by Bill Nye
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Meantime the firefiend continued to rise up ever and anon on his hind feet and lick up salt-barrel after salt-barrel in close proximity to the Palace rink, owned by our esteemed fellow-citizen, Mr. Pendergast. Twice Mr. Pendergast was seen to shudder, after which he went home and filled out a blank which he forwarded to the insurance company.

Just as the town seemed doomed, the hook and ladder company came rushing down the street with their navy-blue hook and ladder truck. It is indeed a beauty, being one of the Excelsior noiseless hook and ladder factory's best instruments, with tall red pails and rich blue ladders.

Some delay ensued, as several of the officers claimed that under a new bylaw passed in January they were permitted to ride on the truck to fires. This having been objected to by a gentleman who had lived in Chicago several years, a copy of the by-laws was sent for and the dispute summarily settled. The company now donned its rubber overcoats with great coolness and proceeded at once to deftly twist the tail of the firefiend.

It was a thrilling sight as James McDonald, a brother of Terrance McDonald, Trombone, Ind., rapidly ascended one of the ladders in the full glare of the devouring element and fell off again.

Then a wild cheer arose to a height of about nine feet, and all again became confused.

It was now past 11 o'clock, and several of the members of the hook and ladder company who had to get up early the next day in order to catch a train excused themselves and went home to seek much-needed rest.

Suddenly it was discovered that the brick livery stable of Mr. Abraham McMichaels, a nephew of our worthy assessor, was getting hot. Leaving the Palace rink to its fate, the hook and ladder company directed its attention to the brick barn, and, after numerous attempts, at last succeeded in getting its large iron prong fastened on the second story window-sill, which was pulled out. The hook was again inserted, but not so effectively, bringing down at this time an armful of hay and part of an old horse blanket. Another courageous jab was made with the iron hook, which succeeded in pulling out about 5 cents worth of brick. This was greeted by a wild burst of applause from the bystanders, during which the hook and ladder company fell over each other and added to the horror of the scene by a mad burst of pale-blue profanity.

It was not long before the stable was licked up by the firefiend, and the hook and ladder company directed its attention toward the undertaking, embalming, and ice-cream parlors of our highly esteemed fellow-townsman, Mr. A. Burlingame. The company succeeded in pulling two stone window-sills out of this building before it burned. Both times they were encored by the large and aristocratic audience.

Mr. Burlingame at once recognized the efforts of the heroic firemen by tapping a keg of beer, which he distributed among them at 25 cents per glass.

This morning a space forty-seven feet wide, where but yesterday all was joy and prosperity and beauty, is covered over with blackened ruins. Mr. Pendergast is overcome by grief over the loss of his rink, but assures us that if he is successful in getting the full amount of his insurance he will take the money and build two rinks, either one of which will be far more imposing than the one destroyed last evening.

A movement is on foot to give a literary and musical entertainment at Burley's hall, to raise funds for the purchase of new uniforms for the "fire laddies," at which Mrs. Butts has consented to sing "When the Robins Nest Again," and Miss Mertie Stout will recite "'Ostler Jo," a selection which never fails to offend the best people everywhere. Twenty-five cents for each offense.

Let there be a full house.

The Little Barefoot Boy.

With the moist and misty spring, with the pink and white columbine of the wildwood and the breath of the cellar and the incense of burning overshoes in the back yard, comes the little barefoot boy with fawn colored hair and a droop in his pantaloons. Poverty is not the grand difficulty with the little barefoot boy of spring. It is the wild, ungovernable desire to wiggle his toes in the ambient air, and to soothe his parboiled heels in the yielding mud.

I see him now in my mind's eye, making his annual appearance like a rheumatic housefly, stepping high like a blind horse. He has just left his shoes in the woodshed and stepped out on the piazza to proclaim that violet-eyed spring is here. All over the land the gladiolus bulb and the ice man begin to swell. The south wind and the new-born calf at the barn begin to sigh. The oak tree and the dude begin to put on their spring apparel. All nature is gay. The thrush is warbling in the asparagus orchard, and the prima donna does her throat up in a red flannel rag to wait for another season.

All these things indicate spring, but they are not so certain and unfailing as the little barefoot boy whose white feet are thrust into the face of the approaching season. Five months from now those little dimpled feet, now so bleached and tender, will look like a mudturtle's back and the superior and leading toe will have a bandage around it, tied with a piece of thread.

Who would believe that the budding hoodlum before us, with the yellow chilblain on his heel and the early spring toad in his pocket, which he will present to the timid teacher as a testimonial of his regard this afternoon, may be the Moses who will lead the American people forty years hence into the glorious sunlight of a promised land.

He may possibly do it, but he doesn't look like it now.

Yet John A. Logan and Samuel J. Tilden were once barefooted boys, with a suspender apiece. It doesn't seem possible, does it?

How can we imagine at this time Julius Caesar and Hannibal Hamlin and Lucretia Borgia at some time or other stubbed their bare toes against a root and filled the horizon with pianissimo wails. The barefoot boy of spring will also proceed to bathe in the river as soon as the ice and the policeman are out. He will choose a point on the boulevard, where he can get a good view of those who pass, and in company with eleven other little barefoot boys, he will clothe himself in an Adam vest, a pair of bare-skin pantaloons, a Greek slave overcoat and a yard of sunlight, and gaze earnestly at those who go by on the other side. Up and down the bank, pasting each other with mud, the little barefoot boys of spring chase each other, with their vertebrae sticking into the warm and sleepy air, while down in the marsh, where the cat-tails and the broad flags and the peach can and the deceased horse grow, the bull-frog is twittering to his mate.

Later on, the hoarse voice of a rude parental snorter is heard approaching, and twelve slim Cupids with sunburned backs are inserted into twelve little cotton shirts and twelve despondent pairs of pantaloons hang at half-mast to twelve home-made suspenders, and as the gloaming gathers about the old home, twelve boys back up against the ice-house to cool off, while the enraged parent hangs up the buggy whip in the old place.

Favored a Higher Fine.

Will Taylor, the son of the present American Consul at Marseilles, was a good deal like other boys while at school in his old home, at Hudson, Wis. One day he called his father into the library, and said:

"Pa, I don't like to tell you, but the teacher and I have had trouble."

"What's the matter now?"

"Well, I cut one of the desks a little with my knife, and the teacher says I've got to pay a dollar or take a lickin'."

"Well, why don't you take the licking and say nothing more about it? I can stand considerable physical pain, so long as it visits our family in that form. Of course, it is not pleasant to be flogged, but you have broken a rule of the school, and I guess you'll have to stand it. I presume that the teacher will in wrath remember mercy, and avoid disabling you so that you can't get your coat on any more."

"But, pa, I feel mighty bad about it already, and if you'd pay my fine I'd never do it again. I know a good deal more about it now, and I will never do it again. A dollar ain't much to you, pa, but it's a heap to a boy that hasn't got a cent. If I could make a dollar as easy as you can, pa, I'd never let my little boy get flogged that way just to save a dollar. If I had a little feller that got licked bekuz I didn't put up for him, I'd hate the sight of money always. I'd feel as if every dollar in my pocket had been taken out of my little kid's back."

"Well, now, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a dollar to save you from punishment this time, but if anything of this kind ever occurs again I'll hold you while the teacher licks you, and then I'll get the teacher to hold you while I lick you. That's the way I feel about that. If you want to go around whittling up our educational institutions you can do so; but you will have to purchase them afterward yourself. I don't propose to buy any more damaged school furniture. You probably grasp my meaning, do you not? I send you to school to acquire an education, not to acquire liabilities, so that you can come around and make an assessment on me. I feel a great interest in you, Willie, but I do not feel as though it should be an assessable interest. I want to go on, of course, and improve the property, but when I pay my dues on it I want to know that it goes toward development work. I don't want my assessments to go toward the purchase of a school-desk with American hieroglyphics carved on it.

"I hope that you will bear this in your mind, my son, and beware. It will be greatly to your interest to beware. If I were in your place I would put in a large portion of my time in the beware business."

The boy took the dollar and went thoughtfully away to school, and no more was ever said about the matter until Mr. Taylor learned casually several months later that the Spartan youth had received the walloping and filed away the dollar for future reference. The boy was afterward heard to say that he favored a much heavier fine in cases of that kind. One whipping was sufficient, he said, but he favored a fine of $5. It ought to be severe enough to make it an object.

"I Spy."

Dear reader, do you remember the boy of your school who did the heavy falling through the ice and was always about to break his neck, but managed to live through it all? Do you call to mind the youth who never allowed anybody else to fall out of a tree and break his collar bone when he could attend to it himself? Every school has to secure the services of such a boy before it can succeed, and so our school had one. When I entered the school I saw at a glance that the board had neglected to provide itself with a boy whose duty it was to nearly kill himself every few days in order to keep up the interest so I applied for the position. I secured it without any trouble whatever. The board understood at once from my bearing that I would succeed. And I did not betray the trust they had reposed in me.

Before the first term was over I had tried to climb two trees at once and been carried home on a stretcher; been pulled out of the river with my lungs full of water, and artificial respiration resorted to; been jerked around over the north half of the county by a fractious horse whose halter I had tied to my leg, and which leg is now three inches longer than the other; together with various other little early eccentricities which I cannot at this moment call to mind. My parents at last got so that along about 2 o'clock P.M. they would look anxiously out of the window and say, "Isn't it about time for the boys to get here with William's remains? They generally get here before 2 o'clock."

One day five or six of us were playing "I spy" around our barn. Every body knows how to play "I spy." One shuts his eyes and counts 100, for instance, while the others hide. Then he must find the rest and say "I spy" so-and-so and touch the "goal" before they do. If anybody beats him to the goal the victim has to "blind" over again.

Well, I knew the ground pretty well, and could drop twenty feet out of the barn window and strike on a pile of straw so as to land near the goal, touch it, and let the crowd in free without getting found out. I did this several times and got the blinder, James Bang, pretty mad. After a boy has counted 500 or 600, and worked hard to gather in the crowd, only to get jeered and laughed at by the boys, he loses his temper. It was so with James Cicero Bang. I knew that he almost hated me, and yet I went on. Finally, in the fifth ballot, I saw a good chance to slide down and let the crowd in again as I had done on former occasions. I slipped out of the window and down the side of the barn about two feet, when I was detained unavoidably. There was a "batten" on the barn that was loose at the upper end. I think I was wearing my father's vest on that day, as he was away from home, and I frequently wore his clothes when he was absent. Anyhow the vest was too large, and when I slid down that loose board ran up between the vest and my person in such a way as to suspend me about eighteen feet from the ground, in a prominent but very uncomfortable position.

I remember it quite distinctly. James C. Bang came around where he could see me. He said: "I spy Billy Nye and touch the goal before him." No one came to remove the barn. No one came to sympathize with me in my great sorrow and isolation. Every little while James C. Bang would come around the corner and say: "Oh, I see ye. You needn't think you're out of sight up there. I can see you real plain. You better come down and blind. I can see ye up there!"

I tried to unbutton my vest and get down there and lick James, but it was of no use. It was a very trying time. I can remember how I tried to kick myself loose, but failed. Sometimes I would kick the barn and sometimes I would kick a large hole in the horizon. Finally I was rescued by a neighbor who said he didn't want to see a good barn kicked into chaos just to save a long-legged boy that wasn't worth over six bits.

It affords me great pleasure to add that while I am looked up to and madly loved by every one that does not know me, Jas. C. Bang is brevet president of a fractured bank, taking a lonely bridal tour by himself in Europe and waiting for the depositors to die of old age.

The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they most generally get there with both feet. (Adapted from the French by permission.)

Mark Anthony.

Marcus Antonius, commonly called Mark Antony, was a celebrated Roman general and successful politician, who was born in 83 B.C. His grandfather, on his mother's side, was L. Julius Caesar, and it is thought that to Mark's sagacity in his selection of a mother, much of his subsequent success was due.

Young Antony was rather gay and festive during his early years, and led a life that in any city but Rome would have occasioned talk. He got into a great many youthful scrapes, and nothing seemed to please him better than to repeatedly bring his father's gray hairs down in sorrow to the grave. Debauchery was a matter to which he gave much thought, and many a time he was found consuming the midnight oil while pursuing his studies in this line.

At that time Rome was well provided for in the debauchery department, and Mr. Antony became a thorough student of the entire curriculum.

About 57 B.C. he obtained command of the cavalry of Gambinino in Syria and Egypt. He also acted as legate for Caesar in Gaul about 52 B.C., as nearly as I can recall the year. I do not know exactly what a legate is, but it had something to do with the Roman ballet, I understand, and commanded a good salary.

He was also elected, in 50, B.C., as Argus and Tribune—acting as Tribune at night and Argus during the day time, I presume, or he may have been elected Tribune and ex-officio Argus. He was more successful as Tribune than he was in the Argus business.

Early in 49, B.C., he fled to Caesar's camp, and the following year was appointed commander-in-chief. He commanded the left wing of the army at the battle of Pharsalia, and years afterward used to be passionately fond of describing it and explaining how he saved the day, and how everybody else was surprised but him, and how he was awakened by hearing one of the enemy's troops, across the river, stealthily pulling on his pantaloons.

Antony married Fulvia, the widow of a successful demagogue named P. Clodius. This marriage could hardly be regarded as a success. It would have been better for the widow if she had remained Mrs. P. Clodius, for Mark Antony was one of those old-fashioned Romans who favored the utmost latitude among men, but heartily enjoyed seeing an unfaithful woman burned at the stake. In those days the Roman girl had nothing to do but live a pure and blameless life, so that she could marry a shattered Roman rake who had succeeded in shunning a blameless life himself, and at last, when he was sick of all kinds of depravity and needed a good, careful wife to take care of him, would come with his dappled, sin-sick soul and shattered constitution, and his vast acquisitions of debts, and ask to be loved by a noble young woman. Nothing pleased a blase Roman so well as to have a young and beautiful girl, with eyes like liquid night, to take the job of reforming him. I frequently get up in the night to congratulate myself that I was not born, 2,000 years ago, a Roman girl.

The historian continues to say, that though Mr. Antony continued to live a life of licentious lawlessness, that occasioned talk even in Rome, he was singularly successful in politics.

He was very successful at funerals, also, and his off-hand obituary works were sought for far and wide. His impromptu remarks at the grave of Caesar, as afterward reported by Mr. Shakespeare, from memory, attracted general notice and made the funeral a highly enjoyable affair. After this no assassination could be regarded as a success, unless Mark Antony could be secured to come and deliver his justly celebrated eulogy.

About 43, B.C., Antony, Octavius and Lepidus formed a co-partnership under the firm name and style of Antony, Octavius & Co., for the purpose of doing a general, all-round triumvirate business and dealing in Roman republican pelts. The firm succeeded in making republicanism extremely odious, and for years a republican hardly dared to go out after dark to feed the horse, lest he be jumped on by a myrmidon and assassinated. It was about this time that Cicero had a misunderstanding with Mark's myrmidons and went home packed in ice.

Mark Antony, when the firm of Antony, Octavius & Co. settled up its affairs, received as his share the Asiatic provinces and Egypt. It was at this time that he met Cleopatra at an Egyptian sociable and fell in love with her. Falling in love with fair women and speaking pieces over new-made graves seemed to be Mark's normal condition. He got into a quarrel with Octavius and settled it by marrying Octavia, Octavius' sister, but this was not a love match, for he at once returned to Cleopatra, the author of Cleopatra's needle and other works.

This love for Cleopatra was no doubt the cause of his final overthrow, for he frequently went over to see her when he should have been at home killing invaders. He ceased to care about slashing around in carnage, and preferred to turn Cleopatra's music for her while she knocked out the teeth of her old upright piano and sang to him in a low, passionate, vox humana tone.

So, at last, the great cemetery declaimer and long distance assassin, Mark Antony, was driven out of his vast dominions after a big naval defeat at Actium, in September, 31 B.C., retreated to Alexandria, called for more reinforcements and didn't get them. Deserted by his fleet, and reduced to a hand-me-down suit of clothes and a two-year-old plug hat, he wrote a poetic wail addressed to Cleopatra and sent it to the Alexandria papers; then, closing the door and hanging up his pantaloons on a nail so as to reduce the sag in the knees, he blew out the gas and climbed over the high board fence which stands forever between the sombre present and the dark blue, mysterious ultimatum.

Man Overbored.

"Speaking about prohibition," said Misery Brown one day, while we sat lying on the damp of the Blue Tail Fly, "I am prone to allow that the more you prohibit, the more you—all at once—discover that you have more or less failed to prohibit.

"Now, you can win a man over to your way of thinking, sometimes, but you mustn't do it with the butt-end of a telegraph-pole. You might convert him that way, perhaps, but the mental shock and phrenological concussion of the argument might be disastrous to the convert himself.

"A man once said to me that rum was the devil's drink, that Satan's home was filled with the odor of hot rum, that perdition was soaked with spiced rum and rum punch. 'You wot not,' said he, 'the ruin rum has rot. Why, Misery Brown,' said he, 'rum is my bete noir.' I said I didn't care what he used it for, he'd always find it very warming to the system. I told him he could use it for a hot bete noir, or a blanc mange, or any of those fancy drinks; I didn't care.

"But the worst time I ever had grappling with the great enemy, I reckon, was in the later years of the war, when I pretty near squashed the rebellion. Grim-visaged war had worn me down pretty well. I played the big tuba in the regimental band, and I began to sigh for peace.

"We had been on the march all summer, it seemed to me. We'd travel through dust ankle-deep all day that was just like ashes, and halt in the red-hot sun five minutes to make coffee. We'd make our coffee in five minutes, and sometimes we'd make it in the middle of the road; but that's neither here nor there.

"We finally found out that we would make a stand in a certain town, and that the Q.M. had two barrels of old and reliable whisky in store. We also found out that we couldn't get any for medical purposes nor anything else All we could do was to suffer on and wait till the war closed. I didn't feel like postponing the thing myself, so I began to investigate. The great foe of humanity was stored in a tobacco-house, and the Q.M. slept three nights between the barrels. The chances for a debauch looked peaked and slim in the extreme. However, there was a basement below, and I got in there one night with a half-inch auger, and two wash-tubs. Later on there was a sound of revelry by night. There was considerable 'on with the dance, let joy be unconfined.'

"The next day there was a spongy appearance to the top of the head, which seemed to be confined to our regiment, as a result of the sudden giving way, as it were, of prohibitory restrictions. It was a very disagreeable day, I remember. All nature seemed clothed in gloom, and R.E. Morse, P.D.Q., seemed to be in charge of the proceedings. Redeyed Regret was everywhere.

"We then proceeded to yearn for the other barrel of woe, that we might pile up some more regret, and have enough misery to last us through the balance of the campaign. We acted on this suggestion, and, with a firm resolve and the same half-inch auger, we stole once more into the basement of the tobacco-house.

"I bored nineteen consecutive holes in the atmosphere, and then an intimate friend of mine bored twenty-seven distinct holes in the floor, only to bore through the bosom of the night. Eleven of us spent the most of the night boring into the floor, and at three o'clock A.M. it looked like a hammock, it was so full of holes. The quartermaster slept on through it all. He slept in a very audible tone of voice, and every now and then we could hear him slumbering on.

"At last we decided that he was sleeping middling close to that barrel, so we began to bore closer to the snore. It was my turn to bore, I remember, and I took the auger with a heavy heart. I bored through the floor, and for the first time bored into something besides oxygen. It was the quartermaster. A wild yell echoed through the southern confederacy, and I pulled out my auger. It had on the point a strawberry mark, and a fragment of one of those old-fashioned woven wire gray shirts, such as quartermasters used to wear.

"I remember that we then left the tobacco-house. In the hurry we forgot two wash-tubs, a half-inch auger, and 980,361 new half-inch auger holes that had never been used."

"Done It A-Purpose."

At Greeley a young man with a faded cardigan jacket and a look of woe got on the train, and as the car was a little crowded he sat in the seat with me. He had that troubled and anxious expression that a rural young man wears when he first rides on the train. When the engine whistled he would almost jump out of that cardigan jacket, and then he would look kind of foolish, like a man who allows his impulses to get the best of him. Most everyone noticed the young man and his cardigan jacket, for the latter had arrived at the stage of droopiness and jaded-across-the-shoulders look that the cheap knit jacket of commerce acquires after awhile, and it had shrunken behind and stretched out in front so that the horizon, as you stood behind the young man, seemed to be bound by the tail of this garment, which started out at the pocket with good intentions and suddenly decided to rise above the young man's shoulder blades.

He seemed so diffident and so frightened among strangers, that I began to talk with him.

"Do you live at Greeley?" I inquired.

"No, sir," he said, in an embarrassed way, as most anyone might in the presence of greatness. "I live on a ranch up the Pandre. I was just at Greeley to see the circus."

I thought I would play the tenderfoot and inquiring pilgrim from the cultured East, so I said: "You do not see the circus often in the West, I presume, the distance is so great between towns and the cost of transportation is so great?"

"No, sir. This is the first circus I ever was to. I have never saw a circus before."

"How did you like it?"

"O, tip-top. It was a good thing. I'd like to see it every day if I could, I laughed and drank lemonade till I've got my cloze all pinned up with pins, and I'd as soon tell you, if you wont give it away, that my pants is tied on me with barbed fence wire."

"Probably that's what gives you that anxious and apprehensive look?"

"Yes, sir. If I look kind of doubtless about something, its because I'm afraid my pantaloons will fall off on the floor and I will have to borrow a roller towel to wear home."

"How did you like the animals?"

"I liked that part of the Great Moral Aggregation the best of all. I have not saw such a sight before. I could stand there and watch that there old scaly elephant stuff hay into his bosom with his long rubber nose for hours. I'd read a good deal first and last about the elephant, the king of beasts, but I had never yet saw one. Yesterday father told me there hadn't been much joy into my young life, and so he gave me a dollar and told me to go over to the circus and have a grand time. I tell you, I just turned myself loose and gave myself up to pleasure."

"What other animals seemed to please you?" I asked, seeing that he was getting a little freer to talk.

"Oh, I saw the blue-nosed baboon from Farther India, and the red-eyed sandhill crane from Maddygasker, I think it was, and the sacred Jack-rabbit from Scandihoovia, and the lop-eared layme from South America. Then there was the female acrobat with her hair tied up with red ribbon. It's funny about them acrobat wimmen. They get big pay, but they never buy cloze with their money. Now, the idea of a woman that gets $2 or $3 a day, for all I know, coming out there before 2,000 total strangers, wearing a pair of Indian war clubs and a red ribbon in her hair. I tell you, pardner, them acrobat prima donnars are mighty stingy with their money, or else they're mighty economical with their cloze."

"Did you go into the side show?"

"No, sir. I studied the oil paintings on the outside, but I didn't go in, I met a handsome looking man there near the side show, though, that seemed to take an interest in me. There was a lottery along with the show and he wanted me to go and throw for him."

"Capper, probably?"

"Perhaps so. Anyhow, he gave me a dollar and told me to go and throw for him."

"Why didn't he throw for himself?"

"O, he said the lottery man knew him and wouldn't let him throw."

"Of course. Same old story. He saw you were a greeney and got you to throw for him. He stood in with the game so that you drew a big prize for the capper, created a big excitement, and you and the crowd sailed in and lost all the money you had. I'll bet he was a man with a velvet coat, and a moustache dyed a dead black and waxed as sharp as a cambric needle."

"Yes; that's his description to a dot. I wonder if he really did do that a-purpose."

"Well, tell us about it. It does me good to hear a blamed fool tell how he lost his money. Don't you see that your awkward ways and general greenness struck the capper the first thing, and you not only threw away your own money, but two or three hundred other wappy-jawed pelicans saw you draw a big prize and thought it was yours, then they deposited what little they had and everything was lovely."

"Well, I'll tell you how it was, if it'll do any good and save other young men in the future. You see this capper, as you call him, gave me a $1 bill to throw for him, and I put it into my vest pocket so, along with the dollar bill father gave me. I always carry my money in my right hand vest pocket. Well, I sailed up to the game, big as old Jumbo himself, and put a dollar into the game. As you say, I drawed a big prize, $20 and a silver cup. The man offered me $5 for the cup and I took it."

"Then it flashed over my mind that I might have got my dollar and the other feller's mixed, so I says to the proprietor, 'I will now invest a dollar for a gent who asked me to draw for him.'

"Thereupon I took out the other dollar, and I'll be eternally chastised if I didn't draw a brass locket worth about two bits a bushel."

I didn't say anything for a long time. Then I asked him how the capper acted when he got his brass locket.

"Well, he seemed pained and grieved about something, and he asked me if I hadn't time to go away into a quiet place where we could talk it over by ourselves; but he had a kind of a cruel, insincere look in his eye, and I said no, I believed I didn't care to, and that I was a poor conversationalist, anyhow; and so I came away, and left him looking at his brass locket and kicking holes in the ground and using profane language.

"Afterward I saw him talking to the proprietor of the lottery, and I feel, somehow, that they had lost confidence in me. I heard them speak of me in a jeering tone of voice, and one said as I passed by: 'There goes the meek-eyed rural convict now,' and he used a horrid oath at the same time.

"If it hadn't been for that one little quincidence, there would have been nothing to mar the enjoyment of the occasion."

Picnic Incidents.

Camping out in summer for several weeks is a good thing generally. Freedom from social restraint and suspenders is a great luxury for a time, and nothing purifies the blood quicker, or makes a side of bacon taste more like snipe on toast, than the crisp ozone that floats through the hills and forests where man can monkey o'er the green grass without violating a city ordinance.

The picnic is an aggravation. It has just enough of civilization to be a nuisance, and not enough barbarism to make life seem a luxury. If our aim be to lean up against a tree all day in a short seersucker coat and ditto pantaloons that segregated while we were festooning the hammock, the picnic is the thing. If we desire to go home at night with a jelly symphony on each knee and a thousand-legged worm in each ear, we may look upon the picnic as a success.

But to those who wish to forget the past and live only in the booming present, to get careless of gain and breathe brand-new air that has never been used, to appease an irritated liver, or straighten out a torpid lung, let me say, pick out a high, dry clime, where there are trout enough to give you an excuse for going there, take what is absolutely necessary and no more, and then stay there long enough to have some fun.

If we picnic, we wear ourselves out trying to have a good time, so that we can tell about it when we get back, but we do not actually get acquainted with each other before we have to quit and return.

To camp, is to change the whole programme of life, and to stop long enough in the never-ending conflict for dollars and distinction, to get a full breath and look over the field. Still, it is not always smooth sailing. To camp, is sometimes to show the material of which we are made. The dude at home is the dude in camp, and wherever he goes he demonstrates that he was made for naught. I do not know what a camping party would do with a dude unless they used him to bait a bear trap with, and even then it would be taking a mean advantage of the bear. The bear certainly has some rights which we are bound in all decency to respect.

James Milton Sherrod said he had a peculiar experience once while he was in camp on the Poudre in Colorado.

"We went over from Larmy," said he, "in July, eight years ago—four of us. There was me and Charcoal Brown, and old Joe and young Joe Connoy. We had just got comfortably down on the Lower Fork, out of the reach of everybody and sixty miles from a doctor, when Charcoal Brown got sick. Wa'al we had a big time of it. You can imagine yourself somethin' about it. Long in the night Brown began to groan and whoop and holler, and I made a diagnosis of him. He didn't have much sand anyhow. He was tryin' to git a pension from the government on the grounds of desertion and failure to provide, and some such a blame thing or another, so I didn't feel much sympathy fur him. But when I lit the gas and examined him, I found that he had a large fever on hand, and there we was without a doggon thing in the house but a jug of emigrant whiskey and a paper of condition powders fur the mule. I was a good deal rattled at first to know what the dickens to do fur him. The whiskey wouldn't do him any good, and, besides, if he was goin' to have a long spell of sickness we needed it for the watchers.

"Wa'al, it was rough. I'd think of a thousand things that was good fur fevers, and then I'd remember that we hadn't got 'em. Finally old Joe says to me, 'James, why don't ye soak his feet?' says he. 'Soak nuthin',' says I; 'what would ye soak 'em in?' We had a long-handle frying-pan, and we could heat water in it, of course, but it was too shaller to do any good, anyhow; so we abandoned that synopsis right off. First I thought I'd try the condition powders in him, but I hated to go into a case and prescribe so recklessly. Finally I thought of a case of rheumatiz that I had up in Bitter Creek years ago, and how the boys filled their socks full of hot ashes and put 'em all over me till it started the persbyterian all over me and I got over it. So we begun to skirmish around the tent for socks, and I hope I may be tee-totally skun if there was a blame sock in the whole syndicate. Ez fur me, I never wore 'em, but I did think young Joe would be fixed. He wasn't though. Said he didn't want to be considered proud and high strung, so he left his socks at home.

"Then we begun to look around and finally decided that Brown would die pretty soon if we didn't break up the fever, so we concluded to take all the ashes under the camp-fire, fill up his cloze, which was loose, tie his sleeves at the wrists, and his pants at the ankles, give him a dash of condition powders and a little whiskey to take the taste out of his mouth, and then see what ejosted nature would do.

"So we stood Brown up agin a tree and poured hot ashes down his back till he begun to fit his cloze pretty quick, and then we laid him down in the tent and covered him up with everything we had in our humble cot. Everything worked well till he begun to perspirate, and then there was music, and don't you forget it. That kind of soaked the ashes, don't you see, and made a lye that would take the peelin' off a telegraph pole.

"Charcoal Brown jest simply riz up and uttered a shrill whoop that jarred the geology of Colorado, and made my blood run cold. The goose flesh riz on old Joe Connoy till you could hang your hat on him anywhere. It was awful.

"Brown stood up on his feet, and threw things, and cussed us till we felt ashamed of ourselves. I've seen sickness a good deal in my time, but—I give it to you straight—I never seen an invalid stand up in the loneliness of the night, far from home and friends, with the concentrated lye oozin' out of the cracks of his boots, and reproach people the way Charcoal Brown did us.

"He got over it, of course, before Christmas, but he was a different man after that. I've been out campin' with him a good many times sence, but he never complained of feelin' indisposed. He seemed to be timid about tellin' us even if he was under the weather, and old Joe Connoy said mebbe Brown was afraid we would prescribe fur him or sumthin'."


Nero, who was a Roman Emperor from 54 to 68 A.D., was said to have been one of the most disagreeable monarchs to meet that Rome ever had. He was a nephew of Culigula, the Emperor, on his mother's side, and a son of Dominitius Ahenobarbust, of St. Lawrence county. The above was really Nero's name, but in the year 50, A.D., his mother married Claudius and her son adopted the name of Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. This name he was in the habit of wearing during the cold weather, buttoned up in front. During the hot weather, Nero was all the name he wore. In 53, Nero married Octavia, daughter of Claudius, and went right to housekeeping. Nero and Octavia did not get along first-rate. Nero soon wearied of his young wife and finally transferred her to the New Jerusalem.

In 54, Nero's mother, by concealing the rightful heir to the throne for several weeks and doctoring the returns, succeeded in getting the steady job of Emperor for Nero at a good salary.

His reign was quite stormy and several long, bloody wars were carried on during that period. He was a good vicarious fighter and could successfully hold a man's coat all day, while the man went to the front to get killed. He loved to go out riding over the battle fields, as soon as it was safe, in his gorgeously bedizened band chariot and he didn't care if the wheels rolled in gore up to the hub, providing it was some other man's gore. It gave him great pleasure to drive about over the field of carnage and gloat over the dead. Nero was not a great success as an Emperor, but as a gloater he has no rival in history.

Nero's reign was characterized, also, by the great conflagration and Roman fireworks of July, 64, by which two-thirds of the city of Rome was destroyed. The emperor was charged with starting this fire in order to get the insurance on a stock of dry goods on Main street.

Instead of taking off his crown, hanging it up in the hall and helping to put out the fire, as other Emperors have done time and again, Nero took his violin up stairs and played, "I'll Meet You When the Sun Goes Down." This occasioned a great deal of adverse criticism on the part of those who opposed the administration. Several persons openly criticised Nero's policy and then died.

A man in those days, would put on his overcoat in the morning and tell his wife not to keep dinner waiting. "I am going down town to criticise the Emperor a few moments," he would say. "If I do not get home in time for dinner, meet me on the 'evergreen shore.'"

Nero, after the death of Octavia, married Poppaea Sabina. She died afterward at her husband's earnest solicitation. Nero did not care so much about being a bridegroom, but the excitement of being a widower always gratified and pleased him.

He was a very zealous monarch and kept Rome pretty well stirred up during his reign. If a man failed to show up anywhere on time, his friends would look sadly at each other and say, "Alas, he has criticised Nero."

A man could wrestle with the yellow fever, or the small-pox, or the Asiatic cholera and stand a chance for recovery, but when he spoke sarcastically of Nero, it was good-bye John.

When Nero decided that a man was an offensive partisan, that man would generally put up the following notice on his office door:

"Gone to see the Emperor in relation to charge of offensive partisanship. Meet me at the cemetery at 2 o'clock."

Finally, Nero overdid this thing and ran it into the ground. He did not want to be disliked and so, those who disliked him were killed. This made people timid and muzzled the press a good deal.

The Roman papers in those days were all on one side. They did not dare to be fearless and outspoken, for fear that Nero would take out his ad. So they would confine themselves to the statement that: "The genial and urbane Afranius Burrhus had painted his new and recherche picket fence last week," or "Our enterprising fellow townsman, Caesar Kersikes, will remove the tail of his favorite bulldog next week, if the weather should be auspicious," or "Miss Agrippina Bangoline, eldest daughter of Romulus Bangoline, the great Roman rinkist, will teach the school at Eupatorium, Trifoliatum Holler, this summer. She is a highly accomplished young lady, and a good speller."

Nero got more and more fatal as he grew older, and finally the Romans began to wonder whether he would not wipe out the Empire before he died. His back yard was full all the time of people who had dropped in to be killed, so that they could have it off their minds.

Finally, Nero himself yielded to the great strain that had been placed upon him and, in the midst of an insurrection in Gaul, Spain and Rome itself, he fled and killed himself.

The Romans were very grateful for Nero's great crowning act in the killing line, but they were dissatisfied because he delayed it so long, and therefore they refused to erect a tall monument over his remains. While they admired the royal suicide and regarded it as a success, they censured Nero's negligence and poor judgment in suiciding at the wrong end of his reign.

I have often wondered what Nero would have done if he had been Emperor of the United States for a few weeks and felt as sensitive to newspaper criticism as he seems to have been. Wouldn't it be a picnic to see Nero cross the Jersey ferry to kill off a few journalists who had adversely criticised his course? The great violin virtuoso and light weight Roman tyrant would probably go home by return mail, wrapped in tinfoil, accompanied by a note of regret from each journalist in New York, closing with the remark, that "in the midst of life we are in death, therefore now is the time to subscribe."

Squaw Jim.

"Jim, you long-haired, backslidden Caucasian nomad, why don't you say something? Brace up and tell us your experience. Were you kidnapped when you were a kid and run off into the wild wickyup of the forest, or how was it that you came to leave the Yankee reservation and eat the raw dog of the Sioux?"

We were all sitting around the roaring fat-pine fire at the foot of the canon, and above us the full moon was filling the bottom of the black notch in the mountains, where God began to engrave the gulch that grew wider and deeper till it reached the valley where we were.

Squaw Jim was tall, silent and grave. He was as dignified as the king of clubs, and as reticent as the private cemetery of a deaf and dumb asylum. He didn't move when Dutch Joe spoke to him, but he noticed the remark, and after awhile got up in the firelight, and later on the silent savage made the longest speech of his life.

"Boys, you call me Squaw Jim, and you call my girl a half breed. I have no other name than Squaw Jim with the pale faced dude and the dyspeptic sky pilot who tells me of his God. You call me Squaw Jim because I've married a squaw and insist on living with her. If I had married Mist-of-the-Waterfall, and had lived in my tepee with her summers, and wintered at St. Louis with a wife who belonged to a tall peaked church, and who wore her war paint, and her false scalp-lock, and her false heart into God's wigwam, I'd be all right, probably. They would have laughed about it a little among the boys, but it would have been "wayno" in the big stone lodges at the white man's city.

"I loved a pale faced girl in Connecticut forty years ago. She said she did me, but she met with a change of heart and married a bare-back rider in a circus. Then she ran away with the sword swallower of the side show, and finally broke her neck trying to walk the tight rope. The jury said if the rope had been as tight as she was it might have saved her life.

"Since then I've been where the sun and the air and the soil were free. It kind of soothed me to wear moccasins and throw my biled shirt into the Missouri. It took the fever of jealousy and disappointment out of my soul to sleep in the great bosom of the unhoused night. Soon I learned how to parley-vous in the Indian language, and to wear the clothes of the red man. I married the squaw girl who saved me from the mountain fever and my foes. She did not yearn for the equestrian of the white man's circus. She didn't know how to raise XxYxZ to the nth power, but she was a wife worthy of the President of the United States. She was way off the trail in matters of etiquette, but she didn't know what it was to envy and hate the pale faced squaw with the sealskin sacque and the torpid liver, and the high-priced throne of grace. She never sighed to go where they are filling up Connecticut's celestial exhibit with girls who get mysteriously murdered and the young men who did it go out lecturing. You see I keep posted.

"Boys, you kind of pity me, I reckon, and say Squaw Jim might have been in Congress if he'd stayed with his people and wore night shirts and pared his claws, but you needn't.

"My wife can't knock the tar out of a symphony on the piano, but she can mop the dew off the grass with a burglar, and knock out a dude's eyes at sixty yards rise.

"My wife is a little foggy on the winter style of salvation, and probably you'd stall her on how to drape a silk velvet overskirt so it wouldn't hang one-sided, but she has a crude idea of an every day, all wool General Superintendent of the Universe and Father of all-Humanity, whether they live under a horse blanket tepee or a Gothic mortgage. She might look out of place before the cross, with her chilblains and her childlike confidence, among the Tom cat sealskin sacques of your camel's hair Christianity, but if the world was supplied with Christians like my wife, purgatory would make an assignment, and the Salvation Army would go home and hoe corn. Sabe?"

Squaw Jim's Religion.

Referring to religious matters, the other day, Squaw Jim said: "I was up at the Post yesterday to kind of rub up against royalty, and refresh my memory with a few papers. I ain't a regular subscriber to any paper, for I can't always get my mail on time. We're liable to be here, there and everywhere, mebbe at some celebrated Sioux watering place and mebbe on the warpath, so I can't rely on the mails much, but I manage, generally, to get hold of a few old papers and magazines now and then. I don't always know who's president before breakfast the day after election, but I manage to skirmish around and find out before his term expires.

"Now, speaking about the religion of the day, or, rather, the place where it used to be, it seems to me as if there's a mistake somewhere. It looks as if religion meant greenness, and infidelity meant science and smartness, according to the papers. I'm no scientist myself. I don't know evolution from the side of a house. As an evolver I couldn't earn my board, probably, and I wouldn't know a protoplasm from a side of sole leather; but I know when I get to the end of my picket rope, and I know just as sure where the knowable quits and the unknowable begins as anybody. I mean I can crawl into a prairie dog hole, and pull the hole in and put it in my pocket, in my poor, weak way, just as well as a scientist can. If a man offered to trade me a spavined megatherium for a foundered hypothesis, I couldn't know enough about either of the blamed brutes to trade and make a profit. I never run around after delightful worms and eccentric caterpillers. I have so far controlled myself and escaped the habit, but I am able to arrive at certain conclusions. You think that because I am the brother-in-law to an Indian outbreak, I don't care whether Zion languishes or not; but you are erroneous. You make a very common mistake.

"Mind you, I don't pretend to be up on the plan of salvation, and so far as vicarious atonement goes, I don't even know who is the author of it, but I've got a kind of hand-made religion that suits me. It's cheap, and portable, and durable, and stands our severe northern climate first rate. It ain't the protuberant kind. It don't protrude into other people's way like a sore thumb. All-wool religion don't go around with a chip on it's shoulder looking for a personal deal.

"If I had time and could move my library around with me during our summer tour, I might monkey with speculative science and expose the plan of creation, but as it is now, I really haven't time.

"I say this, however, friends, Romans and backsliders: I think sometimes when my little half-breed girl comes to me in the evening in her night dress, and kneels by me with her little brown face in between my knees, and with my hard hands in her unbraided hair, that she's got something better than speculative science when she says:

'Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take: This I ask for Jesus' sake;'

"and I know that a million more little angels are saying that same thing, at that same hour, to the same imaginary God, I say to myself, if that is a vain, empty infatuation, blessed be that holy infatuation.

"If that's a wild and crazy delusion, let me be always deluded. If forty millions of chubby little angels bow their dimpled knees every evening to a false and foolish tradition, let me do so, too. If I die, then I will be in good company, even if I go no farther than the clouds of the valley."

One Kind of Fool.

A young man, with a plated watch-chain that would do to tie up a sacred elephant, came into Denver the other day from the East, on the Julesburg Short line, and told the hotel clerk that he had just returned from Europe, and was on his way across the continent with the intention of publishing a book of international information. He handed an oilcloth grip across the counter, registered in a bold, bad way and with a flourish that scattered the ink all over the clerk's white shirt front.

He was assigned to a quiet room on the fifth floor, that had been damaged by water a few weeks before by the fire department. After an hour or two spent in riding up and down the elevator and ringing for things that didn't cost anything, he oiled his hair and strolled into the dining-room with a severe air and sat down opposite a big cattle man, who never oiled his hair or stuck his nose into other people's business.

The European traveler entered into conversation with the cattle man. He told him all about Paris and the continent, meanwhile polishing his hands on the tablecloth and eating everything within reach. While he ate another man's dessert, he chatted on gaily about Cologne and pitied the cattle man who had to stay out on the bleak plains and watch the cows, while others paddled around Venice and acquired information in a foreign land.

At first the cattle man showed some interest in Europe, but after awhile he grew quiet and didn't seem to enjoy it. Later on the European tourist, with soiled cuffs and auburn mane, ordered the waiters around in a majestic way, to impress people with his greatness, tipped over the vinegar cruet into the salt and ate a slice of boiled egg out of another man's salad.

Casually a tall Kansas man strolled in and asked the European tourist what he was doing in Denver. The cattle man, who, by the way, has been abroad five or six times and is as much at home in Paris as he is in Omaha, investigated the matter, and learned that the fresh French tourist had been herding hens on a chicken ranch in Kansas for six years, and had never seen blue water. He then took a few personal friends to the dining-room door, and they watched the alleged traveler. He had just taken a long, refreshing drink from the finger bowl of his neighbor on the left and was at that moment, trying to scoop up a lump of sugar with the wrong end of the tongs.

There are a good many fools who drift around through the world and dodge the authorities, but the most disastrous ass that I know is the man who goes West with two dollars and forty cents in his pocket, without brains enough to soil the most delicate cambric handkerchief, and tries to play himself for a savant with so much knowledge that he has to shed information all the time to keep his abnormal knowledge from hurting him.

John Adams' Diary.

December 3, 1764.—I am determined to keep a diary, if possible, the rest of my life. I fully realize how difficult it will be to do so. Many others of my acquaintance have endeavored to maintain a diary, but have only advanced so far as the second week in January. It is my purpose to write down each evening the events of the day as they occur to my mind, in order that in a few years they may be read and enjoyed by my family. I shall try to deal truthfully with all matters that I may refer to in these pages, whether they be of national or personal interest, and I shall seek to avoid anything bitter or vituperative, trying rather to cool my temper before I shall submit my thoughts to paper.

December 4.—This morning we have had trouble with the hired girl. It occurred in this wise: We had fully two-thirds of a pumpkin pie that had been baked in a square tin. This major portion of the pie was left over from our dinner yesterday, and last night, before retiring to rest, I desired my wife to suggest something in the cold pie line, which she did. I lit a candle and explored the pantry in vain. The pie was no longer visible. I told Mrs. Adams that I had not been successful, whereupon we sought out the hired girl, whose name is Tootie Tooterson, a foreign damsel, who landed in this country Nov. 7, this present year. She does not understand our language, apparently, especially when we refer to pie. The only thing she does without a strong foreign accent is to eat pumpkin pie and draw her salary. She landed on our coast six weeks ago, after a tedious voyage across the heaving billows. It was a close fight between Tootie and the ocean, but when they quit, the heaving billows were one heave ahead by the log.

Miss Tooterson landed in Massachusetts in a woolen dress and hollow clear down into the ground. A strong desire to acquire knowledge and cold, hand-made American pie seems to pervade her entire being.

She has only allowed Mrs. Adams and myself to eat what she did not want herself.

Miss Tooterson has also introduced into my household various European eccentricities and strokes of economy which deserve a brief notice here. Among other things she has made pie crust with castor oil in it, and lubricated the pancake griddle with a pork rind that I had used on my lame neck. She is thrifty and saving in this way, but rashly extravagant in the use of doughnuts, pie and Medford rum, which we keep in the house for visitors who are so unfortunate as to be addicted to the doughnut, pie or rum habit.

It is discouraging, indeed, for two young people like Mrs. Adams and myself, who have just begun to keep house, to inherit a famine, and such a robust famine, too. It is true that I should not have set my heart upon such a transitory and evanescent terrestrial object like a pumpkin pie so near to T. Tooterson, imported pie soloist, doughnut mastro and feminine virtuoso, but I did, and so I returned from the pantry desolate.

I told Abigail that unless we poisoned a few pies for Tootie the Adams family would be a short-lived race. I could see with my prophetic eye that unless the Tootersons yielded the Adamses would be wiped out. Abigail would not consent to this, but decided to relieve Miss Tooterson from duty in this department, so this morning she went away. Not being at all familiar with the English language, she took four of Abigail's sheets and quite a number of towels, handkerchiefs and collars. She also erroneously took a pair of my night-shirts in her poor, broken way. Being entirely ignorant of American customs, I presume that she will put a belt around them and wear them externally to church. I trust that she will not do this, however, without mature deliberation.

I also had a bottle of lung medicine of a very powerful nature which the doctor had prepared for me. By some oversight, Miss Tooterson drank this the first day that she was in our service. This was entirely wrong, as I did not intend to use it for the foreign trade, but mostly for home consumption.

This is a little piece of drollery that I thought of myself. I do not think that a joke impairs the usefulness of a diary, as some do. A diary with a joke in it is just as good to fork over to posterity as one that is not thus disfigured. In fact, what has posterity ever done for me that I should hesitate about socking a little humor into a diary? When has posterity ever gone out of its way to do me a favor? Never! I defy the historian to show a single instance where posterity has ever been the first to recognize and remunerate ability.

John Adams' Diary. (No. 2.)

December 6.—It is with great difficulty that I write this entry in my diary, for this morning Abigail thought best for me to carry the oleander down into the cellar, as the nights have been growing colder of late.

I do not know which I dislike most, foreign usurpation or the oleander. I have carried that plant up and down stairs every time the weather has changed, and the fickle elements of New England have kept me rising and falling with the thermometer, and whenever I raised or fell I most always had that scrawny oleander in my arms.

Richly has it repaid us, however, with its long, green, limber branches and its little yellow nubs on the end. How full of promises to the eye that are broken to the heart. The oleander is always just about to meet its engagements, but later on it peters out and fails to materialize.

I do not know what we would do if it were not for our house plants. Every fall I shall carry them cheerfully down cellar, and in the spring I will bring up the pots for Mrs. Adams to weep softly into. Many a night at the special instance and request of my wife I have risen, clothed in one simple, clinging garment, to go and see if the speckled, double and twisted Rise-up-William-Riley geranium was feeling all right.

Last summer Abigail brought home a slip of English ivy. I do not like things that are English very much, but I tolerated this little sickly thing because it seemed to please Abigail. I asked her what were the salient features of the English ivy. What did the English ivy do? What might be its specialty? Mrs. Adams said that it made a specialty of climbing. It was a climber from away back. "All right," I then to her did straightway say, "let her climb." It was a good early climber. It climbed higher than Jack's beanstalk. It climbed the golden stair. Most of our plants are actively engaged in descending the cellar stairs or in ascending the golden stair most all the time.

I descended the stairs with the oleander this morning, though the oleander got there a little more previously than I did. Parties desiring a good, secondhand oleander tub, with castors on it, will do well to give us a call before going elsewhere. Purchasers desiring a good set of second-hand ear muffs for tulips will find something to their advantage by addressing the subscriber.

We also have two very highly ornamental green dogoods for ivy vines to ramble over. We could be induced to sell these dogoods at a sacrifice, in order to make room for our large stock of new and attractive dogoods. These articles are as good as ever. We bought them during the panic last fall for our vines to climb over, but, as our vines died of membranous croup in November, these dogoods still remain unclum. Second-hand dirt always on hand. Ornamental geranium stumps at bed-rock prices. Highest cash prices paid for slips of black-and-tan foliage plants. We are headquarters for the century plant that draws a salary for ninety-nine years and then dies.

I do not feel much like writing in my diary to-day, but the physician says that my arm will be better in a day or two, so that it will be more of a pleasure to do business.

We are still without a servant girl, so I do some of the cooking. I make a fire each day and boil the teakettle. People who have tried my boiled teakettle say it is very fine.

Some of my friends have asked me to run for the Legislature here next election. Somehow I feel that I might, in public life, rise to distinction some day, and perhaps at some future time figure prominently in the affairs of a one-horse republic at a good salary.

I have never done anything in the statesman line, but it does not look difficult to me. It occurs to me that success in public life is the result of a union of several great primary elements, to-wit:

Firstly—Ability to whoop in a felicitous manner.

Secondly—Promptness in improving the proper moment in which to whoop.

Thirdly—Ready and correct decision in the matter of which side to whoop on.

Fourthly—Ability to cork up the whoop at the proper moment and keep it in a cool place till needed.

And this last is one of the most important of all. It is the amateur statesman who talks the most. Fearing that he will conceal his identity as a fool, he babbles in conversation and slashes around in his shallow banks in public.

As soon as I get the house plants down cellar and get their overshoes on for the winter, I will more seriously consider the question of our political affairs here in this new land where we have to tie our scalps on at night and where every summer is an Indian summer.

John Adams' Diary (No. 3.)

December 10.—I have put in a long and exhausting day in the court to-day in the case of Merkins vs. Merkins, a suit for divorce in which I am the counsel for the plaintiff, Eliza J. Merkins.

The case itself is a peculiarly trying one, and the plaintiff adds to its horrors by consulting me when I want to do something else. I took her case at an agreed price, and so Mrs. Merkins is trying to get her money's worth by consulting me in a way I abhor. She has consulted me in every mood and tense that I know of; at my office, on the street, in church, at the festive board and at different funerals to which we both happened to be called. Mrs. Merkins has hung like a pall over several Massachusetts funerals which otherwise had every symptom of success.

I am a great admirer of woman as a woman, but as a client in a suit for divorce she has her peculiarities. I have seen Eliza in every phase of the case. She has been calm and tearful, stormy and snorting, low-spirited and red-nosed, violent and menacing, resigned but sobby, trustful and confidential, high strung and haughty, crushed and weepy.

She makes a specialty of shedding the red-hot scalding tear wherever she can obtain permission to do so. She has wept in my wood-box, in my new spittoon, on my desk and on my birthday. I told her that I wished she would please weep on something else. There were enough objects in nature upon which a poor woman who wept constantly and had no other visible means of support could shed the wild torrents of her grief, without weeping on my anniversary. A man wants to keep his birthday as dry as possible. He hates to have it wept on by a client who has jewed him down to half price, and then insisted on coming in to sob with him in the morning before he has swept the office floor.

One time she came and sobbed on my shoulder. Her tears are of the warm, damp kind, and feel disagreeable as they roll down the neck of a comparative stranger, who never can be aught but a friend. She rested her bonnet on my bosom while she wept, and I then discovered that she has been in the habit of wearing this bonnet while cooking her buckwheat pancakes. I presume she keeps her bonnet on all the time, so that she may be ready to dash out and consult me at all times without delay. Still, she ought not to do it, for when she leans her head on the bosom of her counsel in order to consult him, he detects the odor of the early sausage and the fleeting pancake.

You may bust such a bonnet and crush it if you will, But the scent of the pancake will cling round it still.

As soon as I saw that her object was to lean up against me and not only convulse herself with sobs, but that she intended to jar me also with her great woe, I told her that I would have to request her to avaunt. I then, as she did not act upon my suggestion, avaunted her myself. I avaunted her into a chair with a sickening thud.

She then burst forth in a torrent of vituperation. When the abnormal sobber is suddenly corked up, these sobs rankle in the system and burst forth in the shape of vituperation. In the course of her remarks, she stated in a violent manner that she would denounce me throughout the country and retain other counsel. I told her I wished she would, as my sympathies were with Mr. Merkins. I told her that she must either pay me a larger fee or I should insist on her weeping in the alley before she came up.

She then took her departure with a rising inflection. On the following day, however, I found her at the office door, and she stood near and consulted me again, while I took up the ashes and started a fire in the stove.

Her case is quite peculiar.

She wants a divorce from her husband on the grounds of cruelty to animals, or something of that kind, and when she first told me about it I thought she had a case, but when we came to trial I found that she had had every reason to believe that if she could be segregated from Mr. Merkins she could at once become the bride of a gentleman who ploughed the raging main.

Just as we went to the jury to-day with the case, she heard casually that the gentleman who had been in the main-ploughing business had just married without her knowledge or consent.

"Heap Brain."

Much trouble has been done by a long haired phrenologist in the West who has, during his life, felt of over a hundred thousand heads. A comparison of a large number of charts given in these cases shows that so far no head examined would indicate anything less than a member of the lower house of congress. Artists, orators, prima-donnas and statesmen are plenty, but there are no charts showing the natural-born farmer, carpenter, shoemaker or chambermaid.

That is the reason butter is so high west of the Missouri river to-day, while genius actually runs riot.

What this day and age of the world needs, is a phrenologist who will paw around among the intellectual domes of free-born American citizens, and search out a few men who can milk a cow in a cool and unimpassioned tone of voice.

It is true that every man in America is a sovereign, but he had better not overdo it. The man who sits up nights to be a sovereign and allows the calves to eat his brown-eyed beans, is not leading his fellow men up to a higher and nobler life. The sovereign business can be run in the ground if we are not careful.

Very likely the white-eyed boy with the hickory dado along the base of his overalls is the boy who in future years is to be the president of the United States. But do not, oh, do not trow, fair young reader, that every Albino youth in our broad land who wears an isosceles triangle in navy blue flannel athwart his system, is going to be the chief magistrate of this mighty republic.

We need statesmen and orators and artists very much; but the world at this moment also needs several athletic parties with the horse-sense adequate to produce flour and other vegetables necessary to feed the aforesaid statesmen, orators, etc., etc.

Let me say a word to the bright-eyed youth of America, Let me murmur in your ear this never dying truth: When a long-haired crank asks you a dollar to tell you, you are a young Demosthenes, stand up and look yourself over at a distance before you swallow it all.

There is no use talking, we have got to procure provisions in some manner, and in order to do so the natural-born bone and muscle of the country must go at and promote the growth of such things, or else we artists, poets and statesmen, will have to take off our standing collars and do it ourselves.

Phrenology is a good thing, no doubt, if we can purify it. So long as it does not become the slave of capital, there is nothing about phrenology that is going to do harm; but when it becomes the creature of the trade dollar, it looks as though the country would be filled up with wild-eyed genius that hasn't had a square meal for two weeks. The time will surely come when America will demand less statesmanship and more flour; when less statistics and a purer, nobler and more progressive style of beefsteak will demand our attention.

I had hoped that phrenology would step in and start this reform; but so far it has not, within the range of my observation. It may be, however, that the mental giant bump translator with whom I came in contact was not a fair representative. Still, he has been in the business for over thirty years, and some of our most polished criminals have passed under his hands.

An erroneous phrenologist once told me that I would shine as a revivalist, and said that I ought to marry a tall blonde with a nervous, sanguinary temperament. Then he said, "One dollar, please," and I said, "All right, gentle scientist with the tawny mane, I will give you the dollar and marry the tall blonde with the bank account and bilious temperament, when you give me a chart showing me how to dispose of a brown-eyed brunette with a thoughtful cast of countenance, who married me in an unguarded moment two years ago."

He looked at me in a reproachful kind of way, struck at me with a chair in an absent-minded manner and stole away.

The Approaching Humorist.

The following letter has been received, and, as it encloses no unsmirched postage stamp to insure a private reply, I take great pleasure in answering it in these pages:

Christiana, Kas., Sept. 22nd, 1884

Dear Sir.—I am studying for a Humorist. Could you help me to some of the Joliest Books that are written? With some of the best Jokes of the Day &c &c &c.

Also what it would be best for me to do for to become an Humorist.

I am said to be a Natural Born Humorist by my friends and all I need is Cultivation to make my mark.

Please reply by return mail.

Kindly Yours

Herman A.H.

For some time I have been grieving over the dearth of humor in America, and wondering who the great coming humorist was to be. Several papers have already deplored the lack of humor in our land, but they have not been able to put their finger on the approaching humorist of the age. Just as we had begun to despair, however, here he comes, quietly and unostentatiously, modestly and ungrammatically. Unheralded and silently, like Maud S. or any other eminent man, he slowly rises above the Kansas horizon, and tells us that it will be impossible to conceal his identity any longer. He is the approaching humorist of the nineteenth century.

It is a serious matter, Herman, to prescribe a course of study that will be exactly what you need to bring you out. Perhaps you might do well to take a Kindergarten course in spelling and the rudiments of grammar; still, that is not absolutely necessary. A friend of mine named Billings has done well as a humorist, though his knowledge of spelling seems to be pitiably deficient. Grammar is convenient where a humorist desires to put on style or show off before crowned heads, but it is not absolutely indispensable.

Regarding the "Joliest Books" necessary for your perusal, in order to chisel your name on the eternal tablets of fame, tastes will certainly differ. I am almost sorry that you wrote to me, because we might not agree. You write like one of these "Joly" humorists such as people employ to go along with a picnic and be the life of the party, and whose presence throughout the country has been so depressing. If one may be allowed to judge of your genius by the few autograph lines forwarded, you belong to that class of brain-workers upon whom devolves the solemn duty of pounding sand. If you are really a brain-worker, will you kindly inform the writer whose brain you are working now, and how you like it as far as you have gone?

American humor has burst forth from all kinds of places, nearly. The various professions have done their share. One has risen from a tramp until he is wealthy and dyspeptic, and another was blown up on a steamboat before he knew that he was a humorist.

Suppose you try that, Herman. M. Quad, one of the very successful humorists of the day, both in a literary and financial way, was blown up by a steamboat before he bloomed forth into the full flush and power of success. Try that, Herman. It is a severe test, but it is bound to be a success. Even if it should be disastrous to you, it will be rich in its beneficial results to those who escape.

What We Eat.

On 3d street, St. Paul, there stands a restaurant that has outside as a sign, under a glass case, a rib roast, a slice of ham and a roast duck that I remembered distinctly having seen there in 1860 and before the war. I asked an epicure the other day if he thought it right to keep those things there year after year when so many were starving throughout the length and breadth of the land. He then straightway did take me up close so that I could see that the food was made of plaster and painted, as hereinbefore set forth and by me translated, as Walt Whitman would say.

A day or two afterward, at a rural hotel, I struck some of that same roast beef and ham. I thought that the sign had been put on the table by mistake, and I made bold to tell the proprietor about it, on the ground that "any neglect or impertinence on the part of servants should be reported at the office." He received the information with great rudeness and a most disagreeable air.

There are two kinds of guests who live at the average hotel. One is the party who gets up and walks over the whole corps de hote, from the bald-headed proprietor to the bootblack, while the other is the meek and mild-eyed man, doomed to sit at the table and bewail the flight of time and the horrors of starvation while waiting for the relief party to come with his food.

I belong to the latter class. Born, as I was, in a private family, and early acquiring the habit of eating food that was intended to assuage hunger mostly, it takes me a good while to accustom myself to the style of dyspeptic microbe used simply to ornament a bill of fare. Of course it is maintained by some hotel men that food solely for eating purposes is becoming obsolete and outre, and that the stuff they put on their bills of fare is just as good to pour down the back of a guest as diet that is cooked for the common, low, perverted taste of people who have no higher aspiration than to eat their food.

Of course the genial, urbane and talented reader will see at once the style of hotel I am referring to. It is the hotel that apes the good hotel and prints a bill of fare solely as a literary effort. That is the hotel where you find the moth-eaten towel and the bed-ridden coffee. There is where you get butter that runs the elevator day times and sleeps on the flannel cakes at night.

It is there that you meet the weary and way-worn steak that bears the toothprints of other guests who are now in a land where the early-rising chambermaid cannot enter.

I also refer to the hotel where the bellboy is simply an animated polisher of banisters, and otherwise extremely useless. It is likewise the house where the syrup tastes like tincture of rhubarb, and the pancakes taste like a hektograph.

The traveling man will call to mind the hotel to which I refer, and he will instantly name it and tell you that he has never spent the Sabbath there.

I honestly believe that some hotel men lose money and custom by trying to issue a large blanket-sheet bill of fare every day, when a more modest list containing two or three things that a human being could eat with impunity would be far more acceptable, healthy and remunerative.

Some people can live on cracked wheat, bran and skimmed milk, no matter where they go, and so they always seem to be perfectly happy; but, while simplicity is my watchword, and while I am Old Simplicity himself, as it were, I haven't been constructed with stomachs enough to successfully wrestle with these things. I like a few plain dishes with victuals on them, cooked by a person who has had some experience in that line before. I am not so especially tied to high prices and finger-bowls, for I have risen from the common people, and during the first eighteen years of my life I had to dress myself. I was not always the pampered child of enervating luxury that I now am, by any means. So I can subsist for weeks on good, plain food, and never murmur or repine; but where the mistake at some hotels seems to have been made, is in trying to issue a bill of fare every day that will attract the attention of literary minds and excite the curiosity of linguists instead of people who desire to assuage an internal craving for grub.

I use the term grub in its broadest and most comprehensive sense.

So, if I may take the liberty to do so, let me exhort the landlord who is gradually accumulating indebtedness and remorse, to use a plainer, less elaborate, but more edible list of refreshments. Otherwise his guests will all die young.

Let him discard the seamless waffle and the kiln-dried hen. Let him abstain from the debris known as cottage pudding, that being its alias, while the doctors recognize it as old Gastric Disturbance. Too much of our hotel food tastes like the second day of January or the fifth day of July. That's the whole thing in a few words, and unless the good hotels are nearer together we shall have to multiply our cemetery facilities.

Poor hotels are responsible for lots of drunkards every year. The only time I am tempted to soak my sorrows in rum is after I have read a delusive bill of fare and eaten a broiled barn-hinge with gravy on it that tasted like the broth of perdition. It is then that the demon of intemperance and colic comes to me and, in siren tones, says: "Try our bourbon, with 'Polly Narius' on the side."

Care of House Plants.

Stern winter is the season in which to keep the eye peeled for the fragile little house plant. It is at that time that the coarse and brutal husband carries the Scandinavian flower known as the Ole Ander, part way down the cellar, and allows it to fall the rest of the way. I carried a large Ole Andor up and down stairs for nine years, until the spring of 1880. That was rather a backward spring, and a pale red cow, with one horn done up in a French twist, ate the most of it as it stood on the porch.

This cow was a total stranger to me. I had never done anything for her by which to win her esteem. It shows how Providence works through the humblest means sometimes to accomplish a great good.

I have tried many times to find the postoffice address of that lonely cow, so I might comfort her declining years, but she seemed to have melted away into the bosom of space, for I cannot find her. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of a pale red cow, with one horn done up in a French twist, and wearing a look of settled melancholy, will please communicate the same to me, as we have another Ole Ander that will just about fit her, I think, by spring.

Bulbs may be wrapped in cotton and put in a cool place in the fall, and fed to the domestic animals in the spring. Geraniums should put on their buffalo overcoats about the middle of November in our rigid northern clime, and in the spring they will have the same luxuriant foliage as the tropical hat-rack. Vines may be left in the room during the winter until the furnace slips a cog and then you can pull them down and feed them to the family horses. In changing your plants from the living rooms or elsewhere to the cellar in the fall, take great care to avoid injury to the pot. I have experienced some very severe winters in my life, but I have never seen the mercury so low that a flowerpot couldn't struggle through and look fresh and robust in the spring. The longevity of the pot is surprising when we consider how much death there is all about it. I had a large brown flower-pot once that originally held the germ of a calla lily. This lily emerged from the soil with the light of immortality in its eye. It got up to where we began to be attached to it, and then it died. Then we put a plant in its place which was given us by a friend. I do not remember now what this plant was called, but I know it was sent to us wrapped up in a piece of moist brown paper, and half an hour later a dray drove up to the house with the name of the plant itself. In the summer it required very little care, and in the winter I would cover the little thing up with its name, and it would be safe till spring. One evening we had a free-for-all musicale at my house, and a corpulent friend of mine tried to climb it, and it died. (Tried to climb the plant, not the musicale.) The plant yielded to the severe climb it. This joke now makes its debut for the first time before the world. Anyone who feels offended with this joke may wreak his vengeance on a friend of mine named Sullivan, who is passionately fond of having people wreak their vengeance on him. People having a large amount of unwreaked vengeance on hand will do well to give him a call before purchasing elsewhere.

A Peaceable Man.

Will L. Visscher always made a specialty of being a peaceable man. He would make most any sacrifice in order to secure general amnesty. I've known him to go around six blocks out of his way, to avoid a stormy interview with a belligerant dog. He was always very tender-hearted about dogs, especially the open-faced bulldog.

But he had a queer experience years ago, in St. Jo, Missouri. He had been city editor of the Kansas City Journal for some time, but one evening, while in the composing-room, the foreman told him that the place for the city editor was down stairs, in his office. He therefore ordered Visscher to go down there. Visscher said he would do so later on, after he got fatigued with the composing-room and wanted change of scene.

The foreman thereupon jumped on Mr. Visscher with a small pica wrought iron side stick. Visscher allowed that he was a peaceable man, but entered into the general chaos of double-leaded editorial, and hair and brass dashes, and dashes for liberty and heterogeneous "pi," and foot-sticks and teeth, with great zeal. He succeeded in putting a large doric head on the foreman, and although he was a peaceable man, he went down to the office and got his discharge for disturbing the discipline of the office.

He went to St. Jo the same day, and celebrated his debut into the town by a little game of what is known as "draw." He was fortunate in "filling his hand," and while he was taking in the stakes, a young man from Arkansas, who was in the game, nipped a two-dollar note in a quiet kind of way, which, however, was detected by Mr. V., who mentioned the matter at the time. This maddened the Arkansas man, and later on he put one of his long arms around Mr. Visscher so as to pinion him, and then smote him across the brow with an instrument, known to science as "the brass knucks." This irritated Mr. Visscher, and as soon as he had returned to consciousness he remarked that, although it was rather an up-hill job in Missouri, he was trying to be a peaceable man. He then broke the leg of a card-table over the head of the Arkansas man, and went to the doctor to get his own brow sewed on again.

While he was sitting in the doctor's office a friend of the Arkansas man came in and asked him to please stand up while he knocked him down. Visscher opened a little dialogue with the man, and drew him into conversation till he could open a case of surgical instruments near by, then he took out one of those knives that the surgeons use in removing the viscera from the leading gentleman at a post mortem.

"Now," said he, sharpening the knife on the stove-pipe and handing down a jar containing alcohol with a tumor in it, "I am a peaceful man and don't want any fuss; but if you insist on a personal encounter, I will slice off fragments of your physiognomy at my leisure, and for twenty minutes I will fill this office with your favorite features. I make a specialty of being a peaceable man, remember; but if you'll just say the word, I'll put overcoat button-holes and eyelet-holes and crazy-quilts all over your system. If I've got to kill off the poker-players of St. Jo before I can have any fun, I guess I might as well begin on you as on any one I know."

He then made a stab at the man and pinned his coat-tail to the door-frame. Fear loaned the bad man strength, and, splitting the coat-tail, he fled, taking little mementoes of the tumor-jar and shedding them in his flight.

When Mr. Visscher went up to the Herald office soon after to get a job, he was introduced casually to the foreman, who said:

"Ah, this is the young man who licks the foreman of the paper he works on, is it? I am glad to meet you, Mr. Visscher. I am looking for a white-eyed son of a sea-cook who goes around over Missouri thumping the foremen of our leading journals. Come out into the ante-room, Mr. Visscher, till I jar your back teeth loose and send you to the morgue in a gunny-sack." Mr. Visscher repeated that he was trying to live in Missouri and be a peaceable man, but that if there was anything that he could do to make it pleasant for the foreman, he would cheerfully do it.

Mr. Visscher was a small man, but when he felt aggrieved about anything he was very harassing to his adversary. They "clinched" and threw each other back and forth across the hall with great vigor. When they stopped for breath, the foreman's coat was pulled over his head and the bosom of Mr. Visscher's shirt was hanging on the gas-jet. There were also two front teeth on the floor unaccounted for.

Visscher pinned on his shirt-bosom and said he was a peaceable man, but if the custom seemed to demand four fights in one day, he would try to conform to any local usage of the city. Wherever he went, he wanted to fall right into line and be one of the party.

When he got well he was employed on the Herald, and for four years edited the amnesty column of the paper successfully.

Biography of Spartacus.

Spartacus, whose given name seems to have been torn off in its passage down through the corridors of time, was born in Thrace and educated as a shepherd. While smearing the noses of the young lambs with tar one spring, in order to prevent the snuffies among them, he thought that he would become a robber. It occurred to him that this calling was the only one he knew of that seemed to be open to the young man without means.

He had hardly got started, however, in the "hold up" industry, when he was captured by the Romans, sold at cost and trained as a gladiator, in a school at Capua. Here he succeeded in stirring up a conspiracy and uniting two hundred or more of the grammar department of the school in a general ruction, as it was then termed.

The scheme was discovered and only seventy of the number escaped, headed by Spartacus. These snatched cleavers from the butcher shops, pickets from the Roman fences and various other weapons, and with them fought their way to the foot hill where they met a wagon train loaded with arms and supplies. They secured the necessary weapons whereby to go into a general war business and established themselves in the crater of Mount Vesuvius.

Spartacus was a man of wonderful carriage and great physical strength. It had always been his theory that a man might as well die of old age as to feed himself to a Roman menagerie. He maintained that he would rather die in a general free fight, where he had a chance, than to be hauled around over the arena by one leg behind a Numidian lion.

So he took his little band and fought his way to Vesuvius. There they had a pleasant time camping out nights and robbing the Roman's daytimes. The excitement of sleeping in a crater, added a wonderful charm to their lives. While others slept cold in Capua, Spartacus cuddled up to the crater and kept comfortable.

For a long time the little party had it all their own way. They sniffed the air of freedom and lived on Roman spring chicken on the half shell, and it beat the arena business all hollow.

At last, however, an army of 3,000 men was sent against them, and Spartacus awoke one morning to find himself blocked up in his crater. For a time the outlook was not cheering. Spartacus thought of telegraphing the war department for reinforcements, but finally decided not to do so.

Finally, with ladders made of wild vines, the little garrison slipped out through what had seemed an impassable fissure in the crater, got in the rear of the army and demolished it completely. That's the kind of man that Spartacus was. Fighting was his forte.

Spartacus was also a good public speaker. One of his addresses to the gladiators has been handed down to posterity through the medium of the Fifth Reader, a work that should be in every household. In his speech he states that he was not always thus. But since he is thus, he believes that he has not yet been successfully outthussed by any body.

He speaks of his early life in the citron groves of Syrsilla, and how quiet and reserved he had been, never daring to say "gosh" within a mile of the house; but finally how the Romans landed on his coast and killed off his family. Then he desired to be a fighter. He had killed more lions than any other man in Italy. He kept a big crew of Romans busy, winter and summer, catching fresh lions for him to stick. He had killed a large number of men also. At one matinee for ladies and children he had killed a prominent man from the north, and had done it so fluently that he was encored three times. The stage manager then came forward and asked that the audience would please refrain from another encore as he had run out of men, but if the ladies and children would kindly attend on the following Saturday he hoped to be prepared with a good programme. In fact, he had just heard from his agent who wrote him that they had purchased two big lions and also had a robust gladiator up a tree. He hoped that he could get into town in a day or two with both attractions.

Spartacus finally stood at the head of an army of 100,000 men, all starting out from the little band of 70 that cut loose from Capua with borrowed cleavers and axhandles. This war lasted but two years, during which time Spartacus made Rome howl. Spartacus had too much sense to attack Rome. But at last his army was betrayed and disorganized. With nothing but death or capture for him, he rode out between the two contending armies, shot his war horse in order to save expenses, and on foot rushed into the thickest of the fight. This was positively his last appearance. He killed a large number of people, but at last he yielded to the great pressure that was brought to bear upon him and died.

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