by Bill Nye
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Minnehaha is a beautiful waterfall. It is not so frightfully large and grand as Niagara, but it is very fine, and if the State of Minnesota would catch the man who nails his signs on the trees around there, and choke him to death near the falls on a pleasant day, a large audience wold attend with much pleasure, I believe that the fence-board advertiser is not only, as a rule, wicked, but he also lacks common sense. Who ever bought a liver pad or a corset because he read about it on a high board fence? No one. Who ever purchased a certain kind of pill or poultice because the name of that pill or poultice was nailed on a tree to disfigure a beautiful landscape? I do not believe that any sane human being ever did so. If everyone feels as I do about it, people would rather starve to death for pills and freeze to death in a perfect wilderness of liver pads than buy of the man who daubs the fair face of nature with names of his alleged goods.

I saw a squaw who seemed to belong in the picture of the poetic little waterfall. I did not learn her name. It was one of these long, corduroy Sioux names, that hang together with hyphens like a lot of sausage. The salaried humorist of the party said he never sausage a name before.

Translated into our tongue it meant The-swift-daughter-of-the-prairie-blizzard-that-gathers-the-huckleberry-on -the-run-and-don't-you-forget-it.

Daniel Webster.

I presume that Daniel Webster was as good an off-hand speaker as this country has ever produced. Massachusetts has been well represented in Congress since that time, but she has had few who could successfully compete with D. Webster, Esq., attorney and counsellor-at-law, Boston, Mass.

I have never met Mr. Webster, but I have seen a cane that he used to wear, and since that time I have felt a great interest in him. It was a heavy winter cane, and was presented to him as a token of respect.

This reminds me of the inscription on a grave stone in the 280-year-old churchyard at LaPointe, on Lake Superior, where I was last week. It shows what punctuation has done for a lost and undone race. I copy the inscription exactly as it appears:

Daniel Webster had one of the largest and most robust brains that ever flourished in our fair land. It was what we frequently call a teeming brain, one of those four-horse teeming brains, as it were. Mr. Webster wore the largest hat of any man then in Congress, and other senators and representatives used to frequently borrow it to wear on the 2nd of January, the 5th of July, and after other special occasions, when they had been in executive session most all night and endured great mental strain. This hat matter reminds me of an incident in the life of Benjamin F. Butler, a man well known in Massachusetts even at the present time.

One evening, at a kind of reception or some such dissipation as that, while Jim Nye was in the Senate, the latter left his silk hat on the lounge with the opening turned up, and while he was talking with someone else, Mr. Butler sat down in the hat with so much expression that it was a wreck. Everyone expected to see James W. Nye walk up and smite Benjamin F. Butler, but he did not do so. He looked at the chaotic hat for a minute, more in sorrow than in anger, and then he said:

"Benjamin, I could have told you that hat wouldn't fit you before you tried it on."

Daniel Webster's brain was not only very large, but it was in good order all the time. Sometimes Nature bestows large brains on men who do not rise to great prominence. Large brains do not always indicate great intellectual power. These brains are large but of an inferior quality. A schoolmate of mine used to wear a hat that I could put my head and both feet into with perfect ease. I remember that he tied my shirt one day while I was laying my well-rounded limbs in the mill pond near my childhood's home.

I was mad at the time, but I could not lick him, for he was too large. All I could do was to patiently untie my shirt while my teeth chattered, then fling a large, three-cornered taunt in his teeth and run. He kept on poking fun at me, I remember, till I got dressed, and alluded incidentally, to my small brain and abnormal feet. This stung my sensitive nature, and I told him that if I had such a wealth of brain as he had, and it was of no use to think with, I would take it to a restaurant and have it breaded. Then I went away.

But we were speaking of Webster. Many lawyers of our day would do well to read and study the illustrious example of Daniel Webster. He did not sit in court all day with his feet on the table and howl, "We object," and then down his client for $50, just because he had made a noise. I employed a lawyer once to bring suit for me to recover quite a sum of money due me. After years of assessments and toilsome litigation, we got a judgment. He said to me that he was anxious to succeed with the case mainly because he knew I Wanted to vindicate myself. I said yes, that was the idea exactly. I wanted to be vindicated.

So he gave me the vindication and took the judgment as a slight testimonial of his own sterling worth. When I want to be vindicated again I will do it with one of those self-cocking vindicators that you can carry in a pocket.

Looking over this letter, I am amazed to see the amount of valuable information relative to the life of Mr. Webster that I have succeeded in using. There are, of course, some minor details of Mr. Webster's life which I have omitted, but nothing of real importance. The true history of Mr. Webster is epitomized here, and told in a pleasing and graceful manner, a style that is at once accurate and just and still elegant, chaste and thoroughly refined, while at the same time there are little gobs of sly humor in it that are real cute.

Two Ways of Telling It.

I remember one sunny day in summer, we were sitting in the Boomerang office, I and the city editor, and he was speaking enviously of my salary of $150 per month as compared with his of $80, and I had just given him the venerable minstrel witticism that of course my salary was much larger than his, but he ought not to forget that he got his.

Just then there was a revolver shot at the foot of our stairs, and then another. The printers rushed into the stairway from the composing room, and to save time I ran out on the balcony that hung over the sidewalk and which gave me a bird's-eye view of the murder. The next issue of the paper contained an account about like this:

Cold-Blooded Murder.—Yesterday, between 12 and 1 o'clock, in front of this office on Second street, James McKeon, in a manner almost wholly unprovoked, shot James Smith, commonly known as Windy Smith. Smith died at 2 o'clock this morning of his wounds. Windy Smith was not a bad man, but, as his nickname would imply, he was a kind of noisy, harmless fellow, and McKeon, who is a gambler and professional bad man, can give no good reason for the killing. There is a determined effort on foot to lynch the murderer.

This account was brief, but it seemed to set forth the facts pretty clearly, I thought, and I felt considerably chagrined when I saw an account of the matter latter on, as written up by the prosecuting attorney. I may be inaccurate as to dates and some other points of detail, but, as nearly as I can remember, his version of the matter was like this:


In Justice's Court, before E.W. Nye, Esq., Justice of the Peace.

The Territory of Wyoming, plt'ff.} vs. } Complaint. James McKeon, def't. }

The above named defendant, James McKeon, is accused of the crime of murder, for that he, the said defendant, James McKeon, at the town of Laramie City, in the County of Albany and Territory of Wyoming, and on the 13th day of July, Anno Domini 1880, then and there being, he, the said defendant, James McKeon, did wilfully, maliciously, feloniously, wickedly, unlawfully, criminally, illegally, unjustly, premeditatedly, coolly and murderously, by means of a certain deadly weapon commonly called a Smith & Wesson revolver, or revolving pistol, so constructed as to revolve upon itself and to be discharged by means of a spring and hammer, and with six chambers thereto, and known commonly as a self-cocker, the same loaded with gun-powder and leaden bullets, and in the hands of him, the said defendant, James McKeon, level at, to, upon, by, contiguous to and against the body of one James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, in the peace of the commonwealth then and there being, and that by means of said deadly weapon commonly called a Smith & Wesson revolver, or revolving pistol, so constructed as to revolve upon itself and to be discharged by means of a spring or hammer, and with six chambers thereto and known commonly as a self-cocker, the same loaded with gunpowder and leaden bullets and in the hands of him the said defendant, James McKeon, held at, to, upon, by, contiguous to and against the body of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, he, the said James McKeon, did wilfully, maliciously, feloniously, wickedly, fraudulently, virulently, unlawfully, criminally, illegally, brutally, unjustly, premeditatedly, coolly and murderously, of his malice aforethought with the deadly weapon aforesaid held in the right hand of him, the said defendant, James McKeon, to, at, against, etc., the body of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, he, the said defendant, James McKeon, at the said town of Laramie City, in the said County of Albany, and in the heretofore enumerated Territory of Wyoming, and on the hereinbefore mentioned 13th day of July, Anno Domini 1880, did inflict to, at, upon, by, contiguous to, adjacent to, adjoining, over and against the body of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, one certain deadly, mortal, dangerous and painful wound, to-wit: Over, against, to, at, by, upon, contiguous to, near, adjacent to and bisecting the intestines of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, by reason of which he, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, did in great agony linger, and lingering did die, on the 14th day of July, Anno Domini 1880, at 2 o'clock in the forenoon of said day, contrary to the statutes in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Wyoming.

I am now convinced that although the published account was correct, it was not as full as it might have been. Perhaps the tendency of modern journalism is to epitomize too much. In the hurry of daily newspaper work and the press of matter upon our pages, very likely we are fatally brief, and sacrifice rhetorical beauty to naked and goose-pimply facts.

All About Menials.

The subject of meals, lunch-counters, dining-cars and buffet-cars came up the other day, incidentally. I had ordered a little breakfast in the buffet-car, not so much because I expected to get anything, but because I liked to eat in a car and have all the other passengers glaring at me. I do not know which affords me the most pleasure—to sit for a photograph and be stabbed in the cerebellum with a cast-iron prong, to be fed in the presence of a mixed company of strangers, or to be called on without any preparation to make a farewell speech on the gallows.

However, I got my breakfast after awhile. The waiter was certainly the most worthless, trifling, half-asleep combination of Senegambian stupidity and poor white trash indolence and awkwardness that I ever saw. He brought in everything except what I wanted, and then wound up by upsetting the little cream pitcher in my lap. He did not charge for the cream. He threw that in.

So all the rest of the journey I was trying to eradicate a cream dado from my pantaloons. It made me mad, because those pantaloons were made for me by request Besides, I haven't got pantaloons to squander in that way. To some a pair of pantaloons, more or less, is nothing, but it is much to me.

There was a porter on the same train who was much the same kind of furniture as the waiter. He slept days and made up berths all night. Truly, he began making up berths at Jersey City, and when he got through, about daylight, it was time to begin to unmake them again. All night long I could hear him opening and shutting the berths like a concertina. He sang softly to himself all night long:

"You must camp a little in the wilderness And then we'll all go home."

He played his own accompaniment on the berths.

When in repose he was generally asleep with a whisk broom in one hand and the other hand extended with the palm up, waiting for a dividend to be declared.

He generally slept with his mouth open, so that you could read his inmost thoughts, and when I complained to him about the way my bunk felt, he said he was sorry, and wanted to know which cell I was in.

I rode, years ago, over a new stage line for several days. It was through an almost trackless wilderness, and the service hadn't been "expedited" then. It was not a star route, anyhow. The government seemed to think that the man who managed the thing ought not to expect help so long as he had been such a fool asterisk it.

(Five minutes intermission for those who wish to be chloroformed.)

The stage consisted of a buckboard. It was one of the first buckboards ever made, and the horse was among the first turned out, also. The driver and myself were the passengers.

When it got to be about dinner time, I asked him if we were not pretty near the dinner station. He grunted. He hadn't said a word since we started. He was a surly, morose and taciturn man. I was told that he had been disappointed in love. A half-breed woman named No-Wayno had led him to believe that she loved him, and that if it had not been for her husband she would gladly have been the driver's bride. So the driver assassinated the disagreeable husband of No-Wayno. Then he went to the ranch to claim his bride, but she was not there. She had changed her mind, and married a cattle man, who had just moved on to the range with a government mule and a branding iron, intending to slowly work himself into the stock business.

So this driver was a melancholy man. He only made one remark to me during that long forty-mile drive through the wilderness. About dinner time he drove the horse under a quaking asp tree, tied a nose bag of oats over its head and took a wad of bread and bacon from his greasy pocket. The bacon and bread had little flakes of smoking tobacco all over it, because he carried his grub and tobacco in the same pocket. For a moment he introduced one corner of the bacon and bread in among his whiskers. Then he made the only remark that he uttered while we were together. He said:

"Pardner, dinner is now ready in the dining-car."

A Powerful Speech.

I once knew a man who was nominated by his fellow citizens for a certain office and finally elected without having expended a cent for that purpose. He was very eccentric, but he made a good officer. When he heard that he was nominated, he went up, as he said, into the mountains to do some assessment work on a couple of claims. He got lost and didn't get his bearings until a day or two after election. Then he came into town hungry, greasy and ragged, but unpledged.

He found that he was elected, and in answer to a telegram started off for 'Frisco to see a dying relative. He did not get back till the first of January. Then he filed his bond and sailed into the office. He fired several sedentary deputies who had been in the place twenty years just because they were good "workers." That is, they were good workers at the polls. They saved all their energies for the campaign, and so they only had vitality enough left to draw their salaries during the balance of the two years.

This man raised the county scrip from sixty to ninety-five in less than two years, and still they busted him in the next convention. He was too eccentric. One delegate asked what in Sam Hill would become of the country if every candidate should skin out during the campaign and rusticate in the mountains while the battle was being fought.

Says he, "I am a delegate from the precinct of Rawhide Buttes, and I calklate I know what I am talkin' about. Gentlemen of the convention, just suppose that everybody, from the President of the United States down, was to git the nomination and then light out like a house afire and never come back till it was time to file his bond; what's going to become of us common drunkards to whom election is a noasis in the bad lands, an orange grove in the alkali flats?

"Mr. Chairman, there's millions of dollars in this broad land waiting for the high tide of election day to come and float 'em down to where you and I, Mr. Chairman, as well as other parched and patriotic inebriates, can git a hold of 'em.

"Gentlemen, we talk about stringency and shrinkage of values, and all such funny business as that; but that's something I don't know a blamed thing about. What I can grapple with is this: If our county offices are worth $30,000, and there are other little after-claps and soft snaps, and walk-overs, worth, say $10,000, and the boys, say, are willing to do the fair thing, say, blow in fifteen per cent, to the central committee, and what they feel like on the outside, then politics, instead of a burden and a reproach, becomes a pleasing duty, a joyous occasion and a picnic to those whose lives might otherwise be a dreary monotone.

"Mr. Chairman, the past two years has wrecked four campaign saloons, and a tinner who socked his wife's fortune into campaign torches is now in a land where torchlights is no good. Overcome by a dull market, a financial depression and a reserved central committee, he ate a package of Rough on Rats, and passed up the flume. He is now at rest over yonder.

"Such instances would be common if we encouraged the eccentric economy of official cranks. It is an evil that is gnawing at the vitals of the republic. We must squench it or get left. There are millions of dollars in this country, Mr. Chairman, that, if we keep it out of the campaign, will get into the hands of the working classes, and then you and I, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the convention, can starve to death. Keep the campaign money away from the soulless hired man, gentlemen, or good-bye John.

"Mr. Chairman, excuse my emotion! It is almighty seldom that I make a speech, but when I do, I strive to get there with both feet. We must either work the campaign funds into their legitimate channels, or every blamed patriot within the sound of my voice will have to fasten on a tin bill and rustle for angle-worms amongst the hens. You hear me?"

[Terrific applause, during which the delicate odor of enthusiasm was noticed on the breath of the entire delegation.]

A Goat in a Frame.

Laramie has a seal brown goat, with iron gray chin whiskers and a breath like new mown hay.

He has not had as hard a winter as the majority of stock on the Rocky mountains, because he is of a domestic turn of mind and tries to make man his friend. Though social in his nature, he never intrudes himself on people after they have intimated with a shotgun that they are weary of him.

When the world seems cold and dark to him, and everybody turns coldly away from him, he does not steal away by himself and die of corroding grief; he just lies down on the sidewalk in the sun and fills the air with the seductive fragrance of which he is the sole proprietor.

One day, just as he had eaten his midday meal of boot heels and cold sliced atmosphere and kerosene barrel staves, he saw a man going along the street with a large looking glass under his arm.

The goat watched the man, and saw him set the mirror down by a gate and go inside the house after some more things that he was moving. Then the goat stammered with his tail a few times and went up to see if he could eat the mirror.

When he got pretty close to it, he saw a hungry-looking goat apparently coming toward him, so he backed off a few yards and went for him. There was a loud crash, and when the man came out he saw a full length portrait of a goat with a heavy, black walnut frame around it, going down the street with a great deal of apparent relish.

Then the man said something derogatory about the goat, and seemed offended about something.

Goats are not timid in their nature and are easily domesticated.

There are two kinds of goat—the cashmere goat and the plain goat. The former is worked up into cashmere shawls and cashmere bouquet. The latter is not.

The cashmere bouquet of commerce is not made of the common goat. It is a good thing that it is not.

A goat that has always been treated with uniform kindness and never betrayed, may be taught to eat out of the hand. Also out of the flour barrel or the ice-cream freezer.

To a Married Man.

Adelbert G. Grimes writes as follows: "I am a young man not yet twenty-two years of age. I am said to be rather attractive in appearance and a fluent conversationalist. Three years ago I very foolishly married and settled on a tree claim in Dakota, where we have three children, consisting of one pair of twins and an ordinary child, born by itself. We are a considerable distance from town, and to remain at home during the winter with no company besides my wife and children is very irksome, especially as my wife has never had the advantages that I have in the way of society. Her conversational powers are very inferior, and I cannot bear to remain at home very much. So I go to town, where I can meet my equals and enjoy myself.

"I fear that this will lead to an estrangement, for, when I return at night, my wife's nose is so red from sniveling all day that I can hardly bear to look at her. If there is anything in this world that I hate, it is a red-eyed, red-nosed woman who sheds tears on all occasions.

"Of course all this makes me irritable, and I say sharp things to her, as I have a wonderful command of language at such times. She surely cannot expect a young man twenty-two years old to stay at home day after day and listen to squalling children, when he is still in the heyday of life with joy beaming in his eye.

"Of course I do say things to my wife that I am afterward sorry for, but I made a great mistake in marrying the woman I did, and although some of my lady friends told me so at the time, I did not then believe it. Do you think I ought to bury myself on a tree claim with a woman far my inferior, while I have talents that would shine in the best of society? I am greatly distressed, and would willingly seek a legal separation if I knew how to go about it. Will you kindly advise me? What do you think of my penmanship?"

I hardly know how to advise you, Adelbert. You have got yourself into a place where you cannot do much but remain and take your medicine. Unfortunately, there are too many such young men as you are, Adelbert. You are young, and handsome, and smart. You casually admit this in your letter, I see. You have a social nature, and would shine in society. You also reluctantly confess this. That does not help you in my estimation, Adelbert. If you are a bright and shining light in society, you are probably a brunette fizzle as a husband. When you resolved to take a tree claim and make a home in Dakota, why didn't you put your swallow-tail coat under the bed and retire from the giddy whirl and mad rush of society, the way your wife had to?

I dislike very much to speak to you in a plain, blunt way, Adelbert, being a total stranger to you, but when you convey the idea in your letter that you have made a great mistake in marrying at the age of nineteen, and marrying far beneath yourself, I am forced to agree with you. If, instead of marrying a young girl who didn't know any better than to believe that you were a man, instead of a fractional one, you had come to me, and borrowed my revolver and blown out the fungus growth which you refer to as your brains, you would have bit it. Even now it is not too late. Yon can still come to me, and I will oblige you. You cannot do your wife a greater favor at this time than to leave her a widow, and the sooner you do so the less orphans there will be.

Did it ever occur to you, Adelbert, that your wife made a mistake also? Did it ever bore itself through your adamantine skull that it is not an unbroken round of gayety for a young girl to shut herself up in a lonesome house for three years, gradually acquiring children, and meantime being "sassed" by her husband because she is not a fluent conversationalist?

Wherein you offend me, Adelbert, is that you persist in breathing the air which human beings and other domestic animals more worthy than yourself are entitled to. There are too many such imitation men at large. There should be a law that would prohibit your getting up and walking on your hind legs and thus imposing on other mammals. If I could run the government for a few weeks, Adelbert, I would compel your style of zoological wonder to climb a tree and stay there.

So you married a woman who was far your inferior, did you? How did you do it? Where did you go to find a woman who could be your inferior and still keep out of the menagerie? Adelbert, I fear you do your wife a great injustice. With just barely enough vitality to hand your name down to posterity and blast the fair future of Dakota by leaving your trade-mark on future generations, you snivel and whine over your blasted life! If your life had been blasted a little harder twenty years ago, the life of your miserable little wife would have been less blasted.

If you had acquired a little more croup twenty years ago, Dakota would have been ahead. Why did you go on year after year, permitting people to believe you were a man, when you could have undeceived them in two minutes by crawling into a hollow log and remaining there?

Your penmanship is very good. It is better than your chances for a bright immortality beyond the grave. Write to me again whenever you feel lonesome or want advice. I was a young married man myself once, and I know what they have to endure. Up to the time of my marriage, I had never known a harsher tone than a flute note; my early life ran quiet as the clear brook by which I sported, and so on. I was a great belle in society, also. I attended all the swell balls and parties in our county for years. Wherever you found fair women and brave men tripping the light bombastic toe, you would also find me. "Sometimes I played second violin, and sometimes I called off."

To an Embryo Poet.

The following correspondence is now given to the press for the first time, with the consent of the parties:

Wm. Nye, Esq.—Dear Sir-I am a young man, 20 years of age, with fair education and a strong desire to succeed. I have done some writing for the press, having written up a very nice article on progressive euchre, which was a great success and published in our home paper, But it was not copied so much in other papers as I would like to have saw it, and I take my pen in hand at this time to write and ask you what there is in the article enclosed that prevents its being copied abroad all over our broad land. I write just as I hope you would feel perfectly free to write me at any time. I think that writers ought to aid each other. Yours with kind regards,

Algernon L. Tewey.

P.O. Box 202.

I have carefully read and pondered over the dissertation on progressive euchre which you send me, Algernon, and I cannot see why it should not be ravenously seized and copied by the press of the broad, wide land referred to in your letters. If you have time, perhaps it would be well enough to go to the leading journalists of our country and ask them what they mean by it. You might write till your vertebrae fell out of your clothes on the floor, and it would not do half so much good as a personal conference with the editors of America. First prepare your article, then go personally to the editors of the country and call them one by one out into the hall, in a current of cold air, and explain the article to them. In that way you will form pleasant acquaintances and get solid with our leading journalists. You have no idea, Algernon, how lonely and desolate the life of a practical journalist is. Your fresh young face and your fresh young ways, and your charming grammatical improvisations, would delight an editor who has nothing to do from year to year but attend to his business.

Do not try to win the editors of America by writing poems beginning:

Now the merry goatlet jumps, And the trifling yaller dog, With the tin can madly humps Like an acrobatic frog.

At times you will be tempted to write such stuff as this, and mark it with a large blue pencil and send it to the papers of the country, but that is not a good way to do.

Seriously, Algernon, I would suggest that you make a bold dash for success by writing things that other people are not writing, thinking things that other people are not thinking, and saying things that other people are not saying. You will say that this advice is easier to give than to take, and I agree with you. But the tendency of the age is to wear the same style of collar and coat and hat that every other man wears, and to talk and write like other men; and to be frank with you, Algernon, I think it is an infernal shame. If you will look carefully about you, you will see that the preacher, who is talking mostly to dusty pew cushions, is also the preacher who is thinking the thoughts of other men. He is "up-ending" his barrel of sermons annually, and they were made in the first place from the sermons of a man who also "up-ended" his barrel annually. Go where the preacher is talking to full houses, and you will discover that his sermons are full of humanity and originality. They are not written in a library by a man with interchangeable ideas, an automatic cog-wheel thinker, but they are prepared by a man who earnestly and honestly studies the great, aching heart of humanity, and full of sincerity, originality and old-fashioned Christianity, appeals to your better impulses.

How is it with our poetry? As a fellow-traveler and sea-sick tourist across life's tempestuous tide, I ask you, Algernon, who is writing the poetry that will live? Is it the man who is sawing out and sandpapering stanzas of the same general dimensions as some other poet, in which he bewails the fact that he loved a tall, well-behaved, accomplished girl, sixteen hands high, who did not require his love?

Ah, no! He is not the poet whose terra cotta statue will stand in the cemetery, wearing a laurel wreath and a lumpy brow. Show me the poet who is intimate with nature and who studies the little joys and sorrows of the poor; who smells the clover and writes about live, healthy people with ideas and appetites. He is my poet.

I apologize for speaking so earnestly, Algernon, but I saw by your letter that you felt kindly toward me, and rather invited an expression of opinion on my part. So I have written more freely, perhaps, than I otherwise would. We are both writers. Measurably so, at least. You write on progressive euchre, and I write on anything that I can get hold of. So let us agree here and promise each other that, whatever we do, we will not think through the thinker of another man.

The Great Ruler of the universe has made and placed upon the earth a good many millions of men, but He never made any two of them exactly alike. We may differ from every one of the countless millions who have preceded us, and still be safe. Even you and I, Algernon, may agree in many matters, and yet be very dissimilar. At least I hope so, and I presume you do also.

Eccentricities of Genius.

Alfonso Quanturnernit Dowdell, Frumenti, Ohio, writes to know something of the effects of alcohol on the brain of an adult, being evidently apprehensive that some day he may become an adult himself He says:

"I would be glad to know whether or not you think that liquor stimulates the brain to do better literary work. I have been studying the personal history of Edgar A. Poe, and learned through that medium that he was in the habit of drinking a good deal of liquor at times. I also read that George D. Prentice, who wrote 'The Closing Year,' and other nice poems, was a hearty drinker. Will you tell me whether this is all true or not, and also what the effect of alcohol is on the brain of an adult?"

It is said on good authority that Edgar A. Poe ever and anon imbibed the popular beverages of his day and age, some of which contained alcohol. We are led to believe these statements because they remain as yet undenied. But Poe did a great deal of good in that way, for he set an example that has been followed ever since, more or less, by quite a number of poets' apprentices who emulated Poe's great gift as a drinker. These men, thinking that poesy and delirium tremens went hand in hand, became fluent drunkards early in their career, so that finally, instead of issuing a small blue volume of poems they punctuated a drunkard's grave.

So we see that Poe did a great work aside from what he wrote. He opened up a way for these men which eradicated them, and made life more desirable for those who remained. He made it easy for those who thought genius and inebriation were synonymous terms to get to the hospital early in the day, while the overworked waste-basket might secure a few hours of much needed rest.

George D. Prentice has also done much toward weeding out a class of people who otherwise might have become disagreeable. It is better that these men who write under the influence of rum should fall into the hands of the police as early as possible. The police can handle them better than the editor can.

Do not try, Alfonso, to experiment in this way. Because Mr. Poe and Mr. Prentice could write beautiful and witty things between drinks, do not, oh do not imagine that you can begin that way and succeed at last.

The effect of alcohol on the brain of an adult is to congest it finally. Alcohol will sometimes congest the brain of an adult under the most trying and discouraging circumstances. I have frequently known it to scorch out and paralyze the brain in cases where other experiments had not been successful in showing the presence of a brain at all.

That is the reason why some people love to fool with this great chemical. It revives their suspicions regarding the presence of a brain.

The habits of literary men vary a good deal, for no two of them seem to care to adopt the same plan.

I have taken the liberty of showing here my own laboratory and methods of thought. This is from a drawing made by myself, and represents the writer in his study and in the act of thinking about a poem.

Last summer I wrote a large poem entitled, "Moanings of the Moist, Malarious Sea." I have it still. The back of it has a memoranda on it in blue pencil from the leading editors of our broad land, but otherwise it is just as I wrote it.

The engraving represents me in the act of thinking about the poem, and what I will do with the money when I get it.

I am now preparing a poem entitled, "The Umbrella." It is a dainty little bit of verse, and my hired man thinks it is a gem. I called it "The Umbrella" so that it would not be returned.

By looking at the drawing you will see the rapid change of expression on the face as the work goes on.

I give the drawing in order also, to show the rich furniture of the room. All poets do not revel in such gaudy trappings as I do, but I cannot write well in a bare and ill-furnished room. In these apartments there is also a window which does not show in the engraving. I have tried over and over again to write a poem in a room that had no window in it, but I cannot say that I ever wrote one under such circumstances that I thought would live.

You can do as you think best about furnishing your room as I have mine. You might, of course, succeed as well by writing in a plainer apartment, but I could not. All my poetical work that was done in the cramped and plainly furnished room that I formerly occupied over Knadler's livery stable, was ephemeral.

It got into a few of the leading autograph albums of the country, but it never got into the papers.

I would not use alcohol, however. Poe and Prentice could use it, but I never could. After a long debauch, I could always work well enough on the street but I could not do literary work.


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