People You Know/Part 4
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People You Know, by George Ade (Part 4) — Illustrated by John T. McCutcheon and Others
New York, R. H. Russell, 1903 — Copyright 1902, 1903 by Robert Howard Russell — First Impression, April 1903
- 1 The Patient Toiler Who Got It in the Usual Place
- 2 The Summer Vacation That Was Too Good to Last
- 3 How an Humble Beginner Moved from one Pinnacle to Another and Played the Entire Circuit
- 4 The Maneuvers of Joel and the Disappointed Orphan Asylum
- 5 Two Young People, Two Photographers and the Corresponding School of Wooing
- 6 The Married Couple That Went to Housekeeping and Began to Find Out Things
- 7 The Samaritan Who Got Paralysis of the Helping Hand
- 8 The Effort to Convert the Work Horse Into a High-Stepper
- 9 The Self-Made Hezekiah and His Message of Hope to This Year's Crop of Graduates
- 10 The Girl Who Took Notes and Got Wise and Then Fell Down
- 11 What They Had Laid Out for Their Vacation
- 12 The Experimental Couple and the Three Off-Shoots
The Patient Toiler Who Got It in the Usual Place
Once there was an Office Employee with a Copy-Book Education.
He believed it was his Duty to learn to Labor and to Wait.
He read Pamphlets and Magazine Articles on Success and how to make it a Cinch. He knew that if he made no Changes and never beefed for more Salary, but just buckled down and put in Extra Time and pulled for the House, he would Arrive in time.
The Faithful Worker wanted to be Department Manager. The Hours were short and the Salary large and the Work easy.
He plugged on for many Moons, keeping his Eye on that Roll-Top Desk, for the Manager was getting into the Has-Been Division and he knew there would be a Vacancy.
At last the House gave the old Manager the Privilege of retiring and living on whatever he had saved.
"Ah, this is where Humble Merit gets its Reward," said the Patient Toiler. "I can see myself counting Money."
That very Day the Main Gazooks led into the Office one of the handsomest Tennis Players that ever worked on Long Island and introduced him all around as the new Department Manager.
"I shall expect you to tell Archibald all about the Business," said the Main Gazooks to the Patient Toiler. "You see he has just graduated from Yale and he doesn't know a dum Thing about Managing anything except a Cat-Boat, but his Father is one of our principal Stock-Holders and he is engaged to a Young Woman whose Uncle is at the head of the Trust."
"I had been hoping to get this Job for myself," said the Faithful Worker, faintly.
"You are so valuable as a Subordinate and have shown such an Aptitude for Detail Work that it would be a Shame to waste you on a $5,000 Job," said the Main Gazooks. "Besides you are not Equipped. You have not been to Yale. Your Father is not a Stock-Holder. You are not engaged to a Trust. Get back to your High Stool and whatever Archibald wants to know, you tell him."
MORAL: One who wishes to be a Figure-Head should not Overtrain.
The Summer Vacation That Was Too Good to Last
Once there was a Wife who gave the Money-Getter a Vacation by going into the Country for a Month. Dearie took her to the Train, and all the way she kept saying that it did not seem just Right to romp away on a Pleasure Trip and leave him Shell-Roaded.
He began to fear that she would Weaken, so he told her that while he was slaving and humping in the City, it would give him sufficient Joy to know that Darling was out in the Woods, listening to the Birds. He insisted that she should stay until she was thoroughly Rested. Of course, he did not dare to make it too Strong. He played the Self-Sacrifice Gag and threw in a Dash of Marital Solicitude, and made an awful Try at imitating one who has been soaked by a Great Sorrow. As the Missus looked at him through her Tears and held his Salary-Hook in hers, little did she suspect that he had framed up a Poker Festival for that Night and already the Wet Goods were spread out on the Ice.
He had told her that he was going to sit up in the Library every Evening and read Macaulay's History of England. By opening the Windows on both sides he could get a nice Breeze from the West. Along about 10 o'clock, if he got Sleepy, he could turn in. Why not?
It was a lovely Time-Table that he had mapped out. He submitted it to Pet before she went away and she put her O.K. on it, even though her Heart ached for him. Breakfast at the strange Boarding-House. A day of Toil interrupted by a small Bunch of Food at the Dairy Lunch.
Then back to the unfamiliar Faces at the Boarding-House.
Then sitting alone in the Gloaming, thinking of the Absent One.
Then an Hour or two in the Library with the jovial Macaulay.
Then to Bed in the lonesome House and Dreams of Sweetie.
He gave her a Schedule which she could consult at any time, Day or Night, and thereby find out what he was doing at that Moment. It was just as convenient as sending a Marconi every Hour or so.
He held himself down until the Train had flirted around the Curve, for he knew that she was watching him from the Observation Car. Then he threw his Hat in the Air and began to do Flip-Flops.
"O, I suppose this is Miserable," he said. "I can see a very poor Month ahead of me--yes--not. Me wearing all my Bells and taking a Hurdle every Furlong."
He rushed in to the Telegraph Office and sent a Wire to her, so that it would catch her at the first Station up the Road. It said not to worry and to take a Good Rest and everything was moving along about the same as usual. With Love and Kisses.
After which he went over to the Brewery to see if they would make a Reduction on Wholesale Orders.
Hubby went up street with his Straw dipped down in Front, the same as the College Rakes wear them, and his Coat was thrown wide open to show the dizzy Pleats. His Cuban Blood was all het up and he told himself that he was 19 years old and never had a Home.
Oh, but he was Nifty. He was out of the Corral and into the Red Clover and nix any Halter and Box Stall for him. At least not for a Month.
It happened that he had the usual number of disreputable Friends. They were All Right, but he did not dare to have them up to the House, because Angel-Face had investigated them and returned True Bills. They were a little too Gamey for Presbyterian Circles, but they fitted right in at any Function where every man takes off his Coat.
Husband began to use the Telephone, and in the course of an Hour he had organized a Pirate Crew that would go as far as you like at any Game from Pitch-and-Toss to Manslaughter.
For when a decent Married Man does start out to find something different from the calm Joys of connubing in a Side Street, he is the Village Limit.
Husband had the whole Shop to himself. He employed a Senegambian who was a good two-handed Worker with the Corkscrew. Then he had $40 worth of Dutch Lunch sent in from the Rathskeller and arranged the Stacks of Reds, Whites, and Blues. He told himself that the only True Enjoyment was found in Bachelor's Hall.
His Hickey Acquaintances came in, showing more or less Stage Fright, as they were not accustomed to seeing Rugs and Tidies. They told him that he had a Swell Joint. After they had been to the Tea a couple of times they began to peel and one of them started some rowdy Work on the Piano. Another backed into a $30 Statuette and put it out of Business and then offered to pay for it, but the Host said it cost only 98 cents at a Bargain Sale.
At 10 P.M. the Wife, who was in Upper Seven, referred to her Time-Table and saw Papa sitting by the Student's Lamp, reading Macaulay. She had no way of knowing that Papa had just been strung for a Month's Rent in a Progressive Jack Pot.
In the Morning when Papa arose and looked at the cold Welsh Rabbits and saw the Cigar Ashes all over the Place and when he had a Taste as if he were taking care of a Lap-Robe, the glad Bohemian Existence did not look as Good to him as it had when lighted up the Night before. Especially as he had got the Zoop for some 80 Buckerines.
Still, there is no one case of Remorse that is going to head off a Man who wants to be rejuvenated. He pulled himself together on the Second Day and resumed the Merry Clip and there was nothing doing in the Macaulay Line. Home did not get him until the Lights had winked out in the other Places. He would not leave the Stag Club or the German Garden, until they began putting the Chairs on the Tables.
For the first two Weeks it was immense. In time, however, it struck him that there was a certain Monotony in spending one's Money on the Night Owls and showing up with the Milkman. The Poker Players were into him and he began to suspect that he needed a Guardian.
Like every other Man who sends his Wife to a Summer Place, he ended his Hurrah by making a few Resolutions and begging her to come Home.
And she will always believe that he did the Macaulay Act every Evening while she was away. Which is just as well.
MORAL: In order to put a true Value on Civilization, one should pace a few Heats with the Indians now and then.
How an Humble Beginner Moved from one Pinnacle to Another and Played the Entire Circuit
A team of Proud Parents had a son named James Henry Guff. On the Day of his Birth the Wind changed and blew in another Direction, Apples fell off the Trees, Chickens went to Roost at Mid-Day. All Nature seemed to have been given a Jolt by the Portentous Event. For James Henry Guff was born to know all the Brands of Human Greatness. Destiny had put a Green Tag on him and nothing could stop him.
When he was only 18 years of age, he was elected Captain of a Volunteer Fire Department, which was a valuable Organization, only when there was a Fire no one could find the Key to the House in which they kept the Hand-Pump. But the Papers began to speak of him as Captain Guff. His Intimates called him Cap. After the Hose Company disbanded, his Title clung to him and it was generally believed that he had been with Grant at Appomattox.
Not satisfied with a resounding Title, for which those in the Regular Army have to struggle for Years, Captain Guff began to give Lessons on the Flute at 50 cents an Hour, and the first thing he knew he was a real Professor, just the same as if he had gone up in a Balloon or had some trained Horses. Now over at Harvard, where they grow the English Accent, a Student must grind through a long Course, and a Fellowship and an Instructorship before he blossoms into a simon-pure Professor. Which only goes to show that the Real Boy can gain by one stroke of Genius the Renown for which the ordinary Skates must go forth and Rustle.
James Henry Guff at the age of 30 was both a Captain and a Professor, but his insatiable Ambition spurred him to go out and gather other Laurels. So he ran for Justice of the Peace, and was elected the third time he ran, because the other Candidate pulled out. As Magistrate he became custodian of a Law-Book, a Checker-Board, and a stack of Blank Affidavits. Once every three Months or so somebody would levy on a Cow or threaten to Assault, and then the Judge would get a chance to operate his Graft. But he didn't care so much about the Income, so long as he could be addressed as Judge. He allowed his Hair to grow into a long, graceful Cow-Lick that kept falling into his Eyes, and he looked at the Sidewalk meditatively as he went over to the Grocery to get his Fine-Cut. Sometimes, when he was far enough from Home, those who met him and heard him called Judge thought that he was on the Supreme Bench.
In the course of Time he began to crave a Political Job, so he began to stump around in the Interests of the Machine. He drove out to District School-Houses with the American Eagle seated on the Dash-Board of his Buggy, and when he got on the Platform he waved Old Glory until both Arms gave out. All of which went to prove that the Machine should be kept in Power. After he had been spellbinding for a couple of Seasons a Job Printer conferred upon him the Title of Honorable. Every time there was a Jim-Crow Speaking, then the Hon. James Henry Guff showed up with his Voice in a Shawl-Strap and also a fine Assortment of Platitudes. When the Congressman wrote to him and asked him to get the Swazey County Delegates into Line, he always addressed his letter to the Hon. James Henry Guff and in the Course of Time Guff began to believe.
But a prouder Distinction awaited him. In view of the fact that he had plugged for the Regular Organization and delivered the Goods at the State Convention, he was made a Colonel on the Governor's Staff. It is the Duty of a Colonel on the Governor's Staff to ride in a Pullman Car and take a Ball every time he is touched on the Back. Colonel Guff was a Dream when he got into his $275 Uniform with the Gold Braid rigged all over the Front. He wore a Chapeau similar to the one worn by Napoleon at Austerlitz, but he had on top of it seven Tail-Feathers of the Loo-Loo Bird, which rather laid over anything that Napoleon ever wore. And when Colonel James Henry Guff in his magnificent Regalia and smoking a ten-cent Cigar, leaned back in an Open Carriage drawn by White Horses and allowed the People to gaze at him, the Grandeur of the Spectacle made one forget the real Horrors of War.
Many of the ardent Admirers of Prof. Guff, and Capt. Guff, and Judge Guff, and Col. Guff believed that he had climbed to the Summit of Greatness when he appeared in his $42 Plume. Not so. One Year the State Militia was to have an Encampment and the Governor gave Col. James Henry Guff the Job of buying all the Beans, Fresh Beef, and other Supplies, because there promised to be a slight rake-off. Officially he was known as the Commissary-General.
Thus it came about that after Years of Endeavor, James Henry Guff, who left the Post a poor and unknown Boy, went under the Wire a real General.
When his Daughters went away to Boarding School and were introduced as the Offspring of Gen. James H. Guff they assumed a Social Leadership. Gen. Guff led the Grand March at a great many Military Balls. At a Banquet costing $8 per Plate he sat at the Right of the Chairman wearing Medals which had been presented to him by the 4th Ward Marching Club. In his Address he always defended the Soldier against unwarranted Attacks and protested against hauling down the Flag at any Time or Place.
If the Government adopted a new Machine Gun, all the Reporters went over and interviewed Gen. James Henry Guff about it. He wrote a Magazine Article on the Mistakes of the British in South Africa and likewise got rid of a few ponderous Opinions on our Policy in the Philippines.
When he died, the Funeral Procession was two miles long. The Family had to erect two Marble Shafts so as to find Room for all of his Titles.
MORAL: True Democracy scorns a Title unless it has a real Significance, with the Reverse English.
The Maneuvers of Joel and the Disappointed Orphan Asylum
An old Residenter, who owned a Section of Improved Land, and some Town Property besides, was getting too Feeble to go out and roast the Hired Hands, so he turned the Job over to his Son. This Son was named Joel. He was foolish, the same as a Fox. Any one who got ahead of Joel had to leave a 4:30 Call and start on a Lope. When it came to Skin Games he was the original High-Binder.
Joel took the Old Gentleman aside one Day and said to him: "Father, you are not long for this World, and to save Lawyer Fees and avoid a tie-up in the Probate Court, I think you ought to cut up your Estate your own self, and then you will know it is done Right."
"How had I better divide it?" asked the Old Gentleman.
"You can put the whole Shooting-Match in my Name," suggested Joel. "That will save a lot of Writing. Then if any other Relatives need anything, they can come to me and try to Borrow it."
Joel sent for a cut-rate Shyster, who brought a bundle of Papers tied with Green Braid, and assured the Old Gentleman that the Proceeding was a Mere Formality. When a Legal Wolf wants to work the Do-Do on a Soft Thing, he always springs that Gag about a Mere Formality.
Joel and the Shell-Worker moved the Old Gentleman up to a Table in the Front Room and put a Cushion under him and slipped a Pen into his Hand and showed him where to Sign.
After he got through filling the Blank Spaces with his John Hancock, he didn't have a Window to hoist or a Fence to lean on. He was simply sponging on Joel.
This went on for about a Month, and then Joel began to Fret.
"I don't think I am getting a Square Deal," said Joel. "Here is an Ancient Party without any Assets, who lives with me Week in and Week out and doesn't pay any Board. He is getting too Old and Wabbly to do Odd Jobs around the Place, and it looks to me like an awful Imposition."
So he went to the Old Gentleman and said: "Father, I know the Children must annoy you a good deal; they make so much Noise when they play House. Sometimes we want to use the Piano after it is your Bed-Time, and of course that breaks your Rest, so I have been thinking that you would be a lot better off in some Institution where they make a Specialty of looking after Has-Beens. I have discovered a nice, quiet Place. You, will live in a large Brick Building, with a lovely Cupola on top. There is a very pretty Lawn, with Flower-Beds, and also an ornamental Iron Fence, so that the Dogs cannot break in and bite you. You will be given a nice Suit of Clothes, the same as all the others are wearing, and if you oversleep yourself in the Morning, a Man will come around and call you."
"In other Words, me to the Poor-House," said the Old Residenter.
"You need not call it that, unless you want to," said Joel. "If you choose, you may speak of it as the Home for Aged Persons who got Foolish with their Fountain Pens."
So Joel put his Father into the Spring Wagon and hauled him over the Hills to the Charity Pavilion, where all the Old Gentleman had to do was to sit around in the Sun looking at the Pictures in last year's Illustrated Papers and telling what a Chump he had been.
But sometimes a Man is not all in, simply because he looks to be wrinkled and doddering. Joel's Father had a Few Thinks coming to him. Although he had been double-crossed and put through the Ropes, he still had a Punch left. He sent for a Lawyer who was even more Crafty than the one employed by Joel and he said to him: "There is a Loop-Hole in every Written Instrument, if one only knows how to find it. I want you to set aside that fool Deed."
Next day the Lawyer came for him in a double-seated Carriage and said, "They forgot to put on a Revenue Stamp and so the Transfer is off."
"And do I get all of my Property back again?" asked the Old Residenter.
"You get half and I get half," was the Reply of the Lawyer.
"Give me mine," said the Old Residenter. "I'm from Wisconsin and I want it in the Hand. Whatever I own from this time on, I carry right in my Clothes, and any Relative who separates me from it will have to set his Request to Music." Then he went to a Physician.
"Doc," he says, "they are counting nine on me, but I figure that before I cash in, I have time to spend all that I have. Look me over and tell me how long I would last on a Waldorf diet. I want to gauge my Expenses so as to leave nothing behind for Joel except a Ha-Ha Message and a few Heirlooms."
"If you want to euchre your Family, why don't you leave it to an Orphan Asylum?" suggested the Lawyer.
"Nix the Orphan Asylum," said the Old Residenter. "They would bring a million witnesses to prove that I had been out of my Head for 20 years, and I wouldn't be there to contradict them. I learn that by a singular Coincidence, all the Old People who leave their Money to Hospitals and the like are Mentally Irresponsible. In order to prove that I am in my right Senses, I will Blow mine."
So he went to Palm Beach and other Winter Resorts, at which they charge by the Minute, and wherever he went he gave a faithful Imitation of the Cowboy's first Night in Town.
He bought himself a hot Raglan with a Surcingle around it, and a very doggy line of Cravats, and when he went into the Dining-Room he picked out a Table which commanded a View of the Door at which the Girls came in.
All this time Joel was worried. It seemed a Sin and a Shame for an Old Man to go around spending his own Money.
The Residenter had so much Fun during his Second Time on Earth that he decided to make it a sure-enough Renaissance, so he married a Type-Writer 19 years old, that he met in a Hotel Lobby, and then Joel did go up in the Air.
When she began to pick out Snake Rings, and Diamond Wish-Bones, the Old Gentleman saw that there was no longer any Hope for Joel.
MORAL: When buncoing a Relative always be sure that the Knock-Out Drops are Regulation Strength.
Two Young People, Two Photographers and the Corresponding School of Wooing
Once there was a lovely Two-Stepper who went to a Swell Hop and there met a Corkerina who had come to visit a School Friend.
He gavotted a few Lines with the Lily. They found it very easy to catch Step together and he did an expert Job of Piloting during the Waltz so as not to get her mussed up, and the consequence was that he made a Grand Impression.
Whenever a Debutter goes away to visit a School Friend, she always meets some Local Adonis who looks to her to be about 60 per cent. better than the stock of Johnnies in her own Burg. And after a Nice Girl has had a long and prosperous Run on the Home Circuit and then begins to curl up on the Edges and show signs of Frost, she will find it a very wise Shift to try new Territory and the Chances are that she will make a Ten-Strike.
To prove that this is no Idle Jest, it can be demonstrated that the marrying Girl usually goes on the Road a while before she closes a Contract.
The Two-Stepper could not forget the Girl from Another Town. She pulled out next Day but he looked up the Address and sent her the Dance Programme that he had found in his Overcoat Pocket. She wrote back that it was Awfully Sweet of him to remember poor little Me and then she asked one or two Questions. That gave him a Hunch, so he bought a new kind of Writing Paper, said to be the Latest Agony, and he wrote a nice Long Letter in which he told her that she was very easy to look at, and that when it came to picking them up and setting them down in the Slow and Dreamy, she made all the other Girls of his Acquaintance look like a Set of Cripples.
She returned the Serve with one of these chummy Epistles, written on all sides of the Paper, with the P.S. crawling up one Margin like a Pea-Vine. She chucked in a few mushy Extracts from the Oatmeal School of Thought and asked him the Name of his Favorite Poet.
Her Pace was a trifle Swift for Harry J., who had derived his Education from the Sporting Section of the Daily Papers, but he bought a Lover's Guide and a Dictionary and decided to stay in.
The size of it was that little Harry had been Harpooned all the way through. He was the original Sweetheart à la Brochette. He carried with him, Night and Day, a Vision of Her in the $200 Rig that she had flashed on the Night of the Party. It never occurred to him that she could wear any other Costume. He would close his Eyes and try to hear once again the dulcet and mellifluous Tones of that Voice which, to him, sounded as Good as an Æolian Harp moved by gentle Zephyrs within a Bower of Orchids costing $7 each.
So they exchanged Photos.
Next to the Miniature painted on Ivory, the Modern Photo is the prize Bunk of the Universe.
A successful Photographer, who has learned the Tricks and made a slight Study of Human Nature, can take a Grass Widow of 48, who is troubled with Wild Hairs and other Excess Ornaments, and by tampering with the Negative, he can make her out to look something like Ethel Barrymore. Then she can send the Picture to her Relations who live a long way off and they will never know the Difference.
The Girl sent Harry a High Art Panel of herself, in which she was looking at something in a Tree, and when he gazed at it, he had a Palpitation and said, "This is better than I thought it was."
He told himself that it would be a Pleasure and a Privilege to walk up to something like that the 1st of every Month and hand it the Envelope.
He got a clean Shave and put on his Other Clothes and went and had himself Taken by an Artist who charged $8 a Dozen--$4 for the Pictures and $4 to square his Conscience.
This Specialist could take any Set of Misfit Features and rearrange them into a Work of Art. He put Harry in front of the Bull's-Eye and scrooged him around so as to blanket the White Wings as much as possible and then he told him to think of Money and look Pleasant.
When the Pictures were delivered, Harry realized for the first time that he was a Beautiful Creature. He sent one to the Girl and wrote that it was a bum Likeness and did not do him Justice, and so on.
In acknowledging Receipt, she cut out the "Dear Mister" and came right at him with "Dear Friend," which gave him such a Stroke of Joy that he did very little Work that Day.
Harry did not have Gumption enough to evolve any deep System for landing a Tid-Bit, but he had accidentally hit upon the Cinch Method.
So long as Courtship consists of sending idealized Cabinets and exchanging Nice Long Letters, there is but little chance of making Miscues. He never drops in of an Afternoon to find her in a Blue Wrapper and drying her Hair and she never catches him smelling of Cigarettes.
When it comes down to close Work in a Parlor, there is always the Risk of having Herbert Buttinsky on hand to make his Party Call. He who tells his Love by U.S. Mail never hears anything about the Third Party. He lives in the sweet Delusion that he has bought up the whole House.
Harry's Letters to the Girl and the Girl's Letters to Harry became more and more on that Order, until at last they began to burn holes in the Mail Bags.
After comparing her Picture with all the Parlor Favorites that he met on his Social Rounds, he realized that she outclassed all other Representatives of her sex.
In her cosy Flat, far away, she had him propped up on the Piano in a Silver-Gilt Frame and featured to beat the Cars. Any one who dropped in to see her was made to understand that he was merely an Understudy, who was being used as a Time-Killer.
She used to write to Harry and tell him about her Callers and what Chumps they were, and then let him draw his own Conclusions as to who was the real white-haired Papa.
Finally Harry took an Overdose of Nerve Food and asked her right out, would she? The answer came back by Wire and the same Day he sent a sealed Express Package containing the Ring.
After which they began to lay Plans to have a Wedding and become better acquainted.
To be continued in our Next.
MORAL: Absence makes the Heart grow foolish.
The Married Couple That Went to Housekeeping and Began to Find Out Things
Once there was a Happy Pair, each of whom got stuck on the Photograph of the other and thereupon a Marriage was arranged by Mail.
Shortly after taking the Life Risk, they started in to get acquainted. Up to the time that they moved into the Arcadian Flats and began to take Orders from the Janitor, he never had seen little Sunshine except in her Evening Frock.
He had a sort of sneaking Suspicion that she arose every Morning already attired in a Paris Gown and all the Diamonds.
And she supposed that he went to the Office every Day in his regular John Drew effect with the Folding Hat.
After she began to see Hubby around the Flat in his Other Clothes the Horrible Truth dawned upon her that he was not such a Hot Swell as he had looked to be in the Bunko Photograph.
Sometimes, on Rainy Sundays, he would cut out the Morning Service and decide not to Shave, and then when she got a good long Look at him, she would begin to doubt her own Judgment.
And so far as that is concerned, there were Mornings, after they had been out Late to a Welsh Rabbit Party, when she was a little Lumpy, if any one should ask.
Love's Young Dream was handed several goshawful Whacks about the Time that they started in to get a Line on each other.
For instance, the first Morning at Breakfast it came out that her Idea of a Dainty Snack with which to usher in the Day was a Lettuce Sandwich, a Couple of Olives and a Child's Cup full of Cocoa, while he wanted $35 worth of Ham and Eggs, a stack of Griddle Cakes and a Tureen of Coffee.
She was a case of Ambrosia and Nectar and he was plain old Ham and Spinach.
It used to give her Hysterics to see him bark at an Ear of Green Corn, at the same time making a Sound like a Dredge.
For Dinner she liked a little Consommé en Tasse and then a Nice Salad, while he insisted on a Steak the size of a Door Mat and German Fried to come along.
They did not Mocha and Java at all on their Reading Matter. She liked Henry James and Walter Pater and he preferred Horse Papers and the Comic Supplement. Sometimes when she would wander off into the Realms of Poesy he would follow her as far as he could, and then sit down and wait for her to get through rambling and come back.
If they took in a Show she was always plugging for Mrs. Fiske or Duse, while he claimed that Rogers Brothers were better than Booth and Barrett had been in their Prime.
She could weep over a Tosti Serenade, and he would walk a Mile at any time to see a good Buck Dance.
When they got around to fixing up Invitation Lists, there was more or less Geeing and Hawing.
All of his Friends belonged to the Hitemup Division. Their only Conception of a Happy Evening was to put the Buck in the Centre of the Table, break a fresh Pack and go out for Blood.
Wifey found her most delirious Joy in putting passionate Shades on all the Lamps, and sitting there in the Crimson Glow to discuss Maeterlinck and Maarten Maartens and a few others that were New Ones on the he-end of the Sketch.
When they had an Evening At Home up in the Flat, it was usually a two-ring Affair. She would have the Cerebellums in the Front Room looking at the New Books and eating Peppermint Wafers, while he and the other Comanches would be out in the Dining-Room trying to make their House Rent and tossing off that which made Scotland famous. Sometimes it would take half the Night to get the Smoke out of the House.
Although she feared that she had turned up the wrong Street while searching for her Affinity, the Partnership Arrangement had to stand.
They came to the Conclusion that Married Life is a Series of Compromises. If he did well while sitting in with some of his Friends, he would divide up with her and she would take the Money and buy Art Pastels.
He would spot the Afternoons on which the Ethical Researchers were due at his Premises and he would go to a Dutch Restaurant.
She permitted him to have a Room and call it his Den, so that he and his Friends could do the Escape in case somebody in the Parlor started a Reading.
He put up the Coin to enable her to attend State Conventions, and when she was elected Recording Secretary of the Society for trying to find out what Browning was up to, he took her Picture around to all the Newspapers and told every one that he had a little Woman up at the House who was as Keen as a Hawk, as Swift as an Eagle, and Sharper than Chained Lightning.
He fumbled a great many of her In-Shoots, but that did not prevent him from admiring her Delivery.
Finally they arranged their separate Schedules so that they did not see much of each other and they began to get along all right. Occasionally they had a slight Difference, but they could always patch it up. For instance, she selected Aubrey De Courcey as a Name for the First Born, while he held out for Bill, so they had to compromise on Aubrey De Courcey.
Aubrey is now ten years of age. Mother is teaching him to Crochet and Father is showing him how to Draw without tipping off his Hand, while all the Friends are sitting around, waiting to see Aubrey's Finish.
MORAL: The Two of a Kind is not always the Strongest Combination.
The Samaritan Who Got Paralysis of the Helping Hand
Once there was a moving Target who was strong on the Brotherhood of Man. He ran a little Sunshine Factory all of his own. When it came to scattering Seeds of Kindness, the Farm Drill was a Poor Second.
Every time he started down Town he would have to zigzag so as to cover both sides of the Street and glad-hand all of his Acquaintances.
From time to time he joined Fraternal Organizations and took blistering Oaths that he would always love his Fellow-Man and stand for any Touch within Reason. Consequently a good many People found it cheaper to send for him than to hire a Professional Nurse. He would travel Miles in order to have the Pleasure of sitting up with a Corpse. And he was one of the handiest Pall-Bearers in the Business.
Any one who happened to be nursing a Hard-Luck Story would hunt up sympathetic Jasper and give him the Grip and then weep on his Shoulder. Usually he promised to do what he could to square Matters, even though he had to cut in where he wasn't wanted. In flying around, trying to reinstate No-Goods who had lost their Jobs and secure Salaried Positions for Nice Fellows who were willing to do anything except Work, he got many a Jolt, but he was not discouraged.
One of his regular Assignments was to arbitrate a Domestic Scrap, merely out of the Goodness of his Heart.
In this way he managed to re-unite quite a number of Couples who were afterward sorry that they had been reuned, and what they said about him would get the Blue Pencil if inserted at this Point.
When a kind-hearted Herring starts out to be a Relief Bureau and First Aid to the Injured and a portable Home for the Friendless, nobody tries to take the Job away from him. His Acquaintances do what they can to boost his Game.
Therefore when any one in that Community sought out a Busy Man of Affairs and began to unwrap his Tale of Woe and offer to exhibit his wounds, the B.M. of A. would say, "Here, I'll give you a Letter of Introduction to my old friend Jasper. He is a Samaritan from away back."
It came about that Jasper's Outer Office was frequently coagulated with a Choice Assortment of Pan-Handlers, and all the short-winded Brothers who want to hitch on to somebody's else Pull, as they say in Boston.
At times Jasper would become weary of having Folks come along and turn their Private Griefs over to him, but he did not want to become a Cynic and lose his Faith in Human Nature. He was frequently Stung, but still he could not resist any Appeal that was backed up by a few Weeps.
In the Course of Time he came into quite a Bundle of Money, and then all the Bread that he had cast on the Waters came back to him, a Bakery at a time. Those whom he had succored came around to Sucker him.
A Promoter whose Schemes he had guaranteed, because the Man's Children needed Shoes, now had a Chance to show his Gratitude. He let Jasper in on the Ground Floor of a Company organized to manufacture an Automobile that could be turned out of the Shop for $35 and would run 90 Miles on a pint of Gasoline.
Gentlemen who were getting along without Overcoats came in to see him about Mining Stock that was sure to touch Par by January 1st. The only Reason they came to him first, instead of tackling John W. Gates, was that he had always been a True Friend and they wanted to put him next to a Good Thing.
After one or two of these Gift Enterprises had been slipped to him, he began to back water and be a trifle Sore. Yet he found it very Hard to be discourteous to one who came in and did the Brother Act. Besides, the Bunk who has the Joint Note already made out and ready to be signed, usually has a Talk calculated to make a Heart of Stone mellow to the Consistency of a Baked Apple.
What really did more than any other one Thing to cure him of his Innate Goodness was an Experience with a Sweet Girl who was being courted by a Hound quite unworthy of her.
The unselfish Benefactor who tries to sidetrack Weddings that are sure to turn out unhappily is always a Candidate for the Hospital, with a Long Shot at the Morgue.
The Sweet Girl in Question was the daughter of an Old Friend, for whose Funeral Expenses he had been landed. She was a Confiding Thing, and did not know that the Bachelor who had started in to Rush her seven nights a Week was a Rounder and a Poker-Player and somewhat of a Lush.
Every one who knew the Sweet Girl said it was too Bad and that some one ought to go to her and warn her. After the Old Ladies and the Elders had talked the Matter over on the side, it was decided that Jasper was It. He was known to be kind and disinterested and was accustomed to dealing out Good Advice. Anything that he said would go a long Way to head off the Deal.
Accordingly he did a Fatherly Talk to the Daughter of his Old Friend, giving her a Straight Line on the Conduct of the High-Roller who was trying to warm up to her.
She thanked him right from the Bottom of her heart. Then she sent a Messenger Boy to hunt up the High-Roller, because she wanted to know if it was all True or merely a Cruel Slander.
When she sprung his Record on him he leaned right over against her and cried and said that no matter what he had been, she was the one to make him a Good Man. Then she stroked his Hair and begged Forgiveness and he asked her who had been Knocking and she gave the whole Snap away and begged him not to do anything Desperate. He said that whatever he did, he would do out of Love for her.
After which he went home to oil up his Pocket Hardware.
Next Morning the Man who wanted to help Everybody did a Flying Leap down the Back Stairway of his Office. Just as he ducked a Bullet and cut into the Alley back of the Post-Office, it occurred to him that the True Friend Gag had its Drawbacks.
He escaped with his Life, but there was always more or less Dark Talk of his being mixed up in a Woman Case.
He is now what is known in Obituary Notices as a Practical Philanthropist. That is, he refers all Hard-Luck Tales to a Society which was never known to give up. The Office Boy has Instructions to admit only those who are listed in Bradstreet. And, of course, he is never called in to smooth out Family Fights because of the Blot on his Character.
MORAL: TO be a successful Benefactor, wait and put the whole Lump Sum into Libraries.
The Effort to Convert the Work Horse Into a High-Stepper
Once there was a plain, unvarnished Yank who made his Pile in a Scrub Town situated midday between the Oats Belt and the Tall Timber. He was a large and sandy Mortal with a steel-trap Jaw and a cold glittering Eye. He made his first Stack a Dollar at a Time on straight Deals, but after a while he learned a few Things. He organized Stock Companies and then crawled out after hooking up with the Velvet. Every one called him Mister and treated him with Politeness, but, just the same, when he walked into an Office Building they all wondered what he had come after and there was more or less locking of Safes. It is only fair to remark, on the Side, that he wouldn't take anything which was securely spiked down, and the Grand Jury never bothered him, because he worked under a Contract.
The Financier was the high Centre Pole of a Bank and a Department Store and several Factories that gave Young People a Start in the World at something like $2.75 per Week.
He was accustomed to having all the Subordinates stand on one Foot and tremble whenever he showed up. In fact, he was a very hefty Proposition all through the Business District. But when he struck the Street leading to his House he began to reef his Sails and lower all of his Flags.
In his own Domicile he did not even play Second Fiddle. He simply trailed along at the fag end of the Parade and carried the Music. The Piercing Eye and the Peremptory Manner that caused all the Book-keepers to fall off from their High Perches and prostrate themselves had no visible effect on Laura and the Girls. Popsy was a High Guy at the Directors' Meeting, but a mighty cheap Soufflé at his own Fireside. Any time that his Plans did not coincide with those of the Feminine Bunch, they passed him a backhanded Veto that would cause him to lie quiet for Days at a time.
The Financier loved the boundless West, where the Sack Coat abounds and the Cuss-Word is a common Heritage. Domestic Cigars were good enough for him, and he figured that one good reliable Hired Girl who knew how to cook Steak was all the Help that was needed in any House. But Mother had seen Fifth Avenue in a Dream, and the Girls had attended a Boarding School at which nearly every one knew some one who was Prominent Socially. They had done a lot of Hard Work at the Piano and taken a side-hold on the French Language and it seemed to them that they were wasting their Time in loitering on the Outskirts of Civilization when they might be up at Headquarters cutting more or less of a Gash. All the Young Men in this Reub Town wore Derbies with their Evening Clothes and came to Dances with their White Gloves smelling of Gasoline, in addition to which they lacked Repose. If they had stopped to cultivate Repose, most of them would have landed in the Villa set aside for Paupers.
When Laura and the Girls first advocated pulling up Stakes and doing a tall Hike to the East, the Producer emitted a Roar that would have frightened any one except Laura and the Girls. They closed in on him from three Directions and beat down his Defence. When they got through with the living Meal Ticket he was as meek as an English Servant and ready to take orders from any one.
So the Caravansary moved away toward the Rising Sun. At Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, the Heavens opened and a Great Light struck down upon them, transforming all except the one who happened to carry the Letter of Credit. Laura and the Girls suddenly forgot that there was any Land west of Pittsburg, and they dropped their R's and got the Kangaroo Walk and began to order their Food in Foreign Languages. After that, all Father had to do was to follow along and look Pleasant and dig every few Minutes.
The Outfit stopped at the Waldorf three days so as to obtain a Residence, and after that they Registered as being from New York. Then they threw Papa on a Boat and took him to the Other Side, the Place where Americans are so Popular, if you don't care what you say. By paying off the Mortgage they obtained a Suite at a Hotel patronized by the Nobility and Gentry and supported by People from Iowa. After which they began to present Letters of Introduction and try to butt in. Laura and the Girls felt that if only they could eat a Meal once or twice in the gloomy Presence of those who had Handles to their Names, they would be ready to fall back and die Happy. They had some Trouble about getting into the Tall Game on account of their Money. In the States the general Run of People worship the Almighty Dollar, but in England they hate the Sight of it.
In spite of the Fact that they were sinfully Rich they succeeded in Elbowing their way into several Dinners at which it was necessary to put Ice into the Claret in order to keep it at the Temperature of the Room. The Financier, in his First Part Clothes with an Ice-Cream Weskit, was a Picture that no Artist could paint. His hair would not stay combed and he hardly ever knew what to do with his Hands.
Laura and the Girls could forget that they had once seen the Missouri River, but not so with Old Ready Money. Right at the Table, sitting opposite the Earl of Hammersmith or the Marquis of Stroke-on-Trent, while Laura and the Girls would be talking about their Country Place and trying to smother the American Accent, the Lobsterine would come in and tell about something that happened to him once when he was plowing Corn. Then Laura and the Girls would want to duck right under the Table and die of Mortification then and there.
The only Reason they put up with him was that he seemed to be useful when it came to signing Checks.
In England they met a great many Nice People. The Financier knew that they were Nice because they wore Dark Clothes and seldom Smiled.
Then the two shapely Daughters went and married a couple of shelf-worn Titles.
The Financier had the Novel Experience of putting up for a Brace of Sons-in-Law who would not speak to him when any one was around. Which served him right, for he had no Business to be in Trade. It was very careless of him not to have inherited his Stuff.
Still, it was a great Satisfaction to him to be a Blood Relative of two Howling Swells who had Pedigrees reaching back almost as far as their Debts.
Very often he would take them into a Back Room and turn them around and look them over and recognize the cold, undeniable Fact that they were cheap at any Price.
MORAL: Bunker Hill has been Avenged, over and over.
The Self-Made Hezekiah and His Message of Hope to This Year's Crop of Graduates
In Wayback Township, along in the Thirties, there arrived a 12-pounder. When he was three days old he was exhibited to a Bunch in the Front Room by an Old Lady who had made a Study of Colic. She was a Baby Expert who always broke in to do considerable heavy standing around and calling off when there was a lift in the Population.
While little Ipsy-Wipsy was being inspected, he opened one Eye and spotted a silver Half-Dollar that the Honorary Nurse wore as a Brooch. Immediately he closed in on it. They had to choke him to make him let go. In after Years it was remarked that this was the only time that he went after the Coin and failed to bring it home.
The Baby never had any Tantrums at Night because he had overheard them say that it cost $2 every time Doc was called in. He would lie quietly in his Crib for Hours at a time looking up at the Ceiling and computing Compound Interest on the $5 Gold Piece that had been put in the Bank, to be drawn out when he should be 21.
His Parents gave him a Biblical Name so so as to make him a strong Come-On for Investors who belong to the Pious Element. Hezekiah Hooper is what they christened him. They wanted a Name that would carry weight on a Letter-Head and reassure the Soft Mark who was about to sink his Funds in a Mining Venture with a Guarantee of 48 per cent. Dividends.
At the age of 4 Hezekiah sat down and figured that if he devoted his Life to Physical Toil, he might some day be the Owner of a six-room cottage fully protected by a Mortgage, whereas if he wore a White Shirt and kept busy with the Pencil, he might be Rich enough some day to land in the Senate. So he went out looking for Work to hand to other People, thus becoming what the Campaign Orator calls a Captain of Industry.
If a man wanted the Weeds pulled from his Garden, then Hez would take the Job for 25 cents. He would buy 5 cents worth of Stick Candy and place it judiciously, so that at Nightfall the other boys would have Blisters and the Stomach-Ache, while Hez would have 20 cents salted away in the Tin Bank.
When he was still a Young Man he made the Important Discovery that the honest Laborer who digs Post-Holes for 11 Hours at a Stretch gets $1.25 in the Currency of the Realm, while the Brain-Worker who leads out a Spavined Horse and puts in 20 Minutes at tall Bunko Work, can clean up $14.50 and then sit on the Porch all Afternoon, reading "The Lives of the Saints."
Also Hezekiah led up to the Altar a Hold-Over whose Eyes refused to work as a Duet and whose Figure had all of the graceful Ins and Outs of a Flag-Pole, but she owned half of the Land in the Township. Hezekiah said something about the Beauty that fadeth even as a Flower, and then he connected with her Property.
When grim-visaged War showed its awful Front, Hezekiah went down to the Court-House and hollered for the Union until he was black in the Face. He showed all the emotional Farm Hands where to sign their Names and promised to keep them supplied with Blue Overcoats, Beans, Navy Plug and Hard Tack until the whole Works had been saved. Every time there was a new Call for Men, he took a firmer hold on the Commissary Department and began to gouge the Government in a new Place.
The Heroes who came home full of Malaria and Lead were met at the Station by Hezekiah, who had grown a Chin Whisker and was sporting a White Vest. He gave each one a Card announcing that all of our country's Brave Defenders who had failed to become well fixed on $13 per, would get what Money they needed at 2 per cent. a Month, with Real Estate as Security.
By going through Bankruptcy, side-stepping the Assessor, working the Farmers for a Railroad Bonus, handling the Funds for denominational Colleges and putting the double Hammer-Lock on the Small Fry who had Notes falling due, Hezekiah accumulated a Wad that put him into the Millionaire's Division.
He and other old Gentlemen with pink Jowls and cold fishy Eyes would occasionally meet in some Directors' Room, finished in Mahogany. The Meeting would be opened with Prayer, after which they would discuss Ways and Means of putting the Inter-State Commerce Law to the Bad, squaring the Legislature without passing over any of the Stuff themselves and handing the Public the Short End of it.
Having arrived at this Proud Eminence, Hezekiah was ripe to spring some Advice to Young Men. Any Patriarch who has slipped the Tall Mitt to the entire Universe and dealt from both Ends of the Deck is the Real Boy when it comes to laying down Rules of Conduct for the Pale Youth who wants an $8 Job. So Hezekiah Hooper, the Eminent Financier, who never smoked a Cigar, never took a Drink and never asked anybody else to do either, was invited to address the Class of Naughty-Three at the Local Business College.
He sat on the Rostrum wearing Black Broadcloth, betokening Virtue, and in addition to his ancient Trade-Marks, the White Shirt and the White Vest, he had a White Bow Tie. As he sat there in conscious Rectitude, wondering if the Congressional Investigation would harm the Beef Trust, it could be seen at a Glance that he would never take anything that was too heavy to carry, unless he had a Dray.
The studious Young Gentlemen who had been preparing themselves to go out into the Great World and draw Car-Fare as Book-Keepers and Stenographers, looked up at Honest Hezekiah and said, "This is where he puts us next to the Recipe for Getting There."
At last the Honored Guest arose and told the Class that the Young Man who wishes to succeed must be Upright, Frugal, Industrious, and Patriotic. He considered it the Duty of every Young Man to accept whatever Compensation was offered him and be Content, for as soon as he began to earn more his Employer would come around and put it in his Pocket. Above all, he must love his Country and let Integrity be his Watchword and remember that a Good Name is better than Riches, even if other People don't think so. Then he sat down without batting an Eye and every member of the Class of '03 knew just how to go out and pile up a Million.
MORAL: What's more, they believe it themselves.
The Girl Who Took Notes and Got Wise and Then Fell Down
Once upon a Time there was a long-headed Girl who used to sit in her own Room on Rainy Afternoons and evolve Theories. Her principal Ambition in Life was to stand Ace High with all the Nice Men of her Set. She hoped in the course of Time to tease one away from the Drove and gallop him into the Branding Pen.
Now this Girl was so Foxy that at times she got in front of herself and blocked off her own Plays. Her scheme for getting all the Real Boys intoxified with Love for her was to engage them in Conversation and find out what kind of Girls they liked. Then her Play was to be that Kind. She had no Difficulty whatever in inducing her Men Friends to talk about the Opposite Sex. They were all keyed up on the Subject and full of Information. Just as a Feeler one Evening she asked an eligible Charley if he didn't think that the Woman of To-day was too Extravagant.
"That's just why so many of us shy at the Matrimonial Jump," he confided to her. "There was a time when the Man who got $75 per Month and had about $200 planted could take a Chance at the Game. But now that measly Allowance wouldn't keep a High Roller supplied with Violets. The up-to-date Maudine isn't happy unless she has a Gray-Squirrel Coat, an Auto Car, $11,000 worth of Twinklers and a fourteen-room Apartment. That's why these Society Shawl-Holders keep on making Love right and left but never come down to Cases."
This was a valuable Tip, so the crafty Maiden put it down in her little Note-Book that she who would make a Hit must convince the Men that her Tastes were simple and inexpensive. Another one gave her a learned Talk on the frivolity and Two-by-Fourness of the typical Seraphine.
"You cannot expect a Man to hand over his serious Affections to one of these Feather-Heads," he said, as he gazed thoughtfully at the Floor. "Woman should be Man's Intellectual Helpmeet. Now and then a Man may have a Passing Fancy for a Lizzie who talks Piffle and gets an Attack of the Giggles every few Seconds, but when it comes to the grand Hook-Up he wants one who is there with the Gray Matter--one who can play up to his loftiest Ambitions and supply his Home with that Atmosphere of Culture which is the true Ozone of Married Life."
So she put it down that it was her Cue to chop out the Twaddle and be a sort of Lady Emerson. Incidentally she resolved to cut out all kinds of Slang, for she got a very straight Line of Talk from an Amateur Philosopher who was in the Wholesale Grocery Business.
"If there's anything that gives me a quick, shooting Pain it is to hear some delicate Nectarine dealing out Slang," said Mr. Gentleman Friend. "Now in England, where I spent Two Weeks once, the Ladies never use Slang. They simply say that a Thing is either Perfectly Charming or Most Extraordinary and let it go at that. They may be Short on Vocabulary, but they are Long on Respectability. Besides, I was reading in a Magazine the other Day that Slang is Vulgar and that no one should take up with a Slang Word until Long Usage has given it the right to break into the Lexicon."
Also this Girl with the Absorbent Mind would clip out Hints to the Young, and Confidential Charts warning the Just-Outs against taking Presents from Strangers and putting them next to Rules of Conduct that would be sure to please and fascinate Proper Young Men. It seemed strange at Times that these Head Coaches who knew just how to jolly up any Man were not out spending some Millionaire's Money instead of writing Pieces for the Paper.
All the Articles on the Woman's Page and all the strait-laced Men that she met came down Hard on the Female who is trying to be a Real Bohemian. She learned from a dozen different Sources that Men have no earthly Use for the Zipper who tries to do a Mile in less than Two and kites around in a Hack without a Chaperon and carries her own Cigarettes.
And she heard nothing but Expressions of Horror concerning the Woman who Drinks. Her Male acquaintances often brought up the Painful Subject. They said it was all right for a Man to move up to a High Ball once in a While, and a Cocktail before Dinner didn't do any Harm until after the Seventh or Eighth. But it did look Tough to see Mere Children of about twenty-three Years of Age going after the Dry Manhattans.
After sounding the Men on the Liquor Question the long-headed Girl made a solemn Resolve that she would never hit up anything stronger than Cherry Sundae.
When she had her Note Book full of useful Directions she found a Chance to try out her System. She was invited to a Swell Dinner Party at which all the Nice Men in Town were to be rounded up. She put on a simple White Gown and wore a Rose in her Hair, and just before starting she locked all of her Slang words in the Escritoire, whatever that may be.
At the Dinner she sat next to a Bachelor who had Nothing But. She talked to him about the Panama Canal, just to show that she was no Piker. When he wanted her to take some of the Phizz Water she made an Awful Stand and seemed surprised that he should think that of her.
This did not prevent him from splashing in. By the time the Birds came along he had accumulated a very neat Brannigan, and was paying a lot of Attention to a wonderful Piece of Work sitting opposite. She wore a Red Costume that must have cost $7,000, and although she was very gabby and called the Men by their First Names and invited all who were not Quitters to stand by for a Bumper, she was making fair Headway. In fact, she seemed to have the Bunch with her.
The Wise Girl figured that they were tolerating her out of mere Politeness. Later on, in the Drawing Room, they continued to tolerate her the best they knew how. The Girl with the Book of Rules played a sad little Opus on the Piano, after which the Steeple-Chaser in Red leaped on top of the Instrument and tore out Coon Stuff with eight men turning the Music for her.
And these were the Eight who had told the Girl back in the Corner all about the Qualities in Woman that would help to attract Men. She went home thinking it over and the next time she started for a Dinner, she added a Dash of Red and a few Brilliants to the Costume and cut loose up to a reasonable Limit. She got along first-rate, even though she was doing a lot of Things that none of the Men approve, but somehow love to put up with.
MORAL: He can always pick out the Right Kind for the Other Fellow.
What They Had Laid Out for Their Vacation
A man who had three weeks of Vacation coming to him began to get busy with an Atlas about April 1st. He and his Wife figured that by keeping on the Jump they could do Niagara, Thousand Islands, Atlantic City, The Mammoth Cave and cover the Great Lakes.
On April 10th they decided to charter a House-Boat and float down the Mississippi.
On April 20th he heard of a Cheap Excursion to California with a stop-over Privilege at every Station and they began to read up on Salt Lake and Yellowstone.
On May 1st she flashed a Prospectus of a Northern Lake Resort where Boats and Minnows were free and Nature was ever smiling.
By May 10th he had drawn a Blue Pencil all over a Folder of the Adirondack Region, and all the Hotel Rates were set down in his Pocket Memorandum Book. en days later she vetoed the Mountain Trip because she had got next to a Nantucket Establishment where Family Board was $6 a Week, with the use of a Horse.
On June 1st a Friend showed him how, by making two Changes and hiring a Canoe, he could penetrate the Deep Woods, where the Foot of Man had never Trod and the Black Bass came to the Surface and begged to be taken out.
On June 15th he and Wifey packed up and did the annual Hike up to Uncle Foster's Place in Brown County, where they ate with the Hired Hand and had Greens three times a Day. There were no Screens on the Windows, but by climbing a Hill they could get a lovely View of the Pike that ran over to the County Seat.
MORAL: If Summer came in the Spring there would be a lot of Travel.
The Experimental Couple and the Three Off-Shoots
A man and Wife had three Sons. The first, named Abraham Lincoln Tibbetts, was born in 1862. His name was promptly abbreviated to Link.
The second, who arrived in 1872, was christened Ulysses Simpson Grant Tibbetts. This was too long, so people called him Chub.
The third was of the Vintage of 1882 and his name went into the Register as Chester A. Arthur Tibbetts, but, in the interest of Euphony he was dubbed Art, because Art is Long.
The Tibbetts Family lived in the City, and Link, the first-born, enjoyed all the Advantages of Life in an Apartment Building. He went to a Graded School and picked up so much Knowledge that at the age of 12 he could set his Parents down in front of him and tell them Things they did not know. At 14 he was so far along that he knew how to lie in Bed and have his Mother bring his Breakfast up to him. He went to Dancing School and learned to play all the "Pinafore" music on the Upright Agony Box. Sometimes he chided Mr. and Mrs. Tibbetts for not having as much Money as many of the People he met at Dancing Parties. He had about as much Application as a used-up Porous Plaster, and he worried more about his Complexion than he did about his Business Prospects.
Mr. Tibbetts gave him a Desk at the Office and called him Assistant Something. His Duties consisted of looking at the Clock and writing Notes to the Gazelles he had met the Night before. If he had been set out on the Pavement and told to Root for himself, it would have broken him of the habit of Eating.
Link was whatever they called a Lobster in 1880. Mr. Tibbetts realized that City Life had an enervating Effect on Boys and made them Superficial and Wise in their own Conceit.
Chub was 8 years old and had not yet succumbed to the Matinee Habit, so his Parents decided to ship him out to the Green Fields and keep him there until he had developed a Character. Mr. and Mrs. Tibbetts knew that all the Men of Sterling Worth, mentioned in Political Biographies, had been raised on the Farm. They figured that if Chub could be left in the Country to run with the Live Stock, he would grow up to be a Sturdy and self-reliant Character, with no hankering for Soda Water and the Military Schottische.
Therefore Chub was sent out to live with Uncle Jabez Quackenbush, an Agriculturalist who owned 480 Acres and was still wearing the Army Overcoat that the Government had given him when the War broke out. Chub slept on a Feather Tick up in a Room where they had the Seed Corn hung on the Rafters. Uncle Jabe would yank him out at 4.30 G.M. and keep him in the Field until the early Candle-Lighting, so that usually he had two Meals in the Dark. On Sunday he and the Hired Help would sit in the Hay-Mow and read Almanacs. In the Winter he attended a District School and learned to bound Patagonia, but he did not go to any demoralizing Shows nor learn to pick up flip Slang.
When he was 18, he seemed to be past the Danger Period, so Uncle Jabe took him to the Train and told the Conductor where to put him off. On the way back to the City he bought an oval Box of Figs from the Train Boy and lost his Hat out of the Window. When he arrived at Home and entered the House, it sounded like a Crowd coming in. His Mother took one Look and fell backward. There was a Neutral Zone between his Vest and Trousers. Also he had been raising Warts on himself.
For two Months after he arrived they kept him under Cover for fear the Neighbors would see him. He gave way at the Knees every time he stepped. If a member of the Opposite Sex spoke to him, he usually backed into something Breakable. At the Table he did a Sword-Swallowing Act and drank out of the Saucer.
"We made a mistake in leaving him so long in the Tall Grass," said Mr. Tibbetts. "But now that we have tried the two Extremes, we know just what to do with Art. We shall send him to a small Town, where he may associate with bright Youth of his own age and yet be away from the distracting and corrupting Influences of the Big City."
Accordingly Art was farmed out to a Cousin residing in a drowsy Corporation of about 1,500 Souls, figuratively speaking. He went to the Grammar School and what he didn't learn at School he learned in Back Alleys and Box Cars. However, his Parents were happy in the Knowledge that he was beyond the influence of the gaudy Play House, the gilded Buffet and the seductive Dancing Academy. He was out where nothing happened unless the Boys started it themselves. So they started it.
When he was twenty he was sent to the City, an extra fine Specimen of what the Small Town can produce. He had his Hair combed down into his Eyes. He wore a punky little Derby, about two sizes too small. The turn-down Collar was four inches high, and he wore a navy-blue Cravat with a copper Butterfly for a Scarf-Pin. Furthermore, he had a Suit of Clothes that was intended for a gentle Brakeman. On his Lapel he had a Button Photograph of the Girl who worked in the Millinery Store.
"Are you made up for a Masquerade or is this the regular Costume?" asked his Father.
"'Go 'Way Back and Set Down,'" replied Art, for he knew his Village Repartee and was on to all of last year's Gags.
"What do you propose to do for yourself?" asked Mr. Tibbetts.
"I want to travel with a Circus or Minstrel Troupe and I don't much care which," replied Art.
As the Boy appeared to be somewhat Lumpy about the Pockets, his Father threw him down and searched him, finding on his Person, a $2 Revolver, a Package of Cigaroots, a 1-lb. Plug of Tobacco, a Deck of Playing Cards, a Copy of "Old Sleuth" and a Pair of Brass Knucks. "I have underrated the Educational Facilities of the Jay Town," said Mr. Tibbetts. "Link is door-keeper in a Dime Museum and Chub is putting in Coal for an old and well-known Firm, but I can see that you are going to outshine your Brothers. You are going to develop into a first-class Burglar."
MORAL: Keep him in a Barrel.
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).|