce the Indian and the
tomahawk.  If Mackenzie's death can be proven by these, you can then go
before the commission appointed to audit claims with some show of getting
your bill under such headway that your children may possibly live to
receive the money and enjoy it.  But that man's death must be proven.
However, I may as well tell you that the government will never pay that
transportation and those traveling expenses of the lamented Mackenzie.
It may possibly pay for the barrel of beef that Sherman's soldiers
captured, if you can get a relief bill through Congress making an
appropriation for that purpose; but it will not pay for the twenty-nine
barrels the Indians ate."

"Then there is only a hundred dollars due me, and that isn't certain!
After all Mackenzie's travels in Europe, Asia, and America with that
beef; after all his trials and tribulations and transportation; after the
slaughter of all those innocents that tried to collect that bill!  Young
man, why didn't the First Comptroller of the Corn-Beef Division tell me
this?"

"He didn't know anything about the genuineness of your claim."

"Why didn't the Second tell me? why didn't the Third? why didn't all
those divisions and departments tell me?"

"None of them knew.  We do things by routine here.  You have followed the
routine and found out what you wanted to know.  It is the best way.
It is the only way.  It is very regular, and very slow, but it is very
certain."

"Yes, certain death.  It has been, to the most of our tribe.  I begin to
feel that I, too, am called."

"Young man, you love the bright creature yonder with the gentle blue eyes
and the steel pens behind her ears--I see it in your soft glances; you
wish to marry her--but you are poor.  Here, hold out your hand--here is
the beef contract; go, take her and be happy Heaven bless you, my
children!"

This is all I know about the great beef contract that has created so much
talk in the community.  The clerk to whom I bequeathed it died.  I know
nothing further about the contract, or any one connected with it.  I only
know that if a man lives long enough he can trace a thing through the
Circumlocution Office of Washington and find out, after much labor and
trouble and delay, that which he could have found out on the first day if
the business of the Circumlocution Office were as ingeniously
systematized as it would be if it were a great private mercantile
institution.






THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER

--[Some years ago, about 1867, when this was first published, few people
believed it, but considered it a mere extravaganza.  In these latter days
it seems hard to realize that there was ever a time when the robbing of
our government was a novelty.  The very man who showed me where to find
the documents for this case was at that very time spending hundreds of
thousands of dollars in Washington for a mail steamship concern, in the
effort to procure a subsidy for the company--a fact which was a long time
in coming to the surface, but leaked out at last and underwent
Congressional investigation.]

This is history.  It is not a wild extravaganza, like "John Wilson
Mackenzie's Great Beef Contract," but is a plain statement of facts and
circumstances with which the Congress of the United States has interested
itself from time to time during the long period of half a century.

I will not call this matter of George Fisher's a great deathless and
unrelenting swindle upon the government and people of the United States
--for it has never been so decided, and I hold that it is a grave and
solemn wrong for a writer to cast slurs or call names when such is the
case--but will simply present the evidence and let the reader deduce his
own verdict.  Then we shall do nobody injustice, and our consciences
shall be clear.

On or about the 1st day of September, 1813, the Creek war being then in
progress in Florida, the crops, herds, and houses of Mr. George Fisher,
a citizen, were destroyed, either by the Indians or by the United States
troops in pursuit of them.  By the terms of the law, if the Indians
destroyed the property, there was no relief for Fisher; but if the troops
destroyed it, the Government of the United States was debtor to Fisher
for the amount involved.

George Fisher must have considered that the Indians destroyed the
property, because, although he lived several years afterward, he does not
appear to have ever made any claim upon the government.

In the course of time Fisher died, and his widow married again.
And by and by, nearly twenty years after that dimly remembered raid upon
Fisher's corn-fields, the widow Fisher's new husband petitioned Congress
for pay for the property, and backed up the petition with many
depositions and affidavits which purported to prove that the troops,
and not the Indians, destroyed the property; that the troops, for some
inscrutable reason, deliberately burned down "houses" (or cabins) valued
at $600, the same belonging to a peaceable private citizen, and also
destroyed various other property belonging to the same citizen.  But
Congress declined to believe that the troops were such idiots (after
overtaking and scattering a band of Indians proved to have been found
destroying Fisher's property) as to calmly continue the work of
destruction themselves; and make a complete job of what the Indians had
only commenced.  So Congress denied the petition of the heirs of George
Fisher in 1832, and did not pay them a cent.

We hear no more from them officially until 1848, sixteen years after
their first attempt on the Treasury, and a full generation after the
death of the man whose fields were destroyed.  The new generation of
Fisher heirs then came forward and put in a bill for damages.  The Second
Auditor awarded them $8,873, being half the damage sustained by Fisher.
The Auditor said the testimony showed that at least half the destruction
was done by the Indians "before the troops started in pursuit," and of
course the government was not responsible for that half.

2.  That was in April, 1848.  In December, 1848, the heirs of George
Fisher, deceased, came forward and pleaded for a "revision" of their bill
of damages.  The revision was made, but nothing new could be found in
their favor except an error of $100 in the former calculation.  However,
in order to keep up the spirits of the Fisher family, the Auditor
concluded to go back and allow interest from the date of the first
petition (1832) to the date when the bill of damages was awarded.  This
sent the Fishers home happy with sixteen years' interest on $8,873--the
same amounting to $8,997.94.  Total, $17,870.94.

3.  For an entire year the suffering Fisher family remained quiet--even
satisfied, after a fashion.  Then they swooped down upon the government
with their wrongs once more.  That old patriot, Attorney-General Toucey,
burrowed through the musty papers of the Fishers and discovered one more
chance for the desolate orphans--interest on that original award of
$8,873 from date of destruction of the property (1813) up to 1832!
Result, $110,004.89 for the indigent Fishers.  So now we have: First,
$8,873 damages; second, interest on it from 1832 to 1848, $8997.94;
third, interest on it dated back to 1813, $10,004.89.  Total, $27,875.83!
What better investment for a great-grandchild than to get the Indians to
burn a corn-field for him sixty or seventy years before his birth, and
plausibly lay it on lunatic United States troops?

4.  Strange as it may seem, the Fishers let Congress alone for five
years--or, what is perhaps more likely, failed to make themselves heard
by Congress for that length of time.  But at last, in 1854, they got a
hearing.  They persuaded Congress to pass an act requiring the Auditor to
re-examine their case.  But this time they stumbled upon the misfortune
of an honest Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. James Guthrie), and he
spoiled everything.  He said in very plain language that the Fishers were
not only not entitled to another cent, but that those children of many
sorrows and acquainted with grief had been paid too much already.

5.  Therefore another interval of rest and silent ensued-an interval
which lasted four years--viz till 1858.  The "right man in the right
place" was then Secretary of War--John B. Floyd, of peculiar renown!
Here was a master intellect; here was the very man to succor the
suffering heirs of dead and forgotten Fisher.  They came up from Florida
with a rush--a great tidal wave of Fishers freighted with the same old
musty documents about the same in immortal corn-fields of their ancestor.
They straight-way got an act passed transferring the Fisher matter from
the dull Auditor to the ingenious Floyd.  What did Floyd do?  He said,
"IT WAS PROVED that the Indians destroyed everything they could before
the troops entered in pursuit."  He considered, therefore, that what they
destroyed must have consisted of "the houses with all their contents, and
the liquor" (the most trifling part of the destruction, and set down at
only $3,200 all told), and that the government troops then drove them off
and calmly proceeded to destroy--

Two hundred and twenty acres of corn in the field, thirty-five acres of
wheat, and nine hundred and eighty-six head of live stock!  [What a
singularly intelligent army we had in those days, according to Mr. Floyd
--though not according to the Congress of 1832.]

So Mr. Floyd decided that the Government was not responsible for that
$3,200 worth of rubbish which the Indians destroyed, but was responsible
for the property destroyed by the troops--which property consisted of (I
quote from the printed United States Senate document):

                                             Dollars
     Corn at Bassett's Creek, ............... 3,000
     Cattle, ................................ 5,000
     Stock hogs, ............................ 1,050
     Drove hogs, ............................ 1,204
     Wheat, .................................   350
     Hides, ................................. 4,000
     Corn on the Alabama River, ............. 3,500

                         Total, .............18,104

That sum, in his report, Mr. Floyd calls the "full value of the property
destroyed by the troops."

He allows that sum to the starving Fishers, TOGETHER WITH INTEREST FROM
1813.  From this new sum total the amounts already paid to the Fishers
were deducted, and then the cheerful remainder (a fraction under forty
thousand dollars) was handed to then and again they retired to Florida in
a condition of temporary tranquillity.  Their ancestor's farm had now
yielded them altogether nearly sixty-seven thousand dollars in cash.

6.  Does the reader suppose that that was the end of it?  Does he suppose
those diffident Fishers we: satisfied?  Let the evidence show.  The
Fishers were quiet just two years.  Then they came swarming up out of the
fertile swamps of Florida with their same old documents, and besieged
Congress once more.  Congress capitulated on the 1st of June, 1860, and
instructed Mr. Floyd to overhaul those papers again, and pay that bill.
A Treasury clerk was ordered to go through those papers and report to Mr.
Floyd what amount was still due the emaciated Fishers.  This clerk (I can
produce him whenever he is wanted) discovered what was apparently a
glaring and recent forgery in the paper; whereby a witness's testimony as
to the price of corn in Florida in 1813 was made to name double the
amount which that witness had originally specified as the price!  The
clerk not only called his superior's attention to this thing, but in
making up his brief of the case called particular attention to it in
writing.  That part of the brief never got before Congress, nor has
Congress ever yet had a hint of forgery existing among the Fisher papers.
Nevertheless, on the basis of the double prices (and totally ignoring the
clerk's assertion that the figures were manifestly and unquestionably a
recent forgery), Mr. Floyd remarks in his new report that "the testimony,
particularly in regard to the corn crops, DEMANDS A MUCH HIGHER ALLOWANCE
than any heretofore made by the Auditor or myself."  So he estimates the
crop at sixty bushels to the acre (double what Florida acres produce),
and then virtuously allows pay for only half the crop, but allows two
dollars and a half a bushel for that half, when there are rusty old books
and documents in the Congressional library to show just what the Fisher
testimony showed before the forgery--viz., that in the fall of 1813 corn
was only worth from $1.25 to $1.50 a bushel.  Having accomplished this,
what does Mr. Floyd do next?  Mr. Floyd ("with an earnest desire to
execute truly the legislative will," as he piously remarks) goes to work
and makes out an entirely new bill of Fisher damages, and in this new
bill he placidly ignores the Indians altogether puts no particle of the
destruction of the Fisher property upon them, but, even repenting him of
charging them with burning the cabins and drinking the whisky and
breaking the crockery, lays the entire damage at the door of the imbecile
United States troops down to the very last item!  And not only that, but
uses the forgery to double the loss of corn at "Bassett's Creek," and
uses it again to absolutely treble the loss of corn on the "Alabama
River."  This new and ably conceived and executed bill of Mr. Floyd's
figures up as follows (I copy again from the printed United States Senate
document):

      The United States in account with the legal representatives
                      of George Fisher, deceased.
                                                             DOL.C
1813.--To 550 head of cattle, at 10 dollars, ............. 5,500.00
       To 86 head of drove hogs, ......................... 1,204.00
       To 350 head of stock hogs, ........................ 1,750.00
       To 100 ACRES OF CORN ON BASSETT'S CREEK, .......... 6,000.00
       To 8 barrels of whisky, ...........................   350.00
       To 2 barrels of brandy, ...........................   280.00
       To 1 barrel of rum, ...............................    70.00
       To dry-goods and merchandise in store, ............ 1,100.00
       To 35 acres of wheat, .............................   350.00
       To 2,000 hides, ................................... 4,000.00
       To furs and hats in store, ........................   600.00
       To crockery ware in store, ........................   100.00
       To smith's and carpenter's tools, .................   250.00
       To houses burned and destroyed, ...................   600.00
       To 4 dozen bottles of wine, .......................    48.00
1814.--To 120 acres of corn on Alabama River, ............ 9,500.00
       To crops of peas, fodder, etc. .................... 3,250.00

                         Total, ..........................34,952.00

       To interest on $22,202, from July 1813
          to November 1860, 47 years and 4 months, .......63,053.68
       To interest on $12,750, from September
          1814 to November 1860, 46 years and 2 months, ..35,317.50

                         Total, ........................ 133,323.18

He puts everything in this time.  He does not even allow that the Indians
destroyed the crockery or drank the four dozen bottles of (currant) wine.
When it came to supernatural comprehensiveness in "gobbling," John B.
Floyd was without his equal, in his own or any other generation.
Subtracting from the above total the $67,000 already paid to
George Fisher's implacable heirs, Mr. Floyd announced that the government
was still indebted to them in the sum of sixty-six thousand five hundred
and nineteen dollars and eighty-five cents, "which," Mr. Floyd
complacently remarks, "will be paid, accordingly, to the administrator of
the estate of George Fisher, deceased, or to his attorney in fact."

But, sadly enough for the destitute orphans, a new President came in just
at this time, Buchanan and Floyd went out, and they never got their
money.  The first thing Congress did in 1861 was to rescind the
resolution of June 1, 1860, under which Mr. Floyd had been ciphering.
Then Floyd (and doubtless the heirs of George Fisher likewise) had to
give up financial business for a while, and go into the Confederate army
and serve their country.

Were the heirs of George Fisher killed?  No.  They are back now at this
very time (July, 1870), beseeching Congress through that blushing and
diffident creature, Garrett Davis, to commence making payments again on
their interminable and insatiable bill of damages for corn and whisky
destroyed by a gang of irresponsible Indians, so long ago that even
government red-tape has failed to keep consistent and intelligent track
of it.

Now the above are facts.  They are history.  Any one who doubts it can
send to the Senate Document Department of the Capitol for H. R. Ex. Doc.
No. 21, 36th Congress, 2d Session; and for S. Ex. Doc. No. 106, 41st
Congress, 2d Session, and satisfy himself.  The whole case is set forth
in the first volume of the Court of Claims Reports.

It is my belief that as long as the continent of America holds together,
the heirs of George Fisher, deceased, will still make pilgrimages to
Washington from the swamps of Florida, to plead for just a little more
cash on their bill of damages (even when they received the last of that
sixty-seven thousand dollars, they said it was only one fourth what the
government owed them on that fruitful corn-field), and as long as they
choose to come they will find Garrett Davises to drag their vampire
schemes before Congress.  This is not the only hereditary fraud (if fraud
it is--which I have before repeatedly remarked is not proven) that is
being quietly handed down from generation to generation of fathers and
sons, through the persecuted Treasury of the United States.






DISGRACEFUL PERSECUTION OF A BOY

In San Francisco, the other day, "A well-dressed boy, on his way to
Sunday-school, was arrested and thrown into the city prison for stoning
Chinamen."

What a commentary is this upon human justice!  What sad prominence it
gives to our human disposition to tyrannize over the weak!  San Francisco
has little right to take credit to herself for her treatment of this poor
boy.  What had the child's education been?  How should he suppose it was
wrong to stone a Chinaman?  Before we side against him, along with
outraged San Francisco, let us give him a chance--let us hear the
testimony for the defense.

He was a "well-dressed" boy, and a Sunday-school scholar, and therefore
the chances are that his parents were intelligent, well-to-do people,
with just enough natural villainy in their composition to make them yearn
after the daily papers, and enjoy them; and so this boy had opportunities
to learn all through the week how to do right, as well as on Sunday.

It was in this way that he found out that the great commonwealth of
California imposes an unlawful mining-tax upon John the foreigner, and
allows Patrick the foreigner to dig gold for nothing--probably because
the degraded Mongol is at no expense for whisky, and the refined Celt
cannot exist without it.

It was in this way that he found out that a respectable number of the
tax-gatherers--it would be unkind to say all of them--collect the tax
twice, instead of once; and that, inasmuch as they do it solely to
discourage Chinese immigration into the mines, it is a thing that is much
applauded, and likewise regarded as being singularly facetious.

It was in this way that he found out that when a white man robs a
sluice-box (by the term white man is meant Spaniards, Mexicans,
Portuguese, Irish, Hondurans, Peruvians, Chileans, etc., etc.), they make
him leave the camp; and when a Chinaman does that thing, they hang him.

It was in this way that he found out that in many districts of the vast
Pacific coast, so strong is the wild, free love of justice in the hearts
of the people, that whenever any secret and mysterious crime is
committed, they say, "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall," and
go straightway and swing a Chinaman.

It was in this way that he found out that by studying one half of each
day's "local items," it would appear that the police of San Francisco
were either asleep or dead, and by studying the other half it would seem
that the reporters were gone mad with admiration of the energy, the
virtue, the high effectiveness, and the dare-devil intrepidity of that
very police-making exultant mention of how "the Argus-eyed officer
So-and-so" captured a wretched knave of a Chinaman who was stealing
chickens, and brought him gloriously to the city prison; and how "the
gallant officer Such-and-such-a-one" quietly kept an eye on the movements
of an "unsuspecting, almond-eyed son of Confucius" (your reporter is
nothing if not facetious), following him around with that far-off look.
of vacancy and unconsciousness always so finely affected by that
inscrutable being, the forty-dollar policeman, during a waking interval,
and captured him at last in the very act of placing his hands in a
suspicious manner upon a paper of tacks, left by the owner in an exposed
situation; and how one officer performed this prodigious thing, and
another officer that, and another the other--and pretty much every one of
these performances having for a dazzling central incident a Chinaman
guilty of a shilling's worth of crime, an unfortunate, whose misdemeanor
must be hurrahed into something enormous in order to keep the public from
noticing how many really important rascals went uncaptured in the mean
time, and how overrated those glorified policemen actually are.

It was in this way that the boy found out that the legislature, being
aware that the Constitution has made America, an asylum for the poor and
the oppressed of all nations, and that, therefore, the poor and oppressed
who fly to our shelter must not be charged a disabling admission fee,
made a law that every Chinaman, upon landing, must be vaccinated upon the
wharf, and pay to the state's appointed officer ten dollars for the
service, when there are plenty of doctors in San Francisco who would be
glad enough to do it for him for fifty cents.

It was in this way that the boy found out that a Chinaman had no rights
that any man was bound to respect; that he had no sorrows that any man
was bound to pity; that neither his life nor his liberty was worth the
purchase of a penny when a white man needed a scapegoat; that nobody
loved Chinamen, nobody befriended them, nobody spared them suffering when
it was convenient to inflict it; everybody, individuals, communities, the
majesty of the state itself, joined in hating, abusing, and persecuting
these humble strangers.

And, therefore, what could have been more natural than for this
sunny-hearted-boy, tripping along to Sunday-school, with his mind teeming
with freshly learned incentives to high and virtuous action, to say to
himself:

"Ah, there goes a Chinaman!  God will not love me if I do not stone him."

And for this he was arrested and put in the city jail.

Everything conspired to teach him that it was a high and holy thing to
stone a Chinaman, and yet he no sooner attempts to do his duty than he is
punished for it--he, poor chap, who has been aware all his life that one
of the principal recreations of the police, out toward the Gold Refinery,
is to look on with tranquil enjoyment while the butchers of Brannan
Street set their dogs on unoffending Chinamen, and make them flee for
their lives.

--[I have many such memories in my mind, but am thinking just at present
of one particular one, where the Brannan Street butchers set their dogs
on a Chinaman who was quietly passing with a basket of clothes on his
head; and while the dogs mutilated his flesh, a butcher increased the
hilarity of the occasion by knocking some of the Chinaman's teeth down
his throat with half a brick.  This incident sticks in my memory with a
more malevolent tenacity, perhaps, on account of the fact that I was in
the employ of a San Francisco journal at the time, and was not allowed to
publish it because it might offend some of the peculiar element that
subscribed for the paper.]

Keeping in mind the tuition in the humanities which the entire "Pacific
coast" gives its youth, there is a very sublimity of incongruity in the
virtuous flourish with which the good city fathers of San Francisco
proclaim (as they have lately done) that "The police are positively
ordered to arrest all boys, of every description and wherever found, who
engage in assaulting Chinamen."

Still, let us be truly glad they have made the order, notwithstanding its
inconsistency; and let us rest perfectly confident the police are glad,
too.  Because there is no personal peril in arresting boys, provided they
be of the small kind, and the reporters will have to laud their
performances just as loyally as ever, or go without items.

The new form for local items in San Francisco will now be: "The
ever-vigilant and efficient officer So-and-so succeeded, yesterday
afternoon, in arresting Master Tommy Jones, after a determined
resistance," etc., etc., followed by the customary statistics and final
hurrah, with its unconscious sarcasm: "We are happy in being able to
state that this is the forty-seventh boy arrested by this gallant officer
since the new ordinance went into effect.  The most extraordinary
activity prevails in the police department.  Nothing like it has been
seen since we can remember."






THE JUDGE'S "SPIRITED WOMAN"

"I was sitting here," said the judge, "in this old pulpit, holding court,
and we were trying a big, wicked-looking Spanish desperado for killing
the husband of a bright, pretty Mexican woman. It was a lazy summer day,
and an awfully long one, and the witnesses were tedious.  None of us took
any interest in the trial except that nervous, uneasy devil of a Mexican
woman because you know how they love and how they hate, and this one had
loved her husband with all her might, and now she had boiled it all down
into hate, and stood here spitting it at that Spaniard with her eyes;
and I tell you she would stir me up, too, with a little of her summer
lightning, occasionally.  Well, I had my coat off and my heels up,
lolling and sweating, and smoking one of those cabbage cigars the San
Francisco people used to think were good enough for us in those times;
and the lawyers they all had their coats off, and were smoking and
whittling, and the witnesses the same, and so was the prisoner.  Well,
the fact is, there warn't any interest in a murder trial then, because
the fellow was always brought in 'not guilty,' the jury expecting him to
do as much for them some time; and, although the evidence was straight
and square against this Spaniard, we knew we could not convict him
without seeming to be rather high-handed and sort of reflecting on every
gentleman in the community; for there warn't any carriages and liveries
then, and so the only 'style' there was, was to keep your private
graveyard.  But that woman seemed to have her heart set on hanging that
Spaniard; and you'd ought to have seen how she would glare on him a
minute, and then look up at me in her pleading way, and then turn and for
the next five minutes search the jury's faces, and by and by drop her
face in her hands for just a little while as if she was most ready to
give up; but out she'd come again directly, and be as live and anxious as
ever.  But when the jury announced the verdict--Not Guilty--and I told
the prisoner he was acquitted and free to go, that woman rose up till she
appeared to be as tall and grand as a seventy-four-gun ship, and says
she:

"'Judge, do I understand you to say that this man is not guilty that
murdered my husband without any cause before my own eyes and my little
children's, and that all has been done to him that ever justice and the
law can do?'

"'The same,' says I.

"And then what do you reckon she did?  Why, she turned on that smirking
Spanish fool like a wildcat, and out with a 'navy' and shot him dead in
open court!"

"That was spirited, I am willing to admit."

"Wasn't it, though?" said the judge admiringly.

"I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  I adjourned court right on the
spot, and we put on our coats and went out and took up a collection for
her and her cubs, and sent them over the mountains to their friends.
Ah, she was a spirited wench!"






INFORMATION WANTED

                              "WASHINGTON, December 10, 1867.

"Could you give me any information respecting such islands, if any, as
the government is going to purchase?"

It is an uncle of mine that wants to know.  He is an industrious man and
well disposed, and wants to make a living in an honest, humble way, but
more especially he wants to be quiet.  He wishes to settle down, and be
quiet and unostentatious.  He has been to the new island St. Thomas, but
he says he thinks things are unsettled there.  He went there early with
an attache of the State Department, who was sent down with money to pay
for the island.  My uncle had his money in the same box, and so when they
went ashore, getting a receipt, the sailors broke open the box and took
all the money, not making any distinction between government money, which
was legitimate money to be stolen, and my uncle's, which was his own
private property, and should have been respected.  But he came home and
got some more and went back.  And then he took the fever.  There are
seven kinds of fever down there, you know; and, as his blood was out of
order by reason of loss of sleep and general wear and tear of mind, he
failed to cure the first fever, and then somehow he got the other six.
He is not a kind of man that enjoys fevers, though he is well meaning and
always does what he thinks is right, and so he was a good deal annoyed
when it appeared he was going to die.

But he worried through, and got well and started a farm.  He fenced it
in, and the next day that great storm came on and washed the most of it
over to Gibraltar, or around there somewhere.  He only said, in his
patient way, that it was gone, and he wouldn't bother about trying to
find out where it went to, though it was his opinion it went to
Gibraltar.

Then he invested in a mountain, and started a farm up there, so as to be
out of the way when the sea came ashore again.  It was a good mountain,
and a good farm, but it wasn't any use; an earthquake came the next night
and shook it all down.  It was all fragments, you know, and so mixed up
with another man's property that he could not tell which were his
fragments without going to law; and he would not do that, because his
main object in going to St. Thomas was to be quiet.  All that he wanted
was to settle down and be quiet.

He thought it all over, and finally he concluded to try the low ground
again, especially as he wanted to start a brickyard this time.  He bought
a flat, and put out a hundred thousand bricks to dry preparatory to
baking them.  But luck appeared to be against him.  A volcano shoved
itself through there that night, and elevated his brickyard about two
thousand feet in the air.  It irritated him a good deal.  He has been up
there, and he says the bricks are all baked right enough, but he can't
get them down.  At first, he thought maybe the government would get the
bricks down for him, because since government bought the island, it ought
to protect the property where a man has invested in good faith; but all
he wants is quiet, and so he is not going to apply for the subsidy he was
thinking about.

He went back there last week in a couple of ships of war, to prospect
around the coast for a safe place for a farm where he could be quiet;
but a great "tidal wave" came, and hoisted both of the ships out into one
of the interior counties, and he came near losing his life.  So he has
given up prospecting in a ship, and is discouraged.

Well, now he don't know what to do.  He has tried Alaska; but the bears
kept after him so much, and kept him so much on the jump, as it were,
that he had to leave the country.  He could not be quiet there with those
bears prancing after him all the time.  That is how he came to go to the
new island we have bought--St. Thomas.  But he is getting to think St.
Thomas is not quiet enough for a man of his turn of mind, and that is why
he wishes me to find out if government is likely to buy some more islands
shortly.  He has heard that government is thinking about buying Porto
Rico.  If that is true, he wishes to try Porto Rico, if it is a quiet
place.  How is Porto Rico for his style of man?  Do you think the
government will buy it?






SOME LEARNED FABLES, FOR GOOD OLD BOYS AND GIRLS

IN THREE PARTS


PART FIRST

HOW THE ANIMALS OF THE WOOD SENT OUT A SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION

Once the creatures of the forest held a great convention and appointed a
commission consisting of the most illustrious scientists among them to go
forth, clear beyond the forest and out into the unknown and unexplored
world, to verify the truth of the matters already taught in their schools
and colleges and also to make discoveries.  It was the most imposing
enterprise of the kind the nation had ever embarked in.  True, the
government had once sent Dr. Bull Frog, with a picked crew, to hunt for a
northwesterly passage through the swamp to the right-hand corner of the
wood, and had since sent out many expeditions to hunt for Dr. Bull Frog;
but they never could find him, and so government finally gave him up and
ennobled his mother to show its gratitude for the services her son had
rendered to science.  And once government sent Sir Grass Hopper to hunt
for the sources of the rill that emptied into the swamp; and afterward
sent out many expeditions to hunt for Sir Grass, and at last they were
successful--they found his body, but if he had discovered the sources
meantime, he did not let on.  So government acted handsomely by deceased,
and many envied his funeral.

But these expeditions were trifles compared with the present one; for
this one comprised among its servants the very greatest among the
learned; and besides it was to go to the utterly unvisited regions
believed to lie beyond the mighty forest--as we have remarked before.
How the members were banqueted, and glorified, and talked about!
Everywhere that one of them showed himself, straightway there was a crowd
to gape and stare at him.

Finally they set off, and it was a sight to see the long procession of
dry-land Tortoises heavily laden with savants, scientific instruments,
Glow-Worms and Fire-Flies for signal service, provisions, Ants and
Tumble-Bugs to fetch and carry and delve, Spiders to carry the surveying
chain and do other engineering duty, and so forth and so on; and after
the Tortoises came another long train of ironclads--stately and spacious
Mud Turtles for marine transportation service; and from every Tortoise
and every Turtle flaunted a flaming gladiolus or other splendid banner;
at the head of the column a great band of Bumble-Bees, Mosquitoes,
Katy-Dids, and Crickets discoursed martial music; and the entire train
was under the escort and protection of twelve picked regiments of the
Army Worm.

At the end of three weeks the expedition emerged from the forest and
looked upon the great Unknown World.  Their eyes were greeted with an
impressive spectacle.  A vast level plain stretched before them, watered
by a sinuous stream; and beyond there towered up against the sky along
and lofty barrier of some kind, they did not know what.  The Tumble-Bug
said he believed it was simply land tilted up on its edge, because he
knew he could see trees on it.  But Professor Snail and the others said:

"You are hired to dig, sir--that is all.  We need your muscle, not your
brains.  When we want your opinion on scientific matters, we will hasten
to let you know.  Your coolness is intolerable, too--loafing about here
meddling with august matters of learning, when the other laborers are
pitching camp.  Go along and help handle the baggage."

The Tumble-Bug turned on his heel uncrushed, unabashed, observing to
himself, "If it isn't land tilted up, let me die the death of the
unrighteous."

Professor Bull Frog (nephew of the late explorer) said he believed the
ridge was the wall that inclosed the earth.  He continued:

"Our fathers have left us much learning, but they had not traveled far,
and so we may count this a noble new discovery.  We are safe for renown
now, even though our labors began and ended with this single achievement.
I wonder what this wall is built of?  Can it be fungus?  Fungus is an
honorable good thing to build a wall of."

Professor Snail adjusted his field-glass and examined the rampart
critically.  Finally he said:

"'The fact that it is not diaphanous convinces me that it is a dense
vapor formed by the calorification of ascending moisture dephlogisticated
by refraction.  A few endiometrical experiments would confirm this, but
it is not necessary.  The thing is obvious."

So he shut up his glass and went into his shell to make a note of the
discovery of the world's end, and the nature of it.

"Profound mind!" said Professor Angle-Worm to Professor Field-Mouse;
"profound mind! nothing can long remain a mystery to that august brain."

Night drew on apace, the sentinel crickets were posted, the Glow-Worm and
Fire-Fly lamps were lighted, and the camp sank to silence and sleep.
After breakfast in the morning, the expedition moved on.  About noon a
great avenue was reached, which had in it two endless parallel bars of
some kind of hard black substance, raised the height of the tallest Bull
Frog, above the general level.  The scientists climbed up on these and
examined and tested them in various ways.  They walked along them for a
great distance, but found no end and no break in them.  They could arrive
at no decision.  There was nothing in the records of science that
mentioned anything of this kind.  But at last the bald and venerable
geographer, Professor Mud Turtle, a person who, born poor, and of a
drudging low family, had, by his own native force raised himself to the
headship of the geographers of his generation, said:

"'My friends, we have indeed made a discovery here.  We have found in a
palpable, compact, and imperishable state what the wisest of our fathers
always regarded as a mere thing of the imagination.  Humble yourselves,
my friends, for we stand in a majestic presence.  These are parallels of
latitude!"

Every heart and every head was bowed, so awful, so sublime was the
magnitude of the discovery.  Many shed tears.

The camp was pitched and the rest of the day given up to writing
voluminous accounts of the marvel, and correcting astronomical tables to
fit it.  Toward midnight a demoniacal shriek was heard, then a clattering
and rumbling noise, and the next instant a vast terrific eye shot by,
with a long tail attached, and disappeared in the gloom, still uttering
triumphant shrieks.

The poor damp laborers were stricken to the heart with fright, and
stampeded for the high grass in a body.  But not the scientists.  They
had no superstitions.  They calmly proceeded to exchange theories.
The ancient geographer's opinion was asked.  He went into his shell and
deliberated long and profoundly.  When he came out at last, they all knew
by his worshiping countenance that he brought light.  Said he:

"Give thanks for this stupendous thing which we have been permitted to
witness.  It is the Vernal Equinox!"

There were shoutings and great rejoicings.

"But," said the Angle-Worm, uncoiling after reflection, "this is dead
summer-time."

"Very well," said the Turtle, "we are far from our region; the season
differs with the difference of time between the two points."

"Ah, true:  True enough.  But it is night.  How should the sun pass in
the night?"

"In these distant regions he doubtless passes always in the night at this
hour."

"Yes, doubtless that is true.  But it being night, how is it that we
could see him?"

"It is a great mystery.  I grant that.  But I am persuaded that the
humidity of the atmosphere in these remote regions is such that particles
of daylight adhere to the disk and it was by aid of these that we were
enabled to see the sun in the dark."

This was deemed satisfactory, and due entry was made of the decision.

But about this moment those dreadful shriekings were heard again; again
the rumbling and thundering came speeding up out of the night; and once
more a flaming great eye flashed by and lost itself in gloom and
distance.

The camp laborers gave themselves up for lost.  The savants were sorely
perplexed.  Here was a marvel hard to account for.  They thought and they
talked, they talked and they thought.  Finally the learned and aged Lord
Grand-Daddy-Longlegs, who had been sitting in deep study, with his
slender limbs crossed and his stemmy arms folded, said:

"Deliver your opinions, brethren, and then I will tell my thought--for I
think I have solved this problem."

"So be it, good your lordship," piped the weak treble of the wrinkled and
withered Professor Woodlouse, "for we shall hear from your lordship's
lips naught but wisdom."  [Here the speaker threw in a mess of trite,
threadbare, exasperating quotations from the ancient poets and
philosophers, delivering them with unction in the sounding grandeurs of
the original tongues, they being from the Mastodon, the Dodo, and other
dead languages.]  "Perhaps I ought not to presume to meddle with matters
pertaining to astronomy at all, in such a presence as this, I who have
made it the business of my life to delve only among the riches of the
extinct languages and unearth the opulence of their ancient lore; but
still, as unacquainted as I am with the noble science of astronomy, I beg
with deference and humility to suggest that inasmuch as the last of these
wonderful apparitions proceeded in exactly the opposite direction from
that pursued by the first, which you decide to be the Vernal Equinox,
and greatly resembled it in all particulars, is it not possible, nay
certain, that this last is the Autumnal Equi--"

"O-o-o!"  "O-o-o! go to bed! go to bed!" with annoyed derision from
everybody.  So the poor old Woodlouse retreated out of sight, consumed
with shame.

Further discussion followed, and then the united voice of the commission
begged Lord Longlegs to speak.  He said:

"Fellow-scientists, it is my belief that we have witnessed a thing which
has occurred in perfection but once before in the knowledge of created
beings.  It is a phenomenon of inconceivable importance and interest,
view it as one may, but its interest to us is vastly heightened by an
added knowledge of its nature which no scholar has heretofore possessed
or even suspected.  This great marvel which we have just witnessed,
fellow-savants (it almost takes my breath away), is nothing less than the
transit of Venus!"

Every scholar sprang to his feet pale with astonishment.  Then ensued
tears, handshakings, frenzied embraces, and the most extravagant
jubilations of every sort.  But by and by, as emotion began to retire
within bounds, and reflection to return to the front, the accomplished
Chief Inspector Lizard observed:

"But how is this?  Venus should traverse the sun's surface, not the
earth's."

The arrow went home.  It earned sorrow to the breast of every apostle of
learning there, for none could deny that this was a formidable criticism.
But tranquilly the venerable Duke crossed his limbs behind his ears and
said:

"My friend has touched the marrow of our mighty discovery.  Yes--all that
have lived before us thought a transit of Venus consisted of a flight
across the sun's face; they thought it, they maintained it, they honestly
believed it, simple hearts, and were justified in it by the limitations
of their knowledge; but to us has been granted the inestimable boon of
proving that the transit occurs across the earth's face, for we have SEEN
it!"

The assembled wisdom sat in speechless adoration of this imperial
intellect.  All doubts had instantly departed, like night before the
lightning.

The Tumble-Bug had just intruded, unnoticed.  He now came reeling forward
among the scholars, familiarly slapping first one and then another on the
shoulder, saying "Nice ('ic) nice old boy!" and smiling a smile of
elaborate content.  Arrived at a good position for speaking, he put his
left arm akimbo with his knuckles planted in his hip just under the edge
of his cut-away coat, bent his right leg, placing his toe on the ground
and resting his heel with easy grace against his left shin, puffed out
his aldermanic stomach, opened his lips, leaned his right elbow on
Inspector Lizard's shoulder, and--

But the shoulder was indignantly withdrawn and the hard-handed son of
toil went to earth.  He floundered a bit, but came up smiling, arranged
his attitude with the same careful detail as before, only choosing
Professor Dogtick's shoulder for a support, opened his lips and--

Went to earth again.  He presently scrambled up once more, still smiling,
made a loose effort to brush the dust off his coat and legs, but a smart
pass of his hand missed entirely, and the force of the unchecked impulse
stewed him suddenly around, twisted his legs together, and projected him,
limber and sprawling, into the lap of the Lord Longlegs.  Two or three
scholars sprang forward, flung the low creature head over heels into a
corner, and reinstated the patrician, smoothing his ruffled dignity with
many soothing and regretful speeches.  Professor Bull Frog roared out:

"No more of this, sirrah Tumble-Bug!  Say your say and then get you about
your business with speed!  Quick--what is your errand?  Come move off a
trifle; you smell like a stable; what have you been at?"

"Please ('ic!) please your worship I chanced to light upon a find.  But
no m(e-uck!) matter 'bout that.  There's b('ic !) been another find
which--beg pardon, your honors, what was that th('ic!) thing that ripped
by here first?"

"It was the Vernal Equinox."

"Inf('ic!)fernal equinox.  'At's all right.  D('ic !) Dunno him.  What's
other one?"

"The transit of Venus.

"G('ic !) Got me again.  No matter.  Las' one dropped something."

"Ah, indeed!  Good luck!  Good news!  Quick what is it?"

"M('ic!) Mosey out 'n' see.  It'll pay."

No more votes were taken for four-and-twenty hours.  Then the following
entry was made:

"The commission went in a body to view the find.  It was found to consist
of a hard, smooth, huge object with a rounded summit surmounted by a
short upright projection resembling a section of a cabbage stalk divided
transversely.  This projection was not solid, but was a hollow cylinder
plugged with a soft woody substance unknown to our region--that is, it
had been so plugged, but unfortunately this obstruction had been
heedlessly removed by Norway Rat, Chief of the Sappers and Miners, before
our arrival.  The vast object before us, so mysteriously conveyed from
the glittering domains of space, was found to be hollow and nearly filled
with a pungent liquid of a brownish hue, like rainwater that has stood
for some time.  And such a spectacle as met our view!  Norway Rat was
perched upon the summit engaged in thrusting his tail into the
cylindrical projection, drawing it out dripping, permitting the
struggling multitude of laborers to suck the end of it, then straightway
reinserting it and delivering the fluid to the mob as before.  Evidently
this liquor had strangely potent qualities; for all that partook of it
were immediately exalted with great and pleasurable emotions, and went
staggering about singing ribald songs, embracing, fighting, dancing,
discharging irruptions of profanity, and defying all authority.  Around
us struggled a massed and uncontrolled mob--uncontrolled and likewise
uncontrollable, for the whole army, down to the very sentinels, were mad
like the rest, by reason of the drink.  We were seized upon by these
reckless creatures, and within the hour we, even we, were
undistinguishable from the rest--the demoralization was complete and
universal.  In time the camp wore itself out with its orgies and sank
into a stolid and pitiable stupor, in whose mysterious bonds rank was
forgotten and strange bedfellows made, our eyes, at the resurrection,
being blasted and our souls petrified with the incredible spectacle of
that intolerable stinking scavenger, the Tumble-Bug, and the illustrious
patrician my Lord Grand Daddy, Duke of Longlegs, lying soundly steeped in
sleep, and clasped lovingly in each other's arms, the like whereof hath
not been seen in all the ages that tradition compasseth, and doubtless
none shall ever in this world find faith to master the belief of it save
only we that have beheld the damnable and unholy vision.  Thus
inscrutable be the ways of God, whose will be done!

"This day, by order, did the engineer-in-chief, Herr Spider, rig the
necessary tackle for the overturning of the vast reservoir, and so its
calamitous contents were discharged in a torrent upon the thirsty earth,
which drank it up, and now there is no more danger, we reserving but a
few drops for experiment and scrutiny, and to exhibit to the king and
subsequently preserve among the wonders of the museum.  What this liquid
is has been determined.  It is without question that fierce and most
destructive fluid called lightning.  It was wrested, in its container,
from its storehouse in the clouds, by the resistless might of the flying
planet, and hurled at our feet as she sped by.  An interesting discovery
here results.  Which is, that lightning, kept to itself, is quiescent; it
is the assaulting contact of the thunderbolt that releases it from
captivity, ignites its awful fires, and so produces an instantaneous
combustion and explosion which spread disaster and desolation far and
wide in the earth."

After another day devoted to rest and recovery, the expedition proceeded
upon its way.  Some days later it went into camp in a pleasant part of
the plain, and the savants sallied forth to see what they might find.
Their reward was at hand.  Professor Bull Frog discovered a strange tree,
and called his comrades.  They inspected it with profound interest.  It
was very tall and straight, and wholly devoid of bark, limbs, or foliage.
By triangulation Lord Longlegs determined its altitude; Herr Spider
measured its circumference at the base and computed the circumference at
its top by a mathematical demonstration based upon the warrant furnished
by the uniform degree of its taper upward.  It was considered a very
extraordinary find; and since it was a tree of a hitherto unknown
species, Professor Woodlouse gave it a name of a learned sound, being
none other than that of Professor Bull Frog translated into the ancient
Mastodon language, for it had always been the custom with discoverers to
perpetuate their names and honor themselves by this sort of connection
with their discoveries.

Now Professor Field-Mouse having placed his sensitive ear to the tree,
detected a rich, harmonious sound issuing from it.  This surprising thing
was tested and enjoyed by each scholar in turn, and great was the
gladness and astonishment of all.  Professor Woodlouse was requested to
add to and extend the tree's name so as to make it suggest the musical
quality it possessed--which he did, furnishing the addition Anthem
Singer, done into the Mastodon tongue.

By this time Professor Snail was making some telescopic inspections.
He discovered a great number of these trees, extending in a single rank,
with wide intervals between, as far as his instrument would carry, both
southward and northward.  He also presently discovered that all these
trees were bound together, near their tops, by fourteen great ropes, one
above another, which ropes were continuous, from tree to tree, as far as
his vision could reach.  This was surprising.  Chief Engineer Spider ran
aloft and soon reported that these ropes were simply a web hung thereby
some colossal member of his own species, for he could see its prey
dangling here and there from the strands, in the shape of mighty shreds
and rags that had a woven look about their texture and were no doubt the
discarded skins of prodigious insects which had been caught and eaten.
And then he ran along one of the ropes to make a closer inspection, but
felt a smart sudden burn on the soles of his feet, accompanied by a
paralyzing shock, wherefore he let go and swung himself to the earth by a
thread of his own spinning, and advised all to hurry at once to camp,
lest the monster should appear and get as much interested in the savants
as they were in him and his works.  So they departed with speed, making
notes about the gigantic web as they went.  And that evening the
naturalist of the expedition built a beautiful model of the colossal
spider, having no need to see it in order to do this, because he had
picked up a fragment of its vertebra by the tree, and so knew exactly
what the creature looked like and what its habits and its preferences
were by this simple evidence alone.  He built it with a tail, teeth,
fourteen legs, and a snout, and said it ate grass, cattle, pebbles, and
dirt with equal enthusiasm.  This animal was regarded as a very precious
addition to science.  It was hoped a dead one might be found to stuff.
Professor Woodlouse thought that he and his brother scholars, by lying
hid and being quiet, might maybe catch a live one.  He was advised to try
it.  Which was all the attention that was paid to his suggestion.  The
conference ended with the naming the monster after the naturalist, since
he, after God, had created it.

"And improved it, mayhap," muttered the Tumble-Bug, who was intruding
again, according to his idle custom and his unappeasable curiosity.

END OF PART FIRST




SOME LEARNED FABLES FOR GOOD OLD BOYS AND GIRLS

PART SECOND

HOW THE ANIMALS OF THE WOOD COMPLETED THEIR SCIENTIFIC LABORS

A week later the expedition camped in the midst of a collection of
wonderful curiosities.  These were a sort of vast caverns of stone that
rose singly and in bunches out of the plain by the side of the river
which they had first seen when they emerged from the forest.  These
caverns stood in long, straight rows on opposite sides of broad aisles
that were bordered with single ranks of trees.  The summit of each cavern
sloped sharply both ways.  Several horizontal rows of great square holes,
obstructed by a thin, shiny, transparent substance, pierced the frontage
of each cavern.  Inside were caverns within caverns; and one might ascend
and visit these minor compartments by means of curious winding ways
consisting of continuous regular terraces raised one above another.
There were many huge, shapeless objects in each compartment which were
considered to have been living creatures at one time, though now the thin
brown skin was shrunken and loose, and rattled when disturbed.  Spiders
were here in great number, and their cobwebs, stretched in all directions
and wreathing the great skinny dead together, were a pleasant spectacle,
since they inspired with life and wholesome cheer a scene which would
otherwise have brought to the mind only a sense of forsakenness and
desolation.  Information was sought of these spiders, but in vain.  They
were of a different nationality from those with the expedition, and their
language seemed but a musical, meaningless jargon.  They were a timid,
gentle race, but ignorant, and heathenish worshipers of unknown gods.
The expedition detailed a great detachment of missionaries to teach them
the true religion, and in a week's time a precious work had been wrought
among those darkened creatures, not three families being by that time at
peace with each other or having a settled belief in any system of
religion whatever.  This encouraged the expedition to establish a colony
of missionaries there permanently, that the work of grace might go on.

But let us not outrun our narrative.  After close examination of the
fronts of the caverns, and much thinking and exchanging of theories, the
scientists determined the nature of these singular formations.  They said
that each belonged mainly to the Old Red Sandstone period; that the
cavern fronts rose in innumerable and wonderfully regular strata high in
the air, each stratum about five frog-spans thick, and that in the
present discovery lay an overpowering refutation of all received geology;
for between every two layers of Old Red Sandstone reposed a thin layer of
decomposed limestone; so instead of there having been but one Old Red
Sandstone period there had certainly been not less than a hundred and
seventy-five!  And by the same token it was plain that there had also
been a hundred and seventy-five floodings of the earth and depositings of
limestone strata!  The unavoidable deduction from which pair of facts was
the overwhelming truth that the world, instead of being only two hundred
thousand years old, was older by millions upon millions of years!  And
there was another curious thing: every stratum of Old Red Sandstone was
pierced and divided at mathematically regular intervals by vertical
strata of limestone.  Up-shootings of igneous rock through fractures in
water formations were common; but here was the first instance where
water-formed rock had been so projected.  It was a great and noble
discovery, and its value to science was considered to be inestimable.

A critical examination of some of the lower strata demonstrated the
presence of fossil ants and tumble-bugs (the latter accompanied by their
peculiar goods), and with high gratification the fact was enrolled upon
the scientific record; for this was proof that these vulgar laborers
belonged to the first and lowest orders of created beings, though at the
same time there was something repulsive in the reflection that the
perfect and exquisite creature of the modern uppermost order owed its
origin to such ignominious beings through the mysterious law of
Development of Species.

The Tumble-Bug, overhearing this discussion, said he was willing that the
parvenus of these new times should find what comfort they might in their
wise-drawn theories, since as far as he was concerned he was content to
be of the old first families and proud to point back to his place among
the old original aristocracy of the land.

"Enjoy your mushroom dignity, stinking of the varnish of yesterday's
veneering, since you like it," said he; "suffice it for the Tumble-Bugs
that they come of a race that rolled their fragrant spheres down the
solemn aisles of antiquity, and left their imperishable works embalmed in
the Old Red Sandstone to proclaim it to the wasting centuries as they
file along the highway of Time!"

"Oh, take a walk!" said the chief of the expedition, with derision.

The summer passed, and winter approached.  In and about many of the
caverns were what seemed to be inscriptions.  Most of the scientists said
they were inscriptions, a few said they were not.  The chief philologist,
Professor Woodlouse, maintained that they were writings, done in a
character utterly unknown to scholars, and in a language equally unknown.
He had early ordered his artists and draftsmen to make facsimiles of all
that were discovered; and had set himself about finding the key to the
hidden tongue.  In this work he had followed the method which had always
been used by decipherers previously.  That is to say, he placed a number
of copies of inscriptions before him and studied them both collectively
and in detail.  To begin with, he placed the following copies together:

     THE AMERICAN HOTEL.      MEALS AT ALL HOURS.
     THE SHADES.              NO SMOKING.
     BOATS FOR HIRE CHEAP     UNION PRAYER MEETING, 6 P.M.
     BILLIARDS.               THE WATERSIDE JOURNAL.
     THE A1 BARBER SHOP.      TELEGRAPH OFFICE.
     KEEP OFF THE GRASS.      TRY BRANDRETH'S PILLS.
     COTTAGES FOR RENT DURING THE WATERING SEASON.
     FOR SALE CHEAP.          FOR SALE CHEAP.
     FOR SALE CHEAP.          FOR SALE CHEAP.

At first it seemed to the professor that this was a sign-language, and
that each word was represented by a distinct sign; further examination
convinced him that it was a written language, and that every letter of
its alphabet was represented by a character of its own; and finally he
decided that it was a language which conveyed itself partly by letters,
and partly by signs or hieroglyphics.  This conclusion was forced upon
him by the discovery of several specimens of the following nature:

He observed that certain inscriptions were met with in greater frequency
than others.  Such as "FOR SALE CHEAP"; "BILLIARDS"; "S. T.--1860--X";
"KENO"; "ALE ON DRAUGHT."  Naturally, then, these must be religious
maxims.  But this idea was cast aside by and by, as the mystery of the
strange alphabet began to clear itself.  In time, the professor was
enabled to translate several of the inscriptions with considerable
plausibility, though not to the perfect satisfaction of all the scholars.
Still, he made constant and encouraging progress.

Finally a cavern was discovered with these inscriptions upon it:

                           WATERSIDE MUSEUM.
                           Open at All Hours.
                          Admission 50 cents.
                        WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF
                      WAX-WORKS, ANCIENT FOSSILS,
                                  ETC.

Professor Woodlouse affirmed that the word "Museum" was equivalent to the
phrase "lumgath molo," or "Burial Place."  Upon entering, the scientists
were well astonished.  But what they saw may be best conveyed in the
language of their own official report:

"Erect, in a row, were a sort of rigid great figures which struck us
instantly as belonging to the long extinct species of reptile called MAN,
described in our ancient records.  This was a peculiarly gratifying
discovery, because of late times it has become fashionable to regard this
creature as a myth and a superstition, a work of the inventive
imaginations of our remote ancestors.  But here, indeed, was Man,
perfectly preserved, in a fossil state.  And this was his burial place,
as already ascertained by the inscription.  And now it began to be
suspected that the caverns we had been inspecting had been his ancient
haunts in that old time that he roamed the earth--for upon the breast of
each of these tall fossils was an inscription in the character heretofore
noticed.  One read, 'CAPTAIN KIDD THE PIRATE'; another, 'QUEEN VICTORIA';
another, 'ABE LINCOLN'; another, 'GEORGE WASHINGTON,' etc.

"With feverish interest we called for our ancient scientific records to
discover if perchance the description of Man there set down would tally
with the fossils before us.  Professor Woodlouse read it aloud in its
quaint and musty phraseology, to wit:

"'In ye time of our fathers Man still walked ye earth, as by tradition we
know.  It was a creature of exceeding great size, being compassed about
with a loose skin, sometimes of one color, sometimes of many, the which
it was able to cast at will; which being done, the hind legs were
discovered to be armed with short claws like to a mole's but broader, and
ye forelegs with fingers of a curious slimness and a length much more
prodigious than a frog's, armed also with broad talons for scratching in
ye earth for its food.  It had a sort of feathers upon its head such as
hath a rat, but longer, and a beak suitable for seeking its food by ye
smell thereof.  When it was stirred with happiness, it leaked water from
its eyes; and when it suffered or was sad, it manifested it with a
horrible hellish cackling clamor that was exceeding dreadful to hear and
made one long that it might rend itself and perish, and so end its
troubles.  Two Mans being together, they uttered noises at each other
like this: "Haw-haw-haw--dam good, dam good," together with other sounds
of more or less likeness to these, wherefore ye poets conceived that they
talked, but poets be always ready to catch at any frantic folly, God he
knows.  Sometimes this creature goeth about with a long stick ye which it
putteth to its face and bloweth fire and smoke through ye same with a
sudden and most damnable bruit and noise that doth fright its prey to
death, and so seizeth it in its talons and walketh away to its habitat,
consumed with a most fierce and devilish joy.'

"Now was the description set forth by our ancestors wonderfully indorsed
and confirmed by the fossils before us, as shall be seen.  The specimen
marked 'Captain Kidd' was examined in detail.  Upon its head and part of
its face was a sort of fur like that upon the tail of a horse.  With
great labor its loose skin was removed, whereupon its body was discovered
to be of a polished white texture, thoroughly petrified.  The straw it
had eaten, so many ages gone by, was still in its body, undigested--and
even in its legs.

"Surrounding these fossils were objects that would mean nothing to the
ignorant, but to the eye of science they were a revelation.  They laid
bare the secrets of dead ages.  These musty Memorials told us when Man
lived, and what were his habits.  For here, side by side with Man, were
the evidences that he had lived in the earliest ages of creation, the
companion of the other low orders of life that belonged to that forgotten
time.  Here was the fossil nautilus that sailed the primeval seas; here
was the skeleton of the mastodon, the ichthyosaurus, the cave-bear, the
prodigious elk.  Here, also, were the charred bones of some of these
extinct animals and of the young of Man's own species, split lengthwise,
showing that to his taste the marrow was a toothsome luxury.  It was
plain that Man had robbed those bones of their contents, since no
tooth-mark of any beast was upon them albeit the Tumble-Bug intruded the
remark that 'no beast could mark a bone with its teeth, anyway.'  Here
were proofs that Man had vague, groveling notions of art; for this fact
was conveyed by certain things marked with the untranslatable words,
'FLINT HATCHETS, KNIVES, ARROW--HEADS, AND BONE ORNAMENTS OF PRIMEVAL
MAN.' Some of these seemed to be rude weapons chipped out of flint, and
in a secret place was found some more in process of construction, with
this untranslatable legend, on a thin, flimsy material, lying by:

     "'Jones, if you don't want to be discharged from the Musseum, make
     the next primeaveal weppons more careful--you couldn't even fool one
     of these sleepy old syentific grannys from the Coledge with the last
     ones.  And mind you the animles you carved on some of the Bone
     Ornaments is a blame sight too good for any primeaveal man that was
     ever fooled.--Varnum, Manager.'

"Back of the burial place was a mass of ashes, showing that Man always
had a feast at a funeral--else why the ashes in such a place; and
showing, also, that he believed in God and the immortality of the soil
--else why these solemn ceremonies?

"To, sum up.  We believe that Man had a written language.  We know that
he indeed existed at one time, and is not a myth; also, that he was the
companion of the cave-bear, the mastodon, and other extinct species; that
he cooked and ate them and likewise the young of his own kind; also, that
he bore rude weapons, and knew something of art; that he imagined he had
a soul, and pleased himself with the fancy that it was immortal.  But let
us not laugh; there may be creatures in existence to whom we and our
vanities and profundities may seem as ludicrous."

END OF PART SECOND




SOME LEARNED FABLES FOR GOOD OLD BOYS AND GIRLS

PART THIRD

Near the margin of the great river the scientists presently found a huge,
shapely stone, with this inscription:

     "In 1847, in the spring, the river overflowed its banks and covered
     the whole township.  The depth was from two to six feet.  More than
     900 head of cattle were lost, and many homes destroyed.  The Mayor
     ordered this memorial to be erected to perpetuate the event.  God
     spare us the repetition of it!"

With infinite trouble, Professor Woodlouse succeeded in making a
translation of this inscription, which was sent home, and straightway an
enormous excitement was created about it.  It confirmed, in a remarkable
way, certain treasured traditions of the ancients.  The translation was
slightly marred by one or two untranslatable words, but these did not
impair the general clearness of the meaning.  It is here presented:

     "One thousand eight hundred and forty-seven years ago, the (fires?)
     descended and consumed the whole city.  Only some nine hundred souls
     were saved, all others destroyed.  The (king?) commanded this stone
     to be set up to .  .  .  (untranslatable) .  .  .  prevent the
     repetition of it."

This was the first successful and satisfactory translation that had been
made of the mysterious character let behind him by extinct man, and it
gave Professor Woodlouse such reputation that at once every seat of
learning in his native land conferred a degree of the most illustrious
grade upon him, and it was believed that if he had been a soldier and had
turned his splendid talents to the extermination of a remote tribe of
reptiles, the king would have ennobled him and made him rich.  And this,
too, was the origin of that school of scientists called Manologists,
whose specialty is the deciphering of the ancient records of the extinct
bird termed Man.  [For it is now decided that Man was a bird and not a
reptile.]  But Professor Woodlouse began and remained chief of these, for
it was granted that no translations were ever so free from error as his.
Others made mistakes he seemed incapable of it.  Many a memorial of the
lost race was afterward found, but none ever attained to the renown and
veneration achieved by the "Mayoritish Stone" it being so called from the
word "Mayor" in it, which, being translated "King," "Mayoritish Stone"
was but another way of saying "King Stone."

Another time the expedition made a great "find."  It was a vast round
flattish mass, ten frog-spans in diameter and five or six high.
Professor Snail put on his spectacles and examined it all around, and
then climbed up and inspected the top.  He said:

"The result of my perlustration and perscontation of this isoperimetrical
protuberance is a belief at it is one of those rare and wonderful
creation left by the Mound Builders.  The fact that this one is
lamellibranchiate in its formation, simply adds to its interest as being
possibly of a different kind from any we read of in the records of
science, but yet in no manner marring its authenticity.  Let the
megalophonous grasshopper sound a blast and summon hither the perfunctory
and circumforaneous Tumble-Bug, to the end that excavations may be made
and learning gather new treasures."

Not a Tumble-Bug could be found on duty, so the Mound was excavated by a
working party of Ants.  Nothing was discovered.  This would have been a
great disappointment, had not the venerable Longlegs explained the
matter.  He said:

"It is now plain to me that the mysterious and forgotten race of Mound
Builders did not always erect these edifices as mausoleums, else in this
case, as in all previous cases, their skeletons would be found here,
along with the rude implements which the creatures used in life.  Is not
this manifest?"

"True! true!" from everybody.

"Then we have made a discovery of peculiar value here; a discovery which
greatly extends our knowledge of this creature in place of diminishing
it; a discovery which will add luster to the achievements of this
expedition and win for us the commendations of scholars everywhere.
For the absence of the customary relics here means nothing less than
this: The Mound Builder, instead of being the ignorant, savage reptile we
have been taught to consider him, was a creature of cultivation and high
intelligence, capable of not only appreciating worthy achievements of the
great and noble of his species, but of commemorating them!
Fellow-scholars, this stately Mound is not a sepulcher, it is a monument!"

A profound impression was produced by this.

But it was interrupted by rude and derisive laughter--and the Tumble-Bug
appeared.

"A monument!" quoth he.  "A monument setup by a Mound Builder!  Aye, so
it is!  So it is, indeed, to the shrewd keen eye of science; but to an
ignorant poor devil who has never seen a college, it is not a Monument,
strictly speaking, but is yet a most rich and noble property; and with
your worship's good permission I will proceed to manufacture it into
spheres of exceedings grace and--"

The Tumble-Bug was driven away with stripes, and the draftsmen of the
expedition were set to making views of the Monument from different
standpoints, while Professor Woodlouse, in a frenzy of scientific zeal,
traveled all over it and all around it hoping to find an inscription.
But if there had ever been one, it had decayed or been removed by some
vandal as a relic.

The views having been completed, it was now considered safe to load the
precious Monument itself upon the backs of four of the largest Tortoises
and send it home to the king's museum, which was done; and when it
arrived it was received with enormous Mat and escorted to its future
abiding-place by thousands of enthusiastic citizens, King Bullfrog XVI.
himself attending and condescending to sit enthroned upon it throughout
the progress.

The growing rigor of the weather was now admonishing the scientists to
close their labors for the present, so they made preparations to journey
homeward.  But even their last day among the Caverns bore fruit; for one
of the scholars found in an out-of-the-way corner of the Museum or
"Burial Place" a most strange and extraordinary thing.  It was nothing
less than a double Man-Bird lashed together breast to breast by a natural
ligament, and labeled with the untranslatable words, "Siamese Twins."
The official report concerning this thing closed thus:

"Wherefore it appears that there were in old times two distinct species
of this majestic fowl, the one being single and the other double.  Nature
has a reason for all things.  It is plain to the eye of science that the
Double-Man originally inhabited a region where dangers abounded; hence he
was paired together to the end that while one part slept the other might
watch; and likewise that, danger being discovered, there might always be
a double instead of a single power to oppose it.  All honor to the
mystery-dispelling eye of godlike Science!"

And near the Double Man-Bird was found what was plainly an ancient record
of his, marked upon numberless sheets of a thin white substance and bound
together.  Almost the first glance that Professor Woodlouse threw into it
revealed this following sentence, which he instantly translated and laid
before the scientists, in a tremble, and it uplifted every soul there
with exultation and astonishment:

"In truth it is believed by many that the lower animals reason and talk
together."

When the great official report of the expedition appeared, the above
sentence bore this comment:

"Then there are lower animals than Man!  This remarkable passage can mean
nothing else.  Man himself is extinct, but they may still exist.  What
can they be?  Where do they inhabit?  One's enthusiasm bursts all bounds
in the contemplation of the brilliant field of discovery and
investigation here thrown open to science.  We close our labors with the
humble prayer that your Majesty will immediately appoint a commission and
command it to rest not nor spare expense until the search for this
hitherto unsuspected race of the creatures of God shall be crowned with
success."

The expedition then journeyed homeward after its long absence and its
faithful endeavors, and was received with a mighty ovation by the whole
grateful country.  There were vulgar, ignorant carpers, of course, as
there always are and always will be; and naturally one of these was the
obscene Tumble-Bug.  He said that all he had learned by his travels was
that science only needed a spoonful of supposition to build a mountain of
demonstrated fact out of; and that for the future he meant to be content
with the knowledge that nature had made free to all creatures and not go
prying into the august secrets of the Deity.






MY LATE SENATORIAL SECRETARYSHIP--[Written about 1867.]

I am not a private secretary to a senator any more I now.  I held the
berth two months in security and in great cheerfulness of spirit, but my
bread began to return from over the waters then--that is to say, my works
came back and revealed themselves.  I judged it best to resign.  The way
of it was this.  My employer sent for me one morning tolerably early,
and, as soon as I had finished inserting some conundrums clandestinely
into his last great speech upon finance, I entered the presence.  There
was something portentous in his appearance.  His cravat was untied, his
hair was in a state of disorder, and his countenance bore about it the
signs of a suppressed storm.  He held a package of letters in his tense
grasp, and I knew that the dreaded Pacific mail was in.  He said:

"I thought you were worthy of confidence."

I said, "Yes, sir."

He said, "I gave you a letter from certain of my constituents in the
State of Nevada, asking the establishment of a post-office at Baldwin's
Ranch, and told you to answer it, as ingeniously as you could, with
arguments which should persuade them that there was no real necessity for
as office at that place."

I felt easier.  "Oh, if that is all, sir, I did do that."

"Yes, you did.  I will read your answer for your own humiliation:

                                        'WASHINGTON, Nov. 24
     'Messrs. Smith, Jones, and others.

     'GENTLEMEN:  What the mischief do you suppose you want with a
     post-office at Baldwin's Ranch?  It would not do you any good.
     If any letters came there, you couldn't read them, you know; and,
     besides, such letters as ought to pass through, with money in them,
     for other localities, would not be likely to get through, you must
     perceive at once; and that would make trouble for us all.  No, don't
     bother about a post-office in your camp.  I have your best interests
     at heart, and feel that it would only be an ornamental folly.  What
     you want is a nice jail, you know--a nice, substantial jail and a
     free school.  These will be a lasting benefit to you.  These will
     make you really contented and happy.  I will move in the matter at
     once.
                    'Very truly, etc.,
                              Mark Twain,
                    'For James W. N------, U. S. Senator.'

"That is the way you answered that letter.  Those people say they will
hang me, if I ever enter that district again; and I am perfectly
satisfied they will, too."

"Well, sir, I did not know I was doing any harm.  I only wanted to
convince them."

"Ah.  Well, you did convince them, I make no manner of doubt.  Now, here
is another specimen.  I gave you a petition from certain gentlemen of
Nevada, praying that I would get a bill through Congress incorporating
the Methodist Episcopal Church of the State of Nevada.  I told you to
say, in reply, that the creation of such a law came more properly within
the province of the state legislature; and to endeavor to show them that,
in the present feebleness of the religious element in that new
commonwealth, the expediency of incorporating the church was
questionable.  What did you write?

                                        "'WASHINGTON, Nov. 24.

     "'Rev. John Halifax and others.

     "'GENTLEMEN: You will have to go to the state legislature about that
     speculation of yours--Congress don't know anything about religion.
     But don't you hurry to go there, either; because this thing you
     propose to do out in that new country isn't expedient--in fact, it
     is ridiculous.  Your religious people there are too feeble, in
     intellect, in morality, in piety in everything, pretty much.  You
     had better drop this--you can't make it work.  You can't issue stock
     on an incorporation like that--or if you could, it would only keep
     you in trouble all the time.  The other denominations would abuse
     it, and "bear" it, and "sell it short," and break it down.  They
     would do with it just as they would with one of your silver-mines
     out there--they would try to make all the world believe it was
     "wildcat."  You ought not to do anything that is calculated to bring
     a sacred thing into disrepute.  You ought to be ashamed of
     yourselves that is what I think about it.  You close your petition
     with the words: "And we will ever pray."  I think you had better you
     need to do it.
                         "'Very truly, etc.,
                                   "'MARK TWAIN,
                         "'For James W. N-----, U. S. Senator.'


"That luminous epistle finishes me with the religious element among my
constituents.  But that my political murder might be made sure, some evil
instinct prompted me to hand you this memorial from the grave company of
elders composing the board of aldermen of the city of San Francisco, to
try your hand upon a memorial praying that the city's right to the
water-lots upon the city front might be established by law of Congress.
I told you this was a dangerous matter to move in.  I told you to write a
non-committal letter to the aldermen--an ambiguous letter--a letter that
should avoid, as far as possible, all real consideration and discussion
of the water-lot question.  If there is any feeling left in you--any
shame--surely this letter you wrote, in obedience to that order, ought to
evoke it, when its words fall upon your ears:

                                        'WASHINGTON, Nov. 27

     'The Honorable Board of Aldermen, etc.

     'GENTLEMEN: George Washington, the revered Father of his Country,
     is dead.  His long and brilliant career is closed, alas! forever.
     He was greatly respected in this section of the country, and his
     untimely decease cast a gloom over the whole community.  He died on
     the 14th day of December, 1799.  He passed peacefully away from the
     scene of his honors and his great achievements, the most lamented
     hero and the best beloved that ever earth hath yielded unto Death.
     At such a time as this, you speak of water-lots! what a lot was his!

     'What is fame!  Fame is an accident.  Sir Isaac Newton discovered
     an apple falling to the ground--a trivial discovery, truly, and one
     which a million men had made before him--but his parents were
     influential, and so they tortured that small circumstance into
     something wonderful, and, lo! the simple world took up the shout
     and, in almost the twinkling of an eye, that man was famous.
     Treasure these thoughts.

     'Poesy, sweet poesy, who shall estimate what the world owes to
     thee!

     "Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow--
     And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go."

                    "Jack and Gill went up the hill
                    To draw a pail of water;
                    Jack fell down and broke his crown,
                    And Gill came tumbling after."

     'For simplicity, elegance of diction, and freedom from immoral
     tendencies, I regard those two poems in the light of gems.  They
     are suited to all grades of intelligence, to every sphere of life
     --to the field, to the nursery, to the guild.  Especially should
     no Board of Aldermen be without them.

     'Venerable fossils! write again.  Nothing improves one so much as
     friendly correspondence.  Write again--and if there is anything in
     this memorial of yours that refers to anything in particular, do
     not be backward about explaining it.  We shall always be happy to
     hear you chirp.
                         'Very truly, etc.,
                                   "'MARK TWAIN,
                         'For James W. N-----, U. S. Senator.'


"That is an atrocious, a ruinous epistle!  Distraction!"

"Well, sir, I am really sorry if there is anything wrong about it--but
--but it appears to me to dodge the water-lot question."

"Dodge the mischief!  Oh!--but never mind.  As long as destruction must
come now, let it be complete.  Let it be complete--let this last of your
performances, which I am about to read, make a finality of it.  I am a
ruined man.  I had my misgivings when I gave you the letter from
Humboldt, asking that the post route from Indian Gulch to Shakespeare Gap
and intermediate points be changed partly to the old Mormon trail.  But I
told you it was a delicate question, and warned you to deal with it
deftly--to answer it dubiously, and leave them a little in the dark.
And your fatal imbecility impelled you to make this disastrous reply.
I should think you would stop your ears, if you are not dead to all
shame:

                                        "'WASHINGTON, Nov. 30.

     "'Messes. Perkins, Wagner, et at.

     "'GENTLEMEN: It is a delicate question about this Indian trail, but,
     handled with proper deftness and dubiousness, I doubt not we shall
     succeed in some measure or otherwise, because the place where the
     route leaves the Lassen Meadows, over beyond where those two Shawnee
     chiefs, Dilapidated Vengeance and Biter-of-the-Clouds, were scalped
     last winter, this being the favorite direction to some, but others
     preferring something else in consequence of things, the Mormon trail
     leaving Mosby's at three in the morning, and passing through Jaw
     bone Flat to Blucher, and then down by Jug-Handle, the road passing
     to the right of it, and naturally leaving it on the right, too, and
     Dawson's on the left of the trail where it passes to the left of
     said Dawson's and onward thence to Tomahawk, thus making the route
     cheaper, easier of access to all who can get at it, and compassing
     all the desirable objects so considered by others, and, therefore,
     conferring the most good upon the greatest number, and,
     consequently, I am encouraged to hope we shall.  However, I shall be
     ready, and happy, to afford you still further information upon the
     subject, from time to time, as you may desire it and the Post-office
     Department be enabled to furnish it to me.
                              "'Very truly, etc.,
                                        "'MARK TWAIN,
                              "'For James W. N-----, U. S. Senator.'


"There--now what do you think of that?"

"Well, I don't know, sir.  It--well, it appears to me--to be dubious
enough."

"Du--leave the house!  I am a ruined man. Those Humboldt savages never
will forgive me for tangling their brains up with this inhuman letter.
I have lost the respect of the Methodist Church, the board of aldermen--"

"Well, I haven't anything to say about that, because I may have missed it
a little in their cases, but I was too many for the Baldwin's Ranch
people, General!"

"Leave the house!  Leave it forever and forever, too."

I regarded that as a sort of covert intimation that my service could be
dispensed with, and so I resigned.  I never will be a private secretary
to a senator again.  You can't please that kind of people.  They don't
know anything.  They can't appreciate a party's efforts.






A FASHION ITEM--[Written about 1867.]

At General G----'s reception the other night, the most fashionably
dressed lady was Mrs. G. C.  She wore a pink satin dress, plain in front
but with a good deal of rake to it--to the train, I mean; it was said to
be two or three yards long.  One could see it creeping along the floor
some little time after the woman was gone.  Mrs. C. wore also a white
bodice, cut bias, with Pompadour sleeves, flounced with ruches; low neck,
with the inside handkerchief not visible, with white kid gloves.  She had
on a pearl necklace, which glinted lonely, high up the midst of that
barren waste of neck and shoulders.  Her hair was frizzled into a tangled
chaparral, forward of her ears, aft it was drawn together, and compactly
bound and plaited into a stump like a pony's tail, and furthermore was
canted upward at a sharp angle, and ingeniously supported by a red velvet
crupper, whose forward extremity was made fast with a half-hitch around a
hairpin on the top of her head.  Her whole top hamper was neat and
becoming.  She had a beautiful complexion when she first came, but it
faded out by degrees in an unaccountable way.  However, it is not lost
for good.  I found the most of it on my shoulder afterward.  (I stood
near the door when she squeezed out with the throng.)  There were other
ladies present, but I only took notes of one as a specimen.  I would
gladly enlarge upon the subject were I able to do it justice.






RILEY-NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT

One of the best men in Washington--or elsewhere--is RILEY, correspondent
of one of the great San Francisco dailies.

Riley is full of humor, and has an unfailing vein of irony, which makes
his conversation to the last degree entertaining (as long as the remarks
are about somebody else).  But notwithstanding the possession of these
qualities, which should enable a man to write a happy and an appetizing
letter, Riley's newspaper letters often display a more than earthly
solemnity, and likewise an unimaginative devotion to petrified facts,
which surprise and distress all men who know him in his unofficial
character.  He explains this curious thing by saying that his employers
sent him to Washington to write facts, not fancy, and that several times
he has come near losing his situation by inserting humorous remarks
which, not being looked for at headquarters, and consequently not
understood, were thought to be dark and bloody speeches intended to
convey signals and warnings to murderous secret societies, or something
of that kind, and so were scratched out with a shiver and a prayer and
cast into the stove.  Riley says that sometimes he is so afflicted with
a yearning to write a sparkling and absorbingly readable letter that he
simply cannot resist it, and so he goes to his den and revels in the
delight of untrammeled scribbling; and then, with suffering such as only
a mother can know, he destroys the pretty children of his fancy and
reduces his letter to the required dismal accuracy.  Having seen Riley do
this very thing more than once, I know whereof I speak.  Often I have
laughed with him over a happy passage, and grieved to see him plow his
pen through it.  He would say, "I had to write that or die; and I've got
to scratch it out or starve.  They wouldn't stand it, you know."

I think Riley is about the most entertaining company I ever saw.  We
lodged together in many places in Washington during the winter of '67-8,
moving comfortably from place to place, and attracting attention by
paying our board--a course which cannot fail to make a person conspicuous
in Washington.  Riley would tell all about his trip to California in the
early days, by way of the Isthmus and the San Juan River; and about his
baking bread in San Francisco to gain a living, and setting up tenpins,
and practising law, and opening oysters, and delivering lectures, and
teaching French, and tending bar, and reporting for the newspapers, and
keeping dancing-schools, and interpreting Chinese in the courts--which
latter was lucrative, and Riley was doing handsomely and laying up a
little money when people began to find fault because his translations
were too "free," a thing for which Riley considered he ought not to be
held responsible, since he did not know a word of the Chinese tongue, and
only adopted interpreting as a means of gaining an honest livelihood.
Through the machinations of enemies he was removed from the position of
official interpreter, and a man put in his place who was familiar with
the Chinese language, but did not know any English.  And Riley used to
tell about publishing a newspaper up in what is Alaska now, but was only
an iceberg then, with a population composed of bears, walruses, Indians,
and other animals; and how the iceberg got adrift at last, and left all
his paying subscribers behind, and as soon as the commonwealth floated
out of the jurisdiction of Russia the people rose and threw off their
allegiance and ran up the English flag, calculating to hook on and become
an English colony as they drifted along down the British Possessions; but
a land breeze and a crooked current carried them by, and they ran up the
Stars and Stripes and steered for California, missed the connection again
and swore allegiance to Mexico, but it wasn't any use; the anchors came
home every time, and away they went with the northeast trades drifting
off sideways toward the Sandwich Islands, whereupon they ran up the
Cannibal flag and had a grand human barbecue in honor of it, in which it
was noticed that the better a man liked a friend the better he enjoyed
him; and as soon as they got fairly within the tropics the weather got so
fearfully hot that the iceberg began to melt, and it got so sloppy under
foot that it was almost impossible for ladies to get about at all; and at
last, just as they came in sight of the islands, the melancholy remnant
of the once majestic iceberg canted first to one side and then to the
other, and then plunged under forever, carrying the national archives
along with it--and not only the archives and the populace, but some
eligible town lots which had increased in value as fast as they
diminished in size in the tropics, and which Riley could have sold at
thirty cents a pound and made himself rich if he could have kept the
province afloat ten hours longer and got her into port.

Riley is very methodical, untiringly accommodating, never forgets
anything that is to be attended to, is a good son, a stanch friend, and a
permanent reliable enemy.  He will put himself to any amount of trouble
to oblige a body, and therefore always has his hands full of things to be
done for the helpless and the shiftless.  And he knows how to do nearly
everything, too.  He is a man whose native benevolence is a well-spring
that never goes dry.  He stands always ready to help whoever needs help,
as far as he is able--and not simply with his money, for that is a cheap
and common charity, but with hand and brain, and fatigue of limb and
sacrifice of time.  This sort of men is rare.

Riley has a ready wit, a quickness and aptness at selecting and applying
quotations, and a countenance that is as solemn and as blank as the back
side of a tombstone when he is delivering a particularly exasperating
joke.  One night a negro woman was burned to death in a house next door
to us, and Riley said that our landlady would be oppressively emotional
at breakfast, because she generally made use of such opportunities as
offered, being of a morbidly sentimental turn, and so we should find it
best to let her talk along and say nothing back--it was the only way to
keep her tears out of the gravy.  Riley said there never was a funeral in
the neighborhood but that the gravy was watery for a week.

And, sure enough, at breakfast the landlady was down in the very sloughs
of woe--entirely brokenhearted.  Everything she looked at reminded her of
that poor old negro woman, and so the buckwheat cakes made her sob, the
coffee forced a groan, and when the beefsteak came on she fetched a wail
that made our hair rise.  Then she got to talking about deceased, and
kept up a steady drizzle till both of us were soaked through and through.
Presently she took a fresh breath and said, with a world of sobs:

"Ah, to think of it, only to think of it!--the poor old faithful
creature.  For she was so faithful.  Would you believe it, she had been a
servant in that selfsame house and that selfsame family for twenty seven
years come Christmas, and never a cross word and never a lick!  And, oh,
to think she should meet such a death at last!--a-sitting over the red
hot stove at three o'clock in the morning and went to sleep and fell on
it and was actually roasted!  Not just frizzled up a bit, but literally
roasted to a crisp!  Poor faithful creature, how she was cooked!  I am
but a poor woman, but even if I have to scrimp to do it, I will put up a
tombstone over that lone sufferer's grave--and Mr. Riley if you would
have the goodness to think up a little epitaph to put on it which would
sort of describe the awful way in which she met her--"

"Put it, 'Well done, good and faithful servant,'" said Riley, and never
smiled.






A FINE OLD MAN

John Wagner, the oldest man in Buffalo--one hundred and four years old
--recently walked a mile and a half in two weeks.

He is as cheerful and bright as any of these other old men that charge
around so persistently and tiresomely in the newspapers, and in every way
as remarkable.

Last November he walked five blocks in a rainstorm, without any shelter
but an umbrella, and cast his vote for Grant, remarking that he had voted
for forty-seven presidents--which was a lie.

His "second crop" of rich brown hair arrived from New York yesterday, and
he has a new set of teeth coming from Philadelphia.

He is to be married next week to a girl one hundred and two years old,
who still takes in washing.

They have been engaged eighty years, but their parents persistently
refused their consent until three days ago.

John Wagner is two years older than the Rhode Island veteran, and yet has
never tasted a drop of liquor in his life--unless-unless you count
whisky.






SCIENCE V.S. LUCK--[Written about 1867.]

At that time, in Kentucky (said the Hon. Mr. K-----); the law was very
strict against what is termed "games of chance."  About a dozen of the
boys were detected playing "seven up" or "old sledge" for money, and the
grand jury found a true bill against them.  Jim Sturgis was retained to
defend them when the case came up, of course. The more he studied over
the matter, and looked into the evidence, the plainer it was that he must
lose a case at last--there was no getting around that painful fact.
Those boys had certainly been betting money on a game of chance.  Even
public sympathy was roused in behalf of Sturgis.  People said it was a
pity to see him mar his successful career with a big prominent case like
this, which must go against him.

But after several restless nights an inspired idea flashed upon Sturgis,
and he sprang out of bed delighted.  He thought he saw his way through.
The next day he whispered around a little among his clients and a few
friends, and then when the case came up in court he acknowledged the
seven-up and the betting, and, as his sole defense, had the astounding
effrontery to put in the plea that old sledge was not a game of chance!
There was the broadest sort of a smile all over the faces of that
sophisticated audience.  The judge smiled with the rest.  But Sturgis
maintained a countenance whose earnestness was even severe.  The opposite
counsel tried to ridicule him out of his position, and did not succeed.
The judge jested in a ponderous judicial way about the thing, but did not
move him.  The matter was becoming grave.  The judge lost a little of his
patience, and said the joke had gone far enough.  Jim Sturgis said he
knew of no joke in the matter--his clients could not be punished for
indulging in what some people chose to consider a game of chance until it
was proven that it was a game of chance.  Judge and counsel said that
would be an easy matter, and forthwith called Deacons Job, Peters, Burke,
and Johnson, and Dominies Wirt and Miggles, to testify; and they
unanimously and with strong feeling put down the legal quibble of Sturgis
by pronouncing that old sledge was a game of chance.

"What do you call it now?" said the judge.

"I call it a game of science!" retorted Sturgis; "and I'll prove it,
too!"

They saw his little game.

He brought in a cloud of witnesses, and produced an overwhelming mass of
testimony, to show that old sledge was not a game of chance but a game of
science.

Instead of being the simplest case in the world, it had somehow turned
out to be an excessively knotty one.  The judge scratched his head over
it awhile, and said there was no way of coming to a determination,
because just as many men could be brought into court who would testify on
one side as could be found to testify on the other.  But he said he was
willing to do the fair thing by all parties, and would act upon any
suggestion Mr. Sturgis would make for the solution of the difficulty.

Mr. Sturgis was on his feet in a second.

"Impanel a jury of six of each, Luck versus Science.  Give them candles
and a couple of decks of cards.  Send them into the jury-room, and just
abide by the result!"

There was no disputing the fairness of the proposition.  The four deacons
and the two dominies were sworn in as the "chance" jurymen, and six
inveterate old seven-up professors were chosen to represent the "science"
side of the issue.  They retired to the jury-room.

In about two hours Deacon Peters sent into court to borrow three dollars
from a friend.  [Sensation.]  In about two hours more Dominie Miggles
sent into court to borrow a "stake" from a friend.  [Sensation.]  During
the next three or four hours the other dominie and the other deacons sent
into court for small loans.  And still the packed audience waited, for it
was a prodigious occasion in Bull's Corners, and one in which every
father of a family was necessarily interested.

The rest of the story can be told briefly.  About daylight the jury came
in, and Deacon Job, the foreman, read the following:

     VERDICT:

     We, the jury in the case of the Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. John
     Wheeler et al., have carefully considered the points of the case,
     and tested the merits of the several theories advanced, and do
     hereby unanimously decide that the game commonly known as old sledge
     or seven-up is eminently a game of science and not of chance.  In
     demonstration whereof it is hereby and herein stated, iterated,
     reiterated, set forth, and made manifest that, during the entire
     night, the "chance" men never won a game or turned a jack, although
     both feats were common and frequent to the opposition; and
     furthermore, in support of this our verdict, we call attention to
     the significant fact that the "chance" men are all busted, and the
     "science" men have got the money.  It is the deliberate opinion of
     this jury, that the "chance" theory concerning seven-up is a
     pernicious doctrine, and calculated to inflict untold suffering and
     pecuniary loss upon any community that takes stock in it.

"That is the way that seven-up came to be set apart and particularized in
the statute-books of Kentucky as being a game not of chance but of
science, and therefore not punishable under the law," said Mr. K-----.
"That verdict is of record, and holds good to this day."






THE LATE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN--[Written about 1870.]

["Never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after to-morrow just
as well."--B. F.]

This party was one of those persons whom they call Philosophers.  He was
twins, being born simultaneously in two different houses in the city of
Boston.  These houses remain unto this day, and have signs upon them
worded in accordance with the facts.  The signs are considered well
enough to have, though not necessary, because the inhabitants point out
the two birthplaces to the stranger anyhow, and sometimes as often as
several times in the same day.  The subject of this memoir was of a
vicious disposition, and early prostituted his talents to the invention
of maxims and aphorisms calculated to inflict suffering upon the rising
generation of all subsequent ages.  His simplest acts, also, were
contrived with a view to their being held up for the emulation of boys
forever--boys who might otherwise have been happy.  It was in this spirit
that he became the son of a soap-boiler, and probably for no other reason
than that the efforts of all future boys who tried to be anything might
be looked upon with suspicion unless they were the sons of soap-boilers.
With a malevolence which is without parallel in history, he would work
all day, and then sit up nights, and let on to be studying algebra by the
light of a smoldering fire, so that all other boys might have to do that
also, or else have Benjamin Franklin thrown up to them.  Not satisfied
with these proceedings, he had a fashion of living wholly on bread and
water, and studying astronomy at meal-time--a thing which has brought
affliction to millions of boys since, whose fathers had read Franklin's
pernicious biography.

His maxims were full of animosity toward boys.  Nowadays a boy cannot
follow out a single natural instinct without tumbling over some of those
everlasting aphorisms and hearing from Franklin, on the spot.  If he buys
two cents' worth of peanuts, his father says, "Remember what Franklin has
said, my son--'A grout a day's a penny a year"'; and the comfort is all
gone out of those peanuts.  If he wants to spin his top when he has done
work, his father quotes, "Procrastination is the thief of time."  If he
does a virtuous action, he never gets anything for it, because "Virtue is
its own reward."  And that boy is hounded to death and robbed of his
natural rest, because Franklin, said once, in one of his inspired flights
of malignity:

               Early to bed and early to rise
               Makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise.

As if it were any object to a boy to be healthy and wealthy and wise on
such terms.  The sorrow that that maxim has cost me, through my parents,
experimenting on me with it, tongue cannot tell. The legitimate result is
my present state of general debility, indigence, and mental aberration.
My parents used to have me up before nine o'clock in the morning
sometimes when I was a boy.  If they had let me take my natural rest
where would I have been now?  Keeping store, no doubt, and respected by
all.

And what an adroit old adventurer the subject of this memoir was!
In order to get a chance to fly his kite on Sunday he used to hang a key
on the string and let on to be fishing for lightning.  And a guileless
public would go home chirping about the "wisdom" and the "genius" of the
hoary Sabbath-breaker.  If anybody caught him playing "mumblepeg" by
himself, after the age of sixty, he would immediately appear to be
ciphering out how the grass grew--as if it was any of his business.
My grandfather knew him well, and he says Franklin was always
fixed--always ready.  If a body, during his old age, happened on him
unexpectedly when he was catching flies, or making mud-pies, or sliding
on a cellar door, he would immediately look wise, and rip out a maxim,
and walk off with his nose in the air and his cap turned wrong side
before, trying to appear absent-minded and eccentric.  He was a hard lot.

He invented a stove that would smoke your head off in four hours by the
clock.  One can see the almost devilish satisfaction he took in it by his
giving it his name.

He was always proud of telling how he entered Philadelphia for the first
time, with nothing in the world but two shillings in his pocket and four
rolls of bread under his arm.  But really, when you come to examine it
critically, it was nothing.  Anybody could have done it.

To the subject of this memoir belongs the honor of recommending the army
to go back to bows and arrows in place of bayonets and muskets.
He observed, with his customary force, that the bayonet was very well
under some circumstances, but that he doubted whether it could be used
with accuracy at a long range.

Benjamin Franklin did a great many notable things for his country,
and made her young name to be honored in many lands as the mother of such
a son.  It is not the idea of this memoir to ignore that or cover it up.
No; the simple idea of it is to snub those pretentious maxims of his,
which he worked up with a great show of originality out of truisms that
had become wearisome platitudes as early as the dispersion from Babel;
and also to snub his stove, and his military inspirations, his unseemly
endeavor to make himself conspicuous when he entered Philadelphia, and
his flying his kite and fooling away his time in all sorts of such ways
when he ought to have been foraging for soap-fat, or constructing
candles.  I merely desired to do away with somewhat of the prevalent
calamitous idea among heads of families that Franklin acquired his great
genius by working for nothing, studying by moonlight, and getting up in
the night instead of waiting till morning like a Christian; and that this
program, rigidly inflicted, will make a Franklin of every father's fool.
It is time these gentlemen were finding out that these execrable
eccentricities of instinct and conduct are only the evidences of genius,
not the creators of it.  I wish I had been the father of my parents long
enough to make them comprehend this truth, and thus prepare them to let
their son have an easier time of it.  When I was a child I had to boil
soap, notwithstanding my father was wealthy, and I had to get up early
and study geometry at breakfast, and peddle my own poetry, and do
everything just as Franklin did, in the solemn hope that I would be a
Franklin some day.  And here I am.






MR. BLOKE'S ITEM--[Written about 1865.]

Our esteemed friend, Mr. John William Bloke, of Virginia City, walked
into the office where we are sub-editor at a late hour last night, with
an expression of profound and heartfelt suffering upon his countenance,
and, sighing heavily, laid the following item reverently upon the desk,
and walked slowly out again.  He paused a moment at the door, and seemed
struggling to command his feelings sufficiently to enable him to speak,
and then, nodding his head toward his manuscript, ejaculated in a broken
voice, "Friend of mine--oh! how sad!" and burst into tears.  We were so
moved at his distress that we did not think to call him back and endeavor
to comfort him until he was gone, and it was too late.  The paper had
already gone to press, but knowing that our friend would consider the
publication of this item important, and cherishing the hope that to print
it would afford a melancholy satisfaction to his sorrowing heart, we
stopped, the press at once and inserted it in our columns:

     DISTRESSING ACCIDENT.--Last evening, about six o'clock, as Mr.
     William Schuyler, an old and respectable citizen of South Park, was
     leaving his residence to go down-town, as has been his usual custom
     for many years with the exception only of a short interval in the
     spring of 1850, during which he was confined to his bed by injuries
     received in attempting to stop a runaway horse by thoughtlessly
     placing himself directly in its wake and throwing up his hands and
     shouting, which if he had done so even a single moment sooner, must
     inevitably have frightened the animal still more instead of checking
     its speed, although disastrous enough to himself as it was, and
     rendered more melancholy and distressing by reason of the presence
     of his wife's mother, who was there and saw the sad occurrence
     notwithstanding it is at least likely, though not necessarily so,
     that she should be reconnoitering in another direction when
     incidents occur, not being vivacious and on the lookout, as a
     general thing, but even the reverse, as her own mother is said to
     have stated, who is no more, but died in the full hope of a glorious
     resurrection, upwards of three years ago; aged eighty-six, being a
     Christian woman and without guile, as it were, or property, in
     consequence of the fire of 1849, which destroyed every single thing
     she had in the world.  But such is life.  Let us all take warning by
     this solemn occurrence, and let us endeavor so to conduct ourselves
     that when we come to die we can do it.  Let us place our hands upon
     our heart, and say with earnestness and sincerity that from this day
     forth we will beware of the intoxicating bowl.--'First Edition of
     the Californian.'

The head editor has been in here raising the mischief, and tearing his
hair and kicking the furniture about, and abusing me like a pickpocket.
He says that every time he leaves me in charge of the paper for half an
hour I get imposed upon by the first infant or the first idiot that comes
along.  And he says that that distressing item of Mr. Bloke's is nothing
but a lot of distressing bash, and has no point to it, and no sense in
it, and no information in it, and that there was no sort of necessity for
stopping the press to publish it.

Now all this comes of being good-hearted.  If I had been as
unaccommodating and unsympathetic as some people, I would have told
Mr. Bloke that I wouldn't receive his communication at such a late hour;
but no, his snuffling distress touched my heart, and I jumped at the
chance of doing something to modify his misery.  I never read his item to
see whether there was anything wrong about it, but hastily wrote the few
lines which preceded it, and sent it to the printers.  And what has my
kindness done for me?  It has done nothing but bring down upon me a storm
of abuse and ornamental blasphemy.

Now I will read that item myself, and see if there is any foundation for
all this fuss.  And if there is, the author of it shall hear from me.

I have read it, and I am bound to admit that it seems a little mixed at a
first glance.  However, I will peruse it once more.

I have read it again, and it does really seem a good deal more mixed than
ever.

I have read it over five times, but if I can get at the meaning of it I
wish I may get my just deserts.  It won't bear analysis.  There are
things about it which I cannot understand at all.  It don't say whatever
became of William Schuyler.  It just says enough about him to get one
interested in his career, and then drops him.  Who is William Schuyler,
anyhow, and what part of South Park did he live in, and if he started
down-town at six o'clock, did he ever get there, and if he did, did
anything happen to him?  Is he the individual that met with the
"distressing accident"?  Considering the elaborate circumstantiality of
detail observable in the item, it seems to me that it ought to contain
more information than it does.  On the contrary, it is obscure and not
only obscure, but utterly incomprehensible.  Was the breaking of Mr.
Schuyler's leg, fifteen years ago, the "distressing accident" that
plunged Mr. Bloke into unspeakable grief, and caused him to come up here
at dead of night and stop our press to acquaint the world with the
circumstance?  Or did the "distressing accident" consist in the
destruction of Schuyler's mother-in-law's property in early times?
Or did it consist in the death of that person herself three years ago
(albeit it does not appear that she died by accident)?  In a word, what
did that "distressing accident" consist in?  What did that driveling ass
of a Schuyler stand in the wake of a runaway horse for, with his shouting
and gesticulating, if he wanted to stop him?  And how the mischief could
he get run over by a horse that had already passed beyond him?  And what
are we to take "warning" by?  And how is this extraordinary chapter of
incomprehensibilities going to be a "lesson" to us?  And, above all, what
has the intoxicating "bowl" got to do with it, anyhow?  It is not stated
that Schuyler drank, or that his wife drank, or that his mother-in-law
drank, or that the horse drank wherefore, then, the reference to the
intoxicating bowl?  It does seem to me that if Mr. Bloke had let the
intoxicating bowl alone himself, he never would have got into so much
trouble about this exasperating imaginary accident.  I have read this.
absurd item over and over again, with all its insinuating plausibility,
until my head swims; but I can make neither head nor tail of it.  There
certainly seems to have been an accident of some kind or other, but it is
impossible to determine what the nature of it was, or who was the
sufferer by it.  I do not like to do it, but I feel compelled to request
that the next time anything happens to one of Mr. Bloke's friends, he
will append such explanatory notes to his account of it as will enable me
to find out what sort of an accident it was and whom it happened to.  I
had rather all his friends should die than that I should be driven to the
verge of lunacy again in trying to cipher out the meaning of another such
production as the above.






A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE


CHAPTER I

THE SECRET REVEALED.

It was night.  Stillness reigned in the grand old feudal castle of
Klugenstein.  The year 1222 was drawing to a close.  Far away up in the
tallest of the castle's towers a single light glimmered.  A secret
council was being held there.  The stern old lord of Klugenstein sat in
a chair of state meditating.  Presently he, said, with a tender
accent:

"My daughter!"

A young man of noble presence, clad from head to heel in knightly mail,
answered:

"Speak, father!"

"My daughter, the time is come for the revealing of the mystery that hath
puzzled all your young life.  Know, then, that it had its birth in the
matters which I shall now unfold.  My brother Ulrich is the great Duke of
Brandenburgh.  Our father, on his deathbed, decreed that if no son were
born to Ulrich, the succession should pass to my house, provided a son
were born to me.  And further, in case no son, were born to either, but
only daughters, then the succession should pass to Ulrich's daughter,
if she proved stainless; if she did not, my daughter should succeed,
if she retained a blameless name.  And so I, and my old wife here, prayed
fervently for the good boon of a son, but the prayer was vain.  You were
born to us.  I was in despair.  I saw the mighty prize slipping from my
grasp, the splendid dream vanishing away.  And I had been so hopeful!
Five years had Ulrich lived in wedlock, and yet his wife had borne no
heir of either sex.

"'But hold,' I said, 'all is not lost.'  A saving scheme had shot athwart
my brain.  You were born at midnight.  Only the leech, the nurse, and six
waiting-women knew your sex.  I hanged them every one before an hour had
sped.  Next morning all the barony went mad with rejoicing over the
proclamation that a son was born to Klugenstein, an heir to mighty
Brandenburgh!  And well the secret has been kept.  Your mother's own
sister nursed your infancy, and from that time forward we feared nothing.

"When you were ten years old, a daughter was born to Ulrich.  We grieved,
but hoped for good results from measles, or physicians, or other natural
enemies of infancy, but were always disappointed.  She lived, she throve
--Heaven's malison upon her!  But it is nothing.  We are safe.  For,
Ha-ha! have we not a son?  And is not our son the future Duke?  Our
well-beloved Conrad, is it not so?--for, woman of eight-and-twenty years
--as you are, my child, none other name than that hath ever fallen to you!

"Now it hath come to pass that age hath laid its hand upon my brother,
and he waxes feeble.  The cares of state do tax him sore.  Therefore he
wills that you shall come to him and be already Duke--in act, though not
yet in name.  Your servitors are ready--you journey forth to-night.

"Now listen well.  Remember every word I say.  There is a law as old as
Germany that if any woman sit for a single instant in the great ducal
chair before she hath been absolutely crowned in presence of the people,
SHE SHALL DIE! So heed my words.  Pretend humility.  Pronounce your
judgments from the Premier's chair, which stands at the foot of the
throne.  Do this until you are crowned and safe.  It is not likely that
your sex will ever be discovered; but still it is the part of wisdom to
make all things as safe as may be in this treacherous earthly life."

"Oh; my father, is it for this my life hath been a lie!  Was it that I
might cheat my unoffending cousin of her rights?  Spare me, father,
spare your child!"

"What, huzzy!  Is this my reward for the august fortune my brain has
wrought for thee?  By the bones of my father, this puling sentiment of
thine but ill accords with my humor.

"Betake thee to the Duke, instantly!  And beware how thou meddlest with my
purpose!"

Let this suffice, of the conversation.  It is enough for us to know that
the prayers, the entreaties and the tears of the gentle-natured girl
availed nothing.  They nor anything could move the stout old lord of
Klugenstein.  And so, at last, with a heavy heart, the daughter saw the
castle gates close behind her, and found herself riding away in the
darkness surrounded by a knightly array of armed, vassals and a brave
following of servants.

The old baron sat silent for many minutes after his daughter's departure,
and then he turned to his sad wife and said:

"Dame, our matters seem speeding fairly.  It is full three months since I
sent the shrewd and handsome Count Detzin on his devilish mission to my
brother's daughter Constance.  If he fail, we are not wholly safe; but if
he do succeed, no power can bar our girl from being Duchess e'en though
ill-fortune should decree she never should be Duke!"

"My heart is full of bodings, yet all may still be well."

"Tush, woman! Leave the owls to croak.  To bed with ye, and dream of
Brandenburgh and grandeur!"




CHAPTER II.

FESTIVITY AND TEARS

Six days after the occurrences related in the above chapter, the
brilliant capital of the Duchy of Brandenburgh was resplendent with
military pageantry, and noisy with the rejoicings of loyal multitudes;
for Conrad, the young heir to the crown, was come.  The old Duke's, heart
was full of happiness, for Conrad's handsome person and graceful bearing
had won his love at once.  The great halls of tie palace were thronged
with nobles, who welcomed Conrad bravely; and so bright and happy did all
things seem, that he felt his fears and sorrows passing away and giving
place to a comforting contentment.

But in a remote apartment of the palace a scene of a different nature
was, transpiring.  By a window stood the Duke's only child, the Lady
Constance.  Her eyes were red and swollen, and full of tears.  She was
alone.  Presently she fell to weeping anew, and said aloud:

"The villain Detzin is gone--has fled the dukedom!  I could not believe
it at first, but alas! it is too true.  And I loved him so.  I dared to
love him though I knew the Duke my father would never let me wed him.
I loved him--but now I hate him!  With all, my soul I hate him!  Oh, what
is to become of me!  I am lost, lost, lost!  I shall go mad!"




CHAPTER III.

THE PLOT THICKENS.

Few months drifted by.  All men published the praises of the young
Conrad's government and extolled the wisdom of his judgments, the
mercifulness of his sentences, and the modesty with which he bore himself
in his great office.  The old Duke soon gave everything into his hands,
and sat apart and listened with proud satisfaction while his heir
delivered the decrees of the crown from the seat of the premier.
It seemed plain that one so loved and praised and honored of all men
as Conrad was, could not be otherwise than happy.  But strange enough,
he was not.  For he saw with dismay that the Princess Constance had begun
to love him!  The love of, the rest of the world was happy fortune for
him, but this was freighted with danger!  And he saw, moreover, that the
delighted Duke had discovered his daughter's passion likewise, and was
already dreaming of a marriage.  Every day somewhat of the deep sadness
that had been in the princess' face faded away; every day hope and
animation beamed brighter from her eye; and by and by even vagrant smiles
visited the face that had been so troubled.

Conrad was appalled.  He bitterly cursed himself for having yielded to
the instinct that had made him seek the companionship of one of his own
sex when he was new and a stranger in the palace--when he was sorrowful
and yearned for a sympathy such as only women can give or feel.  He now
began to avoid, his cousin.  But this only made matters worse, for,
naturally enough, the more he avoided her, the more she cast herself in
his way.  He marveled at this at first; and next it startled him.  The
girl haunted him; she hunted him; she happened upon him at all times and
in all places, in the night as well as in the day.  She seemed singularly
anxious.  There was surely a mystery somewhere.

This could not go on forever.  All the world was talking about it.  The
Duke was beginning to look perplexed.  Poor Conrad was becoming a very
ghost through dread and dire distress.  One day as he was emerging from a
private ante-room attached to the picture gallery, Constance confronted
him, and seizing both his hands, in hers, exclaimed:

"Oh, why, do you avoid me?  What have I done--what have I said, to lose
your kind opinion of me--for, surely I had it once?  Conrad, do not
despise me, but pity a tortured heart?  I cannot,--cannot hold the words
unspoken longer, lest they kill me--I LOVE you, CONRAD!  There, despise
me if you must, but they would be uttered!"

Conrad was speechless.  Constance hesitated a moment, and then,
misinterpreting his silence, a wild gladness flamed in her eyes, and she
flung her arms about his neck and said:

"You relent! you relent! You can love me--you will love me! Oh, say you
will, my own, my worshipped Conrad!'"

"Conrad groaned aloud.  A sickly pallor overspread his countenance, and
he trembled like an aspen.  Presently, in desperation, he thrust the poor
girl from him, and cried:

"You know not what you ask!  It is forever and ever impossible!"  And then
he fled like a criminal and left the princess stupefied with amazement.
A minute afterward she was crying and sobbing there, and Conrad was
crying and sobbing in his chamber.  Both were in despair.  Both save ruin
staring them in the face.

By and by Constance rose slowly to her feet and moved away, saying:

"To think that he was despising my love at the very moment that I thought
it was melting his cruel heart!  I hate him!  He spurned me--did this
man--he spurned me from him like a dog!"




CHAPTER IV

THE AWFUL REVELATION.

Time passed on.  A settled sadness rested once more upon the countenance
of the good Duke's daughter.  She and Conrad were seen together no more
now.  The Duke grieved at this.  But as the weeks wore away, Conrad's
color came back to his cheeks and his old-time vivacity to his eye, and
he administered the government with a clear and steadily ripening wisdom.

Presently a strange whisper began to be heard about the palace.  It grew
louder; it spread farther.  The gossips of the city got hold-of it.  It
swept the dukedom.  And this is what the whisper said:

"The Lady Constance hath given birth to a child!"

When the lord of Klugenstein heard it, he swung his plumed helmet thrice
around his head and shouted:

"Long live.  Duke Conrad!--for lo, his crown is sure, from this day
forward!  Detzin has done his errand well, and the good scoundrel shall
be rewarded!"

And he spread, the tidings far and wide, and for eight-and-forty hours no
soul in all the barony but did dance and sing, carouse and illuminate, to
celebrate the great event, and all at proud and happy old Klugenstein's
expense.




CHAPTER V.

THE FRIGHTFUL CATASTROPHE.

The trial was at hand.  All the great lords and barons of Brandenburgh
were assembled in the Hall of Justice in the ducal palace.  No space was
left unoccupied where there was room for a spectator to stand or sit.
Conrad, clad in purple and ermine, sat in the premier's chair, and on
either side sat the great judges of the realm.  The old Duke had sternly
commanded that the trial of his daughter should proceed, without favor,
and then had taken to his bed broken-hearted.  His days were numbered.
Poor Conrad had begged, as for his very life, that he might be spared the
misery of sitting in judgment upon his cousin's crime, but it did not
avail.

The saddest heart in all that great assemblage was in Conrad's breast.

The gladdest was in his father's.  For, unknown to his daughter "Conrad,"
the old Baron Klugenstein was come, and was among the crowd of nobles,
triumphant in the swelling fortunes of his house.

After the heralds had made due proclamation and the other preliminaries
had followed, the venerable Lord Chief justice said:

"Prisoner, stand forth!"

The unhappy princess rose and stood unveiled before the vast multitude.
The Lord Chief Justice continued:

"Most noble lady, before the great judges of this realm it hath been
charged and proven that out of holy wedlock your Grace hath given birth
unto a child; and by our ancient law the penalty is death, excepting in
one sole contingency, whereof his Grace the acting Duke, our good Lord
Conrad, will advertise you in his solemn sentence now; wherefore, give
heed."

Conrad stretched forth the reluctant sceptre, and in the self-same moment
the womanly heart beneath his robe yearned pityingly toward the doomed
prisoner, and the tears came into his eyes.  He opened his lips to speak,
but the Lord Chief Justice said quickly:

"Not there, your Grace, not there!  It is not lawful to pronounce
judgment upon any of the ducal line SAVE FROM THE DUCAL THRONE!"

A shudder went to the heart of poor Conrad, and a tremor shook the iron
frame of his old father likewise.  CONRAD HAD NOT BEEN CROWNED--dared he
profane the throne? He hesitated and turned pale with fear.  But it must
be done.  Wondering eyes were already upon him.  They would be suspicious
eyes if he hesitated longer.  He ascended the throne.  Presently he
stretched forth the sceptre again, and said:

"Prisoner, in the name of our sovereign lord, Ulrich, Duke of
Brandenburgh, I proceed to the solemn duty that hath devolved upon me.
Give heed to my words.  By the ancient law of the land, except you
produce the partner of your guilt and deliver him up to the executioner,
you must surely die.  Embrace this opportunity--save yourself while yet
you may.  Name the father of your child!"

A solemn hush fell upon the great court--a silence so profound that men
could hear their own hearts beat.  Then the princess slowly turned, with
eyes gleaming with hate, and pointing her finger straight at Conrad,
said:

"Thou art the man!"

An appalling conviction of his helpless, hopeless peril struck a chill to
Conrad's heart like the chill of death itself.  What power on earth could
save him!  To disprove the charge, he must reveal that he was a woman;
and for an uncrowned woman to sit in the ducal chair was death!  At one
and the same moment, he and his grim old father swooned and fell to, the
ground.

[The remainder of this thrilling and eventful story will NOT be found in
this or any other publication, either now or at any future time.]

The truth is, I have got my hero (or heroine) into such a particularly
close place, that I do not see how I am ever going to get him (or her)
out of it again--and therefore I will wash my hands of the whole
business, and leave that person to get out the best way that offers--or
else stay there.  I thought it was going to be easy enough to straighten
out that little difficulty, but it looks different now.






PETITION CONCERNING COPYRIGHT

TO THE HONORABLE THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED:

Whereas, The Constitution guarantees equal rights to all, backed by the
Declaration of Independence; and

Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property in real estate is
perpetual; and

Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property in the literary result of
a citizen's intellectual labor is restricted to forty-two years; and

Whereas, Forty-two years seems an exceedingly just and righteous term,
and a sufficiently long one for the retention of property;

Therefore, Your petitioner, having the good of his country solely at
heart, humbly prays that "equal rights" and fair and equal treatment may
be meted out to all citizens, by the restriction of rights in all
property, real estate included, to the beneficent term of forty-two
years.  Then shall all men bless your honorable body and be happy.  And
for this will your petitioner ever pray.
                                             MARK TWAIN.


A PARAGRAPH NOT ADDED TO THE PETITION

The charming absurdity of restricting property-rights in books to
forty-two years sticks prominently out in the fact that hardly any man's
books ever live forty-two years, or even the half of it; and so, for the
sake of getting a shabby advantage of the heirs of about one Scott or
Burns or Milton in a hundred years, the lawmakers of the "Great" Republic
are content to leave that poor little pilfering edict upon the
statute-books.  It is like an emperor lying in wait to rob a Phenix's
nest, and waiting the necessary century to get the chance.






AFTER-DINNER SPEECH

[AT A FOURTH OF JULY GATHERING, IN LONDON, OF AMERICANS]

MR. CHAIRMAN AND LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I thank you for the compliment
which has just been tendered me, and to show my appreciation of it I will
not afflict you with many words.  It is pleasant to celebrate in this
peaceful way, upon this old mother soil, the anniversary of an experiment
which was born of war with this same land so long ago, and wrought out to
a successful issue by the devotion of our ancestors.  It has taken nearly
a hundred years to bring the English and Americans into kindly and
mutually appreciative relations, but I believe it has been accomplished
at last.  It was a great step when the two last misunderstandings were
settled by arbitration instead of cannon.  It is another great step when
England adopts our sewing-machines without claiming the invention--as
usual.  It was another when they imported one of our sleeping-cars the
other day.  And it warmed my heart more than I can tell, yesterday, when
I witnessed the spectacle of an Englishman ordering an American sherry
cobbler of his own free will and accord--and not only that but with a
great brain and a level head reminding the barkeeper not to forget the
strawberries.  With a common origin, a common language, a common
literature, a common religion and--common drinks, what is longer needful
to the cementing of the two nations together in a permanent bond of
brotherhood?

This is an age of progress, and ours is a progressive land.  A great and
glorious land, too--a land which has developed a Washington, a Franklin,
a William M. Tweed, a Longfellow, a Motley, a Jay Gould, a Samuel C.
Pomeroy, a recent Congress which has never had its equal (in some
respects), and a United States Army which conquered sixty Indians in
eight months by tiring them out--which is much better than uncivilized
slaughter, God knows.  We have a criminal jury system which is superior
to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty
of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read.
And I may observe that we have an insanity plea that would have saved
Cain.  I think I can say,--and say with pride, that we have some
legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world.

I refer with effusion to our railway system, which consents to let us
live, though it might do the opposite, being our owners.  It only
destroyed three thousand and seventy lives last year by collisions, and
twenty-seven thousand two hundred and sixty by running over heedless and
unnecessary people at crossings.  The companies seriously regretted the
killing of these thirty thousand people, and went so far as to pay for
some of them--voluntarily, of course, for the meanest of us would not
claim that we possess a court treacherous enough to enforce a law against
a railway company.  But, thank Heaven, the railway companies are
generally disposed to do the right and kindly thing without compulsion.
I know of an instance which greatly touched me at the time.  After an
accident the company sent home the remains of a dear distant old relative
of mine in a basket, with the remark, "Please state what figure you hold
him at--and return the basket."  Now there couldn't be anything
friendlier than that.

But I must not stand here and brag all night.  However, you won't mind a
body bragging a little about his country on the fourth of July.  It is a
fair and legitimate time to fly the eagle.  I will say only one more word
of brag--and a hopeful one.  It is this.  We have a form of government
which gives each man a fair chance and no favor.  With us no individual
is born with a right to look down upon his neighbor and hold him in
contempt.  Let such of us as are not dukes find our consolation in that.
And we may find hope for the future in the fact that as unhappy as is the
condition of our political morality to-day, England has risen up out of
a far fouler since the days when Charles I. ennobled courtesans and all
political place was a matter of bargain and sale.  There is hope for us
yet.

     [At least the above is the speech which I was going to make, but our
     minister, General Schenck, presided, and after the blessing, got up
     and made a great long inconceivably dull harangue, and wound up by
     saying that inasmuch as speech-making did not seem to exhilarate the
     guests much, all further oratory would be dispensed with during the
     evening, and we could just sit and talk privately to our
     elbow-neighbors and have a good sociable time.  It is known that in
     consequence of that remark forty-four perfected speeches died in the
     womb.  The depression, the gloom, the solemnity that reigned over
     the banquet from that time forth will be a lasting memory with many
     that were there.  By that one thoughtless remark General Schenck
     lost forty-four of the best friends he had in England.  More than
     one said that night, "And this is the sort of person that is sent to
     represent us in a great sister empire!"]






LIONIZING MURDERERS

I had heard so much about the celebrated fortune-teller Madame-----, that
I went to see her yesterday.  She has a dark complexion naturally, and
this effect is heightened by artificial aids which cost her nothing.
She wears curls--very black ones, and I had an impression that she gave
their native attractiveness a lift with rancid butter.  She wears a
reddish check handkerchief, cast loosely around her neck, and it was
plain that her other one is slow getting back from the wash.  I presume
she takes snuff.  At any rate, something resembling it had lodged among
the hairs sprouting from her upper lip.  I know she likes garlic--I knew
that as soon as she sighed.  She looked at me searchingly for nearly a
minute, with her black eyes, and then said:

"It is enough.  Come!"

She started down a very dark and dismal corridor--I stepping close after
her.  Presently she stopped, and said that, as the way was so crooked and
dark, perhaps she had better get a light.  But it seemed ungallant to
allow a woman to put herself to so much trouble for me, and so I said:

"It is not worth while, madam.  If you will heave another sigh, I think I
can follow it."

So we got along all right.  Arrived at her official and mysterious den,
she asked me to tell her the date of my birth, the exact hour of that
occurrence, and the color of my grandmother's hair.  I answered as
accurately as I could.  Then she said:

"Young man, summon your fortitude--do not tremble.  I am about to reveal
the past."

"Information concerning the future would be, in a general way, more--"

"Silence!  You have had much trouble, some joy, some good fortune, some
bad.  Your great grandfather was hanged."

"That is a l--"

"Silence!  Hanged sir.  But it was not his fault.  He could not help it."

"I am glad you do him justice."

"Ah--grieve, rather, that the jury did.  He was hanged.  His star crosses
yours in the fourth division, fifth sphere.  Consequently you will be
hanged also."

"In view of this cheerful--"

"I must have silence.  Yours was not, in the beginning, a criminal
nature, but circumstances changed it.  At the age of nine you stole
sugar.  At the age of fifteen you stole money.  At twenty you stole
horses.  At twenty-five you committed arson.  At thirty, hardened in
crime, you became an editor.  You are now a public lecturer.  Worse
things are in store for you.  You will be sent to Congress.  Next, to the
penitentiary.  Finally, happiness will come again--all will be well--you
will be hanged."

I was now in tears.  It seemed hard enough to go to Congress; but to be
hanged--this was too sad, too dreadful.  The woman seemed surprised at my
grief.  I told her the thoughts that were in my mind.  Then she comforted
me.

"Why, man," she said, "hold up your head--you have nothing to grieve
about.  Listen.

--[In this paragraph the fortune-teller details the exact history of the
Pike-Brown assassination case in New Hampshire, from the succoring and
saving of the stranger Pike by the Browns, to the subsequent hanging and
coffining of that treacherous miscreant.  She adds nothing, invents
nothing, exaggerates nothing (see any New England paper for November,
1869).  This Pike-Brown case is selected merely as a type, to illustrate
a custom that prevails, not in New Hampshire alone, but in every state in
the Union--I mean the sentimental custom of visiting, petting,
glorifying, and snuffling over murderers like this Pike, from the day
they enter the jail under sentence of death until they swing from the
gallows.  The following extract from the Temple Bar (1866) reveals the
fact that this custom is not confined to the United States.--"on December
31, 1841, a man named John Johnes, a shoemaker, murdered his sweetheart,
Mary Hallam, the daughter of a respectable laborer, at Mansfield, in the
county of Nottingham.  He was executed on March 23, 1842.  He was a man
of unsteady habits, and gave way to violent fits of passion.  The girl
declined his addresses, and he said if he did not have her no one else
should.  After he had inflicted the first wound, which was not
immediately fatal, she begged for her life, but seeing him resolved,
asked for time to pray.  He said that he would pray for both, and
completed the crime.  The wounds were inflicted by a shoemaker's knife,
and her throat was cut barbarously.  After this he dropped on his knees
some time, and prayed God to have mercy on two unfortunate lovers.
He made no attempt to escape, and confessed the crime.  After his
imprisonment he behaved in a most decorous manner; he won upon the good
opinion of the jail chaplain, and he was visited by the Bishop of
Lincoln.  It does not appear that he expressed any contrition for the
crime, but seemed to pass away with triumphant certainty that he was
going to rejoin his victim in heaven.  He was visited by some pious and
benevolent ladies of Nottingham, some of whom declared he was a child of
God, if ever there was one.  One of the ladies sent him a while camellia
to wear at his execution."]

"You will live in New Hampshire.  In your sharp need and distress the
Brown family will succor you--such of them as Pike the assassin left
alive.  They will be benefactors to you.  When you shall have grown fat
upon their bounty, and are grateful and happy, you will desire to make
some modest return for these things, and so you will go to the house some
night and brain the whole family with an ax.  You will rob the dead
bodies of your benefactors, and disburse your gains in riotous living
among the rowdies and courtesans of Boston.  Then you will, be arrested,
tried, condemned to be hanged, thrown into prison.  Now is your happy
day.  You will be converted--you will be converted just as soon as
every effort to compass pardon, commutation, or reprieve has failed--and
then!--Why, then, every morning and every afternoon, the best and purest
young ladies of the village will assemble in your cell and sing hymns.
This will show that assassination is respectable.  Then you will write a
touching letter, in which you will forgive all those recent Browns.  This
will excite the public admiration.  No public can withstand magnanimity.
Next, they will take you to the scaffold, with great eclat, at the head
of an imposing procession composed of clergymen, officials, citizens
generally, and young ladies walking pensively two and two, and bearing
bouquets and immortelles.  You will mount the scaffold, and while the
great concourse stand uncovered in your presence, you will read your
sappy little speech which the minister has written for you.  And then, in
the midst of a grand and impressive silence, they will swing you into
per--Paradise, my son.  There will not be a dry eye on the ground.  You
will be a hero!  Not a rough there but will envy you.  Not a rough there
but will resolve to emulate you.  And next, a great procession will
follow you to the tomb--will weep over your remains--the young ladies
will sing again the hymns made dear by sweet associations connected with
the jail, and, as a last tribute of affection, respect, and appreciation
of your many sterling qualities, they will walk two and two around your
bier, and strew wreaths of flowers on it.  And lo! you are canonized.
Think of it, son-ingrate, assassin, robber of the dead, drunken brawler
among thieves and harlots in the slums of Boston one month, and the pet
of the pure and innocent daughters of the land the next!  A bloody and
hateful devil--a bewept, bewailed, and sainted martyr--all in a month!
Fool!--so noble a fortune, and yet you sit here grieving!"

"No, madam," I said, "you do me wrong, you do, indeed.  I am perfectly
satisfied.  I did not know before that my great-grandfather was hanged,
but it is of no consequence.  He has probably ceased to bother about it
by this time--and I have not commenced yet.  I confess, madam, that I do
something in the way of editing and lecturing, but the other crimes you
mention have escaped my memory.  Yet I must have committed them--you
would not deceive a stranger.  But let the past be as it was, and let the
future be as it may--these are nothing.  I have only cared for one thing.
I have always felt that I should be hanged some day, and somehow the
thought has annoyed me considerably; but if you can only assure me that I
shall be hanged in New Hampshire--"

"Not a shadow of a doubt!"

"Bless you, my benefactress!--excuse this embrace--you have removed a
great load from my breast.  To be hanged in New Hampshire is happiness
--it leaves an honored name behind a man, and introduces him at once into
the best New Hampshire society in the other world."

I then took leave of the fortune-teller.  But, seriously, is it well to
glorify a murderous villain on the scaffold, as Pike was glorified in New
Hampshire?  Is it well to turn the penalty for a bloody crime into a
reward?  Is it just to do it?  Is, it safe?






A NEW CRIME

LEGISLATION NEEDED

This country, during the last thirty or forty years, has produced some of
the most remarkable cases of insanity of which there is any mention in
history.  For instance, there was the Baldwin case, in Ohio, twenty-two
years ago.  Baldwin, from his boyhood up, had been of a vindictive,
malignant, quarrelsome nature.  He put a boy's eye out once, and never
was heard upon any occasion to utter a regret for it.  He did many such
things.  But at last he did something that was serious.  He called at a
house just after dark one evening, knocked, and when the occupant came to
the door, shot him dead, and then tried to escape, but was captured.
Two days before, he had wantonly insulted a helpless cripple, and the man
he afterward took swift vengeance upon with an assassin bullet had
knocked him down.  Such was the Baldwin case.  The trial was long and
exciting; the community was fearfully wrought up.  Men said this
spiteful, bad-hearted villain had caused grief enough in his time, and
now he should satisfy the law.  But they were mistaken; Baldwin was
insane when he did the deed--they had not thought of that.  By the
argument of counsel it was shown that at half past ten in the morning on
the day of the murder, Baldwin became insane, and remained so for eleven
hours and a half exactly.  This just covered the case comfortably, and he
was acquitted.  Thus, if an unthinking and excited community had been
listened to instead of the arguments of counsel, a poor crazy creature
would have been held to a fearful responsibility for a mere freak of
madness.  Baldwin went clear, and although his relatives and friends were
naturally incensed against the community for their injurious suspicions
and remarks, they said let it go for this time, and did not prosecute.
The Baldwins were very wealthy.  This same Baldwin had momentary fits of
insanity twice afterward, and on both occasions killed people he had
grudges against.  And on both these occasions the circumstances of the
killing were so aggravated, and the murders so seemingly heartless and
treacherous, that if Baldwin had not been insane he would have been
hanged without the shadow of a doubt.  As it was, it required all his
political and family influence to get him clear in one of the cases, and
cost him not less than ten thousand dollars to get clear in the other.
One of these men he had notoriously been threatening to kill for twelve
years.  The poor creature happened, by the merest piece of ill fortune,
to come along a dark alley at the very moment that Baldwin's insanity
came upon him, and so he was shot in the back with a gun loaded with
slugs.

Take the case of Lynch Hackett, of Pennsylvania.  Twice, in public, he
attacked a German butcher by the name of Bemis Feldner, with a cane, and
both times Feldner whipped him with his fists.  Hackett was a vain,
wealthy, violent gentleman, who held his blood and family in high esteem,
and believed that a reverent respect was due to his great riches.  He
brooded over the shame of his chastisement for two weeks, and then, in a
momentary fit of insanity, armed himself to the teeth, rode into town,
waited a couple of hours until he saw Feldner coming down the street with
his wife on his arm, and then, as the couple passed the doorway in which
he had partially concealed himself, he drove a knife into Feldner's neck,
killing him instantly.  The widow caught the limp form and eased it to
the earth.  Both were drenched with blood.  Hackett jocosely remarked to
her that as a professional butcher's recent wife she could appreciate the
artistic neatness of the job that left her in condition to marry again,
in case she wanted to.  This remark, and another which he made to a
friend, that his position in society made the killing of an obscure
citizen simply an "eccentricity" instead of a crime, were shown to be
evidences of insanity, and so Hackett escaped punishment.  The jury were
hardly inclined to accept these as proofs at first, inasmuch as the
prisoner had never been insane before the murder, and under the
tranquilizing effect of the butchering had immediately regained his right
mind; but when the defense came to show that a third cousin of Hackett's
wife's stepfather was insane, and not only insane, but had a nose the
very counterpart of Hackett's, it was plain that insanity was hereditary
in the family, and Hackett had come by it by legitimate inheritance.

Of course the jury then acquitted him.  But it was a merciful providence
that Mrs. H.'s people had been afflicted as shown, else Hackett would
certainly have been hanged.

However, it is not possible to recount all the marvelous cases of
insanity that have come under the public notice in the last thirty or
forty years.  There was the Durgin case in New Jersey three years ago.
The servant girl, Bridget Durgin, at dead of night, invaded her
mistress's bedroom and carved the lady literally to pieces with a knife.
Then she dragged the body to the middle of the floor, and beat and banged
it with chairs and such things.  Next she opened the feather beds, and
strewed the contents around, saturated everything with kerosene, and set
fire to the general wreck.  She now took up the young child of the
murdered woman in her blood smeared hands and walked off, through the
snow, with no shoes on, to a neighbor's house a quarter of a mile off,
and told a string of wild, incoherent stories about some men coming and
setting fire to the house; and then she cried piteously, and without
seeming to think there was anything suggestive about the blood upon her
hands, her clothing, and the baby, volunteered the remark that she was
afraid those men had murdered her mistress!  Afterward, by her own
confession and other testimony, it was proved that the mistress had
always been kind to the girl, consequently there was no revenge in the
murder; and it was also shown that the girl took nothing away from the
burning house, not even her own shoes, and consequently robbery was not
the motive.

Now, the reader says, "Here comes that same old plea of insanity again."
But the reader has deceived himself this time.  No such plea was offered
in her defense.  The judge sentenced her, nobody persecuted the governor
with petitions for her pardon, and she was promptly hanged.

There was that youth in Pennsylvania, whose curious confession was
published some years ago.  It was simply a conglomeration of incoherent
drivel from beginning to end; and so was his lengthy speech on the
scaffold afterward.  For a whole year he was haunted with a desire to
disfigure a certain young woman, so that no one would marry her.  He did
not love her himself, and did not want to marry her, but he did not want
anybody else to do it.  He would not go anywhere with her, and yet was
opposed to anybody else's escorting her.  Upon one occasion he declined
to go to a wedding with her, and when she got other company, lay in wait
for the couple by the road, intending to make them go back or kill the
escort.  After spending sleepless nights over his ruling desire for a
full year, he at last attempted its execution--that is, attempted to
disfigure the young woman.  It was a success.  It was permanent.  In
trying to shoot her cheek (as she sat at the supper-table with her
parents and brothers and sisters) in such a manner as to mar its
comeliness, one of his bullets wandered a little out of the course, and
she dropped dead.  To the very last moment of his life he bewailed the
ill luck that made her move her face just at the critical moment.  And so
he died, apparently about half persuaded that somehow it was chiefly her
own fault that she got killed.  This idiot was hanged.  The plea, of
insanity was not offered.

Insanity certainly is on the increase in the world, and crime is dying
out.  There are no longer any murders--none worth mentioning, at any
rate.  Formerly, if you killed a man, it was possible that you were
insane--but now, if you, having friends and money, kill a mate, it is
evidence that you are a lunatic.  In these days, too, if a person of good
family and high social standing steals anything, they call it
kleptomania, and send him to the lunatic asylum.  If a person of high
standing squanders his fortune in dissipation, and closes his career with
strychnine or a bullet, "Temporary Aberration" is what was the trouble
with him.

Is not this insanity plea becoming rather common?  Is it not so common
that the reader confidently expects to see it offered in every criminal
case that comes before the courts?  And is it not so cheap, and so
common, and often so trivial, that the reader smiles in derision when the
newspaper mentions it?

And is it not curious to note how very often it wins acquittal for the
prisoner?  Of late years it does not seem possible for a man to so
conduct himself, before killing another man, as not to be manifestly
insane.  If he talks about the stars, he is insane.  If he appears
nervous and uneasy an hour before the killing, he is insane.  If he weeps
over a great grief, his friends shake their heads, and fear that he is
"not right."  If, an hour after the murder, he seems ill at ease,
preoccupied, and excited, he is, unquestionably insane.

Really, what we want now, is not laws against crime, but a law against
insanity.  There is where the true evil lies.






A CURIOUS DREAM

CONTAINING A MORAL

Night before last I had a singular dream.  I seemed to be sitting on a
doorstep (in no particular city perhaps) ruminating, and the time of
night appeared to be about twelve or one o'clock.  The weather was balmy
and delicious.  There was no human sound in the air, not even a footstep.
There was no sound of any kind to emphasize the dead stillness, except
the occasional hollow barking of a dog in the distance and the fainter
answer of a further dog.  Presently up the street I heard a bony
clack-clacking, and guessed it was the castanets of a serenading party.
In a minute more a tall skeleton, hooded, and half clad in a tattered and
moldy shroud, whose shreds were flapping about the ribby latticework of
its person, swung by me with a stately stride and disappeared in the gray
gloom of the starlight.  It had a broken and worm-eaten coffin on its
shoulder and a bundle of something in its hand.  I knew what the
clack-clacking was then; it was this party's joints working together,
and his elbows knocking against his sides as he walked.  I may say I was
surprised.  Before I could collect my thoughts and enter upon any
speculations as to what this apparition might portend, I heard another
one coming for I recognized his clack-clack.  He had two-thirds of a
coffin on his shoulder, and some foot and head boards under his arm.
I mightily wanted, to peer under his hood and speak to him, but when he
turned and smiled upon me with his cavernous sockets and his projecting
grin as he went by, I thought I would not detain him.  He was hardly gone
when I heard the clacking again, and another one issued from the shadowy
half-light.  This one was bending under a heavy gravestone, and dragging
a shabby coffin after him by a string.  When he got to me he gave me a
steady look for a moment or two, and then rounded to and backed up to me,
saying:

"Ease this down for a fellow, will you?"

I eased the gravestone down till it rested on the ground, and in doing so
noticed that it bore the name of "John Baxter Copmanhurst," with "May,
1839," as the date of his death.  Deceased sat wearily down by me, and
wiped his os frontis with his major maxillary--chiefly from former habit
I judged, for I could not see that he brought away any perspiration.

"It is too bad, too bad," said he, drawing the remnant of the shroud
about him and leaning his jaw pensively on his hand.  Then he put his
left foot up on his knee and fell to scratching his anklebone absently
with a rusty nail which he got out of his coffin.

"What is too bad, friend?"

"Oh, everything, everything.  I almost wish I never had died."

"You surprise me.  Why do you say this?  Has anything gone wrong?  What
is the matter?"

"Matter!  Look at this shroud-rags.  Look at this gravestone, all
battered up.  Look at that disgraceful old coffin.  All a man's property
going to ruin and destruction before his eyes, and ask him if anything is
wrong?  Fire and brimstone!"

"Calm yourself, calm yourself," I said.  "It is too bad--it is certainly
too bad, but then I had not supposed that you would much mind such
matters situated as you are."

"Well, my dear sir, I do mind them.  My pride is hurt, and my comfort is
impaired--destroyed, I might say.  I will state my case--I will put it to
you in such a way that you can comprehend it, if you will let me," said
the poor skeleton, tilting the hood of his shroud back, as if he were
clearing for action, and thus unconsciously giving himself a jaunty and
festive air very much at variance with the grave character of his
position in life--so to speak--and in prominent contrast with his
distressful mood.

"Proceed," said I.

"I reside in the shameful old graveyard a block or two above you here,
in this street--there, now, I just expected that cartilage would let go!
--third rib from the bottom, friend, hitch the end of it to my spine with
a string, if you have got such a thing about you, though a bit of silver
wire is a deal pleasanter, and more durable and becoming, if one keeps it
polished--to think of shredding out and going to pieces in this way, just
on account of the indifference and neglect of one's posterity!"--and the
poor ghost grated his teeth in a way that gave me a wrench and a shiver
--for the effect is mightily increased by the absence of muffling flesh
and cuticle.  "I reside in that old graveyard, and have for these thirty
years; and I tell you things are changed since I first laid this old
tired frame there, and turned over, and stretched out for a long sleep,
with a delicious sense upon me of being done with bother, and grief,
and anxiety, and doubt, and fear, forever and ever, and listening with
comfortable and increasing satisfaction to the sexton's work, from the
startling clatter of his first spadeful on my coffin till it dulled away
to the faint patting that shaped the roof of my new home-delicious!  My!
I wish you could try it to-night!" and out of my reverie deceased fetched
me a rattling slap with a bony hand.

"Yes, sir, thirty years ago I laid me down there, and was happy.  For it
was out in the country then--out in the breezy, flowery, grand old woods,
and the lazy winds gossiped with the leaves, and the squirrels capered
over us and around us, and the creeping things visited us, and the birds
filled the tranquil solitude with music.  Ah, it was worth ten years of a
man's life to be dead then!  Everything was pleasant.  I was in a good
neighborhood, for all the dead people that lived near me belonged to the
best families in the city.  Our posterity appeared to think the world of
us.  They kept our graves in the very best condition; the fences were
always in faultless repair, head-boards were kept painted or whitewashed,
and were replaced with new ones as soon as they began to look rusty or
decayed; monuments were kept upright, railings intact and bright, the
rose-bushes and shrubbery trimmed, trained, and free from blemish, the
walks clean and smooth and graveled.  But that day is gone by.  Our
descendants have forgotten us.  My grandson lives in a stately house
built with money made by these old hands of mine, and I sleep in a
neglected grave with invading vermin that gnaw my shroud to build them
nests withal!  I and friends that lie with me founded and secured the
prosperity of this fine city, and the stately bantling of our loves
leaves us to rot in a dilapidated cemetery which neighbors curse and
strangers scoff at.  See the difference between the old time and this
--for instance: Our graves are all caved in now; our head-boards have
rotted away and tumbled down; our railings reel this way and that, with
one foot in the air, after a fashion of unseemly levity; our monuments
lean wearily, and our gravestones bow their heads discouraged; there be
no adornments any more--no roses, nor shrubs, nor graveled walks, nor
anything that is a comfort to the eye; and even the paintless old board
fence that did make a show of holding us sacred from companionship with
beasts and the defilement of heedless feet, has tottered till it
overhangs the street, and only advertises the presence of our dismal
resting-place and invites yet more derision to it.  And now we cannot
hide our poverty and tatters in the friendly woods, for the city has
stretched its withering arms abroad and taken us in, and all that remains
of the cheer of our old home is the cluster of lugubrious forest trees
that stand, bored and weary of a city life, with their feet in our
coffins, looking into the hazy distance and wishing they were there.
I tell you it is disgraceful!

"You begin to comprehend--you begin to see how it is.  While our
descendants are living sumptuously on our money, right around us in the
city, we have to fight hard to keep skull and bones together.  Bless you,
there isn't a grave in our cemetery that doesn't leak not one.  Every
time it rains in the night we have to climb out and roost in the trees
and sometimes we are wakened suddenly by the chilly water trickling down
the back of our necks.  Then I tell you there is a general heaving up of
old graves and kicking over of old monuments, and scampering of old
skeletons for the trees!  Bless me, if you had gone along there some such
nights after twelve you might have seen as many as fifteen of us roosting
on one limb, with our joints rattling drearily and the wind wheezing
through our ribs!  Many a time we have perched there for three or four
dreary hours, and then come down, stiff and chilled through and drowsy,
and borrowed each other's skulls to bail out our graves with--if you will
glance up in my mouth now as I tilt my head back, you can see that my
head-piece is half full of old dry sediment how top-heavy and stupid it
makes me sometimes!  Yes, sir, many a time if you had happened to come
along just before the dawn you'd have caught us bailing out the graves
and hanging our shrouds on the fence to dry.  Why, I had an elegant
shroud stolen from there one morning--think a party by the name of Smith
took it, that resides in a plebeian graveyard over yonder--I think so
because the first time I ever saw him he hadn't anything on but a check
shirt, and the last time I saw him, which was at a social gathering in
the new cemetery, he was the best-dressed corpse in the company--and it
is a significant fact that he left when he saw me; and presently an old
woman from here missed her coffin--she generally took it with her when
she went anywhere, because she was liable to take cold and bring on the
spasmodic rheumatism that originally killed her if she exposed herself to
the night air much.  She was named Hotchkiss--Anna Matilda Hotchkiss--you
might know her?  She has two upper front teeth, is tall, but a good deal
inclined to stoop, one rib on the left side gone, has one shred of rusty
hair hanging from the left side of her head, and one little tuft just
above and a little forward of her right ear, has her underjaw wired on
one side where it had worked loose, small bone of left forearm gone--lost
in a fight has a kind of swagger in her gait and a 'gallus' way of going
with: her arms akimbo and her nostrils in the air has been pretty free
and easy, and is all damaged and battered up till she looks like a
queensware crate in ruins--maybe you have met her?"

"God forbid!" I involuntarily ejaculated, for somehow I was not looking
for that form of question, and it caught me a little off my guard.  But I
hastened to make amends for my rudeness, and say, "I simply meant I had
not had the honor--for I would not deliberately speak discourteously of a
friend of yours.  You were saying that you were robbed--and it was a
shame, too--but it appears by what is left of the shroud you have on that
it was a costly one in its day.  How did--"

A most ghastly expression began to develop among the decayed features and
shriveled integuments of my guest's face, and I was beginning to grow
uneasy and distressed, when he told me he was only working up a deep,
sly smile, with a wink in it, to suggest that about the time he acquired
his present garment a ghost in a neighboring cemetery missed one.  This
reassured me, but I begged him to confine himself to speech thenceforth,
because his facial expression was uncertain.  Even with the most
elaborate care it was liable to miss fire.  Smiling should especially be
avoided.  What he might honestly consider a shining success was likely to
strike me in a very different light.  I said I liked to see a skeleton
cheerful, even decorously playful, but I did not think smiling was a
skeleton's best hold.

"Yes, friend," said the poor skeleton, "the facts are just as I have
given them to you.  Two of these old graveyards--the one that I resided
in and one further along have been deliberately neglected by our
descendants of to-day until there is no occupying them any longer.  Aside
from the osteological discomfort of it--and that is no light matter this
rainy weather--the present state of things is ruinous to property.  We
have got to move or be content to see our effects wasted away and utterly
destroyed.

"Now, you will hardly believe it, but it is true, nevertheless, that there
isn't a single coffin in good repair among all my acquaintance--now that
is an absolute fact.  I do not refer to low people who come in a pine box
mounted on an express-wagon, but I am talking about your high-toned,
silver-mounted burial-case, your monumental sort, that travel under black
plumes at the head of a procession and have choice of cemetery lots
--I mean folks like the Jarvises, and the Bledsoes and Burlings, and such.
They are all about ruined.  The most substantial people in our set, they
were.  And now look at them--utterly used up and poverty-stricken.  One
of the Bledsoes actually traded his monument to a late barkeeper for some
fresh shavings to put under his head.  I tell you it speaks volumes, for
there is nothing a corpse takes so much pride in as his monument.  He
loves to read the inscription.  He comes after a while to believe what it
says himself, and then you may see him sitting on the fence night after
night enjoying it.  Epitaphs are cheap, and they do a poor chap a world
of good after he is dead, especially if he had hard luck while he was
alive.  I wish they were used more.  Now I don't complain, but
confidentially I do think it was a little shabby in my descendants to
give me nothing but this old slab of a gravestone--and all the more that
there isn't a compliment on it.  It used to have:

                    'GONE TO HIS JUST REWARD'

on it, and I was proud when I first saw it, but by and by I noticed that
whenever an old friend of mine came along he would hook his chin on the
railing and pull a long face and read along down till he came to that,
and then he would chuckle to himself and walk off, looking satisfied and
comfortable.  So I scratched it off to get rid of those fools.  But a
dead man always takes a deal of pride in his monument.  Yonder goes half
a dozen of the Jarvises now, with the family monument along.  And
Smithers and some hired specters went by with his awhile ago.  Hello,
Higgins, good-by, old friend!  That's Meredith Higgins--died in '44
--belongs to our set in the cemetery--fine old family--great-grand mother
was an Injun--I am on the most familiar terms with him he didn't hear me
was the reason he didn't answer me.  And I am sorry, too, because I would
have liked to introduce you.  You would admire him.  He is the most
disjointed, sway-backed, and generally distorted old skeleton you ever
saw, but he is full of fun.  When he laughs it sounds like rasping two
stones together, and he always starts it off with a cheery screech like
raking a nail across a window-pane.  Hey, Jones!  That is old Columbus
Jones--shroud cost four hundred dollars entire trousseau, including
monument, twenty-seven hundred.  This was in the spring of '26.  It was
enormous style for those days.  Dead people came all the way from the
Alleghanies to see his things--the party that occupied the grave next to
mine remembers it well.  Now do you see that individual going along with
a piece of a head-board under his arm, one leg-bone below his knee gone,
and not a thing in the world on?  That is Barstow Dalhousie, and next to
Columbus Jones he was the most sumptuously outfitted person that ever
entered our cemetery.  We are all leaving.  We cannot tolerate the
treatment we are receiving at the hands of our descendants.  They open
new cemeteries, but they leave us to our ignominy.  They mend the
streets, but they never mend anything that is about us or belongs to us.
Look at that coffin of mine--yet I tell you in its day it was a piece of
furniture that would have attracted attention in any drawing-room in this
city.  You may have it if you want it--I can't afford to repair it.
Put a new bottom in her, and part of a new top, and a bit of fresh lining
along the left side, and you'll find her about as comfortable as any
receptacle of her species you ever tried.  No thanks no, don't mention it
you have been civil to me, and I would give you all the property I have
got before I would seem ungrateful.  Now this winding-sheet is a kind of
a sweet thing in its way, if you would like to--No?  Well, just as you
say, but I wished to be fair and liberal there's nothing mean about me.
Good-by, friend, I must be going.  I may have a good way to go to-night
--don't know.  I only know one thing for certain, and that is that I am
on the emigrant trail now, and I'll never sleep in that crazy old
cemetery again.  I will travel till I fiend respectable quarters, if I
have to hoof it to New Jersey.  All the boys are going.  It was decided
in public conclave, last night, to emigrate, and by the time the sun
rises there won't be a bone left in our old habitations.  Such cemeteries
may suit my surviving friends, but they do not suit the remains that have
the honor to make these remarks.  My opinion is the general opinion.
If you doubt it, go and see how the departing ghosts upset things before
they started.  They were almost riotous in their demonstrations of
distaste.  Hello, here are some of the Bledsoes, and if you will give me
a lift with this tombstone I guess I will join company and jog along with
them--mighty respectable old family, the Bledsoes, and used to always
come out in six-horse hearses and all that sort of thing fifty years ago
when I walked these streets in daylight.  Good-by, friend."

And with his gravestone on his shoulder he joined the grisly procession,
dragging his damaged coffin after him, for notwithstanding he pressed it
upon me so earnestly, I utterly refused his hospitality.  I suppose that
for as much as two hours these sad outcasts went clacking by, laden with
their dismal effects, and all that time I sat pitying them.  One or two
of the youngest and least dilapidated among them inquired about midnight
trains on the railways, but the rest seemed unacquainted with that mode
of travel, and merely asked about common public roads to various towns
and cities, some of which are not on the map now, and vanished from it
and from the earth as much as thirty years ago, and some few of them
never had existed anywhere but on maps, and private ones in real-estate
agencies at that.  And they asked about the condition of the cemeteries
in these towns and cities, and about the reputation the citizens bore as
to reverence for the dead.

This whole matter interested me deeply, and likewise compelled my
sympathy for these homeless ones.  And it all seeming real, and I not
knowing it was a dream, I mentioned to one shrouded wanderer an idea that
had entered my head to publish an account of this curious and very
sorrowful exodus, but said also that I could not describe it truthfully,
and just as it occurred, without seeming to trifle with a grave subject
and exhibit an irreverence for the dead that would shock and distress
their surviving friends.  But this bland and stately remnant of a former
citizen leaned him far over my gate and whispered in my ear, and said:

"Do not let that disturb you.  The community that can stand such
graveyards as those we are emigrating from can stand anything a body can
say about the neglected and forsaken dead that lie in them."

At that very moment a cock crowed, and the weird procession vanished and
left not a shred or a bone behind.  I awoke, and found myself lying with
my head out of the bed and "sagging" downward considerably--a position
favorable to dreaming dreams with morals in them, maybe, but not poetry.

NOTE.--The reader is assured that if the cemeteries in his town are kept
in good order, this Dream is not leveled at his town at all, but is
leveled particularly and venomously at the next town.






A TRUE STORY

REPEATED WORD FOR WORD AS I HEARD IT--[Written about 1876]

It was summer-time, and twilight.  We were sitting on the porch of the
farmhouse, on the summit of the hill, and "Aunt Rachel" was sitting
respectfully below our level, on the steps-for she was our Servant, and
colored.  She was of mighty frame and stature; she was sixty years old,
but her eye was undimmed and her strength unabated.  She was a cheerful,
hearty soul, and it was no more trouble for her to laugh than it is for a
bird to sing.  She was under fire now, as usual when the day was done.
That is to say, she was being chaffed without mercy, and was enjoying it.
She would let off peal after of laughter, and then sit with her face in
her hands and shake with throes of enjoyment which she could no longer
get breath enough to express.  It such a moment as this a thought
occurred to me, and I said:

"Aunt Rachel, how is it that you've lived sixty years and never had any
trouble?"

She stopped quaking.  She paused, and there was moment of silence.  She
turned her face over her shoulder toward me, and said, without even a
smile her voice:

"Misto C-----, is you in 'arnest?"

It surprised me a good deal; and it sobered my manner and my speech, too.
I said:

"Why, I thought--that is, I meant--why, you can't have had any trouble.
I've never heard you sigh, and never seen your eye when there wasn't a
laugh in it."

She faced fairly around now, and was full earnestness.

"Has I had any trouble? Misto C-----, I's gwyne to tell you, den I leave
it to you.  I was bawn down 'mongst de slaves; I knows all 'bout slavery,
'case I ben one of 'em my own se'f.  Well sah, my ole man--dat's my
husban'--he was lov an' kind to me, jist as kind as you is to yo' own
wife.  An' we had chil'en--seven chil'en--an' loved dem chil'en jist de
same as you loves yo' chil'en.  Dey was black, but de Lord can't make
chil'en so black but what dey mother loves 'em an' wouldn't give 'em up,
no, not for anything dat's in dis whole world.

"Well, sah, I was raised in ole Fo'ginny, but mother she was raised in
Maryland; an' my souls she was turrible when she'd git started!  My lan!
but she'd make de fur fly!  When she'd git into dem tantrums, she always
had one word dat she said.  She'd straighten herse'f up an' put her fists
in her hips an' say, 'I want you to understan' dat I wa'n't bawn in the
mash to be fool' by trash!  I's one o' de ole Blue Hen's Chickens, I is!'
'Ca'se you see, dat's what folks dat's bawn in Maryland calls deyselves,
an' dey's proud of it.  Well, dat was her word.  I don't ever forgit it,
beca'se she said it so much, an' beca'se she said it one day when my
little Henry tore his wris' awful, and most busted 'is head, right up at
de top of his forehead, an' de niggers didn't fly aroun' fas' enough to
'tend to him.  An' when dey talk' back at her, she up an' she says,
'Look-a-heah!' she says, 'I want you niggers to understan' dat I wa'n't
bawn in de mash be fool' by trash! I's one o' de ole Blue Hen's chickens,
I is!' an' den she clar' dat kitchen an' bandage' up de chile herse'f.
So I says dat word, too, when I's riled.

"Well, bymeby my ole mistis say she's broke, an she got to sell all de
niggers on de place.  An' when I heah dat dey gwyne to sell us all off at
oction in Richmon', oh, de good gracious! I know what dat mean!"

Aunt Rachel had gradually risen, while she warmed to her subject, and now
she towered above us, black against the stars.

"Dey put chains on us an' put us on a stan' as high as dis po'ch--twenty
foot high--an' all de people stood aroun', crowds 'an' crowds.  An' dey'd
come up dah an' look at us all roun', an' squeeze our arm, an' make us
git up an' walk, an' den say, Dis one too ole,' or 'Dis one lame,' or
'Dis one don't 'mount to much.' An' dey sole my ole man, an' took him
away, an' dey begin to sell my chil'en an' take dem away, an' I begin to
cry; an' de man say, 'Shet up yo' damn blubberin',' an' hit me on de mouf
wid his han'.  An' when de las' one was gone but my little Henry, I grab'
him clost up to my breas' so, an' I ris up an' says, 'You sha'nt take him
away,' I says; 'I'll kill de man dat tetch him!' I says.  But my little
Henry whisper an' say 'I gwyne to run away, an' den I work an' buy yo'
freedom' Oh, bless de chile, he always so good!  But dey got him--dey got
him, de men did; but I took and tear de clo'es mos' off of 'em an' beat
'em over de head wid my chain; an' dey give it to me too, but I didn't
mine dat.

"Well, dah was my ole man gone, an' all my chil'en, all my seven chil'en
--an' six of 'em I hain't set eyes on ag'in to dis day, an' dat's
twenty-two year ago las' Easter.  De man dat bought me b'long' in
Newbern, an' he took me dah.  Well, bymeby de years roll on an' de waw
come.  My marster he was a Confedrit colonel, an' I was his family's
cook.  So when de Unions took dat town dey all run away an' lef' me all
by myse'f wid de other niggers in dat mons'us big house.  So de big Union
officers move in dah, an' dey ask me would I cook for dem.  'Lord bless
you,' says I, 'dat what I's for.'

"Dey wa'n't no small-fry officers, mine you, de was de biggest dey is;
an' de way dey made dem sojers mosey roun'!  De Gen'l he tole me to boss
dat kitchen; an' he say, 'If anybody come meddlin' wid you, you jist make
'em walk chalk; don't you be afeared,' he say; 'you's 'mong frens now.'

"Well, I thinks to myse'f, if my little Henry ever got a chance to run
away, he'd make to de Norf, o' course.  So one day I comes in dah whar de
big officers was, in de parlor, an' I drops a kurtchy, so, an' I up an'
tole 'em 'bout my Henry, dey a-listenin' to my troubles jist de same as
if I was white folks; an' I says, 'What I come for is beca'se if he got
away and got up Norf whar you gemmen comes from, you might 'a' seen him,
maybe, an' could tell me so as I could fine him ag'in; he was very
little, an' he had a sk-yar on his lef' wris' an' at de top of his
forehead.' Den dey look mournful, an' de Gen'l says, 'How long sence you
los' him?' an' I say, 'Thirteen year.   Den de Gen'l say, 'He wouldn't be
little no mo' now--he's a man!'

"I never thought o' dat befo'!  He was only dat little feller to me yit.
I never thought 'bout him growin' up an' bein' big.  But I see it den.
None o' de gemmen had run acrost him, so dey couldn't do nothin' for me.
But all dat time, do' I didn't know it, my Henry was run off to de Norf,
years an' years, an' he was a barber, too, an' worked for hisse'f.  An'
bymeby, when de waw come he ups an' he says: 'I's done barberin',' he
says, 'I's gwyne to fine my ole mammy, less'n she's dead.'  So he sole
out an' went to whar dey was recruitin', an' hired hisse'f out to de
colonel for his servant an' den he went all froo de battles everywhah,
huntin' for his ole mammy; yes, indeedy, he'd hire to fust one officer
an' den another, tell he'd ransacked de whole Souf; but you see I didn't
know nuffin 'bout dis.  How was I gwyne to know it?

"Well, one night we had a big sojer ball; de sojers dah at Newbern was
always havin' balls an' carryin' on.  Dey had 'em in my kitchen, heaps o'
times, 'ca'se it was so big.  Mine you, I was down on sich doin's;
beca'se my place was wid de officers, an' it rasp me to have dem common
sojers cavortin' roun' in my kitchen like dat.  But I alway' stood aroun'
an kep' things straight, I did; an' sometimes dey'd git my dander up, an'
den I'd make 'em clar dat kitchen mine I tell you!

"Well, one night--it was a Friday night--dey comes a whole platoon f'm a
nigger ridgment da was on guard at de house--de house was head quarters,
you know-an' den I was jist a-bilin' mad?  I was jist a-boomin'!  I
swelled aroun', an swelled aroun'; I jist was a-itchin' for 'em to do
somefin for to start me.  An' dey was a-waltzin' an a dancin'! my but dey
was havin' a time! an I jist a-swellin' an' a-swellin' up!  Pooty soon,
'long comes sich a spruce young nigger a-sailin' down de room wid a
yaller wench roun' de wais'; an' roun an' roun' an roun' dey went, enough
to make a body drunk to look at 'em; an' when dey got abreas' o' me, dey
went to kin' o' balancin' aroun' fust on one leg an' den on t'other, an'
smilin' at my big red turban, an' makin' fun, an' I ups an' says 'Git
along wid you!--rubbage!'  De young man's face kin' o' changed, all of a
sudden, for 'bout a second but den he went to smilin' ag'in, same as he
was befo'.  Well, 'bout dis time, in comes some niggers dat played music
and b'long' to de ban', an' dey never could git along widout puttin' on
airs.  An de very fust air dey put on dat night, I lit into em!  Dey
laughed, an' dat made me wuss.  De res' o' de niggers got to laughin',
an' den my soul alive but I was hot!  My eye was jist a-blazin'!  I jist
straightened myself up so--jist as I is now, plum to de ceilin', mos'
--an' I digs my fists into my hips, an' I says, 'Look-a-heah!' I says, 'I
want you niggers to understan' dat I wa'n't bawn in de mash to be fool'
by trash!  I's one o' de ole Blue hen's Chickens, I is!'--an' den I see
dat young man stan' a-starin' an' stiff, lookin' kin' o' up at de ceilin'
like he fo'got somefin, an' couldn't 'member it no mo'.  Well, I jist
march' on dem niggers--so, lookin' like a gen'l--an' dey jist cave' away
befo' me an' out at de do'.  An' as dis young man a-goin' out, I heah him
say to another nigger, 'Jim,' he says, 'you go 'long an' tell de cap'n I
be on han' 'bout eight o'clock in de mawnin'; dey's somefin on my mine,'
he says; 'I don't sleep no mo' dis night.  You go 'long,' he says, 'an'
leave me by my own se'f.'

"Dis was 'bout one o'clock in de mawnin'.  Well, 'bout seven, I was up
an' on han', gittin' de officers' breakfast.  I was a-stoopin' down by de
stove jist so, same as if yo' foot was de stove--an' I'd opened de stove
do' wid my right han'--so, pushin' it back, jist as I pushes yo' foot
--an' I'd jist got de pan o' hot biscuits in my han' an' was 'bout to
raise up, when I see a black face come aroun' under mine, an' de eyes
a-lookin' up into mine, jist as I's a-lookin' up clost under yo' face
now; an' I jist stopped right dah, an' never budged! jist gazed an' gazed
so; an' de pan begin to tremble, an' all of a sudden I knowed!  De pan
drop' on de flo' an' I grab his lef' han' an' shove back his sleeve--jist
so, as I's doin' to you--an' den I goes for his forehead an' push de hair
back so, an' 'Boy!' I says, 'if you an't my Henry, what is you doin' wid
dis welt on yo' wris' an' dat sk-yar on yo' forehead?  De Lord God ob
heaven be praise', I got my own ag'in!'

     "Oh no' Misto C-----, I hain't had no trouble.  An' no joy!"






THE SIAMESE TWINS--[Written about 1868.]

I do not wish to write of the personal habits of these strange creatures
solely, but also of certain curious details of various kinds concerning
them, which, belonging only to their private life, have never crept into
print.  Knowing the Twins intimately, I feel that I am peculiarly well
qualified for the task I have taken upon myself.

The Siamese Twins are naturally tender and affectionate indisposition,
and have clung to each other with singular fidelity throughout a long and
eventful life.  Even as children they were inseparable companions; and it
was noticed that they always seemed to prefer each other's society to
that of any other persons.  They nearly always played together; and, so
accustomed was their mother to this peculiarity, that, whenever both of
them chanced to be lost, she usually only hunted for one of them
--satisfied that when she found that one she would find his brother
somewhere in the immediate neighborhood.  And yet these creatures were
ignorant and unlettered-barbarians themselves and the offspring of
barbarians, who knew not the light of philosophy and science.  What a
withering rebuke is this to our boasted civilization, with its
quarrelings, its wranglings, and its separations of brothers!

As men, the Twins have not always lived in perfect accord; but still
there has always been a bond between them which made them unwilling to go
away from each other and dwell apart.  They have even occupied the same
house, as a general thing, and it is believed that they have never failed
to even sleep together on any night since they were born.  How surely do
the habits of a lifetime become second nature to us!  The Twins always go
to bed at the same time; but Chang usually gets up about an hour before
his brother.  By an understanding between themselves, Chang does all the
indoor work and Eng runs all the errands.  This is because Eng likes to
go out; Chang's habits are sedentary.  However, Chang always goes along.
Eng is a Baptist, but Chang is a Roman Catholic; still, to please his
brother, Chang consented to be baptized at the same time that Eng was, on
condition that it should not "count."  During the war they were strong
partisans, and both fought gallantly all through the great struggle--Eng
on the Union side and Chang on the Confederate.  They took each other
prisoners at Seven Oaks, but the proofs of capture were so evenly
balanced in favor of each, that a general army court had to be assembled
to determine which one was properly the captor and which the captive.
The jury was unable to agree for a long time; but the vexed question was
finally decided by agreeing to consider them both prisoners, and then
exchanging them.  At one time Chang was convicted of disobedience of
orders, and sentenced to ten days in the guard-house, but Eng, in spite
of all arguments, felt obliged to share his imprisonment, notwithstanding
he himself was entirely innocent; and so, to save the blameless brother
from suffering, they had to discharge both from custody--the just reward
of faithfulness.

Upon one occasion the brothers fell out about something, and Chang
knocked Eng down, and then tripped and fell on him, whereupon both
clinched and began to beat and gouge each other without mercy.  The
bystanders interfered, and tried to separate them, but they could not do
it, and so allowed them to fight it out.  In the end both were disabled,
and were carried to the hospital on one and the same shutter.

Their ancient habit of going always together had its drawbacks when they
reached man's estate, and entered upon the luxury of courting.  Both fell
in love with the same girl.  Each tried to steal clandestine interviews
with her, but at the critical moment the other would always turn up.
By and by Eng saw, with distraction, that Chang had won the girl's
affections; and, from that day forth, he had to bear with the agony of
being a witness to all their dainty billing and cooing.  But with a
magnanimity that did him infinite credit, he succumbed to his fate, and
gave countenance and encouragement to a state of things that bade fair to
sunder his generous heart-strings.  He sat from seven every evening until
two in the morning, listening to the fond foolishness of the two lovers,
and to the concussion of hundreds of squandered kisses--for the privilege
of sharing only one of which he would have given his right hand.  But he
sat patiently, and waited, and gaped, and yawned, and stretched, and
longed for two o'clock to come.  And he took long walks with the lovers
on moonlight evenings--sometimes traversing ten miles, notwithstanding he
was usually suffering from rheumatism.  He is an inveterate smoker; but
he could not smoke on these occasions, because the young lady was
painfully sensitive to the smell of tobacco.  Eng cordially wanted them
married, and done with it; but although Chang often asked the momentous
question, the young lady could not gather sufficient courage to answer it
while Eng was by.  However, on one occasion, after having walked some
sixteen miles, and sat up till nearly daylight, Eng dropped asleep, from
sheer exhaustion, and then the question was asked and answered.  The
lovers were married.  All acquainted with the circumstance applauded the
noble brother-in-law.  His unwavering faithfulness was the theme of every
tongue.  He had stayed by them all through their long and arduous
courtship; and when at last they were married, he lifted his hands above
their heads, and said with impressive unction, "Bless ye, my children, I
will never desert ye!" and he kept his word.  Fidelity like this is all
too rare in this cold world.

By and by Eng fell in love with his sister-in-law's sister, and married
her, and since that day they have all lived together, night and day, in
an exceeding sociability which is touching and beautiful to behold, and
is a scathing rebuke to our boasted civilization.

The sympathy existing between these two brothers is so close and so
refined that the feelings, the impulses, the emotions of the one are
instantly experienced by the other.  When one is sick, the other is sick;
when one feels pain, the other feels it; when one is angered, the other's
temper takes fire.  We have already seen with what happy facility they
both fell in love with the same girl.  Now Chang is bitterly opposed to
all forms of intemperance, on principle; but Eng is the reverse--for,
while these men's feelings and emotions are so closely wedded, their
reasoning faculties are unfettered; their thoughts are free.  Chang
belongs to the Good Templars, and is a hard--working, enthusiastic
supporter of all temperance reforms.  But, to his bitter distress, every
now and then Eng gets drunk, and, of course, that makes Chang drunk too.
This unfortunate thing has been a great sorrow to Chang, for it almost
destroys his usefulness in his favorite field of effort.  As sure as he
is to head a great temperance procession Eng ranges up alongside of him,
prompt to the minute, and drunk as a lord; but yet no more dismally and
hopelessly drunk than his brother, who has not tasted a drop.  And so the
two begin to hoot and yell, and throw mud and bricks at the Good
Templars; and, of course, they break up the procession.  It would be
manifestly wrong to punish Chang for what Eng does, and, therefore, the
Good Templars accept the untoward situation, and suffer in silence and
sorrow.  They have officially and deliberately examined into the matter,
and find Chang blameless.  They have taken the two brothers and filled
Chang full of warm water and sugar and Eng full of whisky, and in
twenty-five minutes it was not possible to tell which was the drunkest.
Both were as drunk as loons--and on hot whisky punches, by the smell of
their breath.  Yet all the while Chang's moral principles were unsullied,
his conscience clear; and so all just men were forced to confess that he
was not morally, but only physically, drunk.  By every right and by every
moral evidence the man was strictly sober; and, therefore, it caused his
friends all the more anguish to see him shake hands with the pump and try
to wind his watch with his night-key.

There is a moral in these solemn warnings--or, at least, a warning in
these solemn morals; one or the other.  No matter, it is somehow.  Let us
heed it; let us profit by it.

I could say more of an instructive nature about these interesting beings,
but let what I have written suffice.

Having forgotten to mention it sooner, I will remark in conclusion that
the ages of the Siamese Twins are respectively fifty-one and fifty-three
years.






SPEECH AT THE SCOTTISH BANQUET IN LONDON--[Written about 1872.]

On the anniversary festival of the Scottish Corporation of London on
Monday evening, in response to the toast of "The Ladies," MARK TWAIN
replied.  The following is his speech as reported in the London Observer:

I am proud, indeed, of the distinction of being chosen to respond to this
especial toast, to 'The Ladies,' or to women if you please, for that is
the preferable term, perhaps; it is certainly the older, and therefore
the more entitled to reverence [Laughter.]  I have noticed that the
Bible, with that plain, blunt honesty which is such a conspicuous
characteristic of the Scriptures, is always particular to never refer to
even the illustrious mother of all mankind herself as a 'lady,' but
speaks of her as a woman, [Laughter.]  It is odd, but you will find it is
so.  I am peculiarly proud of this honor, because I think that the toast
to women is one which, by right and by every rule of gallantry, should
take precedence of all others--of the army, of the navy, of even royalty
itself perhaps, though the latter is not necessary in this day and in
this land, for the reason that, tacitly, you do drink a broad general
health to all good women when you drink the health of the Queen of
England and the Princess of Wales.  [Loud cheers.]  I have in mind a poem
just now which is familiar to you all, familiar to everybody.  And what
an inspiration that was (and how instantly the present toast recalls the
verses to all our minds) when the most noble, the most gracious, the
purest, and sweetest of all poets says:

                         "Woman!  O woman!--er--
                         Wom--"

[Laughter.]  However, you remember the lines; and you remember how
feelingly, how daintily, how almost imperceptibly the verses raise up
before you, feature by feature, the ideal of a true and perfect woman;
and how, as you contemplate the finished marvel, your homage grows into
worship of the intellect that could create so fair a thing out of mere
breath, mere words.  And you call to mind now, as I speak, how the poet,
with stern fidelity to the history of all humanity, delivers this
beautiful child of his heart and his brain over to the trials and sorrows
that must come to all, sooner or later, that abide in the earth, and how
the pathetic story culminates in that apostrophe--so wild, so regretful,
so full of mournful retrospection.  The lines run thus:

                    "Alas!--alas!--a--alas!
                    ----Alas!--------alas!"

--and so on.  [Laughter.] I do not remember the rest; but, taken
together, it seems to me that poem is the noblest tribute to woman that
human genius has ever brought forth--[laughter]--and I feel that if I
were to talk hours I could not do my great theme completer or more
graceful justice than I have now done in simply quoting that poet's
matchless words.  [Renewed laughter.] The phases of the womanly nature
are infinite in their variety.  Take any type of woman, and you shall
find in it something to respect, something to admire, something to love.
And you shall find the whole joining you heart and hand.  Who was more
patriotic than Joan of Arc?  Who was braver?  Who has given us a grander
instance of self-sacrificing devotion?  Ah! you remember, you remember
well, what a throb of pain, what a great tidal wave of grief swept over
us all when Joan of Arc fell at Waterloo.  [Much laughter.]  Who does not
sorrow for the loss of Sappho, the sweet singer of Israel?  [Laughter.]
Who among us does not miss the gentle ministrations, the softening
influences, the humble piety of Lucretia Borgia?  [Laughter.]  Who can
join in the heartless libel that says woman is extravagant in dress when
he can look back and call to mind our simple and lowly mother Eve arrayed
in her modification of the Highland costume.  [Roars of laughter.]
Sir, women have been soldiers, women have been painters, women have been
poets.  As long as language lives the name of Cleopatra will live.

And, not because she conquered George III. [laughter]--but because she
wrote those divine lines:

                    "Let dogs delight to bark and bite,
                    For God hath made them so."

[More laughter.]  The story of the world is adorned with the names of
illustrious ones of our own sex--some of them sons of St.  Andrew, too
--Scott, Bruce, Burns, the warrior Wallace, Ben Nevis--[laughter]--the
gifted Ben Lomond, and the great new Scotchman, Ben Disraeli.  [Great
laughter.]  Out of the great plains of history tower whole mountain
ranges of sublime women--the Queen of Sheba, Josephine, Semiramis, Sairey
Gamp; the list is endless--[laughter]--but I will not call the mighty
roll, the names rise up in your own memories at the mere suggestion,
luminous with the glory of deeds that cannot die, hallowed by the loving
worship of the good and the true of all epochs and all climes.  [Cheers.]
Suffice it for our pride and our honor that we in our day have added to
it such names as those of Grace Darling and Florence Nightingale.
[Cheers.]  Woman is all that she should be-gentle, patient, long
suffering, trustful, unselfish, full of generous impulses.  It is her
blessed mission to comfort the sorrowing, plead for the erring, encourage
the faint of purpose, succor the distressed, uplift the fallen, befriend
the friendless in a word, afford the healing of her sympathies and a home
in her heart for all the bruised and persecuted children of misfortune
that knock at its hospitable door. [Cheers.]  And when I say, God bless
her, there is none among us who has known the ennobling affection of a
wife, or the steadfast devotion of a mother, but in his heart will say,
Amen!  [Loud and prolonged cheering.]

--[Mr.  Benjamin Disraeli, at that time Prime Minister of England, had
just been elected Lord Rector of Glasgow University, and had made a
speech which gave rise to a world of discussion.]






A GHOST STORY

I took a large room, far up Broadway, in a huge old building whose upper
stories had been wholly unoccupied for years until I came.  The place had
long been given up to dust and cobwebs, to solitude and silence.
I seemed groping among the tombs and invading the privacy of the dead,
that first night I climbed up to my quarters.  For the first time in my
life a superstitious dread came over me; and as I turned a dark angle of
the stairway and an invisible cobweb swung its slazy woof in my face and
clung there, I shuddered as one who had encountered a phantom.

I was glad enough when I reached my room and locked out the mold and the
darkness.  A cheery fire was burning in the grate, and I sat down before
it with a comforting sense of relief.  For two hours I sat there,
thinking of bygone times; recalling old scenes, and summoning
half-forgotten faces out of the mists of the past; listening, in fancy,
to voices that long ago grew silent for all time, and to once familiar
songs that nobody sings now.  And as my reverie softened down to a sadder
and sadder pathos, the shrieking of the winds outside softened to a wail,
the angry beating of the rain against the panes diminished to a tranquil
patter, and one by one the noises in the street subsided, until the
hurrying footsteps of the last belated straggler died away in the
distance and left no sound behind.

The fire had burned low.  A sense of loneliness crept over me.  I arose
and undressed, moving on tiptoe about the room, doing stealthily what I
had to do, as if I were environed by sleeping enemies whose slumbers it
would be fatal to break.  I covered up in bed, and lay listening to the
rain and wind and the faint creaking of distant shutters, till they
lulled me to sleep.

I slept profoundly, but how long I do not know.  All at once I found
myself awake, and filled with a shuddering expectancy.  All was still.
All but my own heart--I could hear it beat.  Presently the bedclothes
began to slip away slowly toward the foot of the bed, as if some one were
pulling them!  I could not stir; I could not speak.  Still the blankets
slipped deliberately away, till my breast was uncovered.  Then with a
great effort I seized them and drew them over my head.  I waited,
listened, waited.  Once more that steady pull began, and once more I lay
torpid a century of dragging seconds till my breast was naked again.  At
last I roused my energies and snatched the covers back to their place and
held them with a strong grip.  I waited.  By and by I felt a faint tug,
and took a fresh grip.  The tug strengthened to a steady strain--it grew
stronger and stronger.  My hold parted, and for the third time the
blankets slid away.  I groaned.  An answering groan came from the foot of
the bed!  Beaded drops of sweat stood upon my forehead.  I was more dead
than alive.  Presently I heard a heavy footstep in my room--the step of
an elephant, it seemed to me--it was not like anything human.  But it was
moving from me--there was relief in that.  I heard it approach the door
--pass out without moving bolt or lock--and wander away among the dismal
corridors, straining the floors and joists till they creaked again as it
passed--and then silence reigned once more.

When my excitement had calmed, I said to myself, "This is a dream--simply
a hideous dream."  And so I lay thinking it over until I convinced myself
that it was a dream, and then a comforting laugh relaxed my lips and I
was happy again.  I got up and struck a light; and when I found that the
locks and bolts were just as I had left them, another soothing laugh
welled in my heart and rippled from my lips.  I took my pipe and lit it,
and was just sitting down before the fire, when-down went the pipe out of
my nerveless fingers, the blood forsook my cheeks, and my placid
breathing was cut short with a gasp!  In the ashes on the hearth, side by
side with my own bare footprint, was another, so vast that in comparison
mine was but an infant's!  Then I had had a visitor, and the elephant
tread was explained.

I put out the light and returned to bed, palsied with fear.  I lay a long
time, peering into the darkness, and listening.--Then I heard a grating
noise overhead, like the dragging of a heavy body across the floor; then
the throwing down of the body, and the shaking of my windows in response
to the concussion.  In distant parts of the building I heard the muffled
slamming of doors.  I heard, at intervals, stealthy footsteps creeping in
and out among the corridors, and up and down the stairs.  Sometimes these
noises approached my door, hesitated, and went away again.  I heard the
clanking of chains faintly, in remote passages, and listened while the
clanking grew nearer--while it wearily climbed the stairways, marking
each move by the loose surplus of chain that fell with an accented rattle
upon each succeeding step as the goblin that bore it advanced.  I heard
muttered sentences; half-uttered screams that seemed smothered violently;
and the swish of invisible garments, the rush of invisible wings.  Then I
became conscious that my chamber was invaded--that I was not alone.
I heard sighs and breathings about my bed, and mysterious whisperings.
Three little spheres of soft phosphorescent light appeared on the ceiling
directly over my head, clung and glowed there a moment, and then dropped
--two of them upon my face and one upon the pillow.  They, spattered,
liquidly, and felt warm.  Intuition told me they had--turned to gouts of
blood as they fell--I needed no light to satisfy myself of that.  Then I
saw pallid faces, dimly luminous, and white uplifted hands, floating
bodiless in the air--floating a moment and then disappearing.
The whispering ceased, and the voices and the sounds, anal a solemn
stillness followed.  I waited and listened.  I felt that I must have
light or die.  I was weak with fear.  I slowly raised myself toward a
sitting posture, and my face came in contact with a clammy hand!
All strength went from me apparently, and I fell back like a stricken
invalid.  Then I heard the rustle of a garment it seemed to pass to the
door and go out.

When everything was still once more, I crept out of bed, sick and feeble,
and lit the gas with a hand that trembled as if it were aged with a
hundred years.  The light brought some little cheer to my spirits.  I sat
down and fell into a dreamy contemplation of that great footprint in the
ashes.  By and by its outlines began to waver and grow dim.  I glanced up
and the broad gas-flame was slowly wilting away.  In the same moment I
heard that elephantine tread again.  I noted its approach, nearer and
nearer, along the musty halls, and dimmer and dimmer the light waned.
The tread reached my very door and paused--the light had dwindled to a
sickly blue, and all things about me lay in a spectral twilight.  The
door did not open, and yet I felt a faint gust of air fan my cheek, and
presently was conscious of a huge, cloudy presence before me.  I watched
it with fascinated eyes.  A pale glow stole over the Thing; gradually its
cloudy folds took shape--an arm appeared, then legs, then a body, and
last a great sad face looked out of the vapor.  Stripped of its filmy
housings, naked, muscular and comely, the majestic Cardiff Giant loomed
above me!

All my misery vanished--for a child might know that no harm could come
with that benignant countenance.  My cheerful spirits returned at once,
and in sympathy with them the gas flamed up brightly again.  Never a
lonely outcast was so glad to welcome company as I was to greet the
friendly giant.  I said:

"Why, is it nobody but you?  Do you know, I have been scared to death for
the last two or three hours?  I am most honestly glad to see you.  I wish
I had a chair--Here, here, don't try to sit down in that thing--"

But it was too late.  He was in it before I could stop him and down he
went--I never saw a chair shivered so in my life.

"Stop, stop, you'll ruin ev--"

Too late again.  There was another crash, and another chair was resolved
into its original elements.

"Confound it, haven't you got any judgment at' all?  Do you want to ruin
all the furniture on the place?  Here, here, you petrified fool--"

But it was no use.  Before I could arrest him he had sat down on the bed,
and it was a melancholy ruin.

"Now what sort of a way is that to do?  First you come lumbering about
the place bringing a legion of vagabond goblins along with you to worry
me to death, and then when I overlook an indelicacy of costume which
would not be tolerated anywhere by cultivated people except in a
respectable theater, and not even there if the nudity were of your sex,
you repay me by wrecking all the furniture you can find to sit down on.
And why will you?  You damage yourself as much as you do me.  You have
broken off the end of your spinal column, and littered up the floor with
chips of your hams till the place looks like a marble yard.  You ought to
be ashamed of yourself--you are big enough to know better."

"Well, I will not break any more furniture.  But what am I to do?  I have
not had a chance to sit down for a century."  And the tears came into his
eyes.

"Poor devil," I said, "I should not have been so harsh with you.  And you
are an orphan, too, no doubt.  But sit down on the floor here--nothing
else can stand your weight--and besides, we cannot be sociable with you
away up there above me; I want you down where I can perch on this high
counting-house stool and gossip with you face to face."  So he sat down
on the floor, and lit a pipe which I gave him, threw one of my red
blankets over his shoulders, inverted my sitz-bath on his head, helmet
fashion, and made himself picturesque and comfortable.  Then he crossed
his ankles, while I renewed the fire, and exposed the flat, honeycombed
bottoms of his prodigious feet to the grateful warmth.

"What is the matter with the bottom of your feet and the back of your
legs, that they are gouged up so?"

"Infernal chilblains--I caught them clear up to the back of my head,
roosting out there under Newell's farm.  But I love the place; I love it
as one loves his old home.  There is no peace for me like the peace I
feel when I am there."

We talked along for half an hour, and then I noticed that he looked
tired, and spoke of it.

"Tired?" he said.  "Well, I should think so.  And now I will tell you all
about it, since you have treated me so well.  I am the spirit of the
Petrified Man that lies across the street there in the museum. I am the
ghost of the Cardiff Giant.  I can have no rest, no peace, till they have
given that poor body burial again.  Now what was the most natural thing
for me to do, to make men satisfy this wish?  Terrify them into it!
haunt the place where the body lay!  So I haunted the museum night after
night.  I even got other spirits to help me.  But it did no good, for
nobody ever came to the museum at midnight.  Then it occurred to me to
come over the way and haunt this place a little.  I felt that if I ever
got a hearing I must succeed, for I had the most efficient company that
perdition could furnish.  Night after night we have shivered around
through these mildewed halls, dragging chains, groaning, whispering,
tramping up and down stairs, till, to tell you the truth, I am almost
worn out.  But when I saw a light in your room to-night I roused my
energies again and went at it with a deal of the old freshness.  But I am
tired out--entirely fagged out.  Give me, I beseech you, give me some
hope!"  I lit off my perch in a burst of excitement, and exclaimed:

"This transcends everything! everything that ever did occur!  Why you
poor blundering old fossil, you have had all your trouble for nothing
--you have been haunting a plaster cast of yourself--the real Cardiff
Giant is in Albany!--[A fact.  The original fraud was ingeniously and
fraudfully duplicated, and exhibited in New York as the "only genuine"
Cardiff Giant (to the unspeakable disgust of the owners of the real
colossus) at the very same time that the latter was drawing crowds at a
museum is Albany,]--Confound it, don't you know your own remains?"

I never saw such an eloquent look of shame, of pitiable humiliation,
overspread a countenance before.

The Petrified Man rose slowly to his feet, and said:

"Honestly, is that true?"

"As true as I am sitting here."

He took the pipe from his mouth and laid it on the mantel, then stood
irresolute a moment (unconsciously, from old habit, thrusting his hands
where his pantaloons pockets should have been, and meditatively dropping
his chin on his breast); and finally said:

"Well-I never felt so absurd before.  The Petrified Man has sold
everybody else, and now the mean fraud has ended by selling its own
ghost!  My son, if there is any charity left in your heart for a poor
friendless phantom like me, don't let this get out.  Think how you would
feel if you had made such an ass of yourself."

I heard his stately tramp die away, step by step down the stairs and out
into the deserted street, and felt sorry that he was gone, poor fellow
--and sorrier still that he had carried off my red blanket and my
bath-tub.






THE CAPITOLINE VENUS

CHAPTER I

[Scene-An Artist's Studio in Rome.]

"Oh, George, I do love you!"

"Bless your dear heart, Mary, I know that--why is your father so
obdurate?"

"George, he means well, but art is folly to him--he only understands
groceries.  He thinks you would starve me."

"Confound his wisdom--it savors of inspiration.  Why am I not a
money-making bowelless grocer, instead of a divinely gifted sculptor
with nothing to eat?"

"Do not despond, Georgy, dear--all his prejudices will fade away as soon
as you shall have acquired fifty thousand dol--"

"Fifty thousand demons!  Child, I am in arrears for my board!"



CHAPTER II

[Scene-A Dwelling in Rome.]

"My dear sir, it is useless to talk.  I haven't anything against you, but
I can't let my daughter marry a hash of love, art, and starvation--I
believe you have nothing else to offer."

"Sir, I am poor, I grant you.  But is fame nothing?  The Hon. Bellamy
Foodle of Arkansas says that my new statue of America, is a clever piece
of sculpture, and he is satisfied that my name will one day be famous."

"Bosh!  What does that Arkansas ass know about it?  Fame's nothing--the
market price of your marble scarecrow is the thing to look at.  It took
you six months to chisel it, and you can't sell it for a hundred dollars.
No, sir!  Show me fifty thousand dollars and you can have my daughter
--otherwise she marries young Simper.  You have just six months to raise
the money in.  Good morning, sir."

"Alas!  Woe is me!"



CHAPTER III

[ Scene-The Studio.]

"Oh, John, friend of my boyhood, I am the unhappiest of men."

"You're a simpleton!"

"I have nothing left to love but my poor statue of America--and see, even
she has no sympathy for me in her cold marble countenance--so beautiful
and so heartless!"

"You're a dummy!"

"Oh, John!"

Oh, fudge!  Didn't you say you had six months to raise the money in?"

"Don't deride my agony, John.  If I had six centuries what good would it
do?  How could it help a poor wretch without name, capital, or friends?"

"Idiot!  Coward!  Baby!  Six months to raise the money in--and five will
do!"

"Are you insane?"

"Six months--an abundance.  Leave it to me.  I'll raise it."

"What do you mean, John?  How on earth can you raise such a monstrous sum
for me?"

"Will you let that be my business, and not meddle?  Will you leave the
thing in my hands?  Will you swear to submit to whatever I do?  Will you
pledge me to find no fault with my actions?"

"I am dizzy--bewildered--but I swear."

John took up a hammer and deliberately smashed the nose of America!  He
made another pass and two of her fingers fell to the floor--another, and
part of an ear came away--another, and a row of toes was mangled and
dismembered--another, and the left leg, from the knee down, lay a
fragmentary ruin!

John put on his hat and departed.

George gazed speechless upon the battered and grotesque nightmare before
him for the space of thirty seconds, and then wilted to the floor and
went into convulsions.

John returned presently with a carriage, got the broken-hearted artist
and the broken-legged statue aboard, and drove off, whistling low and
tranquilly.

He left the artist at his lodgings, and drove off and disappeared down
the Via Quirinalis with the statue.



CHAPTER IV

[Scene--The Studio.]

"The six months will be up at two o'clock to-day!  Oh, agony!  My life is
blighted.  I would that I were dead.  I had no supper yesterday.  I have
had no breakfast to-day.  I dare not enter an eating-house.  And hungry?
--don't mention it!  My bootmaker duns me to death--my tailor duns me
--my landlord haunts me.  I am miserable.  I haven't seen John since that
awful day.  She smiles on me tenderly when we meet in the great
thoroughfares, but her old flint of a father makes her look in the other
direction in short order.  Now who is knocking at that door?  Who is come
to persecute me?  That malignant villain the bootmaker, I'll warrant.
Come in!"

"Ah, happiness attend your highness--Heaven be propitious to your grace!
I have brought my lord's new boots--ah, say nothing about the pay, there
is no hurry, none in the world.  Shall be proud if my noble lord will
continue to honor me with his custom--ah, adieu!"

"Brought the boots himself!  Don't wait his pay!  Takes his leave with a
bow and a scrape fit to honor majesty withal!  Desires a continuance of
my custom!  Is the world coming to an end?  Of all the--come in!"

"Pardon, signore, but I have brought your new suit of clothes for--"

"Come in!"

"A thousand pardons for this intrusion, your worship.  But I have
prepared the beautiful suite of rooms below for you--this wretched den is
but ill suited to--"

"Come in!"

"I have called to say that your credit at our bank, some time since
unfortunately interrupted, is entirely and most satisfactorily restored,
and we shall be most happy if you will draw upon us for any--"

"COME IN!"

"My noble boy, she is yours!  She'll be here in a moment!  Take her
--marry her--love her--be happy!--God bless you both!  Hip, hip, hur--"

"COME IN!!!!!"

"Oh, George, my own darling, we are saved!"

"Oh, Mary, my own darling, we are saved--but I'll swear I don't know why
nor how!"



CHAPTER V

[Scene-A Roman Cafe.]

One of a group of American gentlemen reads and translates from the weekly
edition of 'Il Slangwhanger di Roma' as follows:

WONDERFUL DISCOVERY--Some six months ago Signor John Smitthe, an American
gentleman now some years a resident of Rome, purchased for a trifle a
small piece of ground in the Campagna, just beyond the tomb of the Scipio
family, from the owner, a bankrupt relative of the Princess Borghese.
Mr. Smitthe afterward went to the Minister of the Public Records and had
the piece of ground transferred to a poor American artist named George
Arnold, explaining that he did it as payment and satisfaction for
pecuniary damage accidentally done by him long since upon property
belonging to Signor Arnold, and further observed that he would make
additional satisfaction by improving the ground for Signor A., at his own
charge and cost.  Four weeks ago, while making some necessary excavations
upon the property, Signor Smitthe unearthed the most remarkable ancient
statue that has ever bees added to the opulent art treasures of Rome.
It was an exquisite figure of a woman, and though sadly stained by the
soil and the mold of ages, no eye can look unmoved upon its ravishing
beauty.  The nose, the left leg from the knee down, an ear, and also the
toes of the right foot and two fingers of one of the hands were gone,
but otherwise the noble figure was in a remarkable state of preservation.
The government at once took military possession of the statue, and
appointed a commission of art-critics, antiquaries, and cardinal princes
of the church to assess its value and determine the remuneration that
must go to the owner of the ground in which it was found.  The whole
affair was kept a profound secret until last night.  In the mean time the
commission sat with closed doors and deliberated.  Last night they
decided unanimously that the statue is a Venus, and the work of some
unknown but sublimely gifted artist of the third century before Christ.
They consider it the most faultless work of art the world has any
knowledge of.

At midnight they held a final conference and, decided that the Venus was
worth the enormous sum of ten million francs!  In accordance with Roman
law and Roman usage, the government being half-owner in all works of art
found in the Campagna, the State has naught to do but pay five million
francs to Mr.  Arnold and take permanent possession of the beautiful
statue.  This morning the Venus will be removed to the Capitol, there to
remain, and at noon the commission will wait upon Signor Arnold with His
Holiness the Pope's order upon the Treasury for the princely sum of five
million francs is gold!

Chorus of Voices.--"Luck!  It's no name for it!"

Another Voice.--"Gentlemen, I propose that we immediately form an
American joint-stock company for the purchase of lands and excavations of
statues here, with proper connections in Wall Street to bull and bear the
stock."

All.--"Agreed."



CHAPTER VI

[Scene--The Roman Capitol Ten Years Later.]

"Dearest Mary, this is the most celebrated statue in the world.  This is
the renowned 'Capitoline Venus' you've heard so much about.  Here she is
with her little blemishes 'restored' (that is, patched) by the most noted
Roman artists--and the mere fact that they did the humble patching of so
noble a creation will make their names illustrious while the world
stands.  How strange it seems this place!  The day before I last stood
here, ten happy years ago, I wasn't a rich man bless your soul, I hadn't
a cent.  And yet I had a good deal to do with making Rome mistress of
this grandest work of ancient art the world contains."

"The worshiped, the illustrious Capitoline Venus--and what a sum she is
valued at!  Ten millions of francs!"

"Yes--now she is."

"And oh, Georgy, how divinely beautiful she is!"

"Ah, yes but nothing to what she was before that blessed John Smith broke
her leg and battered her nose.  Ingenious Smith!--gifted Smith!--noble
Smith!  Author of all our bliss!  Hark!  Do you know what that wheeze
means?  Mary, that cub has got the whooping-cough.  Will you never learn
to take care of the children!"

THE END


The Capitoline Venus is still in the Capitol at Rome, and is still the
most charming and most illustrious work of ancient art the world can
boast of.  But if ever it shall be your fortune to stand before it and go
into the customary ecstasies over it, don't permit this true and secret
history of its origin to mar your bliss--and when you read about a
gigantic Petrified man being dug up near Syracuse, in the State of New
York, or near any other place, keep your own counsel--and if the Barnum
that buried him there offers to sell to you at an enormous sum, don't you
buy.  Send him to the Pope!


[NOTE.--The above sketch was written at the time the famous swindle of
the "Petrified Giant" was the sensation of the day in the United States]






SPEECH ON ACCIDENT INSURANCE

DELIVERED IN HARTFORD, AT A DINNER TO CORNELIUS WALFORD, OF LONDON

GENTLEMEN: I am glad, indeed, to assist in welcoming the distinguished
guest of this occasion to a city whose fame as an insurance center has
extended to all lands, and given us the name of being a quadruple band of
brothers working sweetly hand in hand--the Colt's Arms Company making the
destruction of our race easy and convenient, our life insurance citizens
paying for the victims when they pass away, Mr. Batterson perpetuating
their memory with his stately monuments, and our fire-insurance comrades
taking care of their hereafter.  I am glad to assist in welcoming our
guest first, because he is an Englishman, and I owe a heavy debt of
hospitality to certain of his fellow-countrymen; and secondly, because he
is in sympathy with insurance and has been the means of making may other
men cast their sympathies in the same direction.

Certainly there is no nobler field for human effort than the insurance
line of business--especially accident insurance.  Ever since I have been
a director in an accident-insurance company I have felt that I am a
better man.  Life has seemed more precious.  Accidents have assumed a
kindlier aspect.  Distressing special providences have lost half their
horror.  I look upon a cripple now with affectionate interest--as an
advertisement.  I do not seem to care for poetry any more.  I do not care
for politics--even agriculture does not excite me.  But to me now there
is a charm about a railway collision that is unspeakable.

There is nothing more beneficent than accident insurance.  I have seen an
entire family lifted out of poverty and into affluence by the simple boon
of a broken leg.  I have had people come to me on crutches, with tears in
their eyes, to bless this beneficent institution.  In all my experience
of life, I have seen nothing so seraphic as the look that comes into a
freshly mutilated man's face when he feels in his vest pocket with his
remaining hand and finds his accident ticket all right.  And I have seen
nothing so sad as the look that came into another splintered customer's
face when he found he couldn't collect on a wooden leg.

I will remark here, by way of advertisement, that that noble charity
which we have named the HARTFORD ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY--[The
speaker is a director of the company named.]--is an institution which is
peculiarly to be depended upon.  A man is bound to prosper who gives it
his custom.

No man can take out a policy in it and not get crippled before the year
is out.  Now there was one indigent man who had been disappointed so
often with other companies that he had grown disheartened, his appetite
left him, he ceased to smile--life was but a weariness.  Three weeks ago
I got him to insure with us, and now he is the brightest, happiest spirit
in this land has a good steady income and a stylish suit of new bandages
every day, and travels around on a shutter.

I will say, in conclusion, that my share of the welcome to our guest is
none the less hearty because I talk so much nonsense, and I know that I
can say the same for the rest of the speakers.






JOHN CHINAMAN IN NEW YORK

As I passed along by one of those monster American tea stores in New
York, I found a Chinaman sitting before it acting in the capacity of a
sign.  Everybody that passed by gave him a steady stare as long as their
heads would twist over their shoulders without dislocating their necks,
and a group had stopped to stare deliberately.

Is it not a shame that we, who prate so much about civilization and
humanity, are content to degrade a fellow-being to such an office as
this?  Is it not time for reflection when we find ourselves willing to
see in such a being matter for frivolous curiosity instead of regret and
grave reflection?  Here was a poor creature whom hard fortune had exiled
from his natural home beyond the seas, and whose troubles ought to have
touched these idle strangers that thronged about him; but did it?
Apparently not.  Men calling themselves the superior race, the race of
culture and of gentle blood, scanned his quaint Chinese hat, with peaked
roof and ball on top, and his long queue dangling down his back; his
short silken blouse, curiously frogged and figured (and, like the rest of
his raiment, rusty, dilapidated, and awkwardly put on); his blue cotton,
tight-legged pants, tied close around the ankles; and his clumsy
blunt-toed shoes with thick cork soles; and having so scanned him from
head to foot, cracked some unseemly joke about his outlandish attire or
his melancholy face, and passed on.  In my heart I pitied the friendless
Mongol.  I wondered what was passing behind his sad face, and what
distant scene his vacant eye was dreaming of.  Were his thoughts with his
heart, ten thousand miles away, beyond the billowy wastes of the Pacific?
among the ricefields and the plumy palms of China? under the shadows of
remembered mountain peaks, or in groves of bloomy shrubs and strange
forest trees unknown to climes like ours?  And now and then, rippling
among his visions and his dreams, did he hear familiar laughter and
half-forgotten voices, and did he catch fitful glimpses of the friendly
faces of a bygone time?  A cruel fate it is, I said, that is befallen
this bronzed wanderer.  In order that the group of idlers might be
touched at least by the words of the poor fellow, since the appeal of his
pauper dress and his dreary exile was lost upon them, I touched him on
the shoulder and said:

"Cheer up--don't be downhearted.  It is not America that treats you in
this way, it is merely one citizen, whose greed of gain has eaten the
humanity out of his heart.  America has a broader hospitality for the
exiled and oppressed.  America and Americans are always ready to help the
unfortunate.  Money shall be raised--you shall go back to China you shall
see your friends again.  What wages do they pay you here?"

"Divil a cint but four dollars a week and find meself; but it's aisy,
barrin' the troublesome furrin clothes that's so expinsive."

The exile remains at his post.  The New York tea merchants who need
picturesque signs are not likely to run out of Chinamen.






HOW I EDITED AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER--[Written abort 1870.]

I did not take temporary editorship of an agricultural paper without
misgivings.  Neither would a landsman take command of a ship without
misgivings.  But I was in circumstances that made the salary an object.
The regular editor of the paper was going off for a holiday, and I
accepted the terms he offered, and took his place.

The sensation of being at work again was luxurious, and I wrought all the
week with unflagging pleasure.  We went to press, and I waited a day with
some solicitude to see whether my effort was going to attract any notice.
As I left the office, toward sundown, a group of men and boys at the foot
of the stairs dispersed with one impulse, and gave me passageway, and I
heard one or two of them say: "That's him!"  I was naturally pleased by
this incident.  The next morning I found a similar group at the foot of
the stairs, and scattering couples and individuals standing here and
there in the street and over the way, watching me with interest.  The
group separated and fell back as I approached, and I heard a man say,
"Look at his eye!"  I pretended not to observe the notice I was
attracting, but secretly I was pleased with it, and was purposing to
write an account of it to my aunt.  I went up the short flight of stairs,
and heard cheery voices and a ringing laugh as I drew near the door,
which I opened, and caught a glimpse of two young rural-looking men,
whose faces blanched and lengthened when they saw me, and then they both
plunged through the window with a great crash.  I was surprised.

In about half an hour an old gentleman, with a flowing beard and a fine
but rather austere face, entered, and sat down at my invitation.  He
seemed to have something on his mind.  He took off his hat and set it on
the floor, and got out of it a red silk handkerchief and a copy of our
paper.

He put the paper on his lap, and while he polished his spectacles with
his handkerchief he said, "Are you the new editor?"

I said I was.

"Have you ever edited an agricultural paper before?"

"No," I said; "this is my first attempt."

"Very likely.  Have you had any experience in agriculture practically?"

"No; I believe I have not."

"Some instinct told me so," said the old gentleman, putting on his
spectacles, and looking over them at me with asperity, while he folded
his paper into a convenient shape.  "I wish to read you what must have
made me have that instinct.  It was this editorial.  Listen, and see if
it was you that wrote it:

     "'Turnips should never be pulled, it injures them.  It is much
     better to send a boy up and let him shake the tree.'

"Now, what do you think of that? for I really suppose you wrote it?"

"Think of it?  Why, I think it is good.  I think it is sense.  I have no
doubt that every year millions and millions of bushels of turnips are
spoiled in this township alone by being pulled in a half-ripe condition,
when, if they had sent a boy up to shake the tree--"

"Shake your grandmother!  Turnips don't grow on trees!"

"Oh, they don't, don't they?  Well, who said they did?  The language was
intended to be figurative, wholly figurative.  Anybody that knows
anything will know that I meant that the boy should shake the vine."

Then this old person got up and tore his paper all into small shreds, and
stamped on them, and broke several things with his cane, and said I did
not know as much as a cow; and then went--out and banged the door after
him, and, in short, acted in such a way that I fancied he was displeased
about something.  But not knowing what the trouble was, I could not be
any help to him.

Pretty soon after this a long, cadaverous creature, with lanky locks
hanging down to his shoulders, and a week's stubble bristling from the
hills and valleys of his face, darted within the door, and halted,
motionless, with finger on lip, and head and body bent in listening
attitude.  No sound was heard.

Still he listened.  No sound.  Then he turned the key in the door, and
came elaborately tiptoeing toward me till he was within long reaching
distance of me, when he stopped and, after scanning my face with intense
interest for a while, drew a folded copy of our paper from his bosom, and
said:

"There, you wrote that.  Read it to me--quick!  Relieve me.  I suffer."

I read as follows; and as the sentences fell from my lips I could see the
relief come, I could see the drawn muscles relax, and the anxiety go out
of the face, and rest and peace steal over the features like the merciful
moonlight over a desolate landscape:

     The guano is a fine bird, but great care is necessary in rearing it.
     It should not be imported earlier than June or later than September.
     In the winter it should be kept in a warm place, where it can hatch
     out its young.

     It is evident that we are to have a backward season for grain.
     Therefore it will be well for the farmer to begin setting out his
     corn-stalks and planting his buckwheat cakes in July instead of
     August.

     Concerning the pumpkin.  This berry is a favorite with the natives
     of the interior of New England, who prefer it to the gooseberry for
     the making of fruit-cake, and who likewise give it the preference
     over the raspberry for feeding cows, as being more filling and fully
     as satisfying.  The pumpkin is the only esculent of the orange
     family that will thrive in the North, except the gourd and one or
     two varieties of the squash.  But the custom of planting it in the
     front yard with the shrubbery is fast going out of vogue, for it is
     now generally conceded that, the pumpkin as a shade tree is a
     failure.

     Now, as the warm weather approaches, and the ganders begin to
     spawn--


The excited listener sprang toward me to shake hands, and said:

"There, there--that will do.  I know I am all right now, because you have
read it just as I did, word, for word.  But, stranger, when I first read
it this morning, I said to myself, I never, never believed it before,
notwithstanding my friends kept me under watch so strict, but now I
believe I am crazy; and with that I fetched a howl that you might have
heard two miles, and started out to kill somebody--because, you know,
I knew it would come to that sooner or later, and so I might as well
begin.  I read one of them paragraphs over again, so as to be certain,
and then I burned my house down and started.  I have crippled several
people, and have got one fellow up a tree, where I can get him if I want
him.  But I thought I would call in here as I passed along and make the
thing perfectly certain; and now it is certain, and I tell you it is
lucky for the chap that is in the tree.  I should have killed him sure,
as I went back.  Good-by, sir, good-by; you have taken a great load off
my mind.  My reason has stood the strain of one of your agricultural
articles, and I know that nothing can ever unseat it now.  Good-by, sir."

I felt a little uncomfortable about the cripplings and arsons this person
had been entertaining himself with, for I could not help feeling remotely
accessory to them.  But these thoughts were quickly banished, for the
regular editor walked in!  [I thought to myself, Now if you had gone to
Egypt as I recommended you to, I might have had a chance to get my hand
in; but you wouldn't do it, and here you are.  I sort of expected you.]

The editor was looking sad and perplexed and dejected.

He surveyed the wreck which that old rioter and those two young farmers
had made, and then said "This is a sad business--a very sad business.
There is the mucilage-bottle broken, and six panes of glass, and a
spittoon, and two candlesticks.  But that is not the worst.  The
reputation of the paper is injured--and permanently, I fear.  True, there
never was such a call for the paper before, and it never sold such a
large edition or soared to such celebrity; but does one want to be famous
for lunacy, and prosper upon the infirmities of his mind?  My friend, as
I am an honest man, the street out here is full of people, and others are
roosting on the fences, waiting to get a glimpse of you, because they
think you are crazy.  And well they might after reading your editorials.
They are a disgrace to journalism.  Why, what put it into your head that
you could edit a paper of this nature?  You do not seem to know the first
rudiments of agriculture.  You speak of a furrow and a harrow as being
the same thing; you talk of the moulting season for cows; and you
recommend the domestication of the pole-cat on account of its playfulness
and its excellence as a ratter!  Your remark that clams will lie quiet if
music be played to them was superfluous--entirely superfluous.  Nothing
disturbs clams.  Clams always lie quiet.  Clams care nothing whatever
about music.  Ah, heavens and earth, friend! if you had made the
acquiring of ignorance the study of your life, you could not have
graduated with higher honor than you could to-day.  I never saw anything
like it.  Your observation that the horse-chestnut as an article of
commerce is steadily gaining in favor is simply calculated to destroy
this journal.  I want you to throw up your situation and go.  I want no
more holiday--I could not enjoy it if I had it.  Certainly not with you
in my chair.  I would always stand in dread of what you might be going to
recommend next.  It makes me lose all patience every time I think of your
discussing oyster-beds under the head of 'Landscape Gardening.'  I want
you to go.  Nothing on earth could persuade me to take another holiday.
Oh! why didn't you tell me you didn't know anything about agriculture?"

"Tell you, you corn-stalk, you cabbage, you son of a cauliflower?  It's
the first time I ever heard such an unfeeling remark.  I tell you I have
been in the editorial business going on fourteen years, and it is the
first time I ever heard of a man's having to know anything in order to
edit a newspaper.  You turnip!  Who write the dramatic critiques for the
second-rate papers?  Why, a parcel of promoted shoemakers and apprentice
apothecaries, who know just as much about good acting as I do about good
farming and no more.  Who review the books?  People who never wrote one.
Who do up the heavy leaders on finance?  Parties who have had the largest
opportunities for knowing nothing about it.  Who criticize the Indian
campaigns?  Gentlemen who do not know a war-whoop from a wigwam, and who
never have had to run a foot-race with a tomahawk, or pluck arrows out of
the several members of their families to build the evening camp-fire
with.  Who write the temperance appeals, and clamor about the flowing
bowl?  Folks who will never draw another sober breath till they do it in
the grave.  Who edit the agricultural papers, you--yam?  Men, as a
general thing, who fail in the poetry line, yellow-colored novel line,
sensation, drama line, city-editor line, and finally fall back on
agriculture as a temporary reprieve from the poorhouse.  You try to tell
me anything about the newspaper business!  Sir, I have been through it
from Alpha to Omaha, and I tell you that the less a man knows the bigger
the noise he makes and the higher the salary he commands.  Heaven knows
if I had but been ignorant instead of cultivated, and impudent instead of
diffident, I could have made a name for myself in this cold, selfish
world.  I take my leave, sir.  Since I have been treated as you have
treated me, I am perfectly willing to go.  But I have done my duty.  I
have fulfilled my contract as far as I was permitted to do it.  I said I
could make your paper of interest to all classes--and I have.  I said I
could run your circulation up to twenty thousand copies, and if I had had
two more weeks I'd have done it.  And I'd have given you the best class
of readers that ever an agricultural paper had--not a farmer in it, nor a
solitary individual who could tell a watermelon-tree from a peach-vine to
save his life.  You are the loser by this rupture, not me, Pie-plant.
Adios."

I then left.






THE PETRIFIED MAN

Now, to show how really hard it is to foist a moral or a truth upon an
unsuspecting public through a burlesque without entirely and absurdly
missing one's mark, I will here set down two experiences of my own in
this thing.  In the fall of 1862, in Nevada and California, the people
got to running wild about extraordinary petrifactions and other natural
marvels.  One could scarcely pick up a paper without finding in it one or
two glorified discoveries of this kind.  The mania was becoming a little
ridiculous.  I was a brand-new local editor in Virginia City, and I felt
called upon to destroy this growing evil; we all have our benignant,
fatherly moods at one time or another, I suppose.  I chose to kill the
petrifaction mania with a delicate, a very delicate satire.  But maybe it
was altogether too delicate, for nobody ever perceived the satire part of
it at all.  I put my scheme in the shape of the discovery of a remarkably
petrified man.

I had had a temporary falling out with Mr.----, the new coroner and
justice of the peace of Humboldt, and thought I might as well touch him
up a little at the same time and make him ridiculous, and thus combine
pleasure with business.  So I told, in patient, belief-compelling detail,
all about the finding of a petrified-man at Gravelly Ford (exactly a
hundred and twenty miles, over a breakneck mountain trail from where
---- lived); how all the savants of the immediate neighborhood had been to
examine it (it was notorious that there was not a living creature within
fifty miles of there, except a few starving Indians; some crippled
grasshoppers, and four or five buzzards out of meat and too feeble to get
away); how those savants all pronounced the petrified man to have been in
a state of complete petrifaction for over ten generations; and then, with
a seriousness that I ought to have been ashamed to assume, I stated that
as soon as Mr.----heard the news he summoned a jury, mounted his mule,
and posted off, with noble reverence for official duty, on that awful
five days' journey, through alkali, sage brush, peril of body, and
imminent starvation, to hold an inquest on this man that had been dead
and turned to everlasting stone for more than three hundred years!
And then, my hand being "in," so to speak, I went on, with the same
unflinching gravity, to state that the jury returned a verdict that
deceased came to his death from protracted exposure.  This only moved me
to higher flights of imagination, and I said that the jury, with that
charity so characteristic of pioneers, then dug a grave, and were about
to give the petrified man Christian burial, when they found that for ages
a limestone sediment had been trickling down the face of the stone
against which he was sitting, and this stuff had run under him and
cemented him fast to the "bed-rock"; that the jury (they were all
silver-miners) canvassed the difficulty a moment, and then got out their
powder and fuse, and proceeded to drill a hole under him, in order to
blast him from his position, when Mr.----, "with that delicacy so
characteristic of him, forbade them, observing that it would be little
less than sacrilege to do such a thing."

From beginning to end the "Petrified Man" squib was a string of roaring
absurdities, albeit they were told with an unfair pretense of truth that
even imposed upon me to some extent, and I was in some danger of
believing in my own fraud.  But I really had no desire to deceive
anybody, and no expectation of doing it.  I depended on the way the
petrified man was sitting to explain to the public that he was a swindle.
Yet I purposely mixed that up with other things, hoping to make it
obscure--and I did.  I would describe the position of one foot, and then
say his right thumb was against the side of his nose; then talk about his
other foot, and presently come back and say the fingers of his right hand
were spread apart; then talk about the back of his head a little, and
return and say the left thumb was hooked into the right little finger;
then ramble off about something else, and by and by drift back again and
remark that the fingers of the left hand were spread like those of the
right.  But I was too ingenious.  I mixed it up rather too much; and so
all that description of the attitude, as a key to the humbuggery of the
article, was entirely lost, for nobody but me ever discovered and
comprehended the peculiar and suggestive position of the petrified man's
hands.

As a satire on the petrifaction mania, or anything else, my petrified Man
was a disheartening failure; for everybody received him in innocent good
faith, and I was stunned to see the creature I had begotten to pull down
the wonder-business with, and bring derision upon it, calmly exalted to
the grand chief place in the list of the genuine marvels our Nevada had
produced.  I was so disappointed at the curious miscarriage of my scheme,
that at first I was angry, and did not like to think about it; but by and
by, when the exchanges began to come in with the Petrified Man copied and
guilelessly glorified, I began to feel a soothing secret satisfaction;
and as my gentleman's field of travels broadened, and by the exchanges I
saw that he steadily and implacably penetrated territory after territory,
state after state, and land after land, till he swept the great globe and
culminated in sublime and unimpeached legitimacy in the august London
Lancet, my cup was full, and I said I was glad I had done it.  I think
that for about eleven months, as nearly as I can remember, Mr.----'s
daily mail-bag continued to be swollen by the addition of half a bushel
of newspapers hailing from many climes with the Petrified Man in them,
marked around with a prominent belt of ink.  I sent them to him.  I did
it for spite, not for fun.

He used to shovel them into his back yard and curse.  And every day
during all those months the miners, his constituents (for miners never
quit joking a person when they get started), would call on him and ask if
he could tell them where they could get hold of a paper with the
Petrified Man in it.  He could have accommodated a continent with them.
I hated-----in those days, and these things pacified me and pleased me.
I could not have gotten more real comfort out of him without killing him.






MY BLOODY MASSACRE

The other burlesque I have referred to was my fine satire upon the
financial expedients of "cooking dividends," a thing which became
shamefully frequent on the Pacific coast for a while.  Once more, in my
self-complacent simplicity I felt that the time had arrived for me to
rise up and be a reformer.  I put this reformatory satire, in the shape
of a fearful "Massacre at Empire City."  The San Francisco papers were
making a great outcry about the iniquity of the Daney Silver-Mining
Company, whose directors had declared a "cooked" or false dividend, for
the purpose of increasing the value of their stock, so that they could
sell out at a comfortable figure, and then scramble from under the
tumbling concern.  And while abusing the Daney, those papers did not
forget to urge the public to get rid of all their silver stocks and
invest in, sound and safe San Francisco stocks, such as the Spring Valley
Water Company, etc.  But right at this unfortunate juncture, behold the
Spring Valley cooked a dividend too!  And so, under the insidious mask of
an invented "bloody massacre," I stole upon the public unawares with my
scathing satire upon the dividend cooking system.  In about half a column
of imaginary human carnage I told how a citizen hard murdered his wife
and nine children, and then committed suicide.  And I said slyly, at the
bottom, that the sudden madness of which this melancholy massacre was the
result had been brought about by his having allowed himself to be
persuaded by the California papers to sell his sound and lucrative Nevada
silver stocks, and buy into Spring Valley just in time to get cooked
along with that company's fancy dividend, and sink every cent he had in
the world.

Ah, it was a deep, deep satire, and most ingeniously contrived.  But I
made the horrible details so carefully and conscientiously interesting
that the public devoured them greedily, and wholly overlooked the
following distinctly stated facts, to wit: The murderer was perfectly
well known to every creature in the land as a bachelor, and consequently
he could not murder his wife and nine children; he murdered them "in his
splendid dressed-stone mansion just in the edge of the great pine forest
between Empire City and Dutch Nick's," when even the very pickled oysters
that came on our tables knew that there was not a "dressed-stone mansion"
in all Nevada Territory; also that, so far from there being a "great pine
forest between Empire City and Dutch Nick's," there wasn't a solitary
tree within fifteen miles of either place; and, finally, it was patent
and notorious that Empire City and Dutch Nick's were one and the same
place, and contained only six houses anyhow, and consequently there could
be no forest between them; and on top of all these absurdities I stated
that this diabolical murderer, after inflicting a wound upon himself that
the reader ought to have seen would kill an elephant in the twinkling of
an eye, jumped on his horse and rode four miles, waving his wife's
reeking scalp in the air, and thus performing entered Carson City with
tremendous eclat, and dropped dead in front of the chief saloon, the envy
and admiration of all beholders.

Well, in all my life I never saw anything like the sensation that little
satire created.  It was the talk of the town, it was the talk of the
territory.  Most of the citizens dropped gently into it at breakfast, and
they never finished their meal.  There was something about those minutely
faithful details that was a sufficing substitute for food.  Few people
that were able to read took food that morning.  Dan and I (Dan was my
reportorial associate) took our seats on either side of our customary
table in the "Eagle Restaurant," and, as I unfolded the shred they used
to call a napkin in that establishment, I saw at the next table two
stalwart innocents with that sort of vegetable dandruff sprinkled about
their clothing which was the sign and evidence that they were in from the
Truckee with a load of hay.  The one facing me had the morning paper
folded to a long, narrow strip, and I knew, without any telling, that
that strip represented the column that contained my pleasant financial
satire.  From the way he was excitedly mumbling, I saw that the heedless
son of a hay-mow was skipping with all his might, in order to get to the
bloody details as quickly as possible; and so he was missing the
guide-boards I had set up to warn him that the whole thing was a fraud.
Presently his eyes spread wide open, just as his jaws swung asunder to
take in a potato approaching it on a fork; the potato halted, the face
lit up redly, and the whole man was on fire with excitement.  Then he
broke into a disjointed checking off of the particulars--his potato
cooling in mid-air meantime, and his mouth making a reach for it
occasionally; but always bringing up suddenly against a new and still
more direful performance of my hero.  At last he looked his stunned and
rigid comrade impressively in the face, and said, with an expression of
concentrated awe:

"Jim, he b'iled his baby, and he took the old 'oman's skelp.  Cuss'd if I
want any breakfast!"

And he laid his lingering potato reverently down, and he and his friend
departed from the restaurant empty but satisfied.

He never got down to where the satire part of it began.  Nobody ever did.
They found the thrilling particulars sufficient.  To drop in with a poor
little moral at the fag-end of such a gorgeous massacre was like
following the expiring sun with a candle and hope to attract the world's
attention to it.

The idea that anybody could ever take my massacre for a genuine
occurrence never once suggested itself to me, hedged about as it was by
all those telltale absurdities and impossibilities concerning the "great
pine forest," the "dressed-stone mansion," etc.  But I found out then,
and never have forgotten since, that we never read the dull explanatory
surroundings of marvelously exciting things when we have no occasion to
suppose that some irresponsible scribbler is trying to defraud us; we
skip all that, and hasten to revel in the blood-curdling particulars and
be happy.







THE UNDERTAKER'S CHAT

"Now that corpse," said the undertaker, patting the folded hands of
deceased approvingly, was a brick-every way you took him he was a brick.
He was so real accommodating, and so modest-like and simple in his last
moments.  Friends wanted metallic burial-case--nothing else would do.
I couldn't get it.  There warn't going to be time--anybody could see
that.

"Corpse said never mind, shake him up some kind of a box he could stretch
out in comfortable, he warn't particular 'bout the general style of it.
Said he went more on room than style, anyway in a last final container.

"Friends wanted a silver door-plate on the coffin, signifying who he was
and wher' he was from.  Now you know a fellow couldn't roust out such a
gaily thing as that in a little country-town like this.  What did corpse
say?

"Corpse said, whitewash his old canoe and dob his address and general
destination onto it with a blacking-brush and a stencil-plate, 'long with
a verse from some likely hymn or other, and pint him for the tomb, and
mark him C. O. D., and just let him flicker.  He warn't distressed any
more than you be--on the contrary, just as ca,'m and collected as a
hearse-horse; said he judged that wher' he was going to a body would find
it considerable better to attract attention by a picturesque moral
character than a natty burial-case with a swell door-plate on it.

"Splendid man, he was.  I'd druther do for a corpse like that 'n any I've
tackled in seven year.  There's some satisfaction in buryin' a man like
that.  You feel that what you're doing is appreciated.  Lord bless you,
so's he got planted before he sp'iled, he was perfectly satisfied; said
his relations meant well, perfectly well, but all them preparations was
bound to delay the thing more or less, and he didn't wish to be kept
layin' around.  You never see such a clear head as what he had--and so
ca,'m and so cool.  Jist a hunk of brains--that is what he was.
Perfectly awful.  It was a ripping distance from one end of that man's
head to t'other.  Often and over again he's had brain-fever a-raging in
one place, and the rest of the pile didn't know anything about it--didn't
affect it any more than an Injun Insurrection in Arizona affects the
Atlantic States.

"Well, the relations they wanted a big funeral, but corpse said he was
down on flummery--didn,'t want any procession--fill the hearse full of
mourners, and get out a stern line and tow him behind. He was the most
down on style of any remains I ever struck.  A beautiful, simpleminded
creature it was what he was, you can depend on that.  He was just set on
having things the way he wanted them, and he took a solid comfort in
laying his little plans.  He had me measure him and take a whole raft of
directions; then he had the minister stand up behind along box with a
table--cloth over it, to represent the coffin, and read his funeral
sermon, saying 'Angcore, angcore!' at the good places, and making him
scratch out every bit of brag about him, and all the hifalutin; and then
he made them trot out the choir, so's he could help them pick out the
tunes for the occasion, and he got them to sing 'Pop Goes the Weasel,'
because he'd always liked that tune when he was downhearted, and solemn
music made him sad; and when they sung that with tears in their eyes
(because they all loved him), and his relations grieving around, he just
laid there as happy as a bug, and trying to beat time and showing all
over how much he enjoyed it; and presently he got worked up and excited,
and tried to join in, for, mind you, he was pretty proud of his abilities
in the singing line; but the first time he opened his mouth and was just
going to spread himself his breath took a walk.

"I never see a man snuffed out so sudden.  Ah, it was a great loss--a
powerful loss to this poor little one-horse town.  Well, well, well, I
hain't got time to be palavering along here--got to nail on the lid and
mosey along with him; and if you'll just give me a lift we'll skeet him
into the hearse and meander along.  Relations bound to have it so--don't
pay no attention to dying injunctions, minute a corpse's gone; but, if I
had my way, if I didn't respect his last wishes and tow him behind the
hearse I'll be cuss'd.  I consider that whatever a corpse wants done for
his comfort is little enough matter, and a man hain't got no right to
deceive him or take advantage of him; and whatever a corpse trusts me to
do I'm a-going to do, you know, even if it's to stuff him and paint him
yaller and keep him for a keepsake--you hear me!"

He cracked his whip and went lumbering away with his ancient ruin of a
hearse, and I continued my walk with a valuable lesson learned--that a
healthy and wholesome cheerfulness is not necessarily impossible to any
occupation.  The lesson is likely to be lasting, for it will take many
months to obliterate the memory of the remarks and circumstances that
impressed it.






CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS

Against all chambermaids, of whatsoever age or nationality, I launch the
curse of bachelordom!  Because:

They always put the pillows at the opposite end of the bed from the
gas-burner, so that while you read and smoke before sleeping (as is the
ancient and honored custom of bachelors), you have to hold your book
aloft, in an uncomfortable position, to keep the light from dazzling your
eyes.

When they find the pillows removed to the other end of the bed in the
morning, they receive not the suggestion in a friendly spirit; but,
glorying in their absolute sovereignty, and unpitying your helplessness,
they make the bed just as it was originally, and gloat in secret over the
pang their tyranny will cause you.

Always after that, when they find you have transposed the pillows, they
undo your work, and thus defy and seek to embitter the life that God has
given you.

If they cannot get the light in an inconvenient position any other way,
they move the bed.

If you pull your trunk out six inches from the wall, so that the lid will
stay up when you open it, they always shove that trunk back again.  They
do it on purpose.

If you want the spittoon in a certain spot, where it will be handy, they
don't, and so they move it.

They always put your other boots into inaccessible places.  They chiefly
enjoy depositing them as far under the bed as the wall will permit.  It
is because this compels you to get down in an undignified attitude and
make wild sweeps for them in the dark with the bootjack, and swear.

They always put the matchbox in some other place.  They hunt up a new
place for it every day, and put up a bottle, or other perishable glass
thing, where the box stood before.  This is to cause you to break that
glass thing, groping in the dark, and get yourself into trouble.

They are for ever and ever moving the furniture.  When you come in in the
night you can calculate on finding the bureau where the wardrobe was in
the morning.  And when you go out in the morning, if you leave the
slop-bucket by the door and rocking-chair by the window, when you come in
at midnight or thereabout, you will fall over that rocking-chair, and you
will proceed toward the window and sit down in that slop-tub.  This will
disgust you.  They like that.

No matter where you put anything, they are not going to let it stay
there.  They will take it and move it the first chance they get.  It is
their nature.  And, besides, it gives them pleasure to be mean and
contrary this way.  They would die if they couldn't be villains.

They always save up all the old scraps of printed rubbish you throw on
the floor, and stack them up carefully on the table, and start the fire
with your valuable manuscripts.  If there is any one particular old scrap
that you are more down on than any other, and which you are gradually
wearing your life out trying to get rid of, you may take all the pains
you possibly can in that direction, but it won't be of any use, because
they will always fetch that old scrap back and put it in the same old
place again every time.  It does them good.

And they use up more hair-oil than any six men.  If charged with
purloining the same, they lie about it.  What do they care about a
hereafter?  Absolutely nothing.

If you leave the key in the door for convenience' sake, they will carry
it down to the office and give it to the clerk.  They do this under the
vile pretense of trying to protect your property from thieves; but
actually they do it because they want to make you tramp back down-stairs
after it when you come home tired, or put you to the trouble of sending a
waiter for it, which waiter will expect you to pay him something.  In
which case I suppose the degraded creatures divide.

They keep always trying to make your bed before you get up, thus
destroying your rest and inflicting agony upon you; but after you get up,
they don't come any more till next day.

They do all the mean things they can think of, and they do them just out
of pure cussedness, and nothing else.

Chambermaids are dead to every human instinct.

If I can get a bill through the legislature abolishing chambermaids, I
mean to do it.






AURELIA'S UNFORTUNATE YOUNG MAN--[Written about 1865.]

The facts in the following case came to me by letter from a young lady
who lives in the beautiful city of San Jose; she is perfectly unknown to
me, and simply signs herself "Aurelia Maria," which may possibly be a
fictitious name.  But no matter, the poor girl is almost heartbroken by
the misfortunes she has undergone, and so confused by the conflicting
counsels of misguided friends and insidious enemies that she does not
know what course to pursue in order to extricate herself from the web of
difficulties in which she seems almost hopelessly involved.  In this
dilemma she turns to me for help, and supplicates for my guidance and
instruction with a moving eloquence that would touch the heart of a
statue.  Hear her sad story:

She says that when she was sixteen years old she met and loved, with all
the devotion of a passionate nature, a young man from New Jersey, named
Williamson Breckinridge Caruthers, who was some six years her senior.
They were engaged, with the free consent of their friends and relatives,
and for a time it seemed as if their career was destined to, be
characterized by an immunity from sorrow beyond the usual lot of
humanity.  But at last the tide of fortune turned; young Caruthers became
infect with smallpox of the most virulent type, and when he recovered
from his illness his face was pitted like a waffle-mold, and his
comeliness gone forever.  Aurelia thought to break off the engagement at
first, but pity for her unfortunate lover caused her to postpone the
marriage-day for a season, and give him another trial.

The very day before the wedding was to have taken place, Breckinridge,
while absorbed in watching the flight of a balloon, walked into a well
and fractured one of his legs, and it had to be taken off above the knee.
Again Aurelia was moved to break the engagement, but again love
triumphed, and she set the day forward and gave him another chance to
reform.

And again misfortune overtook the unhappy youth.  He lost one arm by the
premature discharge of a Fourth of July cannon, and within three months
he got the other pulled out by a carding-machine.  Aurelia's heart was
almost crushed by these latter calamities.  She could not but be deeply
grieved to see her lover passing from her by piecemeal, feeling, as she
did, that he could not last forever under this disastrous process of
reduction, yet knowing of no way to stop its dreadful career, and in her
tearful despair she almost regretted, like brokers who hold on and lose,
that she had not taken him at first, before he had suffered such an
alarming depreciation.  Still, her brave soul bore her up, and she
resolved to bear with her friend's unnatural disposition yet a little
longer.

Again the wedding-day approached, and again disappointment overshadowed
it; Caruthers fell ill with the erysipelas, and lost the use of one of
his eyes entirely.  The friends and relatives of the bride, considering
that she had already put up with more than could reasonably be expected
of her, now came forward and insisted that the match should be broken
off; but after wavering awhile, Aurelia, with a generous spirit which did
her credit, said she had reflected calmly upon the matter, and could not
discover that Breckinridge was to blame.

So she extended the time once more, and he broke his other leg.

It was a sad day for the poor girl when, she saw the surgeons reverently
bearing away the sack whose uses she had learned by previous experience,
and her heart told her the bitter truth that some more of her lover was
gone.  She felt that the field of her affections was growing more and
more circumscribed every day, but once more she frowned down her
relatives and renewed her betrothal.

Shortly before the time set for the nuptials another disaster occurred.
There was but one man scalped by the Owens River Indians last year.  That
man was Williamson Breckinridge Caruthers of New Jersey.  He was hurrying
home with happiness in his heart, when he lost his hair forever, and in
that hour of bitterness he almost cursed the mistaken mercy that had
spared his head.

At last Aurelia is in serious perplexity as to what she ought to do.  She
still loves her Breckinridge, she writes, with truly womanly feeling--she
still loves what is left of him but her parents are bitterly opposed to
the match, because he has no property and is disabled from working, and
she has not sufficient means to support both comfortably.  "Now, what
should she do?" she asked with painful and anxious solicitude.

It is a delicate question; it is one which involves the lifelong
happiness of a woman, and that of nearly two-thirds of a man, and I feel
that it would be assuming too great a responsibility to do more than make
a mere suggestion in the case.  How would it do to build to him?  If
Aurelia can afford the expense, let her furnish her mutilated lover with
wooden arms and wooden legs, and a glass eye and a wig, and give him
another show; give him ninety days, without grace, and if he does not
break his neck in the mean time, marry him and take the chances.  It does
not seem to me that there is much risk, anyway, Aurelia, because if he
sticks to his singular propensity for damaging himself every time he sees
a good opportunity, his next experiment is bound to finish him, and then
you are safe, married or single.  If married, the wooden legs and such
other valuables as he may possess revert to the widow, and you see you
sustain no actual loss save the cherished fragment of a noble but most
unfortunate husband, who honestly strove to do right, but whose
extraordinary instincts were against him.  Try it, Maria. I have thought
the matter over carefully and well, and it is the only chance I see for
you.  It would have been a happy conceit on the part of Caruthers if he
had started with his neck and broken that first; but since he has seen
fit to choose a different policy and string himself out as long as
possible, I do not think we ought to upbraid him for it if he has enjoyed
it.  We must do the best we can under the circumstances, and try not to
feel exasperated at him.






"AFTER" JENKINS

A grand affair of a ball--the Pioneers'--came off at the Occidental some
time ago.  The following notes of the costumes worn by the belles of the
occasion may not be uninteresting to the general reader, and Jerkins may
get an idea therefrom:

Mrs. W. M. was attired in an elegant 'pate de foie gras,' made expressly
for her, and was greatly admired.  Miss S. had her hair done up.  She was
the center of attraction for the envy of all the ladies.  Mrs. G. W. was
tastefully dressed in a 'tout ensemble,' and was greeted with deafening
applause wherever she went.  Mrs. C. N. was superbly arrayed in white kid
gloves.  Her modest and engaging manner accorded well with the
unpretending simplicity of her costume and caused her to be regarded with
absorbing interest by every one.

The charming Miss M. M. B. appeared in a thrilling waterfall, whose
exceeding grace and volume compelled the homage of pioneers and emigrants
alike.  How beautiful she was!

The queenly Mrs. L. R.  was attractively attired in her new and beautiful
false teeth, and the 'bon jour' effect they naturally produced was
heightened by her enchanting and well-sustained smile.

Miss R. P., with that repugnance to ostentation in dress which is so
peculiar to her, was attired in a simple white lace collar, fastened with
a neat pearl-button solitaire.  The fine contrast between the sparkling
vivacity of her natural optic, and the steadfast attentiveness of her
placid glass eye, was the subject of general and enthusiastic remark.

Miss C. L. B.  had her fine nose elegantly enameled, and the easy grace
with which she blew it from time to time marked her as a cultivated and
accomplished woman of the world; its exquisitely modulated tone excited
the admiration of all who had the happiness to hear it.






ABOUT BARBERS

All things change except barbers, the ways of barbers, and the
surroundings of barbers.  These never change.  What one experiences in a
barber's shop the first time he enters one is what he always experiences
in barbers' shops afterward till the end of his days.  I got shaved this
morning as usual.  A man approached the door from Jones Street as I
approached it from Main--a thing that always happens.  I hurried up, but
it was of no use; he entered the door one little step ahead of me, and I
followed in on his heels and saw him take the only vacant chair, the one
presided over by the best barber.  It always happens so.  I sat down,
hoping that I might fall heir to the chair belonging to the better of the
remaining two barbers, for he had already begun combing his man's hair,
while his comrade was not yet quite done rubbing up and oiling his
customer's locks.  I watched the probabilities with strong interest.
When I saw that No. 2 was gaining on No. 1 my interest grew to
solicitude.  When No. 1 stopped a moment to make change on a bath ticket
for a new-comer, and lost ground in the race, my solicitude rose to
anxiety.  When No. 1 caught up again, and both he and his comrade were
pulling the towels away and brushing the powder from their customers'
cheeks, and it was about an even thing which one would say "Next!" first,
my very breath stood still with the suspense.  But when at the
culminating moment No. 1 stopped to pass a comb a couple of times through
his customer's eyebrows, I saw that he had lost the race by a single
instant, and I rose indignant and quitted the shop, to keep from falling
into the hands of No. 2; for I have none of that enviable firmness that
enables a man to look calmly into the eyes of a waiting barber and tell
him he will wait for his fellow-barber's chair.

I stayed out fifteen minutes, and then went back, hoping for better luck.
Of course all the chairs were occupied now, and four men sat waiting,
silent, unsociable, distraught, and looking bored, as men always do who
are waiting their turn in a barber's shop.  I sat down in one of the
iron-armed compartments of an old sofa, and put in the time far a while
reading the framed advertisements of all sorts of quack nostrums for
dyeing and coloring the hair.  Then I read the greasy names on the
private bayrum bottles; read the names and noted the numbers on the
private shaving-cups in the pigeonholes; studied the stained and damaged
cheap prints on the walls, of battles, early Presidents, and voluptuous
recumbent sultanas, and the tiresome and everlasting young girl putting
her grandfather's spectacles on; execrated in my heart the cheerful
canary and the distracting parrot that few barbers' shops are without.
Finally, I searched out the least dilapidated of last year's illustrated
papers that littered the foul center-table, and conned their
unjustifiable misrepresentations of old forgotten events.

At last my turn came.  A voice said "Next!" and I surrendered to--No.  2,
of course.  It always happens so.  I said meekly that I was in a hurry,
and it affected him as strongly as if he had never heard it.  He shoved
up my head, and put a napkin under it.  He plowed his fingers into my
collar and fixed a towel there.  He explored my hair with his claws and
suggested that it needed trimming.  I said I did not want it trimmed.  He
explored again and said it was pretty long for the present style--better
have a little taken off; it needed it behind especially.  I said I had
had it cut only a week before.  He yearned over it reflectively a moment,
and then asked with a disparaging manner, who cut it?  I came back at him
promptly with a "You did!" I had him there.  Then he fell to stirring up
his lather and regarding himself in the glass, stopping now and then to
get close and examine his chin critically or inspect a pimple.  Then he
lathered one side of my face thoroughly, and was about to lather the
other, when a dog-fight attracted his attention, and he ran to the window
and stayed and saw it out, losing two shillings on the result in bets
with the other barbers, a thing which gave me great satisfaction.  He
finished lathering, and then began to rub in the suds with his hand.

He now began to sharpen his razor on an old suspender, and was delayed a
good deal on account of a controversy about a cheap masquerade ball he
had figured at the night before, in red cambric and bogus ermine, as some
kind of a king.  He was so gratified with being chaffed about some damsel
whom he had smitten with his charms that he used every means to continue
the controversy by pretending to be annoyed at the chaffings of his
fellows.  This matter begot more surveyings of himself in the glass, and
he put down his razor and brushed his hair with elaborate care,
plastering an inverted arch of it down on his forehead, accomplishing an
accurate "Part" behind, and brushing the two wings forward over his ears
with nice exactness.  In the mean time the lather was drying on my face,
and apparently eating into my vitals.

Now he began to shave, digging his fingers into my countenance to stretch
the skin and bundling and tumbling my head this way and that as
convenience in shaving demanded.  As long as he was on the tough sides of
my face I did not suffer; but when he began to rake, and rip, and tug at
my chin, the tears came.  He now made a handle of my nose, to assist him
shaving the corners of my upper lip, and it was by this bit of
circumstantial evidence that I discovered that a part of his duties in
the shop was to clean the kerosene-lamps.  I had often wondered in an
indolent way whether the barbers did that, or whether it was the boss.

About this time I was amusing myself trying to guess where he would be
most likely to cut me this time, but he got ahead of me, and sliced me on
the end of the chin before I had got my mind made up.  He immediately
sharpened his razor--he might have done it before.  I do not like a close
shave, and would not let him go over me a second time.  I tried to get
him to put up his razor, dreading that he would make for the side of my
chin, my pet tender spot, a place which a razor cannot touch twice
without making trouble; but he said he only wanted to just smooth off one
little roughness, and in the same moment he slipped his razor along the
forbidden ground, and the dreaded pimple-signs of a close shave rose up
smarting and answered to the call.  Now he soaked his towel in bay rum,
and slapped it all over my face nastily; slapped it over as if a human
being ever yet washed his face in that way.  Then he dried it by slapping
with the dry part of the towel, as if a human being ever dried his face
in such a fashion; but a barber seldom rubs you like a Christian.  Next
he poked bay ruin into the cut place with his towel, then choked the
wound with powdered starch, then soaked it with bay rum again, and would
have gone on soaking and powdering it forevermore, no doubt, if I had not
rebelled and begged off.  He powdered my whole face now, straightened me
up, and began to plow my hair thoughtfully with his hands.  Then he
suggested a shampoo, and said my hair needed it badly, very badly.
I observed that I shampooed it myself very thoroughly in the bath
yesterday.  I "had him" again.  He next recommended some of "Smith's Hair
Glorifier," and offered to sell me a bottle.  I declined.  He praised the
new perfume, "Jones's Delight of the Toilet," and proposed to sell me
some of that.  I declined again.  He tendered me a tooth-wash atrocity of
his own invention, and when I declined offered to trade knives with me.

He returned to business after the miscarriage of this last enterprise,
sprinkled me all over, legs and all, greased my hair in defiance of my
protest against it, rubbed and scrubbed a good deal of it out by the
roots, and combed and brushed the rest, parting it behind, and plastering
the eternal inverted arch of hair down on my forehead, and then, while
combing my scant eyebrows and defiling them with pomade, strung out an
account of the achievements of a six-ounce black-and-tan terrier of his
till I heard the whistles blow for noon, and knew I was five minutes too
late for the train.  Then he snatched away the towel, brushed it lightly
about my face, passed his comb through my eyebrows once more, and gaily
sang out "Next!"

This barber fell down and died of apoplexy two hours later.  I am waiting
over a day for my revenge--I am going to attend his funeral.






"PARTY CRIES" IN IRELAND

Belfast is a peculiarly religious community.  This may be said of the
whole of the North of Ireland.  About one-half of the people are
Protestants and the other half Catholics.  Each party does all it can to
make its own doctrines popular and draw the affections of the irreligious
toward them.  One hears constantly of the most touching instances of this
zeal.  A week ago a vast concourse of Catholics assembled at Armagh to
dedicate a new Cathedral; and when they started home again the roadways
were lined with groups of meek and lowly Protestants who stoned them till
all the region round about was marked with blood.  I thought that only
Catholics argued in that way, but it seems to be a mistake.

Every man in the community is a missionary and carries a brick to
admonish the erring with.  The law has tried to break this up, but not
with perfect success.  It has decreed that irritating "party cries" shall
not be indulged in, and that persons uttering them shall be fined forty
shillings and costs.  And so, in the police court reports every day, one
sees these fines recorded.  Last week a girl of twelve years old was
fined the usual forty shillings and costs for proclaiming in the public
streets that she was "a Protestant."  The usual cry is, "To hell with the
Pope!" or "To hell with the Protestants!" according to the utterer's
system of salvation.

One of Belfast's local jokes was very good.  It referred to the uniform
and inevitable fine of forty shillings and costs for uttering a party
cry--and it is no economical fine for a poor man, either, by the way.
They say that a policeman found a drunken man lying on the ground, up a
dark alley, entertaining himself with shouting, "To hell with!"  "To hell
with!"  The officer smelt a fine--informers get half.

"What's that you say?"

"To hell with!"

"To hell with who?  To hell with what?"

"Ah, bedad, ye can finish it yourself--it's too expansive for me!"

I think the seditious disposition, restrained by the economical instinct,
is finely put in that.






THE FACTS CONCERNING THE RECENT RESIGNATION

WASHINGTON, December, 1867.

I have resigned.  The government appears to go on much the same, but
there is a spoke out of its wheel, nevertheless.  I was clerk of the
Senate Committee on Conchology, and I have thrown up the position.
I could see the plainest disposition on the part of the other members of
the government to debar me from having any voice in the counsels of the
nation, and so I could no longer hold office and retain my self-respect.
If I were to detail all the outrages that were heaped upon me during the
six days that I was connected with the government in an official
capacity, the narrative would fill a volume.  They appointed me clerk of
that Committee on Conchology and then allowed me no amanuensis to play
billiards with.  I would have borne that, lonesome as it was, if I had
met with that courtesy from the other members of the Cabinet which was my
due.  But I did not.  Whenever I observed that the head of a department
was pursuing a wrong course, I laid down everything and went and tried to
set him right, as it was my duty to do; and I never was thanked for it in
a single instance.  I went, with the best intentions in the world, to the
Secretary of the Navy, and said:

"Sir, I cannot see that Admiral Farragut is doing anything but
skirmishing around there in Europe, having a sort of picnic.  Now, that
may be all very well, but it does not exhibit itself to me in that light.
If there is no fighting for him to do, let him come home.  There is no
use in a man having a whole fleet for a pleasure excursion.  It is too
expensive.  Mind, I do not object to pleasure excursions for the naval
officers--pleasure excursions that are in reason--pleasure excursions
that are economical.  Now, they might go down the Mississippi
on a raft--"

You ought to have heard him storm!  One would have supposed I had
committed a crime of some kind.  But I didn't mind.  I said it was cheap,
and full of republican simplicity, and perfectly safe.  I said that, for
a tranquil pleasure excursion, there was nothing equal to a raft.

Then the Secretary of the Navy asked me who I was; and when I told him I
was connected with the government, he wanted to know in what capacity.  I
said that, without remarking upon the singularity of such a question,
coming, as it did, from a member of that same government, I would inform
him that I was clerk of the Senate Committee on Conchology.  Then there
was a fine storm!  He finished by ordering me to leave the premises, and
give my attention strictly to my own business in future.  My first
impulse was to get him removed.  However, that would harm others besides
himself, and do me no real good, and so I let him stay.

I went next to the Secretary of War, who was not inclined to see me at
all until he learned that I was connected with the government.  If I had
not been on important business, I suppose I could not have got in.
I asked him for alight (he was smoking at the time), and then I told him
I had no fault to find with his defending the parole stipulations of
General Lee and his comrades in arms, but that I could not approve of his
method of fighting the Indians on the Plains.  I said he fought too
scattering.  He ought to get the Indians more together--get them together
in some convenient place, where he could have provisions enough for both
parties, and then have a general massacre.  I said there was nothing so
convincing to an Indian as a general massacre.  If he could not approve
of the massacre, I said the next surest thing for an Indian was soap and
education.  Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they
are more deadly in the long run; because a half-massacred Indian may
recover, but if you educate him and wash him, it is bound to finish him
some time or other.  It undermines his constitution; it strikes at the
foundation of his being.  "Sir," I said, "the time has come when
blood-curdling cruelty has become necessary.  Inflict soap and a
spelling-book on every Indian that ravages the Plains, and let them die!"

The Secretary of War asked me if I was a member of the Cabinet, and I
said I was.  He inquired what position I held, and I said I was clerk of
the Senate Committee on Conchology.  I was then ordered under arrest for
contempt of court, and restrained of my liberty for the best part of the
day.

I almost resolved to be silent thenceforward, and let the Government get
along the best way it could.  But duty called, and I obeyed.  I called on
the Secretary of the Treasury.  He said:

"What will you have?"

The question threw me off my guard.  I said, "Rum punch."

He said: "If you have got any business here, sir, state it--and in as few
words as possible."

I then said that I was sorry he had seen fit to change the subject so
abruptly, because such conduct was very offensive to me; but under the
circumstances I would overlook the matter and come to the point.  I now
went into an earnest expostulation with him upon the extravagant length
of his report.  I said it was expensive, unnecessary, and awkwardly
constructed; there were no descriptive passages in it, no poetry, no
sentiment no heroes, no plot, no pictures--not even wood-cuts.  Nobody
would read it, that was a clear case.  I urged him not to ruin his
reputation by getting out a thing like that.  If he ever hoped to succeed
in literature he must throw more variety into his writings.  He must
beware of dry detail.  I said that the main popularity of the almanac was
derived from its poetry and conundrums, and that a few conundrums
distributed around through his Treasury report would help the sale of it
more than all the internal revenue he could put into it.  I said these
things in the kindest spirit, and yet the Secretary of the Treasury fell
into a violent passion.  He even said I was an ass.  He abused me in the
most vindictive manner, and said that if I came there again meddling with
his business he would throw me out of the window.  I said I would take my
hat and go, if I could not be treated with the respect due to my office,
and I did go.  It was just like a new author.  They always think they
know more than anybody else when they are getting out their first book.
Nobody can tell them anything.

During the whole time that I was connected with the government it seemed
as if I could not do anything in an official capacity without getting
myself into trouble.  And yet I did nothing, attempted nothing, but what
I conceived to be for the good of my country.  The sting of my wrongs may
have driven me to unjust and harmful conclusions, but it surely seemed to
me that the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of
the Treasury, and others of my confreres had conspired from the very
beginning to drive me from the Administration.  I never attended but one
Cabinet meeting while I was connected with the government.  That was
sufficient for me.  The servant at the White House door did not seem
disposed to make way for me until I asked if the other members of the
Cabinet had arrived.  He said they had, and I entered.  They were all
there; but nobody offered me a seat.  They stared at me as if I had been
an intruder.  The President said:

"Well, sir, who are you?"

I handed him my card, and he read: "The HON.  MARK TWAIN, Clerk of the
Senate Committee on Conchology."  Then he looked at me from head to foot,
as if he had never heard of me before.  The Secretary of the Treasury
said:

"This is the meddlesome ass that came to recommend me to put poetry and
conundrums in my report, as if it were an almanac."

The Secretary of War said: "It is the same visionary that came to me
yesterday with a scheme to educate a portion of the Indians to death,
and massacre the balance."

The Secretary of the Navy said: "I recognize this youth as the person who
has been interfering with my business time and again during the week.  He
is distressed about Admiral Farragut's using a whole fleet for a pleasure
excursion, as he terms it.  His proposition about some insane pleasure
excursion on a raft is too absurd to repeat."

I said: "Gentlemen, I perceive here a disposition to throw discredit
upon every act of my official career; I perceive, also, a disposition to
debar me from all voice in the counsels of the nation.  No notice
whatever was sent to me to-day.  It was only by the merest chance that I
learned that there was going to be a Cabinet meeting.  But let these
things pass.  All I wish to know is, is this a Cabinet meeting or is it
not?"

The President said it was.

"Then," I said, "let us proceed to business at once, and not fritter away
valuable time in unbecoming fault-findings with each other's official
conduct."

The Secretary of State now spoke up, in his benignant way, and said,
"Young man, you are laboring under a mistake.  The clerks of the
Congressional committees are not members of the Cabinet.  Neither are the
doorkeepers of the Capitol, strange as it may seem.  Therefore, much as
we could desire your more than human wisdom in our deliberations, we
cannot lawfully avail ourselves of it.  The counsels of the nation must
proceed without you; if disaster follows, as follow full well it may, be
it balm to your sorrowing spirit that by deed and voice you did what in
you lay to avert it.  You have my blessing.  Farewell."

These gentle words soothed my troubled breast, and I went away.  But the
servants of a nation can know no peace.  I had hardly reached my den in
the Capitol, and disposed my feet on the table like a representative,
when one of the Senators on the Conchological Committee came in in a
passion and said:

"Where have you been all day?"

I observed that, if that was anybody's affair but my own, I had been to a
Cabinet meeting.

"To a Cabinet meeting?  I would like to know what business you had at a
Cabinet meeting?"

I said I went there to consult--allowing for the sake of argument that he
was in any wise concerned in the matter.  He grew insolent then, and
ended by saying he had wanted me for three days past to copy a report on
bomb-shells, egg-shells, clamshells, and I don't know what all, connected
with conchology, and nobody had been able to find me.

This was too much.  This was the feather that broke the clerical camel's
back.  I said, "Sir, do you suppose that I am going to work for six
dollars a day?  If that is the idea, let me recommend the Senate
Committee on Conchology to hire somebody else.  I am the slave of no
faction!  Take back your degrading commission.  Give me liberty, or give
me death!"

From that hour I was no longer connected with the government.  Snubbed by
the department, snubbed by the Cabinet, snubbed at last by the chairman
of a committee I was endeavoring to adorn, I yielded to persecution, cast
far from me the perils and seductions of my great office, and forsook my
bleeding country in the hour of her peril.

But I had done the state some service, and I sent in my bill:

     The United States of America in account with
     the Hon. Clerk of the Senate Committee on Conchology,   Dr.
          To consultation with Secretary of War ............ $50
          To consultation with Secretary of Navy ........... $50
          To consultation with Secretary of the Treasury ... $50
          Cabinet consultation ...................No charge.
          To mileage to and from Jerusalem, via Egypt,
               Algiers, Gibraltar, and Cadiz,
               14,000 miles, at 20c. a mile ............. $2,800
          To salary as Clerk of Senate Committee
          on Conchology, six days, at $6 per day ........... $36

                         Total .......................... $2,986

--[Territorial delegates charge mileage both ways, although they never go
back when they get here once.  Why my mileage is denied me is more than I
can understand.]

Not an item of this bill has been paid, except that trifle of thirty-six
dollars for clerkship salary.  The Secretary of the Treasury, pursuing me
to the last, drew his pen through all the other items, and simply marked
in the margin "Not allowed."  So, the dread alternative is embraced at
last.  Repudiation has begun!  The nation is lost.

I am done with official life for the present.  Let those clerks who are
willing to be imposed on remain.  I know numbers of them in the
departments who are never informed when there is to be a Cabinet meeting,
whose advice is never asked about war, or finance, or commerce, by the
heads of the nation, any more than if they were not connected with the
government, and who actually stay in their offices day after day and
work!  They know their importance to the nation, and they unconsciously
show it in their bearing, and the way they order their sustenance at the
restaurant--but they work.  I know one who has to paste all sorts of
little scraps from the newspapers into a scrapbook--sometimes as many as
eight or ten scraps a day.  He doesn't do it well, but he does it as well
as he can.  It is very fatiguing.  It is exhausting to the intellect.
Yet he only gets eighteen hundred dollars a year.  With a brain like his,
that young man could amass thousands and thousands of dollars in some
other pursuit, if he chose to do it.  But no--his heart is with his
country, and he will serve her as long as she has got a scrapbook left.
And I know clerks that don't know how to write very well, but such
knowledge as they possess they nobly lay at the feet of their country,
and toil on and suffer for twenty-five hundred dollars a year.  What they
write has to be written over again by other clerks sometimes; but when a
man has done his best for his country, should his country complain?  Then
there are clerks that have no clerkships, and are waiting, and waiting,
and waiting for a vacancy--waiting patiently for a chance to help their
country out--and while they, are waiting, they only get barely two
thousand dollars a year for it.  It is sad it is very, very sad.  When a
member of Congress has a friend who is gifted, but has no employment
wherein his great powers may be brought to bear, he confers him upon his
country, and gives him a clerkship in a department.  And there that man
has to slave his life out, fighting documents for the benefit of a nation
that never thinks of him, never sympathizes with him--and all for two
thousand or three thousand dollars a year.  When I shall have completed
my list of all the clerks in the several departments, with my statement
of what they have to do, and what they get for it, you will see that
there are not half enough clerks, and that what there are do not get half
enough pay.






HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

The following I find in a Sandwich Island paper which some friend has
sent me from that tranquil far-off retreat.  The coincidence between my
own experience and that here set down by the late Mr. Benton is so
remarkable that I cannot forbear publishing and commenting upon the
paragraph.  The Sandwich Island paper says:

How touching is this tribute of the late Hon. T. H. Benton to his
mother's influence:--'My mother asked me never to use tobacco; I have
never touched it from that time to the present day.  She asked me not to
gamble, and I have never gambled.  I cannot tell who is losing in games
that are being played.  She admonished me, too, against liquor-drinking,
and whatever capacity for endurance I have at present, and whatever
usefulness I may have attained through life, I attribute to having
complied with her pious and correct wishes.  When I was seven years of
age she asked me not to drink, and then I made a resolution of total
abstinence; and that I have adhered to it through all time I owe to my
mother.'

I never saw anything so curious.  It is almost an exact epitome of my own
moral career--after simply substituting a grandmother for a mother.  How
well I remember my grandmother's asking me not to use tobacco, good old
soul!  She said, "You're at it again, are you, you whelp?  Now don't ever
let me catch you chewing tobacco before breakfast again, or I lay I'll
blacksnake you within an inch of your life!"  I have never touched it at
that hour of the morning from that time to the present day.

She asked me not to gamble.  She whispered and said, "Put up those wicked
cards this minute!--two pair and a jack, you numskull, and the other
fellow's got a flush!"

I never have gambled from that day to this--never once--without a "cold
deck" in my pocket.  I cannot even tell who is going to lose in games
that are being played unless I deal myself.

When I was two years of age she asked me not to drink, and then I made a
resolution of total abstinence.  That I have adhered to it and enjoyed
the beneficent effects of it through all time, I owe to my grandmother.
I have never drunk a drop from that day to this of any kind of water.






HONORED AS A CURIOSITY

If you get into conversation with a stranger in Honolulu, and experience
that natural desire to know what sort of ground you are treading on by
finding out what manner of man your stranger is, strike out boldly and
address him as "Captain."  Watch him narrowly, and if you see by his
countenance that you are on the wrong track, ask him where he preaches.
It is a safe bet that he is either a missionary or captain of a whaler.
I became personally acquainted with seventy-two captains and ninety-six
missionaries.  The captains and ministers form one-half of the
population; the third fourth is composed of common Kanakas and mercantile
foreigners and their families; and the final fourth is made up of high
officers of the Hawaiian Government.  And there are just about cats
enough for three apiece all around.

A solemn stranger met me in the suburbs one day, and said:

"Good morning, your reverence.  Preach in the stone church yonder, no
doubt!"

"No, I don't.  I'm not a preacher."

"Really, I beg your pardon, captain.  I trust you had a good season.  How
much oil--"

"Oil!  Why, what do you take me for?  I'm not a whaler."

"Oh!  I beg a thousand pardons, your Excellency.  Major-General in the
household troops, no doubt?  Minister of the Interior, likely?  Secretary
of War?  First Gentleman of the Bedchamber?  Commissioner of the Royal--"

"Stuff, man!  I'm not connected in any way with the government."

"Bless my life!  Then who the mischief are you? what the mischief are
you? and how the mischief did you get here? and where in thunder did you
come from?"

"I'm only a private personage--an unassuming stranger--lately arrived
from America."

"No!  Not a missionary! not a whaler! not a member of his Majesty's
government! not even a Secretary of the Navy!  Ah!  Heaven! it is too
blissful to be true, alas! I do but dream.  And yet that noble, honest
countenance--those oblique, ingenuous eyes--that massive head, incapable
of--of anything; your hand; give me your hand, bright waif.  Excuse these
tears.  For sixteen weary years I have yearned for a moment like this,
and--"

Here his feelings were too much for him, and he swooned away.  I pitied
this poor creature from the bottom of my heart.  I was deeply moved.
I shed a few tears on him, and kissed him for his mother.  I then took
what small change he had, and "shoved."






FIRST INTERVIEW WITH ARTEMUS WARD--[Written about 1870.]

I had never seen him before.  He brought letters of introduction from
mutual friends in San Francisco, and by invitation I breakfasted with
him.  It was almost religion, there in the silver-mines, to precede such
a meal with whisky cocktails.  Artemus, with the true cosmopolitan
instinct, always deferred to the customs of the country he was in, and so
he ordered three of those abominations.  Hingston was present.  I said I
would rather not drink a whisky cocktail.  I said it would go right to my
head, and confuse me so that I would be in a helpless tangle in ten
minutes.  I did not want to act like a lunatic before strangers.  But
Artemus gently insisted, and I drank the treasonable mixture under
protest, and felt all the time that I was doing a thing I might be sorry
for.  In a minute or two I began to imagine that my ideas were clouded.
I waited in great anxiety for the conversation to open, with a sort of
vague hope that my understanding would prove clear, after all, and my
misgivings groundless.

Artemus dropped an unimportant remark or two, and then assumed a look of
superhuman earnestness, and made the following astounding speech.  He
said:

"Now there is one thing I ought to ask you about before I forget it.  You
have been here in Silver land--here in Nevada--two or three years, and,
of course, your position on the daily press has made it necessary for you
to go down in the mines and examine them carefully in detail, and
therefore you know all about the silver-mining business.  Now what I want
to get at is--is, well, the way the deposits of ore are made, you know.
For instance.  Now, as I understand it, the vein which contains the
silver is sandwiched in between casings of granite, and runs along the
ground, and sticks up like a curb stone.  Well, take a vein forty feet
thick, for example, or eighty, for that matter, or even a hundred--say
you go down on it with a shaft, straight down, you know, or with what you
call 'incline' maybe you go down five hundred feet, or maybe you don't go
down but two hundred--anyway, you go down, and all the time this vein
grows narrower, when the casings come nearer or approach each other, you
may say--that is, when they do approach, which, of course, they do not
always do, particularly in cases where the nature of the formation is
such that they stand apart wider than they otherwise would, and which
geology has failed to account for, although everything in that science
goes to prove that, all things being equal, it would if it did not, or
would not certainly if it did, and then, of course, they are.  Do not you
think it is?"

I said to myself:

"Now I just knew how it would be--that whisky cocktail has done the
business for me; I don't understand any more than a clam."

And then I said aloud:

"I--I--that is--if you don't mind, would you--would you say that over
again?  I ought--"

"Oh, certainly, certainly!  You see I am very unfamiliar with the
subject, and perhaps I don't present my case clearly, but I--"

"No, no-no, no-you state it plain enough, but that cocktail has muddled
me a little.  But I will no, I do understand for that matter; but I would
get the hang of it all the better if you went over it again-and I'll pay
better attention this time."

He said; "Why, what I was after was this."

[Here he became even more fearfully impressive than ever, and emphasized
each particular point by checking it off on his finger-ends.]

"This vein, or lode, or ledge, or whatever you call it, runs along
between two layers of granite, just the same as if it were a sandwich.
Very well.  Now suppose you go down on that, say a thousand feet, or
maybe twelve hundred (it don't really matter) before you drift, and then
you start your drifts, some of them across the ledge, and others along
the length of it, where the sulphurets--I believe they call them
sulphurets, though why they should, considering that, so far as I can
see, the main dependence of a miner does not so lie, as some suppose, but
in which it cannot be successfully maintained, wherein the same should
not continue, while part and parcel of the same ore not committed to
either in the sense referred to, whereas, under different circumstances,
the most inexperienced among us could not detect it if it were, or might
overlook it if it did, or scorn the very idea of such a thing, even
though it were palpably demonstrated as such.  Am I not right?"

I said, sorrowfully: "I feel ashamed of myself, Mr.  Ward.  I know I
ought to understand you perfectly well, but you see that treacherous
whisky cocktail has got into my head, and now I cannot understand even
the simplest proposition.  I told you how it would be."

"Oh, don't mind it, don't mind it; the fault was my own, no doubt--though
I did think it clear enough for--"

"Don't say a word.  Clear!  Why, you stated it as clear as the sun to
anybody but an abject idiot; but it's that confounded cocktail that has
played the mischief."

"No; now don't say that.  I'll begin it all over again, and--"

"Don't now--for goodness' sake, don't do anything of the kind, because I
tell you my head is in such a condition that I don't believe I could
understand the most trifling question a man could ask me.

"Now don't you be afraid.  I'll put it so plain this time that you can't
help but get the hang of it.  We will begin at the very beginning."
[Leaning far across the table, with determined impressiveness wrought
upon his every feature, and fingers prepared to keep tally of each point
enumerated; and I, leaning forward with painful interest, resolved to
comprehend or perish.]  "You know the vein, the ledge, the thing that
contains the metal, whereby it constitutes the medium between all other
forces, whether of present or remote agencies, so brought to bear in
favor of the former against the latter, or the latter against the former
or all, or both, or compromising the relative differences existing within
the radius whence culminate the several degrees of similarity to which--"

I said: "Oh, hang my wooden head, it ain't any use!--it ain't any use to
try--I can't understand anything.  The plainer you get it the more I
can't get the hang of it."

I heard a suspicious noise behind me, and turned in time to see Hingston
dodging behind a newspaper, and quaking with a gentle ecstasy of
laughter.  I looked at Ward again, and he had thrown off his dread
solemnity and was laughing also.  Then I saw that I had been sold--that I
had been made a victim of a swindle in the way of a string of plausibly
worded sentences that didn't mean anything under the sun.  Artemus Ward
was one of the best fellows in the world, and one of the most
companionable.  It has been said that he was not fluent in conversation,
but, with the above experience in my mind, I differ.






CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS--[Written abort 1867.]

I visited St. Louis lately, and on my way West, after changing cars at
Terre Haute, Indiana, a mild, benevolent-looking gentleman of about
forty-five, or maybe fifty, came in at one of the way-stations and sat
down beside me.  We talked together pleasantly on various subjects for an
hour, perhaps, and I found him exceedingly intelligent and entertaining.
When he learned that I was from Washington, he immediately began to ask
questions about various public men, and about Congressional affairs; and
I saw very shortly that I was conversing with a man who was perfectly
familiar with the ins and outs of political life at the Capital, even to
the ways and manners, and customs of procedure of Senators and
Representatives in the Chambers of the national Legislature.  Presently
two men halted near us for a single moment, and one said to the other:

"Harris, if you'll do that for me, I'll never forget you, my boy."

My new comrade's eye lighted pleasantly.  The words had touched upon a
happy memory, I thought.  Then his face settled into thoughtfulness
--almost into gloom.  He turned to me and said,

"Let me tell you a story; let me give you a secret chapter of my life
--a chapter that has never been referred to by me since its events
transpired.  Listen patiently, and promise that you will not interrupt
me."

I said I would not, and he related the following strange adventure,
speaking sometimes with animation, sometimes with melancholy, but always
with feeling and earnestness.


                         THE STRANGER'S NARRATIVE

"On the 19th of December, 1853, I started from St. Louis on the evening
train bound for Chicago.  There were only twenty-four passengers, all
told.  There were no ladies and no children.  We were in excellent
spirits, and pleasant acquaintanceships were soon formed.  The journey
bade fair to be a happy one; and no individual in the party, I think, had
even the vaguest presentiment of the horrors we were soon to undergo.

"At 11 P.m.  it began to snow hard.  Shortly after leaving the small
village of Welden, we entered upon that tremendous prairie solitude that
stretches its leagues on leagues of houseless dreariness far away toward
the jubilee Settlements.  The winds, unobstructed by trees or hills, or
even vagrant rocks, whistled fiercely across the level desert, driving
the falling snow before it like spray from the crested waves of a stormy
sea.  The snow was deepening fast; and we knew, by the diminished speed
of the train, that the engine was plowing through it with steadily
increasing difficulty.  Indeed, it almost came to a dead halt sometimes,
in the midst of great drifts that piled themselves like colossal graves
across the track.  Conversation began to flag.  Cheerfulness gave place
to grave concern.  The possibility of being imprisoned in the snow, on
the bleak prairie, fifty miles from any house, presented itself to every
mind, and extended its depressing influence over every spirit.

"At two o'clock in the morning I was aroused out of an uneasy slumber by
the ceasing of all motion about me.  The appalling truth flashed upon me
instantly--we were captives in a snow-drift!  'All hands to the rescue!'
Every man sprang to obey.  Out into the wild night, the pitchy darkness,
the billowy snow, the driving storm, every soul leaped, with the
consciousness that a moment lost now might bring destruction to us all.
Shovels, hands, boards--anything, everything that could displace snow,
was brought into instant requisition.  It was a weird picture, that small
company of frantic men fighting the banking snows, half in the blackest
shadow and half in the angry light of the locomotive's reflector.

"One short hour sufficed to prove the utter uselessness of our efforts.
The storm barricaded the track with a dozen drifts while we dug one away.
And worse than this, it was discovered that the last grand charge the
engine had made upon the enemy had broken the fore-and-aft shaft of the
driving-wheel!  With a free track before us we should still have been
helpless.  We entered the car wearied with labor, and very sorrowful.
We gathered about the stoves, and gravely canvassed our situation.  We
had no provisions whatever--in this lay our chief distress.  We could not
freeze, for there was a good supply of wood in the tender.  This was our
only comfort.  The discussion ended at last in accepting the
disheartening decision of the conductor, viz., that it would be death for
any man to attempt to travel fifty miles on foot through snow like that.
We could not send for help, and even if we could it would not come.  We
must submit, and await, as patiently as we might, succor or starvation!
I think the stoutest heart there felt a momentary chill when those words
were uttered.

"Within the hour conversation subsided to a low murmur here and there
about the car, caught fitfully between the rising and falling of the
blast; the lamps grew dim; and the majority of the castaways settled
themselves among the flickering shadows to think--to forget the present,
if they could--to sleep, if they might.

"The eternal night-it surely seemed eternal to us-wore its lagging hours
away at last, and the cold gray dawn broke in the east.  As the light
grew stronger the passengers began to stir and give signs of life, one
after another, and each in turn pushed his slouched hat up from his
forehead, stretched his stiffened limbs, and glanced out of the windows
upon the cheerless prospect.  It was cheer less, indeed!-not a living
thing visible anywhere, not a human habitation; nothing but a vast white
desert; uplifted sheets of snow drifting hither and thither before the
wind--a world of eddying flakes shutting out the firmament above.

"All day we moped about the cars, saying little, thinking much.  Another
lingering dreary night--and hunger.

"Another dawning--another day of silence, sadness, wasting hunger,
hopeless watching for succor that could not come.  A night of restless
slumber, filled with dreams of feasting--wakings distressed with the
gnawings of hunger.

"The fourth day came and went--and the fifth!  Five days of dreadful
imprisonment!  A savage hunger looked out at every eye.  There was in it
a sign of awful import--the foreshadowing of a something that was vaguely
shaping itself in every heart--a something which no tongue dared yet to
frame into words.

"The sixth day passed--the seventh dawned upon as gaunt and haggard and
hopeless a company of men as ever stood in the shadow of death.  It must
out now!  That thing which had been growing up in every heart was ready
to leap from every lip at last!  Nature had been taxed to the utmost--she
must yield.  RICHARD H. GASTON of Minnesota, tall, cadaverous, and pale,
rose up.  All knew what was coming.  All prepared--every emotion, every
semblance of excitement--was smothered--only a calm, thoughtful
seriousness appeared in the eyes that were lately so wild.

"'Gentlemen: It cannot be delayed longer!  The time is at hand!  We must
determine which of us shall die to furnish food for the rest!'

"MR. JOHN J. WILLIAMS of Illinois rose and said: 'Gentlemen--I nominate
the Rev. James Sawyer of Tennessee.'

"MR. Wm. R. ADAMS of Indiana said: 'I nominate Mr. Daniel Slote of New
York.'

"MR. CHARLES J. LANGDON: 'I nominate Mr. Samuel A.  Bowen of St. Louis.'

"MR. SLOTE: 'Gentlemen--I desire to decline in favor of Mr. John A. Van
Nostrand, Jun., of New Jersey.'

"MR. GASTON: 'If there be no objection, the gentleman's desire will be
acceded to.'

"MR. VAN NOSTRAND objecting, the resignation of Mr. Slote was rejected.
The resignations of Messrs. Sawyer and Bowen were also offered, and
refused upon the same grounds.

"MR. A. L. BASCOM of Ohio: 'I move that the nominations now close, and
that the House proceed to an election by ballot.'

"MR. SAWYER: 'Gentlemen--I protest earnestly against these proceedings.
They are, in every way, irregular and unbecoming.  I must beg to move
that they be dropped at once, and that we elect a chairman of the meeting
and proper officers to assist him, and then we can go on with the
business before us understandingly.'

"MR. BELL of Iowa: 'Gentlemen--I object.  This is no time to stand upon
forms and ceremonious observances.  For more than seven days we have been
without food.  Every moment we lose in idle discussion increases our
distress.  I am satisfied with the nominations that have been made--every
gentleman present is, I believe--and I, for one, do not see why we should
not proceed at once to elect one or more of them.  I wish to offer a
resolution--'

"MR. GASTON: 'It would be objected to, and have to lie over one day under
the rules, thus bringing about the very delay you wish to avoid.  The
gentleman from New Jersey--'

"MR. VAN NOSTRAND: 'Gentlemen--I am a stranger among you; I have not
sought the distinction that has been conferred upon me, and I feel a
delicacy--'

"MR. MORGAN Of Alabama (interrupting): 'I move the previous question.'

"The motion was carried, and further debate shut off, of course.  The
motion to elect officers was passed, and under it Mr. Gaston was chosen
chairman, Mr. Blake, secretary, Messrs.  Holcomb, Dyer, and Baldwin a
committee on nominations, and Mr. R. M. Howland, purveyor, to assist the
committee in making selections.

"A recess of half an hour was then taken, and some little caucusing
followed.  At the sound of the gavel the meeting reassembled, and the
committee reported in favor of Messrs. George Ferguson of Kentucky,
Lucien Herrman of Louisiana, and W. Messick of Colorado as candidates.
The report was accepted.

"MR. ROGERS of Missouri: 'Mr. President The report being properly before
the House now, I move to amend it by substituting for the name of Mr.
Herrman that of Mr. Lucius Harris of St.  Louis, who is well and
honorably known to us all.  I do not wish to be understood as casting the
least reflection upon the high character and standing of the gentleman
from Louisiana far from it.  I respect and esteem him as much as any
gentleman here present possibly can; but none of us can be blind to the
fact that he has lost more flesh during the week that we have lain here
than any among us--none of us can be blind to the fact that the committee
has been derelict in its duty, either through negligence or a graver
fault, in thus offering for our suffrages a gentleman who, however pure
his own motives may be, has really less nutriment in him--'

"THE CHAIR: 'The gentleman from Missouri will take his seat.  The Chair
cannot allow the integrity of the committee to be questioned save by the
regular course, under the rules.  What action will the House take upon
the gentleman's motion?'

"MR. HALLIDAY of Virginia: 'I move to further amend the report by
substituting Mr. Harvey Davis of Oregon for Mr. Messick.  It may be urged
by gentlemen that the hardships and privations of a frontier life have
rendered Mr.  Davis tough; but, gentlemen, is this a time to cavil at
toughness?  Is this a time to be fastidious concerning trifles?  Is this
a time to dispute about matters of paltry significance?  No, gentlemen,
bulk is what we desire--substance, weight, bulk--these are the supreme
requisites now--not talent, not genius, not education.  I insist upon my
motion.'

"MR. MORGAN (excitedly): 'Mr.  Chairman--I do most strenuously object to
this amendment.  The gentleman from Oregon is old, and furthermore is
bulky only in bone--not in flesh.  I ask the gentleman from Virginia if
it is soup we want instead of solid sustenance? if he would delude us
with shadows? if he would mock our suffering with an Oregonian specter?
I ask him if he can look upon the anxious faces around him, if he can
gaze into our sad eyes, if he can listen to the beating of our expectant
hearts, and still thrust this famine-stricken fraud upon us?  I ask him
if he can think of our desolate state, of our past sorrows, of our dark
future, and still unpityingly foist upon us this wreck, this ruin, this
tottering swindle, this gnarled and blighted and sapless vagabond from
Oregon's hospitable shores?  Never!' [Applause.]

"The amendment was put to vote, after a fiery debate, and lost.  Mr.
Harris was substituted on the first amendment.  The balloting then began.
Five ballots were held without a choice.  On the sixth, Mr.  Harris was
elected, all voting for him but himself.  It was then moved that his
election should be ratified by acclamation, which was lost, in
consequence of his again voting against himself.

"MR. RADWAY moved that the House now take up the remaining candidates,
and go into an election for breakfast.  This was carried.

"On the first ballot--there was a tie, half the members favoring one
candidate on account of his youth, and half favoring the other on account
of his superior size.  The President gave the casting vote for the
latter, Mr. Messick.  This decision created considerable dissatisfaction
among the friends of Mr. Ferguson, the defeated candidate, and there was
some talk of demanding a new ballot; but in the midst of it a motion to
adjourn was carried, and the meeting broke up at once.

"The preparations for supper diverted the attention of the Ferguson
faction from the discussion of their grievance for a long time, and then,
when they would have taken it up again, the happy announcement that Mr.
Harris was ready drove all thought of it to the winds.

"We improvised tables by propping up the backs of car-seats, and sat down
with hearts full of gratitude to the finest supper that had blessed our
vision for seven torturing days.  How changed we were from what we had
been a few short hours before!  Hopeless, sad-eyed misery, hunger,
feverish anxiety, desperation, then; thankfulness, serenity, joy too deep
for utterance now.  That I know was the cheeriest hour of my eventful
life.  The winds howled, and blew the snow wildly about our prison house,
but they were powerless to distress us any more.  I liked Harris.  He
might have been better done, perhaps, but I am free to say that no man
ever agreed with me better than Harris, or afforded me so large a degree
of satisfaction.  Messick was very well, though rather high-flavored,
but for genuine nutritiousness and delicacy of fiber, give me Harris.
Messick had his good points--I will not attempt to deny it, nor do I wish
to do it but he was no more fitted for breakfast than a mummy would be,
sir--not a bit.  Lean?--why, bless me!--and tough?  Ah, he was very
tough!  You could not imagine it--you could never imagine anything like
it."

"Do you mean to tell me that--"

"Do not interrupt me, please.  After breakfast we elected a man by the
name of Walker, from Detroit, for supper.  He was very good.  I wrote his
wife so afterward.  He was worthy of all praise.  I shall always remember
Walker.  He was a little rare, but very good.  And then the next morning
we had Morgan of Alabama for breakfast. He was one of the finest men I
ever sat down to handsome, educated, refined, spoke several languages
fluently a perfect gentleman he was a perfect gentleman, and singularly
juicy.  For supper we had that Oregon patriarch, and he was a fraud,
there is no question about it--old, scraggy, tough, nobody can picture
the reality.  I finally said, gentlemen, you can do as you like, but I
will wait for another election.  And Grimes of Illinois said, 'Gentlemen,
I will wait also.  When you elect a man that has something to recommend
him, I shall be glad to join you again.'  It soon became evident that
there was general dissatisfaction with Davis of Oregon, and so, to
preserve the good will that had prevailed so pleasantly since we had had
Harris, an election was called, and the result of it was that Baker of
Georgia was chosen.  He was splendid!  Well, well--after that we had
Doolittle, and Hawkins, and McElroy (there was some complaint about
McElroy, because he was uncommonly short and thin), and Penrod, and two
Smiths, and Bailey (Bailey had a wooden leg, which was clear loss, but he
was otherwise good), and an Indian boy, and an organ-grinder, and a
gentleman by the name of Buckminster--a poor stick of a vagabond that
wasn't any good for company and no account for breakfast.  We were glad
we got him elected before relief came."

"And so the blessed relief did come at last?"

"Yes, it came one bright, sunny morning, just after election.  John
Murphy was the choice, and there never was a better, I am willing to
testify; but John Murphy came home with us, in the train that came to
succor us, and lived to marry the widow Harris--"

"Relict of--"

"Relict of our first choice.  He married her, and is happy and respected
and prosperous yet.  Ah, it was like a novel, sir--it was like a romance.
This is my stopping-place, sir; I must bid you goodby.  Any time that you
can make it convenient to tarry a day or two with me, I shall be glad to
have you.  I like you, sir; I have conceived an affection for you.
I could like you as well as I liked Harris himself, sir.  Good day, sir,
and a pleasant journey."

He was gone.  I never felt so stunned, so distressed, so bewildered in my
life.  But in my soul I was glad he was gone.  With all his gentleness of
manner and his soft voice, I shuddered whenever he turned his hungry eye
upon me; and when I heard that I had achieved his perilous affection, and
that I stood almost with the late Harris in his esteem, my heart fairly
stood still!

I was bewildered beyond description.  I did not doubt his word; I could
not question a single item in a statement so stamped with the earnestness
of truth as his; but its dreadful details overpowered me, and threw my
thoughts into hopeless confusion.  I saw the conductor looking at me.
I said, "Who is that man?"

"He was a member of Congress once, and a good one.  But he got caught in
a snow-drift in the cars, and like to have been starved to death.  He got
so frost-bitten and frozen up generally, and used up for want of
something to eat, that he was sick and out of his head two or three
months afterward.  He is all right now, only he is a monomaniac, and when
he gets on that old subject he never stops till he has eat up that whole
car-load of people he talks about.  He would have finished the crowd by
this time, only he had to get out here.  He has got their names as pat as
A B C.  When he gets them all eat up but himself, he always says: 'Then
the hour for the usual election for breakfast having arrived; and there
being no opposition, I was duly elected, after which, there being no
objections offered, I resigned.  Thus I am here.'"

I felt inexpressibly relieved to know that I had only been listening to
the harmless vagaries of a madman instead of the genuine experiences of a
bloodthirsty cannibal.






THE KILLING OF JULIUS CAESAR "LOCALIZED"--[Written about 1865.]

Being the only true and reliable account ever published; taken from the
Roman "Daily Evening Fasces," of the date of that tremendous occurrence.

Nothing in the world affords a newspaper reporter so much satisfaction as
gathering up the details of a bloody and mysterious murder and writing
them up with aggravating circumstantiality.  He takes a living delight in
this labor of love--for such it is to him, especially if he knows that
all the other papers have gone to press, and his will be the only one
that will contain the dreadful intelligence.  A feeling of regret has
often come over me that I was not reporting in Rome when Caesar was
killed--reporting on an evening paper, and the only one in the city, and
getting at least twelve hours ahead of the morning-paper boys with this
most magnificent "item" that ever fell to the lot of the craft.  Other
events have happened as startling as this, but none that possessed so
peculiarly all the characteristics of the favorite "item" of the present
day, magnified into grandeur and sublimity by the high rank, fame, and
social and political standing of the actors in it.

However, as I was not permitted to report Caesar's assassination in the
regular way, it has at least afforded me rare satisfaction to translate
the following able account of it from the original Latin of the Roman
Daily Evening Fasces of that date--second edition:


Our usually quiet city of Rome was thrown into a state of wild excitement
yesterday by the occurrence of one of those bloody affrays which sicken
the heart and fill the soul with fear, while they inspire all thinking
men with forebodings for the future of a city where human life is held so
cheaply and the gravest laws are so openly set at defiance.  As the
result of that affray, it is our painful duty, as public journalists, to
record the death of one of our most esteemed citizens--a man whose name
is known wherever this paper circulates, and where fame it has been our
pleasure and our privilege to extend, and also to protect from the tongue
of slander and falsehood, to the best of our poor ability.  We refer to
Mr. J. Caesar, the Emperor-elect.

The facts of the case, as nearly as our reporter could determine them
from the conflicting statements of eye-witnesses, were about as
follows:--The affair was an election row, of course.  Nine-tenths of the
ghastly butcheries that disgrace the city nowadays grow out of the
bickerings and jealousies and animosities engendered by these accursed
elections.  Rome would be the gainer by it if her very constables were
elected to serve a century; for in our experience we have never even been
able to choose a dog-pelter without celebrating the event with a dozen
knockdowns and a general cramming of the station-house with drunken
vagabonds overnight. It is said that when the immense majority for Caesar
at the polls in the market was declared the other day, and the crown was
offered to that gentleman, even his amazing unselfishness in refusing it
three times was not sufficient to save him from the whispered insults of
such men as Casca, of the Tenth Ward, and other hirelings of the
disappointed candidate, hailing mostly from the Eleventh and Thirteenth
and other outside districts, who were overheard speaking ironically and
contemptuously of Mr. Caesar's conduct upon that occasion.

We are further informed that there are many among us who think they are
justified in believing that the assassination of Julius Caesar was a
put-up thing--a cut-and-dried arrangement, hatched by Marcus Brutus and a
lot of his hired roughs, and carried out only too faithfully according to
the program.  Whether there be good grounds for this suspicion or not, we
leave to the people to judge for themselves, only asking that they will
read the following account of the sad occurrence carefully and
dispassionately before they render that judgment.

The Senate was already in session, and Caesar was coming down the street
toward the capitol, conversing with some personal friends, and followed,
as usual, by a large number of citizens.  Just as he was passing in front
of Demosthenes and Thucydides' drug store, he was observing casually to a
gentleman, who, our informant thinks, is a fortune-teller, that the Ides
of March were come.  The reply was, "Yes, they are come, but not gone
yet."  At this moment Artemidorus stepped up and passed the time of day,
and asked Caesar to read a schedule or a tract or something of the kind,
which he had brought for his perusal.  Mr. Decius Brutus also said
something about an "humble suit" which he wanted read.  Artexnidorus
begged that attention might be paid to his first, because it was of
personal consequence to Caesar.  The latter replied that what concerned
himself should be read last, or words to that effect.  Artemidorus begged
and beseeched him to read the paper instantly!--[Mark that: It is hinted
by William Shakespeare, who saw the beginning and the end of the
unfortunate affray, that this "schedule" was simply a note discovering to
Caesar that a plot was brewing to take his life.]--However, Caesar
shook him off, and refused to read any petition in the street.  He then
entered the capitol, and the crowd followed him.

About this time the following conversation was overheard, and we consider
that, taken in connection with the events which succeeded it, it bears an
appalling significance:  Mr. Papilius Lena remarked to George W. Cassias
(commonly known as the "Nobby Boy of the Third Ward"), a bruiser in the
pay of the Opposition, that he hoped his enterprise to-day might thrive;
and when Cassias asked "What enterprise?" he only closed his left eye
temporarily and said with simulated indifference, "Fare you well," and
sauntered toward Caesar.  Marcus Brutus, who is suspected of being the
ringleader of the band that killed Caesar, asked what it was that Lena
had said.  Cassias told him, and added in a low tone, "I fear our purpose
is discovered."

Brutus told his wretched accomplice to keep an eye on Lena, and a moment
after Cassias urged that lean and hungry vagrant, Casca, whose reputation
here is none of the best, to be sudden, for he feared prevention.  He
then turned to Brutus, apparently much excited, and asked what should be
done, and swore that either he or Caesar would never turn back--he would
kill himself first.  At this time Caesar was talking to some of the
back-country members about the approaching fall elections, and paying
little attention to what was going on around him.  Billy Trebonius got
into conversation with the people's friend and Caesar's--Mark Antony--and
under some pretense or other got him away, and Brutus, Decius, Casca,
Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and others of the gang of infamous desperadoes
that infest Rome at present, closed around the doomed Caesar.  Then
Metellus Cimber knelt down and begged that his brother might be recalled
from banishment, but Caesar rebuked him for his fawning conduct, and
refused to grant his petition.  Immediately, at Cimber's request, first
Brutus and then Cassias begged for the return of the banished Publius;
but Caesar still refused.  He said he could not be moved; that he was as
fixed as the North Star, and proceeded to speak in the most complimentary
terms of the firmness of that star and its steady character.  Then he
said he was like it, and he believed he was the only man in the country
that was; therefore, since he was "constant" that Cimber should be
banished, he was also "constant" that he should stay banished, and he'd
be hanged if he didn't keep him so!

Instantly seizing upon this shallow pretext for a fight, Casca sprang at
Caesar and struck him with a dirk, Caesar grabbing him by the arm with
his right hand, and launching a blow straight from the shoulder with his
left, that sent the reptile bleeding to the earth.  He then backed up
against Pompey's statue, and squared himself to receive his assailants.
Cassias and Cimber and Cinna rushed, upon him with their daggers drawn,
and the former succeeded in inflicting a wound upon his body; but before
he could strike again, and before either of the others could strike at
all, Caesar stretched the three miscreants at his feet with as many blows
of his powerful fist.  By this time the Senate was in an indescribable
uproar; the throng of citizens is the lobbies had blockaded the doors in
their frantic efforts to escape from the building, the sergeant-at-arms
and his assistants were struggling with the assassins, venerable senators
had cast aside their encumbering robes, and were leaping over benches and
flying down the aisles in wild confusion toward the shelter of the
committee-rooms, and a thousand voices were shouting "Po-lice!  Po-lice!"
in discordant tones that rose above the frightful din like shrieking
winds above the roaring of a tempest.  And amid it all great Caesar stood
with his back against the statue, like a lion at bay, and fought his
assailants weaponless and hand to hand, with the defiant bearing and the
unwavering courage which he had shown before on many a bloody field.
Billy Trebonius and Caius Legarius struck him with their daggers and
fell, as their brother-conspirators before them had fallen.  But at last,
when Caesar saw his old friend Brutus step forward armed with a murderous
knife, it is said he seemed utterly overpowered with grief and amazement,
and, dropping his invincible left arm by his side, he hid his face in the
folds of his mantle and received the treacherous blow without an effort
to stay the hand that gave it.  He only said, "Et tu, Brute?" and fell
lifeless on the marble pavement.

We learn that the coat deceased had on when he was killed was the same
one he wore in his tent on the afternoon of the day he overcame the
Nervii, and that when it was removed from the corpse it was found to be
cut and gashed in no less than seven different places.  There was nothing
in the pockets.  It will be exhibited at the coroner's inquest, and will
be damning proof of the fact of the killing.  These latter facts may be
relied on, as we get them from Mark Antony, whose position enables him to
learn every item of news connected with the one subject of absorbing
interest of-to-day.

LATER: While the coroner was summoning a jury, Mark Antony and other
friends of the late Caesar got hold of the body, and lugged it off to the
Forum, and at last accounts Antony and Brutus were making speeches over
it and raising such a row among the people that, as we go to press, the
chief of police is satisfied there is going to be a riot, and is taking
measures accordingly.






THE WIDOW'S PROTEST

One of the saddest things that ever came under my notice (said the
banker's clerk) was there in Corning during the war.  Dan Murphy enlisted
as a private, and fought very bravely.  The boys all liked him, and when
a wound by and by weakened him down till carrying a musket was too heavy
work for him, they clubbed together and fixed him up as a sutler.  He
made money then, and sent it always to his wife to bank for him.  She was
a washer and ironer, and knew enough by hard experience to keep money
when she got it.  She didn't waste a penny.

On the contrary, she began to get miserly as her bank-account grew.  She
grieved to part with a cent, poor creature, for twice in her hard-working
life she had known what it was to be hungry, cold, friendless, sick, and
without a dollar in the world, and she had a haunting dread of suffering
so again.  Well, at last Dan died; and the boys, in testimony of their
esteem and respect for him, telegraphed to Mrs. Murphy to know if she
would like to have him embalmed and sent home; when you know the usual
custom was to dump a poor devil like him into a shallow hole, and then
inform his friends what had become of him.  Mrs.  Murphy jumped to the
conclusion that it would only cost two or three dollars to embalm her
dead husband, and so she telegraphed "Yes."  It was at the "wake" that
the bill for embalming arrived and was presented to the widow.

She uttered a wild, sad wail that pierced every heart, and said,
"Sivinty-foive dollars for stooffin' Dan, blister their sowls!  Did thim
divils suppose I was goin' to stairt a Museim, that I'd be dalin' in such
expinsive curiassities!"

The banker's clerk said there was not a dry eye in the house.






THE SCRIPTURAL PANORAMIST--[Written about 1866.]

"There was a fellow traveling around in that country," said Mr.
Nickerson, "with a moral-religious show--a sort of scriptural panorama
--and he hired a wooden-headed old slab to play the piano for him.
After the first night's performance the showman says:

"'My friend, you seem to know pretty much all the tunes there are, and
you worry along first rate.  But then, didn't you notice that sometimes
last night the piece you happened to be playing was a little rough on the
proprieties, so to speak--didn't seem to jibe with the general gait of
the picture that was passing at the time, as it were--was a little
foreign to the subject, you know--as if you didn't either trump or follow
suit, you understand?'

"'Well, no,' the fellow said; 'he hadn't noticed, but it might be; he had
played along just as it came handy.'

"So they put it up that the simple old dummy was to keep his eye on the
panorama after that, and as soon as a stunning picture was reeled out he
was to fit it to a dot with a piece of music that would help the audience
to get the idea of the subject, and warm them up like a camp-meeting
revival.  That sort of thing would corral their sympathies, the showman
said.

"There was a big audience that night-mostly middle-aged and old people
who belong to the church, and took a strong interest in Bible matters,
and the balance were pretty much young bucks and heifers--they always
come out strong on panoramas, you know, because it gives them a chance to
taste one another's complexions in the dark.

"Well, the showman began to swell himself up for his lecture, and the old
mud-Jobber tackled the piano and ran his fingers up and down once or
twice to see that she was all right, and the fellows behind the curtain
commenced to grind out the panorama.  The showman balanced his weight on
his right foot, and propped his hands over his hips, and flung his eyes
over his shoulder at the scenery, and said:

"'Ladies and gentlemen, the painting now before you illustrates the
beautiful and touching parable of the Prodigal Son.  Observe the happy
expression just breaking over the features of the poor, suffering youth
--so worn and weary with his long march; note also the ecstasy beaming
from the uplifted countenance of the aged father, and the joy that
sparkles in the eyes of the excited group of youths and maidens, and
seems ready to burst into the welcoming chorus from their lips.  The
lesson, my friends, is as solemn and instructive as the story is tender
and beautiful.'

"The mud-Jobber was all ready, and when the second speech was finished,
struck up:

                    "Oh, we'll all get blind drunk
                    When Johnny comes marching home!

"Some of the people giggled, and some groaned a little.  The showman
couldn't say a word; he looked at the pianist sharp, but he was all
lovely and serene--he didn't know there was anything out of gear.

"The panorama moved on, and the showman drummed up his grit and started
in fresh.

"'Ladies and gentlemen, the fine picture now unfolding itself to your
gaze exhibits one of the most notable events in Bible history--our
Saviour and His disciples upon the Sea of Galilee.  How grand, how
awe-inspiring are the reflections which the subject invokes!  What
sublimity of faith is revealed to us in this lesson from the sacred
writings!  The Saviour rebukes the angry waves, and walks securely
upon the bosom of the deep!'

"All around the house they were whispering, 'Oh, how lovely, how
beautiful!' and the orchestra let himself out again:

                    "A life on the ocean wave,
                    And a home on the rolling deep!

"There was a good deal of honest snickering turned on this time, and
considerable groaning, and one or two old deacons got up and went out.
The showman grated his teeth, and cursed the piano man to himself; but
the fellow sat there like a knot on a log, and seemed to think he was
doing first-rate.

"After things got quiet the showman thought he would make one more
stagger at it, anyway, though his confidence was beginning to get mighty
shaky.  The supes started the panorama grinding along again, and he says:

"'Ladies and gentlemen, this exquisite painting represents the raising of
Lazarus from the dead by our Saviour.  The subject has been handled with
marvelous skill by the artist, and such touching sweetness and tenderness
of expression has he thrown into it that I have known peculiarly
sensitive persons to be even affected to tears by looking at it.  Observe
the half-confused, half-inquiring look upon the countenance of the
awakened Lazarus.  Observe, also, the attitude and expression of the
Saviour, who takes him gently by the sleeve of his shroud with one hand,
while He points with the other toward the distant city.'

"Before anybody could get off an opinion in the case the innocent old ass
at the piano struck up:

                    "Come rise up, William Ri-i-ley,
                    And go along with me!

"Whe-ew!  All the solemn old flats got up in a huff to go, and everybody
else laughed till the windows rattled.

"The showman went down and grabbed the orchestra and shook him up and
says:

"'That lets you out, you know, you chowder-headed old clam.  Go to the
doorkeeper and get your money, and cut your stick--vamose the ranch!
Ladies and gentlemen, circumstances over which I have no control compel
me prematurely to dismiss the house.'"






CURING A COLD--[Written about 1864]

It is a good thing, perhaps, to write for the amusement of the public,
but it is a far higher and nobler thing to write for their instruction,
their profit, their actual and tangible benefit.  The latter is the sole
object of this article.  If it prove the means of restoring to health one
solitary sufferer among my race, of lighting up once more the fire of
hope and joy in his faded eyes, or bringing back to his dead heart again
the quick, generous impulses of other days, I shall be amply rewarded for
my labor; my soul will be permeated with the sacred delight a Christian.
feels when he has done a good, unselfish deed.

Having led a pure and blameless life, I am justified in believing that no
man who knows me will reject the suggestions I am about to make, out of
fear that I am trying to deceive him.  Let the public do itself the honor
to read my experience in doctoring a cold, as herein set forth, and then
follow in my footsteps.

When the White House was burned in Virginia City, I lost my home, my
happiness, my constitution, and my trunk.  The loss of the two first
named articles was a matter of no great consequence, since a home without
a mother, or a sister, or a distant young female relative in it, to
remind you, by putting your soiled linen out of sight and taking your
boots down off the mantelpiece, that there are those who think about you
and care for you, is easily obtained.  And I cared nothing for the loss
of my happiness, because, not being a poet, it could not be possible that
melancholy would abide with me long.  But to lose a good constitution and
a better trunk were serious misfortunes.  On the day of the fire my
constitution succumbed to a severe cold, caused by undue exertion in
getting ready to do something.  I suffered to no purpose, too, because
the plan I was figuring at for the extinguishing of the fire was so
elaborate that I never got it completed until the middle of the following
week.

The first time I began to sneeze, a friend told me to go and bathe my
feet in hot water and go to bed.  I did so.  Shortly afterward, another
friend advised me to get up and take a cold shower-bath.  I did that
also.  Within the hour, another friend assured me that it was policy to
"feed a cold and starve a fever."  I had both.  So I thought it best to
fill myself up for the cold, and then keep dark and let the fever starve
awhile.

In a case of, this kind, I seldom do things by halves; I ate pretty
heartily; I conferred my custom upon a stranger who had just opened his
restaurant that morning; he waited near me in respectful silence until I
had finished feeding my cold, when he inquired if the people about
Virginia City were much afflicted with colds?  I told him I thought they
were.  He then went out and took in his sign.

I started down toward the office, and on the way encountered another
bosom friend, who told me that a quart of salt-water, taken warm, would
come as near curing a cold as anything in the world.  I hardly thought I
had room for it, but I tried it anyhow.  The result was surprising.  I
believed I had thrown up my immortal soul.

Now, as I am giving my experience only for the benefit of those who are
troubled with the distemper I am writing about, I feel that they will see
the propriety of my cautioning them against following such portions of it
as proved inefficient with me, and acting upon this conviction, I warn
them against warm salt-water.  It may be a good enough remedy, but I
think it is too severe.  If I had another cold in the head, and there
were no course left me but to take either an earthquake or a quart of
warm saltwater, I would take my chances on the earthquake.

After the storm which had been raging in my stomach had subsided, and no
more good Samaritans happening along, I went on borrowing handkerchiefs
again and blowing them to atoms, as had been my custom in the early
stages of my cold, until I came across a lady who had just arrived from
over the plains, and who said she had lived in a part of the country
where doctors were scarce, and had from necessity acquired considerable
skill in the treatment of simple "family complaints."  I knew she must
have had much experience, for she appeared to be a hundred and fifty
years old.

She mixed a decoction composed of molasses, aquafortis, turpentine, and
various other drugs, and instructed me to take a wine-glass full of it
every fifteen minutes.  I never took but one dose; that was enough; it
robbed me of all moral principle, and awoke every unworthy impulse of my
nature.  Under its malign influence my brain conceived miracles of
meanness, but my hands were too feeble to execute them; at that time, had
it not been that my strength had surrendered to a succession of assaults
from infallible remedies for my cold, I am satisfied that I would have
tried to rob the graveyard.  Like most other people, I often feel mean,
and act accordingly; but until I took that medicine I had never reveled
in such supernatural depravity, and felt proud of it.  At the end of two
days I was ready to go to doctoring again.  I took a few more unfailing
remedies, and finally drove my cold from my head to my lungs.

I got to coughing incessantly, and my voice fell below zero; I conversed
in a thundering bass, two octaves below my natural tone; I could only
compass my regular nightly repose by coughing myself down to a state of
utter exhaustion, and then the moment I began to talk in my sleep, my
discordant voice woke me up again.

My case grew more and more serious every day.  A Plain gin was
recommended; I took it.  Then gin and molasses; I took that also.  Then
gin and onions; I added the onions, and took all three.  I detected no
particular result, however, except that I had acquired a breath like a
buzzard's.

I found I had to travel for my health.  I went to Lake Bigler with my
reportorial comrade, Wilson.  It is gratifying to me to reflect that we
traveled in considerable style; we went in the Pioneer coach, and my
friend took all his baggage with him, consisting of two excellent silk
handkerchiefs and a daguerreotype of his grandmother.  We sailed and
hunted and fished and danced all day, and I doctored my cough all night.
By managing in this way, I made out to improve every hour in the
twenty-four.  But my disease continued to grow worse.

A sheet-bath was recommended.  I had never refused a remedy yet, and it
seemed poor policy to commence then; therefore I determined to take a
sheet-bath, notwithstanding I had no idea what sort of arrangement it
was.  It was administered at midnight, and the weather was very frosty.
My breast and back were bared, and a sheet (there appeared to be a
thousand yards of it) soaked in ice-water, was wound around me until I
resembled a swab for a Columbiad.

It is a cruel expedient.  When the chilly rag touches one's warm flesh,
it makes him start with sudden violence, and gasp for breath just as men
do in the death-agony.  It froze the marrow in my bones and stopped the
beating of my heart.  I thought my time had come.

Young Wilson said the circumstance reminded him of an anecdote about a
negro who was being baptized, and who slipped from the parson's grasp,
and came near being drowned.  He floundered around, though, and finally
rose up out of the water considerably strangled and furiously angry, and
started ashore at once, spouting water like a whale, and remarking, with
great asperity, that "one o' dese days some gen'l'man's nigger gwyne to
get killed wid jis' such damn foolishness as dis!"

Never take a sheet-bath-never.  Next to meeting a lady acquaintance who,
for reasons best known to herself, don't see you when she looks at you,
and don't know you when she does see you, it is the most uncomfortable
thing in the world.

But, as I was saying, when the sheet-bath failed to cure my cough,
a lady friend recommended the application of a mustard plaster to my
breast.  I believe that would have cured me effectually, if it had not
been for young Wilson.  When I went to bed, I put my mustard plaster
--which was a very gorgeous one, eighteen inches square--where I could
reach it when I was ready for it.  But young Wilson got hungry in the
night, and here is food for the imagination.

After sojourning a week at Lake Bigler, I went to Steamboat Springs, and,
besides the steam-baths, I took a lot of the vilest medicines that were
ever concocted.  They would have cured me, but I had to go back to
Virginia City, where, notwithstanding the variety of new remedies I
absorbed every day, I managed to aggravate my disease by carelessness and
undue exposure.

I finally concluded to visit San Francisco, and the first day I got
there a lady at the hotel told me to drink a quart of whisky every
twenty-four hours, and a friend up-town recommended precisely the same
course.  Each advised me to take a quart; that made half a gallon.  I did
it, and still live.

Now, with the kindest motives in the world, I offer for the consideration
of consumptive patients the variegated course of treatment I have lately
gone through.  Let them try it; if it don't cure, it can't more than kill
them.






A CURIOUS PLEASURE EXCURSION

--[Published at the time of the "Comet Scare" in the summer of 1874]

[We have received the following advertisement, but, inasmuch as it
concerns a matter of deep and general interest, we feel fully justified
in inserting it in our reading-columns.  We are confident that our
conduct in this regard needs only explanation, not apology.--Ed., N. Y.
Herald.]


ADVERTISEMENT

This is to inform the public that in connection with Mr. Barnum I have
leased the comet for a term, of years; and I desire also to solicit the
public patronage in favor of a beneficial enterprise which we have in
view.

We propose to fit up comfortable, and even luxurious, accommodations in
the comet for as many persons as will honor us with their patronage, and
make an extended excursion among the heavenly bodies.  We shall prepare
1,000,000 state-rooms in the tail of the comet (with hot and cold water,
gas, looking-glass, parachute, umbrella, etc., in each), and shall
construct more if we meet with a sufficiently generous encouragement.
We shall have billiard-rooms, card-rooms, music-rooms, bowling-alleys and
many spacious theaters and free libraries; and on the main deck we
propose to have a driving park, with upward of 100,000 miles of roadway
in it.  We shall publish daily newspapers also.


                          DEPARTURE OF THE COMET

The comet will leave New York at 10 P.M.  on the 20th inst., and
therefore it will be desirable that the passengers be on board by eight
at the latest, to avoid confusion in getting under way.  It is not known
whether passports will be necessary or not, but it is deemed best that
passengers provide them, and so guard against all contingencies.  No dogs
will be allowed on board.  This rule has been made in deference to the
existing state of feeling regarding these animals, and will be strictly
adhered to.  The safety of the passengers will in all ways be jealously
looked to.  A substantial iron railing will be put up all around the
comet, and no one will be allowed to go to the edge and look over unless
accompanied by either my partner or myself.


                            THE POSTAL SERVICE

will be of the completest character.  Of course the telegraph, and the
telegraph only, will be employed; consequently friends occupying
state-rooms 20,000,000 and even 30,000,000 miles apart will be able to
send a message and receive a reply inside of eleven days.  Night messages
will be half-rate.  The whole of this vast postal system will be under
the personal superintendence of Mr. Hale of Maine.  Meals served at all
hours.  Meals served in staterooms charged extra.

Hostility is not apprehended from any great planet, but we have thought
it best to err on the safe side, and therefore have provided a proper
number of mortars, siege-guns, and boarding-pikes.  History shows that
small, isolated communities, such as the people of remote islands, are
prone to be hostile to strangers, and so the same may be the case with


                         THE INHABITANTS OF STARS

of the tenth or twentieth magnitude.  We shall in no case wantonly offend
the people of any star, but shall treat all alike with urbanity and
kindliness, never conducting ourselves toward an asteroid after a fashion
which we could not venture to assume toward Jupiter or Saturn.  I repeat
that we shall not wantonly offend any star; but at the same time we shall
promptly resent any injury that may be done us, or any insolence offered
us, by parties or governments residing in any star in the firmament.
Although averse to the shedding of blood, we shall still hold this course
rigidly and fearlessly, not only toward single stars, but toward
constellations.  We shall hope to leave a good impression of America
behind us in every nation we visit, from Venus to Uranus.  And, at all
events, if we cannot inspire love we shall at least compel respect for
our country wherever we go.  We shall take with us, free of charge,


                      A GREAT FORCE OF MISSIONARIES,

and shed the true light upon all the celestial orbs which, physically
aglow, are yet morally in darkness.  Sunday-schools will be established
wherever practicable.  Compulsory education will also be introduced.

The comet will visit Mars first, and proceed to Mercury, Jupiter, Venus,
and Saturn.  Parties connected with the government of the District of
Columbia and with the former city government of New York, who may desire
to inspect the rings, will be allowed time and every facility.  Every
star of prominent magnitude will be visited, and time allowed for
excursions to points of interest inland.


                               THE DOG STAR

has been stricken from the program.  Much time will be spent in the Great
Bear, and, indeed, in every constellation of importance.  So, also, with
the Sun and Moon and the Milky Pay, otherwise the Gulf Stream of the
Skies.  Clothing suitable for wear in the sun should be provided.  Our
program has been so arranged that we shall seldom go more than
100,000,000 of miles at a time without stopping at some star.  This will
necessarily make the stoppages frequent and preserve the interest of the
tourist.  Baggage checked through to any point on the route.  Parties
desiring to make only a part of the proposed tour, and thus save expense,
may stop over at any star they choose and wait for the return voyage.

After visiting all the most celebrated stars and constellations in our
system and personally, inspecting the remotest sparks that even the most
powerful telescope can now detect in the firmament, we shall proceed with
good heart upon


                           A STUPENDOUS VOYAGE

of discovery among the countless whirling worlds that make turmoil in the
mighty wastes of space that stretch their solemn solitudes, their
unimaginable vastness billions upon billions of miles away beyond the
farthest verge of telescopic vision, till by comparison the little
sparkling vault we used to gaze at on Earth shall seem like a remembered
phosphorescent flash of spangles which some tropical voyager's prow
stirred into life for a single instant, and which ten thousand miles of
phosphorescent seas and tedious lapse of time had since diminished to an
incident utterly trivial in his recollection.  Children occupying seats
at the first table will be charged full fare.


                             FIRST-CLASS FARE

from the Earth to Uranus, including visits to the Sun and Moon and all
the principal planets on the route, will be charged at the low rate of
$2 for every 50,000,000 miles of actual travel.  A great reduction will
be made where parties wish to make the round trip.  This comet is new and
in thorough repair and is now on her first voyage.  She is confessedly
the fastest on the line.  She makes 20,000,000 miles a day, with her
present facilities; but, with a picked American crew and good weather,
we are confident we can get 40,000,000 out of her.  Still, we shall never
push her to a dangerous speed, and we shall rigidly prohibit racing with
other comets.  Passengers desiring to diverge at any point or return will
be transferred to other comets.  We make close connections at all
principal points with all reliable lines.  Safety can be depended upon.
It is not to be denied that the heavens are infested with


                          OLD RAMSHACKLE COMETS

that have not been inspected or overhauled in 10,000 years, and which
ought long ago to have been destroyed or turned into hail-barges, but
with these we have no connection whatever.  Steerage passengers not
allowed abaft the main hatch.

Complimentary round-trip tickets have been tendered to General Butler,
Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Richardson, and other eminent gentlemen, whose public
services have entitled them to the rest and relaxation of a voyage of
this kind.  Parties desiring to make the round trip will have extra
accommodation.  The entire voyage will be completed, and the passengers
landed in New York again, on the 14th of December, 1991.  This is, at
least, forty years quicker than any other comet can do it in.  Nearly all
the back-pay members contemplate making the round trip with us in case
their constituents will allow them a holiday.  Every harmless amusement
will be allowed on board, but no pools permitted on the run of the comet
--no gambling of any kind.  All fixed stars will be respected by us, but
such stars as seem, to need fixing we shall fix.  If it makes trouble, we
shall be sorry, but firm.

Mr. Coggia having leased his comet to us, she will no longer be called by
his name, but by my partner's.  N. B.--Passengers by paying double fare
will be entitled to a share in all the new stars, suns, moons, comets,
meteors, and magazines of thunder and lightning we may discover.
Patent-medicine people will take notice that


                         WE CARRY BULLETIN-BOARDS

and a paint-brush along for use in the constellations, and are open to
terms.  Cremationists are reminded that we are going straight to--some
hot places--and are open to terms.  To other parties our enterprise is a
pleasure excursion, but individually we mean business.  We shall fly our
comet for all it is worth.


                         FOR FURTHER PARTICULARS,

or for freight or passage, apply on board, or to my partner, but not to
me, since I do not take charge of the comet until she is under way.
It is necessary, at a time like this, that my mind should not be burdened
with small business details.

                                                       MARK TWAIN.






RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR--[Written about 1870.]

A few months ago I was nominated for Governor of the great state of New
York, to run against Mr. John T. Smith and Mr. Blank J. Blank on an
independent ticket.  I somehow felt that I had one prominent advantage
over these gentlemen, and that was--good character.  It was easy to see
by the newspapers that if ever they had known what it was to bear a good
name, that time had gone by.  It was plain that in these latter years
they had become familiar with all manner of shameful crimes.  But at the
very moment that I was exalting my advantage and joying in it in secret,
there was a muddy undercurrent of discomfort "riling" the deeps of my
happiness, and that was--the having to hear my name bandied about in
familiar connection with those of such people.  I grew more and more
disturbed.  Finally I wrote my grandmother about it.  Her answer came
quick and sharp.  She said:

     You have never done one single thing in all your life to be ashamed
     of--not one.  Look at the newspapers--look at them and comprehend
     what sort of characters Messrs.  Smith and Blank are, and then see
     if you are willing to lower yourself to their level and enter a
     public canvass with them.

It was my very thought!  I did not sleep a single moment that night.
But, after all, I could not recede.

I was fully committed, and must go on with the fight.  As I was looking
listlessly over the papers at breakfast I came across this paragraph,
and I may truly say I never was so confounded before.

     PERJURY.--Perhaps, now that Mr. Mark Twain is before the people as a
     candidate for Governor, he will condescend to explain how he came to
     be convicted of perjury by thirty-four witnesses in Wakawak, Cochin
     China, in 1863, the intent of which perjury being to rob a poor
     native widow and her helpless family of a meager plantain-patch,
     their only stay and support in their bereavement and desolation.
     Mr. Twain owes it to himself, as well as to the great people whose
     suffrages he asks, to clear this matter up.  Will he do it?

I thought I should burst with amazement!  Such a cruel, heartless charge!
I never had seen Cochin China!  I never had heard of Wakawak!  I didn't
know a plantain-patch from a kangaroo!  I did not know what to do.  I was
crazed and helpless.  I let the day slip away without doing anything at
all.  The next morning the same paper had this--nothing more:

     SIGNIFICANT.--Mr.  Twain, it will be observed, is suggestively
     silent about the Cochin China perjury.

[Mem.--During the rest of the campaign this paper never referred to me in
any other way than as "the infamous perjurer Twain."]

Next came the Gazette, with this:

     WANTED TO KNOW.--Will the new candidate for Governor deign to
     explain to certain of his fellow-citizens (who are suffering to vote
     for him!) the little circumstance of his cabin-mates in Montana
     losing small valuables from time to time, until at last, these
     things having been invariably found on Mr. Twain's person or in his
     "trunk" (newspaper he rolled his traps in), they felt compelled to
     give him a friendly admonition for his own good, and so tarred and
     feathered him, and rode him on a rail; and then advised him to leave
     a permanent vacuum in the place he usually occupied in the camp.
     Will he do this?

Could anything be more deliberately malicious than that?  For I never was
in Montana in my life.

[After this, this journal customarily spoke of me as, "Twain, the Montana
Thief."]

I got to picking up papers apprehensively--much as one would lift a
desired blanket which he had some idea might have a rattlesnake under it.
One day this met my eye:

     THE LIE NAILED.--By the sworn affidavits of Michael O'Flanagan,
     Esq., of the Five Points, and Mr. Snub Rafferty and Mr. Catty
     Mulligan, of Water Street, it is established that Mr. Mark Twain's
     vile statement that the lamented grandfather of our noble
     standard-bearer, Blank J. Blank, was hanged for highway robbery, is
     a brutal and gratuitous LIE, without a shadow of foundation in fact.
     It is disheartening to virtuous men to see such shameful means
     resorted to to achieve political success as the attacking of the
     dead in their graves, and defiling their honored names with slander.
     When we think of the anguish this miserable falsehood must cause the
     innocent relatives and friends of the deceased, we are almost driven
     to incite an outraged and insulted public to summary and unlawful
     vengeance upon the traducer.  But no! let us leave him to the agony
     of a lacerated conscience (though if passion should get the better
     of the public, and in its blind fury they should do the traducer
     bodily injury, it is but too obvious that no jury could convict and
     no court punish the perpetrators of the deed).

The ingenious closing sentence had the effect of moving me out of bed
with despatch that night, and out at the back door also, while the
"outraged and insulted public" surged in the front way, breaking
furniture and windows in their righteous indignation as they came,
and taking off such property as they could carry when they went.
And yet I can lay my hand upon the Book and say that I never slandered
Mr. Blank's grandfather.  More: I had never even heard of him or
mentioned him up to that day and date.

[I will state, in passing, that the journal above quoted from always
referred to me afterward as "Twain, the Body-Snatcher."]

The next newspaper article that attracted my attention was the following:

     A SWEET CANDIDATE.--Mr.  Mark Twain, who was to make such a
     blighting speech at the mass-meeting of the Independents last night,
     didn't come to time!  A telegram from his physician stated that he
     had been knocked down by a runaway team, and his leg broken in two
     places--sufferer lying in great agony, and so forth, and so forth,
     and a lot more bosh of the same sort.  And the Independents tried
     hard to swallow the wretched subterfuge, and pretend that they did
     not know what was the real reason of the absence of the abandoned
     creature whom they denominate their standard-bearer.  A certain man
     was seen to reel into Mr.  Twain's hotel last night in a state of
     beastly intoxication.  It is the imperative duty of the Independents
     to prove that this besotted brute was not Mark Twain himself.  We
     have them at last!  This is a case that admits of no shirking.  The
     voice of the people demands in thunder tones, "WHO WAS THAT MAN?"

It was incredible, absolutely incredible, for a moment, that it was
really my name that was coupled with this disgraceful suspicion.  Three
long years had passed over my head since I had tasted ale, beer, wine or
liquor or any kind.

[It shows what effect the times were having on me when I say that I saw
myself, confidently dubbed "Mr. Delirium Tremens Twain" in the next issue
of that journal without a pang--notwithstanding I knew that with
monotonous fidelity the paper would go on calling me so to the very end.]

By this time anonymous letters were getting to be an important part of my
mail matter.  This form was common:

     How about that old woman you kiked of your premises which
     was beging.                             POL. PRY.

And this:

     There is things which you Have done which is unbeknowens to anybody
     but me.  You better trot out a few dots, to yours truly, or you'll
     hear through the papers from
                                             HANDY ANDY.

This is about the idea.  I could continue them till the reader was
surfeited, if desirable.

Shortly the principal Republican journal "convicted" me of wholesale
bribery, and the leading Democratic paper "nailed" an aggravated case of
blackmailing to me.

[In this way I acquired two additional names: "Twain the Filthy
Corruptionist" and "Twain the Loathsome Embracer."]

By this time there had grown to be such a clamor for an "answer" to all
the dreadful charges that were laid to me that the editors and leaders of
my party said it would be political ruin for me to remain silent any
longer.   As if to make their appeal the more imperative, the following
appeared in one of the papers the very next day:

     BEHOLD THE MAN!--The independent candidate still maintains silence.
     Because he dare not speak.  Every accusation against him has been
     amply proved, and they have been indorsed and reindorsed by his own
     eloquent silence, till at this day he stands forever convicted.
     Look upon your candidate, Independents!  Look upon the Infamous
     Perjurer! the Montana Thief! the Body-Snatcher!  Contemplate your
     incarnate Delirium Tremens! your Filthy Corruptionist! your
     Loathsome Embracer!  Gaze upon him--ponder him well--and then say if
     you can give your honest votes to a creature who has earned this
     dismal array of titles by his hideous crimes, and dares not open his
     mouth in denial of any one of them!

There was no possible way of getting out of it, and so, in deep
humiliation, I set about preparing to "answer" a mass of baseless charges
and mean and wicked falsehoods.  But I never finished the task, for the
very next morning a paper came out with a new horror, a fresh malignity,
and seriously charged me with burning a lunatic asylum with all its
inmates, because it obstructed the view from my house.  This threw me
into a sort of panic.  Then came the charge of poisoning my uncle to get
his property, with an imperative demand that the grave should be opened.
This drove me to the verge of distraction.  On top of this I was accused
of employing toothless and incompetent old relatives to prepare the food
for the foundling' hospital when I warden.  I was wavering--wavering.
And at last, as a due and fitting climax to the shameless persecution
that party rancor had inflicted upon me, nine little toddling children,
of all shades of color and degrees of raggedness, were taught to rush
onto the platform at a public meeting, and clasp me around the legs and
call me PA!

I gave it up.  I hauled down my colors and surrendered.  I was not equal
to the requirements of a Gubernatorial campaign in the state of New York,
and so I sent in my withdrawal from the candidacy, and in bitterness of
spirit signed it, "Truly yours, once a decent man, but now

                    "MARK TWAIN, LP., M.T., B.S., D.T., F.C., and L.E."






A MYSTERIOUS VISIT


The first notice that was taken of me when I "settled down" recently was
by a gentleman who said he was an assessor, and connected with the U. S.
Internal Revenue Department.  I said I had never heard of his branch of
business before, but I was very glad to see him all the same.  Would he
sit down?  He sat down.  I did not know anything particular to say, and
yet I felt that people who have arrived at the dignity of keeping house
must be conversational, must be easy and sociable in company.  So, in
default of anything else to say, I asked him if he was opening his shop
in our neighborhood.

He said he was.  [I did not wish to appear ignorant, but I had hoped he
would mention what he had for sale.]

I ventured to ask him "How was trade?"  And he said "So-so."

I then said we would drop in, and if we liked his house as well as any
other, we would give him our custom.

He said he thought we would like his establishment well enough to confine
ourselves to it--said he never saw anybody who would go off and hunt up
another man in his line after trading with him once.

That sounded pretty complacent, but barring that natural expression of
villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.

I do not know how it came about exactly, but gradually we appeared to
melt down and run together, conversationally speaking, and then
everything went along as comfortably as clockwork.

We talked, and talked, and talked--at least I did; and we laughed, and
laughed, and laughed--at least he did.  But all the time I had my
presence of mind about me--I had my native shrewdness turned on "full
head," as the engineers say.  I was determined to find out all about his
business in spite of his obscure answers--and I was determined I would
have it out of him without his suspecting what I was at.  I meant to trap
him with a deep, deep ruse.  I would tell him all about my own business,
and he would naturally so warm to me during this seductive burst of
confidence that he would forget himself, and tell me all about his
affairs before he suspected what I was about.  I thought to myself, My
son, you little know what an old fox you are dealing with.  I said:

"Now you never would guess what I made lecturing this winter and last
spring?"

"No--don't believe I could, to save me.  Let me see--let me see.   About
two thousand dollars, maybe?  But no; no, sir, I know you couldn't have
made that much.   Say seventeen hundred, maybe?"

"Ha! ha!  I knew you couldn't.  My lecturing receipts for last spring and
this winter were fourteen thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars.  What
do you think of that?"

"Why, it is amazing-perfectly amazing.  I will make a note of it.  And
you say even this wasn't all?"

"All!  Why bless you, there was my income from the Daily Warwhoop for
four months--about--about--well, what should you say to about eight
thousand dollars, for instance?"

"Say!  Why, I should say I should like to see myself rolling in just such
another ocean of affluence.  Eight thousand!  I'll make a note of it.
Why man!--and on top of all this am I to understand that you had still
more income?"

"Ha! ha! ha!  Why, you're only in the suburbs of it, so to speak.
There's my book, The Innocents Abroad price $3.50 to $5, according to the
binding.  Listen to me.  Look me in the eye.  During the last four months
and a half, saying nothing of sales before that, but just simply during
the four months and a half, we've sold ninety-five thousand copies of
that book.  Ninety-five thousand!  Think of it.  Average four dollars a
copy, say.  It's nearly four hundred thousand dollars, my son.  I get
half."

"The suffering Moses!  I'll set that down.  Fourteen-seven-fifty
--eight--two hundred.  Total, say--well, upon my word, the grand total is
about two hundred and thirteen or fourteen thousand dollars!  Is that
possible?"

"Possible!  If there's any mistake it's the other way.  Two hundred and
fourteen thousand, cash, is my income for this year if I know how to
cipher."

Then the gentleman got up to go.  It came over me most uncomfortably that
maybe I had made my revelations for nothing, besides being flattered into
stretching them considerably by the stranger's astonished exclamations.
But no; at the last moment the gentleman handed me a large envelope, and
said it contained his advertisement; and that I would find out all about
his business in it; and that he would be happy to have my custom-would,
in fact, be proud to have the custom of a man of such prodigious income;
and that he used to think there were several wealthy men in the city, but
when they came to trade with him he discovered that they barely had
enough to live on; and that, in truth, it had been such a weary, weary
age since he had seen a rich man face to face, and talked to him, and
touched him with his hands, that he could hardly refrain from embracing
me--in fact, would esteem it a great favor if I would let him embrace me.

This so pleased me that I did not try to resist, but allowed this
simple-hearted stranger to throw his arms about me and weep a few
tranquilizing tears down the back of my neck.  Then he went his way.

As soon as he was gone I opened his advertisement.  I studied it
attentively for four minutes.  I then called up the cook, and said:

"Hold me while I faint!  Let Marie turn the griddle-cakes."

By and by, when I came to, I sent down to the rum-mill on the corner and
hired an artist by the week to sit up nights and curse that stranger, and
give me a lift occasionally in the daytime when I came to a hard place.

Ah, what a miscreant he was!  His "advertisement"  was nothing in the
world but a wicked tax-return--a string of impertinent questions about
my private affairs, occupying the best part of four fools-cap pages of
fine print-questions, I may remark, gotten up with such marvelous
ingenuity that the oldest man in the world couldn't understand what the
most of them were driving at--questions, too, that were calculated to
make a man report about four times his actual income to keep from
swearing to a falsehood.  I looked for a loophole, but there did not
appear to be any.  Inquiry No. 1 covered my case as generously and as
amply as an umbrella could cover an ant-hill:

     What were your profits, during the past year, from any trade,
     business, or vocation, wherever carried on?

And that inquiry was backed up by thirteen others of an equally searching
nature, the most modest of which required information as to whether I had
committed any burglary or highway robbery, or, by any arson or other
secret source of emolument had acquired property which was not enumerated
in my statement of income as set opposite to inquiry No. 1.

It was plain that that stranger had enabled me to make a goose of myself.
It was very, very plain; and so I went out and hired another artist.
By working on my vanity, the stranger had seduced me into declaring an
income of two hundred and fourteen thousand dollars.  By law, one
thousand dollars of this was exempt from income tax--the only relief I
could see, and it was only a drop in the ocean.  At the legal five per
cent., I must pay to the government the sum of ten thousand six hundred
and fifty dollars, income tax!

[I may remark, in this place, that I did not do it.]

I am acquainted with a very opulent man, whose house is a palace, whose
table is regal, whose outlays are enormous, yet a man who has no income,
as I have often noticed by the revenue returns; and to him I went for
advice in my distress.  He took my dreadful exhibition of receipts, he
put on his glasses, he took his pen, and presto!--I was a pauper!  It was
the neatest thing that ever was.  He did it simply by deftly manipulating
the bill of "DEDUCTIONS."  He set down my "State, national, and municipal
taxes" at so much; my "losses by shipwreck; fire, etc.," at so much; my
"losses on sales of real estate"--on "live stock sold"--on "payments for
rent of homestead"--on "repairs, improvements, interest"--on "previously
taxed salary as an officer of the United States army, navy, revenue
service," and other things.  He got astonishing "deductions" out of each
and every one of these matters--each and every one of them.  And when he
was done he handed me the paper, and I saw at a glance that during the
year my income, in the way of profits, had been one thousand two hundred
and fifty dollars and forty cents.

"Now," said he, "the thousand dollars is exempt by law.  What you want to
do is to go and swear this document in and pay tax on the two hundred and
fifty dollars."

[While he was making this speech his little boy Willie lifted a
two-dollar greenback out of his vest pocket and vanished with it, and I
would wager; anything that if my stranger were to call on that little boy
to-morrow he would make a false return of his income.]

"Do you," said I, "do you always work up the 'deductions' after this
fashion in your own case, sir?"

"Well, I should say so!  If it weren't for those eleven saving clauses
under the head of 'Deductions' I should be beggared every year to support
this hateful and wicked, this extortionate and tyrannical government."

This gentleman stands away up among the very best of the solid men of the
city--the men of moral weight, of commercial integrity, of unimpeachable,
social spotlessness--and so I bowed to his example.  I went down to the
revenue office, and under the accusing eyes of my old visitor I stood up
and swore to lie after lie, fraud after fraud, villainy after villainy,
till my soul was coated inches and inches thick with perjury, and my
self-respect gone for ever and ever.

But what of it?  It is nothing more than thousands of the richest and
proudest, and most respected, honored, and courted men in America do
every year.  And so I don't care.  I am not ashamed.  I shall simply,
for the present, talk little and eschew fire-proof gloves, lest I fall
into certain dreadful habits irrevocably.





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