ODDS AND ENDS,
JOHN ERNEST MCCANN
AN INTRODUCTION BY BILL NYE.
THE ALLIANCE PUBLISHING COMPANY. NEW YORK.
new york, December 3, 1891 Jarrold and McCann:
MY DEAR SIRS—I learn with pleasure that you are about to publish a book. As one of the old school of American authors, I congratulate you and hope you have made such terms with the publisher that you can pay him quarterly instead of having to do it all in one lump.
Is there any delightful sin in your book ?
I hope so.
Have you put any double-end tenders in the work ? If not, I tear you will regret it. Where we fail as American authors, gentlemen, is in making our books so pure. Look at the French authors. They publish books that I cannot understand, but they sell a great many of them because they are so grammatically immoral. You will do well to let the grammatical construction go and expunge anything which may be tediously moral.
I speak of expunging because I know that is something that will delight your publisher. I had one publisher who expunged an entire volume of mine. I then went in and expurgated him so much that a man who came in while I was revising him, said that the crunching sound of bones made him almost sick.
I think we ought to do all we can to tail up American literature, as Matthew Arnold would have said if he had thought of it in time, and I, for one, am willing to try and add an element of refinement to it, which in many cases it now so sadly lacks. I think the great successful immoral American novel is yet to be written. I would write it myself if I had been more highly endowed in that way, but it is folly for a rugged and chasle writer to attempt work in another field.
I hope your book will be very successful, and I certainly feel a great interest in its popularity, for, as I said to Her Majesty Queen Victoria at the time she published her little book, we authors ought to stand by each other.
Yours truly, bill nye.
By JOHN ERNEST McCANN.
To the Discouraged.............................. 7
In the Trenches........ ........................ 7
The Last Dollar................................. 10
The Little Ghost. ............................... 16
Mar.dolinata.. ................................... 16
At the Sign of the Golden Swan. .................. 17
Friendship. ..................................... 30
Johnny. ............. ... ................... ... 31
Coffee and Crullers............................... 32
Two Souls...................................... 38
The Dying TSeggar............................... 39
The Grave Digger................................ 39
?.............. ................................ 40
A Thousand Songs. .............................. 46
I Can Afford............. ...................... 47
To a Brilliant Writer... ......................... 53
Dead at Thirty.................................. 63
My Neighbors................................... 64
Coppertoes and Rainboweyes. ..................... 71
City Bound. .................................... 76
An Attic Prince. ................................ 88
To a Little Tot.................................. 94
The Conscript. .................................. 95
Sprays From My Garden.......................... 96
The Last Word................................. 100
By ERNEST JARROLD.
An East Side Ball............................... 9
The Tremolo Stop....... ....................... II
Mug and His Little Girl......................... 33
A Shadow in the Bowery.......................... 41
Wanter be an Angil... ......... ... ............ 48
How Kitty was Washed......................... 54
Empty Charley's Hiatus.......................... 65
The Solo of King Pine. .......................... 77
The Cuckoo in the Bowery........................ 78
What the Baby Saw.............................. 90
AN EAST-SIDE BALL.
THE Swelled Head, Juniors, held a ball recently in Pythagoras Hall. All the elite of Orchard and contiguous streets were present, and some who hope to be elite when the robins nest again, oral some later period. Mag Reilly was there, but her beau, Prig Kelly, was late. Consequently Mag was that distressful object, a wall-flower, for one miserable hour.
Mag suffered keenly, but none of the boys dared ask her to dance. They were afraid of Prig's vengeance. At last a callow youth, who was a stranger in the locality, and consequently unacquainted with its etiquette, ventured to draw near to Mag. He wore a decent suit of clothing, and taken altogether presented a respectable appearance. He formed quite a contrast in comparison with the rest of the crowd. He bowed politely to Mag and said :
"May I have the pleasure of a dance with you ?"
The style, manner and address of the youth staggered Mag for a moment. She looked him all over, from the three-inch collar to the shining boots, and then exclaimed in tones of withering contempt:
" What ! You dance wid me ! Naw ! "
Just then there was a commotion at the door, and Prig Kelly entered. He wore a red flannel shirt and no vest. His " pants " were supported with one gallus. His trousers were rolled up above his ankles, and his hat sat far
back on his head. He crossed the room quickly, throwing the dancers aside, and saluted Mag in a deep baritone, saturated with whiskey and plug tobacco.
" Hello, Mag, me jim-dandy crow, what're ye doin* here lallygaggin' agin de wall ? Why don't ye spiel 1"
While these words still lingered in the perfumed air, Prig deftly drew from his hip pocket a hook such as is used by dry-goods men to drag boxes. Hitching this instrument into Mag's bustle, he gave her a jerk which landed her in the middle of the room. The exquisite strains of " The Kiss Waltz " floated down from the accordion at the upper end of the hall, and as Mag's head dropped upon Prig's shoulder, and his strong red arm encircled her buxom waist, she whispered in his large ear: " Oh, Prig, this is heavenly!"
THE LAST DOLLAR.
IT was the last dollar of a fortune of a million. * Its companions were scattered over the wide world. The spendthrift madly waved it in the early, wild and wintry morning air. It blew out of his hand. A wary way-walker caught it. Her companion demanded it of her. She refused to give it up. He stabbed her. He was hanged. The spendthrift was found dead in a cell of the Twenty-ninth Precinct Station House. The policeman bought a doll for his child with the dollar.'
THE TREMOLO STOP.
'T'HK old man's smile was the sunniest in * Naples. It began with a merry twinkle in his eyes, and ran down his cheeks in gentle ripples, softening the wrinkles, and irradiating his swart faue as apple blossoms light up an orchard. This smile was the outward expression of a cheery philosophy born of varied fortunes. In his youth the old man had sung in the chorus of an opera company, and he looked back through the forty intervening years with pleasure to the night when he had been permitted to sing a solo, litit disease had injured the delicate music-box in his throat, and his hopes of becoming a famous tenor were crushed. Then he enlisted and fought with Garibaldi and left a leg on the battle-field.
On his 6oth birthday he stood in the shade of an ilex tree in the city of Naples, the possessor of a long gray beard, a wooden leg, and a barrel organ. The organ was a beautiful instrument, rich in tone, and ornamented with gilding. When the old man pulled aside the red silken curtain which hung on a brass rod in front of the organ, he displayed to the delighted eyes of children a number of quaint little wooden figures, which danced and curtsied with the grace of courtiers. When he turned the handle of the organ out came the misery song from " La Trovatore," followed by the jocund hilarity of " Rory O'More," the plaintive sweetness of " Annie Laurie," the inspiriting strains of the " Watch on the Rhine,"
the warlike measures of " Rule Britannia," and last, that most cosmopolitan of airs, " Home, Sweet Home." Hut the wonderful thing about the organ was the tremolo stop, which was a mechanical contrivance of the old man's invention, it was used only in connection with the song of home, and when he touched this stop it imparted a tremulous, wavering movement to the music. The old man found the tremolo stop to be very profitable, because it made travellers feel homesick, and so the home song brought him more pennies than all other tunes in his organ. But as the summer wore away and the travellers became few in Naples, the sunlight in his smile faded and left an anxious look in the old man's face. For he had been carefully saving his pennies towards opening a. cafe. He reasoned that it would be easy to dish out macaroni when he could no longer carry around a. heavy organ. One day two friends of his youth, who had just returned from America with what in his estimation were snug fortunes, met him. These friends were bootblacks. They were attracted by the tremolo stop, and knowing that Americans were always in search of a novelty, they advised the old man to go to America and assured him that he could return within a year with money enough to open a cafe.
The old man listened eagerly to the advice of his friends, but he hesitated about leaving his native land ; besides, he was growing old, and all he desired was rest and comfort. Hut there was no prospect of realixing his hopes in Italy, and
so, after counting his money carefully and finding that he had a little more than enough to pay for his passage, he resolved to go to America. As he stood on the deck of the vessel, steaming across the moonlit bay, it seemed to the old man's fancy that the column of smoke rising from his loved Vesuvius waved him a farewell. \\'hen lie landed at Castle Garden he was a little disappointed that his service with Garibaldi did not bring him a patriot's welcome among his countrymen. His success with his organ, however, was even greater that he had been led to expect. The native dignity of the old man, his infectious smile—into which as his fortunes rose the sunlight had returned—and the tremolo stop, attracted attention, and the pennies came to him as easily as oats run out of a bin. The aptness with which the puppet who held out the little brass plate discriminated between pennies and pieces of coal was marvellous to the children, and their trials of its working were profitable to the old man. lie frequented Mulberry street, because there were so many children there. Once a tall, handsome man put a big silver dollar on the plate of the mannikin, who was so surprised at the magnitude of the gift that he could neither reject nor dump it into the box. The old man hoarded his money with jealous care, looking forward to the time when he could return to his sunny land.
But the autumn passed away, and the weather grew cold. The children were kept in doors now ; although he could see their noses flattened
against the window panes, he missed their pennies. To buy coal and wood he had to spend the money he had laid away. Besides, the gilding upon the organ had become tarnished, the red silken curtain was faded and torn, the funny little figures refused to dance and curtsey with their old time ease, and the tremolo stop failed to impart melancholy sweetness to the home song. On bitter days the cold wind stole through his thin clothing and his teeth chattered. Rough policemen hustled him from the sidewalk, the boys threw snow balls at him, he lost his pennies in the snow, and the bleak winter wind froze his cheery smile into a look of despair. When he climbed the six flights of stairs leading to his room at the top of a big tenement the cisterns of his heart began to leak as he saw the vision of his cherished cafe fading away. One morning he could not get out of bed. Hunger, and fever and disappointment had made him delirous. The kindly rays of the sun came in the window and did what they could to cheer him, but the Grim Fellow was buffeting him and fever was drinking his blood. He raved in the night about his youth and the solo he had sung at the opera. He saw in his delirium the flaring camp fires of his early days, and raised his feeble hands to catch the gleaming dark lanterns of the fireflies which seemed dancing over his bed. On the evening of the third day the Grim Fellow relaxed his clutch about the old man's throat; he breathed easier and awoke out of his delirium. Reaching his hand out from under the bed-
clothes, with trembling fingers he seized the handle of the organ. As he turned it there faltered out, broken and disjointed :
Ah ! I have sighed to rest me, Deep in the quiet grave——
Then the rollicking revelry of " Rory O'More " seemed to people the room with Irish lovers. His desire to reach the song of home quickened his waning strength as he conjured up the footfalls of "Annie Laurie." Again he heard the blare of trumpets and the rattle of drums as he feebly ground out the " Watch on the Rhine" and "Rule Britannia." When he reached the home song his strength was almost gone. The plaintive tremor which had been lent to the tune in olden days by the tremolo stop was now imparted by his shaking hand. Slowly and feebly the song came out, but a shadow of its former self—like the emaciated player — fluttered in failing cadences through pleasures and palaces, and stopped. The old man had gone to the sunny land.
The next morning the coroner came. Loosening the death clasp, he turned the handle of the organ and the end of the song came out into the room—
—no place like home.
TO A GOOD FELLOW.
You do so many things well, I do think You do but one thing ill, and that is—drink.
MUG AND HIS LITTLE GIRL
.THAT'S yours, sir? Rye? Take a little ^" gum in it, sir ? A trifle ! Yes, sir. How'11 that do? Good whiskey ! I should say. You'll go up to the Hoffman and pay a quarter for worse whiskey than that, a darned sight. Now, Wil-kins, go away from the gentleman. He don't want to be bothered with the likes of you. Do you hear, Wilk ? Sit down ; sit down, I tell you, or I'll hit you with this bungstarter. Whisper, sir. He's the man as cleans the spittoons and sweeps out in the mornin'. I'm afraid I'll have to get rid of him, 'cause he bothers my customers so, suckin' for drinks. The best you do for them fellows they're ungrateful. Why, you'd hardly believe it, sir, but I give that old bum five straight whiskies every day. Ah ! I'm sorry old Mug died. He was the best supe I ever seen around a barroom. You wouldn't find no cigar stubs under the chairs when he got through sweeping, and the spittoons was washed so clean you could use 'em for a looking glass. And so quiet was Mug, too. None of that hanging around customers and sniveling for drinks, and telling 'em about that horrible gnawing pain in his inards for the want of something soothing. Oh, no ; Mug wasn't any of them kind, wasn't Mug. He'd sit over there in the corner and take his five whiskies just as quiet as a baby'd take his milk. Mighty handy man to have around, was Mug. He used to write letters for me to my girl, too. Was Mug an educated
man ? Well, I should twitter. He could give points to some of these fellows around here what thinks they can shove a pen. Kind of put me /n a hole, sir, when Mug shifted his quarters over to Potter's Field last week. Haven't wrote
•to my girl since he was planted. Fact, sir; and I know she's just aching to hear from me. Don't dare to write 'em now Mug's gone, 'cause all the while I've been courting her he wrote my letters, an' they was beautiful, sir. Just full of nice pieces of poetry. None o' that rot about hearts a-bustin' and bleeding affections, and all that, but something choice and genuine like. 'Thine, eyes so blue and tender.' How's that, eh ? No nsects on that. Well, I guess not. That's clear wool, a yard wide, and warranted not to fade. Mug'd seal the letters—with sealing wax, mind ye he said it was the style, and directed them
•with kerleques on the end of the letters. But there's one thing I didn't let him do, and that was lick the stamp, "cause I thought my gal would smell the hardware he'd been drinking. Lord love you, sir, she don't know I'm slinging gin. Would she shake me if she knew it ? Well, ha ! ha ! I should volunteer ! She'd drop me quicker'n Wilk over there'd mosey on to a horn of brandy. Why, bless you, sir, her father's a bald-headed deacon in a church. He hates gin-slingers worse'n my boss hates the Excise law. You want to hear something about Mug? All right. Wait till I give these two chaps their milk. Fifteen cents, please ; ten for the shandygaff and five for the pony. Only charge five for
the shandygaff down town ? Can't help that, sir , ten is our price. Here, Wilk, go and shut that door. I'd like to put a bunch of fives under that feller's horn. He's no good. What's that, sir? Oh, about Mug. How old was he? I don't believe he was more'n thirty-five. Of course, he looked a good deal older. A feller natcherally will when his bloods runs spirits. He was tall and slim, and he always wore a faded light overcoat buttoned up to his chin in cold weather and a slouch hat drawed down over his eyes, as though he was ashamed somebody would see him as knowed him. Every morning I'd find him out here on the sidewalk waiting for me, a-trembling and a-shaking for the want of his bitters. Ye see, he didn't have any money to spend for his booze, 'cause he used to give all his rocks to the woman as took care of his girl Mollie, a little bit of a tot with yellow hair just the color of that Scotch whisky, and great big eyes like a camel's I seen up at Barnum's. Only she was a little bow-legged, 'cause they let her walk too soon. A man told me as knowed Mug before he got in a hole that the little girl was just the picture of her mother before she ran away with an actor and broke Mug all up.
" Mug hung around here all day and did odd jobs for customers, and I used to brace him up with a dime or two once in awhile ; but he never spent any of his boodle ; always kept it as careful as I keep this di'mond pin, for Mollie. Every night at 9 o'clock he went around to see her and bid her good night. I've knowed him to go out
of here, sir, when his legs was twisted together like cable wire, and hang on to the lampposts and the sides of the buildings till he got to the house. Mollie was always glad to see him, 'cause, being a baby, she didn't know no better-Besides he always had a nickel's worth of candy or a toy balloon, or a doll, or something or other for Mollie. He'd stay around to the house for maybe an hour, and then he'd goto his lodging-house in Pell street and get a bed for seven cents. Towards the last, sir, Mug couldn't get enough whisky to satisfy him. 'Twas just like pouring the stuff through a sieve—didn't seem to do him no good, though the whisky I gave him was as hot as the hinges of hell. Excuse me, sir, 'twas hotter'n cayenne pepper. After awhile he got the jim-jams. Kind of mild, though. Used to sit over there in the corner and play with the little white elephants he'd see running up his pants leg. Queer, wasn't it ? Then he'd sing songs about the land beyond the sea, and how close it seemed. I guess he must have come from England. Hey, sir, did you say anything ? No ! I thought you said 'twasn't England. He got so famished for the pizen that he'd get up at 3 o'clock in the morning and come around here and sit and shiver on the doorstep till I'd come. When I got here his lips would be blue and his hands shaking like a loose window when the wind blows. And the famished look there was in Mug's eyes ! like as if he was all gone inside. Have another drink, sir ? What'il it be? The same. That's the real
mountain dew ; now, ain't it ? Well, long about the middle of last week—I think it was Wednes. day—we had a rush at night, and I didn't notice that Mug didn't go out at his usual time. He was sitting quiet over in his corner at 10 o'clock. There happened to be a slack up in trade just then, and I noticed the door kind of creaking as though somebody outside wanted to get in. 1 sings out, ' Push hard !' and who should come in but Mug's baby. She was kind of frightened at the lights at first, but 1 la (fed and took her up in my arms. Then she said •'
" ' Where's my papa ? He said he was goin' to buy me one o' them sqnawkin' b'lunes.'
" Then I says : ' Your papa's over there in the corner asleep. We'll go and wake him.'
" Mollie clapped her hands and laffed just like that prime whiskey gurgling out of that bottle. I set her down upon the floor and stood back to see the fun. Mug was sitting kind of in the shadow, with his head leaning against the wall and his slouch hat drawed down over his eyes, as usual. Mollie ran up to him and caught hold of his hand as it lay on his knee, but there didn't seem to be any feeling in his hand. Then Mollie shook him a little and said •
"'Papa, wake up! Where's my sqnawkin' b'lune ?'
"Then I went over to help wake him up, but as soon as I lifted his hat I saw he was as dead as a sugar-cured ham. Died sitting in his chair, sir, and never made a moan. I guess he must have thought that something was going to hap-
pen to him, sir, for he wrote a letter two days before he went off, on the counter, just where you're standing. "Twas directed to George Muggins, Shandaken, Ulster County, N. Y. I sent the letter, but I got it back yesterday, saying there was nobody lived in Shandaken by that name. Would you like to look at it, sir? Mebbe you might know something about his friends. Here it is. It says •
dear brother : I feel a premonition that the end is near. I cannot say that I hail it with delight, neither do I fear it. Hell is raging within me, and I daily pour upon the fires a liquid which only feeds the flames. Nature must be requited for her losses, and I am paying her insatiable usury. I shall have gone unshriven and unknelled when you read this scrawl, and all I have to bequeath to you is little Mollie. May her purity and innocence prove a slight atonement for her father s weakness. Yours,
" Reads kind of nice, don't it ? Give the letter to you ! What for ? You're Mug's brother Well, I'll be hamsandwiched if there ain't more curious things happening right here in the Bowery than you can find in a book. Good night, sir. Wilk, confound you, wake up and shut the door!"
Beyond ihe boundless seas of utter night
Two scarred and ribboned souls together drew.
One howled: " I'm flogged from heaven and God's sight!"
One moaned : "I seek for that I never knew." 38
A SHADOW IN THE BOWERY.
S, I'll tell you little Joe's story. But I warn you that there will be nothing striking in it. Joe was a common every-day printer, and he worked at Martin B. Brown's shop, where the city printing is done, down on Park place. You must know where it is. You've passed it many a time. No? Oh, yes you do. Big building on right-hand side as you go down, with fire escapes in front. Remember now ? I thought so. Well, Joe—hold on a minute. Light a cigar. Knock your ashes in the match safe. Where was I ? Yes, yes, I remember. Joe came around to my frame one day. I was working on piece there then, on minutes of the Board of Aldermen, law work, and on the digest. Never worked on digest, eh T Well, you never want to. Of all italicized, full-faced, narrow measured stuff, that takes the type foundry. Solid, too. You couldn't make your salt on it. Shouldn't wonder but that working on the digest made Joe sick. Any way, the digest and the ducking he got when he fell off the excursion boat helped him toward the hospital. Joe wasn't like most of the boys. He never "worked the hook " to get the big Common Council head. 'Twas quite a temptation, too. Worth 60 cents. Very few printers that ever worked in Brown's can say they never worked some little game to get that head. Oh, Joe was straight as a cap I. One day he came around to my frame and said there was something the matter with his throat. He couldn't
swallow easily he said. So I told him to soak a piece of flannel in kerosene and tie it around his neck, and to chew slippery elm bark. A big law case came in just then—questions and answers, clear grease—and I was so busy snatching quads and stealing sorts for a week that I didn't think of little Joe. Then I got a note, asking me to come and see him down in one of those cross streets on the east side—I forget the street and number. Anyhow, when I got there on Sunday morning he was wrapped up in a quilt and shivering. He couldn't get warm. His teeth rattled together like dropping three-em quads on a slice galley. I told him to brace up and put a little heart into himself, if possible, but, of course, there's very little use telling a man to stop shivering when death is breathing on him. He told me that two men had taken out an insurance policy on his life, and he suspected that it was a graveyard insurance racket. Now, I don't know anything about that insurance business. In fact, I never could find out anything about it. It may be that there was something in it, and may be not.
" The next time I heard from Joe he was in one of those lodging houses on the Bowery which they call hotels. He paid 25 cents a night for his bed, and he went across the road to a restaurant for his meals. He wasn't shivering as much that time as he was the time before. I suppose the Old Chap with the Scythe had his hands full elsewhere. There was a famine in China about that lime. When I left, after giv-
ing him a little advice to keep a stiff upper lip, he was quite chipper, quite chipper. That is, chipper for him. You couldn't expect a man in his condition to do a song and dance. Before I went, however, I told him the boys would stand by him. Did they? Well, I should remark! Well, as I was saying, the boys chipped in 50 cents a piece every Saturday night. You see, it didn't take much to keep Joe. I think it was about $4.50 a week. He lived mainly on porter; some doctor had told him porter was good to tone up his system. Not that Joe cared so much for porter. I think he would have taken in water just as readily if he had thought it would help him.
" Am I tiring you ? Take another cigar. Yes, yes; help yourself. I get these cigars 10 per cent off. I buy them by the quantity.
" I think it was in February when I saw Joe again. Let's see—January, Feb—yes, in February I got a note from Joe written on a leaf torn out of a prayer book. I answered the note personally, and found Joe had changed his hotel He had been forced to leave the old place because he coughed so much in the night that the other lodgers couldn't sleep. He was alone; Now I think it is rather rough on a man to be all alone in a Bowery hotel with consumption for a bedfellow. I forgot to mention his bottle of porter, which played the double part of comforter and spiritual adviser. This time I ventured to suggest to Joe that if he wanted a preacher of any kind I would be glad to furnish
one for him. But he didn't seem to be very anxious to be prayed with. He put me through a severe cross-examination between his coughing spells, and asked me if I thought he was any worse than the other fellows. (The other fellows were bad enough, but I didn't tell Joe so.) He said he had done a good deal of bumming around nights, and had drunk his share of whiskey, and then he looked at me out of his big hollow eyes, that seemed to flare up for a moment with light like that of a dying candle, and asked me why I couldn't do the praying for him myself. As you can readily imagine, he had me there, dead to rights. I would have given a week's work on leaded nonpareil at 50 cents per thousand to have seen a preacher open that door just then. Well, I tried to compromise with him by reading a chapter from Exodus about the children crossing the Red Sea; but he said he didn't want to hear anything about the children of Israel; he could find plenty of them in Baxter street. What he wanted to hear was something about the river Jordan. He didn't feel sure, but he thought maybe he would have to go over on the ferry, and he wasn't positive that he had money enough in his clothes to pay for his passage. I never heard a fellow talk as curious as Joe did that night; he seemed to have a kind of second sight. I got out of doing the praying by reading him a chapter from the Psalms—you remember it—that pretty little tiling about the valley and the shadow. On the next Sunday I took a skillful physician to see him. He came in and
looked at Joe, smelt of the flowers some missionary woman had left there, asked Joe what he was drinking, and when he found out it was porter, told Joe to keep right on drinking porter if it made him feel any better, and went out. When the door was shut he told me on the quiet that Joe was in the secondary stages of pulmonary phthisis, held up his ten fingers^ and went away.
"The next time I heard from Joe he had been put out of his hotel again, and was up in Belle-vue Hospital. By this time his mind had begun to wander. He stayed in the hospital only one night, and I found him sitting in the barroom of a lodging-house in his old stamping ground the following morning. He had an idea in his head that they wanted to kill him at the hospital, and said he had seen the watchman wink significantly at him, and hold up a long, slender steel needle. Joe's idea was that this needle was to have been gently insinuated between his ribs when he went to sleep, and so he didn't sleep a wink, but lay there all night long with one eye on the nurse and the other eye on the ceiling, wondering if there was any balm in Gilead to heal diseased lungs. I'll never forget the wistful look he gave me that day as he sat there in the barroom, with his overcoat buttoned up to his chin—the Grim Fellow must have come back from China, for Joe had started shivering again—and asked me if I thought the herb doctor's medicine he was taking would do him any good. Now, what could I say ? Ought I to 45
have told him that it was no use trying any longer, that the jig was up ? Well, I guess not. I said to Joe, ' Keep on with the medicine, old fellow; perhaps the herb doctor has discovered the elixir ot life.' But then, you know, and I knew, that Joe's wasting fires could never be rekindled by the juice of any herb that ever grew on hill or in valley. And so, one night the boarders were not disturbed by coughing, and when the chambermaid went into Joe's room she saw that he had found his way out of the valley and the shadow into the light.
" Do you know, I've a sort of an idea that when the Reviser looks over Joe's proof he will find that most of the errors are office corrections ? Besides that, I think He will make liberal allowance for bad manuscript.
" Take care as you come down the stairs; clasp the banisters. There, all right. Confound the door ! the key always sticks in the lock. Now, one step do\vn. Think it's going to rain ? No. There's the morning star shining. Good night."
A THOUSAND SONGS.
A thousand son^s are in my head,
A thousand in my heart ; Where will they l/e when I am dead.
And we are far apart ?
I'll lean across the golden yate
In golden paradise ; And winds will waft them, soon or late,
To Ihee from summer skies.
" WANTER BE AN ANGIL,"
THE Bowery barroom was doing a rushing * business. Before the long, polished and ornate counter stood a thirsty throng. The head bar-tender, newly groomed, with his Vandyke beard carefully trimmed and pointed, and wearing an apron unwrinkled and white as Alpine snow, stood behind a pyramid of slender glasses filled with ice and topped with a thin section sliced from an orange. It was part of the ethics of this incomparable concocter of palate-ticklers that the sight and the taste should both be catered to. He was performing that remarkable juggling feat in the preparation of a Manhattan cocktail, in which two wine glasses are connected by a liquid ribbon, when a newsboy dashed into the barroom, shouting :
" Extry, extry ; all about how Hogan was drownded in de air ship ! On'y one cent ! "
The bar-tender went on mixing his cocktail, and, holding one glass above his head, let a ruby cascade fall into the other glass without spilling a drop. Then he threw a cent upon the counter and the boy tossed a paper still damp from the press to him.
" Give us a glass o' beer, will ye, Billy ? " said the newsboy, placing a nickel upon the counter.
But Billy was looking through the newspaper to see if Sullivan had arrived in the city, and lie paid no attention to the boy's request. Meanwhile the boy kicked at the bar and hummed the 48
tune, " I Want to be an Angel," under his breath. The request was repeated and the bar-tender replied :
" Look here, Tim, you know if I sell you beer the S. 1'. C. C. '11 be down here an* take me in."
" A crown upon my forehead en a harp within my hand," continued Tim before replying, with a knowing wink.
" Ah, gi' me a glass, Billy. I ain't a goin' to squeal."
Billy went to the door and looked up and down the street. Perceiving no officer he returned, drew a foaming glass of beer and shoved it across the counter to Tim with the injunction :
" Pour her down quick, Tim. I don't want to do a sixer on the island."
While Tim was drinking, Billy said :
" Where'd you learn the new song, Tim ? "
" Up t' de Gospel shop on de Bowery," replied the boy, wiping the froth from his mouth with his shirt sleeve. " Dey're goin' to have 'scursion up de Hudson We'n'sda', en I'm goin' to scoop it in. I'm jest workin' de racket fur cake en pie en ice cream," said Tim, with another wink as he concluded the verse hallowed by so many childish lips :
I'll make the sweetest music, En praise Him day an' night.
Hilly grinned as he wiped the beer drippings from the counter, and when he turned to survey his immaculate shirt front and gleaming diamond pin in the gilded mirror, Tim grabbed his papers and darted from the door.
The short hand of the City Hall clock had crawled around to the hour of 9 p. in. The crowds on Park Row had melted away and the shouts of " Extry !" by the newsboys were seldom heard. In City Hall Park a group of boys were playing craps. Tim was among them, still humming his desire to be an angel and with the angels stand. Suddenly Tim stopped humming, and looking angrily at one of his comrades exclaimed :
" Gimme dat cent ye stole, Snorcher, er I'll break yer jaw ! "
" You can't break nobody's jaw, Tim," replied Snorcher, as he shook the dice-box for another throw. Just as he raised the box to make a cast, Tim struck him in the face with the flat of his right hand. The impact of the blow sent Snorcher rolling on the pavement, but he regained his feet and a rough and tumble fight began. Locked in each other's arms they rolled out into the street. Here both struggled to an upright position, and just as an electric car came along Snorcher struck Tim a blow in the face which knocked him across the rails. Before the car could be stopped it had passed over both of Tim's legs, crushing them below the knees.
An ambulance came rattling down Chambers street and stopped before the drug store into which Tim had been carried. Upon the floor in
the back room lay the boy unconscious. His lips were white, as if fringed with silver cord. Two red rivulets on the cobblestones outside and over the cleanly-swept floor indicated that Tim was not so heavy as he had been in the morning. Three policemen kept the crowd back, one of whom had the sobbing and repenting Snorcher by the collar. A young surgeon forced his way through the crowd. He cut the torn trousers off at the kness and shook his head as he bent over the injured boy. Five minutes later the ambulance was on it way to Chambers Street Hospital bearing a weak and restless passenger under a blanket.
After the crushed limbs had been amputated Tim awoke from his swoon and gazed feebly around the ward. The lucid interval was of but short duration, but the nurse saw his lips move, and, bending over him, she heard these words :
" En' a harp within my ———"
The last word was not uttered, for Tim fell again into the torpor of utter exhaustion.
At 10 o'clock the next morning a policeman, accompanied by Snorcher, came into the hospital. Said he to the orderly :
" Here's a kid as wants to see the boy that was run over last night. Can you let him go up ? "
" I guess there's no objection. Here, this way sonny," said the orderly.
Snorcher eagerly followed to the bedside of Tim. As Snorcher looked down at the pallid face and the hands bleached to the color of the sheet upon which they lay, he would have burst
into tears had not the nurse cautioned him to keep quiet. A feeble smile stole over Tim's wan features as he opened his eyes and saw his friend standing beside him. Thrusting his grimy hand into his pocket, Snorcher produced a rosebud, which he placed between Tim's nerveless fingers, whispering into his ear as he did so :
" Breeve on her, Tim ! Breeve on her till she blows ! "
Tim nodded his head feebly and tried to raise the bud to his lips, but it fell back upon the counterpane. Then Snorcher took from his pocket two big yellow oranges that had been kissed by the sun and dandled by the breezes of Florida into luscious ripeness. Placing these on the pillow beside Tim's head he whispered eagerly :
" Eat 'em, Tim, an' when they're gone I'll buy ye some more, 'cause I've got a quarter left."
It may have been that Tim had lost his taste for oranges. At any rate he paid no attention to them, but motioned to Snorcher to draw nearer to him. The angel of death must have been poising his spear over the hospital, for it was only with a great effort that Tim was able to articulate :
" Snorch, you kin go to de Gospil picnic en get de cake en ice cream 'stead o' me—'cause I'm——"
Here Tim became incoherent, and the only words Snorcher could catch out of his wandering utterances were :
" Angil *» harp ** crown ** forehead."
Snorcher was led away weeping bitterly, and locked up in the Tombs to await the result of Tim's injuries. In the evening just as the boys were shouting " Extry ! " the nurse raised the rosebud to Tim's lips as she had done several times during the day in answer to his appealing glance, and the boy exhaled his last breath upon the flower in a vain attempt to make it "blow"
as Snorcher had expressed it.
Just as Tim started on his journey into the far country, Billy, the bar-tender, stood behind his pyramid of slender glasses again. Once more the lights were reflected from the shining mirror and the dazzling stone in the white shirt front. An idea struck Billy just before the cocktail was completed, and he expressed it as follows :
" Wonder where that ornery little cuss Tim is to-night ? Queer song he was singin'last night: ' Wanter be an angel and with the angels stand.' Do they make angels out of kids like him ?"
Who knows ?
TO A BRIILIANT WRITER.
Your workshop's in your head, and your tools are books
and art ; My tools are eyes and love, and my shop is in my he»rt.
HOW KITTY WAS WASHED.
' * '"THERE ain't no doubt in my mind, mister, * but that Kitty thought a good deal of Jack. You couldn't exactly call 'em lovers, for the affection was all on one side—Kitty's—for a long time. But, then, I don't know but what Jack had a kind of a hankering after Kitty, 'cause she showed that she cared for him in so many winnin* ways. But Lord, sir, how she could swear ! Oh, she wasn't noneo" your milk-and-water-girls. Besides, she used to go up to the Florence Mission on Wednesday and Saturday nights—they always give the girls ice cream on them nights—and work the racket for all it was worth. She was just as fly as a bumble bee when there was any honey going. Here, sonny, go in that saloon over there and get this pail full of beer. Now, don't drink it up before you get back. Do you know, mister, that them little codgers'll drink beer just like a horse'll drink water. No ! Yes they will, too, as sure as there's ears on your head. Well, I must tell you about Kitty. Ever seen her? No! Well, she's a little the nicest lookin' girl there is on the street. Black eyes and black hair, and teeth as regular and as shining as the teeth of a bucksaw. But the light kind of faded out of them eyes, and there wasn't any more red in her cheeks than there is in a snow ball after she'd been here a while. She used to put red paint on to "em out of a box, but 'twasn't anything like the paint God put there. That was all on
account of her way of living, you know, and gals will be gals. You see Kitty had climbed over the fence between her and respectable folks, and, of course, when a gal does that there's no climbing back this side of Jordan. Maybe there is t'other side of Jordan; but I don't know. Anyhow, if they're going to wash Kitty clean they'll have to use some new kind of soap. Blow the foam off, man; you don't want to drink bubbles. There's plenty more where that beer came from. Hello, there's the moon coming up over the roof. Looks rather pretty, don't it ? I rather like moonlight nights. They make me feel warm like, you know, as if I was readin' nice poetry. I can't explain like you fellows that's been to high school and the 'cademy. Wipe the beer off your mustache. Take your sleeve; what's the odds? nobody'll see you settin' here on the truck. Well, about Kitty. Where was I ? Oh, yes; I remember. I was going to tell you how Kitty come across Jack, poor fellow. The fact is, Jack used to get on fearful tares once in awhile. He was strong as a mule, measured forty inches around the chest, and there wasn't a pound of loose flesh on his body. He was as wiry and supple .as a gorilla. But rum downed him. It cut into his muscles like vitriol cuts into a dog's back. Well, one time he got on one of those bats of his'n and stayed on it for a week. Oh, he drank three-cent whiskey, and all the pizen he could get hold of, and 'long about 12 o'clock one night he fell down under a truck in James street, and he couldn't get up-
Didn't want to, for that matter. He laid there all night, and it came on to rain toward morning and soaked him wetter'n a dish rag. Well, the long and short of it was that when the owner of the truck came to hitch up in the morning Jack couldn't move, and so the man who owned the truck tried to sit him up against the wall, but couldn't because he was afraid that if he bent Jack he would break in two, like an icicle, he was so stiff. Well, that drunk fixed Jack. It happened that Kitty lived right across the street from where Jack was lying helpless with the sun shining in his eyes and the boys jeering at him and tickling him with straws. She came over and drove the boys away. Then she got somebody to help her and they carried Jack up stairs and put him on Kitty's bed. It was a week before the doctor got the stiffness out of Jack so that they could move him. His mother came down to see him every day, and she was that mad she couldn't sit still because ' that strumpet,' as she called Kitty, had taken care of him. And it was mighty good care she took of him, too—staying up nights and watching him, and buying all kinds of dainty things to coax him to eat, although he couldn't eat much, he was so choked up. But do what she would, Jack kind of waned away like a lonesome night, and for fear he might die in the hateful place, Jack's mother came down one afternoon and took him away; though, Lord bless you, sir, he couldn't hold up his head, and he fainted dead away twice before his mother got him home. Kitty
asked his mother as they were shutting the carriage door, in a scared and trembling way, if she might come and visit Jack; and then his mother shook her fist in Kitty's face and said if she ever showed her face in the house she would brain her with the stove leg. You see, sir, Jack's folks was pious, and they didn't take any stock in Kitty's kind.
" I don't know what you think about religion, sir but I rather think religion and love comes as close together as two boards in this truck. And that's how I account for Kitty's getting religion. Just after Jack was taken away she went up to the mission to work the little ice cream game, and when she got there they sung some of them pretty little songs about the heart of sin, and going and burying your sorrow, and all that, and Kitty got thinking about Jack and she began to cry. Oh, she was dead stuck on him, and no mistake. One of them missionary fellows saw her crying, and came round to her and told her a story about a girl that was a good deal worse than she was, who poured oil on the feet of a man, and then wiped the oil off with her hair. The missionary man tried to brace her up, and told her if she wanted to start in fresh and take a new grip, he'would get a job for her. He was as good as his word, and the next week she was making cigarettes and earning $8 a week.
" But every night as regular as clockwork Kitty came round under Jack's window and sat on that coal box over there in front of the grocery store. The lid of the box is open now, but
it is closed every night at 10 o'clock. Kitty used to come there every night and listen to the sounds which came out of the windows overhead there. Sometimes she could hear a spoon jingle against the sides of a glass when Jack's mother was mixing his medicine, and sometimes when the street was still she could hear Jack cough. That cough was terrible, sir, when Jack got a spell of it; seemed as it would split him in two pieces. Kitty was afraid to go upstairs because Jack's father threatened to kill her if she showed her nose inside the door. The gang kind of felt sorry for Kitty, and some of the boys used to sit on the box with her nights and she'd tell 'em about what they did up to the mission and sing a song once in a while. Not very of ten, though, 'cause the copper was up on the next corner, and when the boys gathered around too thick he used to come and club 'em away. I've got one of the verses writ down on the back of an envelope. Got any matches ? Here, strike 'em on your trousers' legs and hold 'em inside my hat and I'll read it for you. Look out, now? Don't burn your fingers :
If we knew the woe and—
"Match gone out ? Well, light another. Now:
Woe and heartache Waiting for us down the road,
If our lips could taste the wormwood, If our hacks could feel Ihe load;
Would he waste to-day in—
" Blast them matches! They're no good. Bought of a Jew at the ferry. Strike another. Ready ? All right, here goes :
—To-day in wishing For a time that ne'er could be,
Would we wait in such impatience For our ships to come from sea?
"There was a little chorus on the end of the verse about scattering seeds of kindness, but I didn't have room enough on the envelope to write it. You ain't getting tired are you ? All right; glad to hear it. Didn't know but what the story was so long 'twould make you weary.
"Kitty used to talk to the fellows about giving up working the growler and to stop throwing firecrackers into the shoemaker's shop across the street, 'cause, she said, it was wicked, and besides it was only a question of time when the coppers would catch them, and they would be sent up for a year or two at hard labor. The boys laughed at her and said she was trying to work the saint racket. The biggest Mixed Ale brother tried to put his arm around her, but she jerked away from him and drew herself up about two inches taller than her natural height. She looked at him out of them big black eyes of her'n, which shone like the eyes of a cat at night, and Mixed Ale slunk away like a whipped dog.
"Rainy nights Kitty stood in the tailor's doorway across the street. Fact is, sir, religion had a curious effect on Kitty. It kind of melted the hard-look out of her face and kept her sweet, like salt keeps corned beef. Well, this kind of
thing had been going on for about six weeks, and Jack was growing weaker every day. Kitty knew it, for Jack couldn't cough as loud as he had done, and so she got desperate and made up her mind she would see him if she died for it. After the gang had gone home one night she took off her shoes in the hall and crept up stairs in her stocking feet. Of course the stairs creaked. They always do when you want to go up 'em quiet. When she reached the head of the stairs it was five minutes before she mustered up courage enough to take hold of the door knob. She stood there trembling and panting, with her hand on her heart, "cause it knocked against her ribs so, and at last she opened slyly, so slyly, and a little beam of light came out and shone in her eyes for a minute so she couldn't see. After a little while she got used to the light, and looking in she saw Jack's mother sitting by Jack's bedside asleep in the chair. Jack was bolstered up in bed with pillows, and his face was turned toward the door. He saw the door open, and then the frightened face of Kitty, and he smiled a kind of graveyard smile, and Kitty smiled back at him and stepped in, leaving the door open so that she could run out quick if anything happened. She knelt down by the bed and wiped the cold sweat off Jack's forehead and gave him a spoonful of cod liver oil out of a bottle. The moon shone in the window and kind of mellowed things, like it does to-night. Jack whispered to her and asked her how she was getting along. Kitty told him all 60
about the mission and about the job she'd got, and Jack pressed her hand a little—he couldn't press harder because he was so weak—and Kitty cried a little, and Jack comforted her by smoothing her hair. Kind of makes me feel blue to tell you about it, sir. It's such a sorrowful story.
" Kitty came in to see him a good many nights after that, and toward the last she got careless. Used to open the door quick like, and that's how she got caught. You see, Jack's father slept in the next room, and he heard the door open one night, and he came out to see who it was that came in. When he seen it was Kitty, he caught her by the hair and flung her down the stairs, and she went bumping down the steps and fell into the hallway with a broken arm. I wish I'd been there that night. As sure as there's heads on pins I'd mashed the old man in the jaw. I ain't so slow with my fins, either. Just feel of my muscle !
" Kitty ain't none of the squealing kind. She didn't take the law on the old man. Just went to the doctor and got her arm fixed up between two pieces of wood, and came around the next night under the window same as usual. I kind of felt sorry for the girl, and I used to come around nights and watch under the window with her, just to see how the thing would come out. Think I was in love with her myself ? Oh, mebbe I was ! Never was in love that I know of. But she was mighty pretty. Kind of made me feel queer under my vest. But that's got nothing to do with the story. 61
" Some of the gang went up to see Jack every day, and they told Kitty that he couldn't last much longer. The death watch was on him, and he might die any time. And so Kitty got desperate. She ground her teeth together, and said she would see him once more if they had a regiment of soldiers, and she did. I'll tell you how 'twas done. She bought a shoe knife—one of those short-bladed things the shoemakers use to pare down the heel of a. shoe. She sharpened it on the curbstone right down here beside this truck. I'll show you the very spot if you'll get down. Never mind ? All right. She hid the knife in her pocket and went up bold one night about i o'clock, with her face as white as the wall and her teeth gritted together. The old man swore a fearful oath when she opened the door, and came toward her. Kitty told me afterward that stars began to dance before her eyes then, but that she drew out the knife and raised it over her head. The old man jumped back, and his wife caught hold of him and held him. Then Jack whispered that he wanted the girl to come to him, and Kitty threw away the knife and knelt down by the bed and took Jack's head on her bosom. And so he died in her arms.
" The wake lasted for three days. Kitty had a seat in the carriage when they buried him in Calvary Cemetery. The old man got kind of soft after he seen how much Jack thought of the girl, and she visits there regular now. But she goes up to the mission now nearly every night, 62
and the boys never shout, ' Ah there, Kitty,' to her any more, 'cause they know she won't have it. That's all there is to the story, sir. Let'sgo down to the corner and have a beer. No ! Well, all right. But say, before you go, I don't know, after all, but what the commonest kind of soap would wash Kitty now !"
DEAD AT THIRTY.
Just for the sake of being called a good fellow,
Just for the praise of the sycophant crowd,
That smoked your cigars, quaffed your rich wines and
mellow. You are sleeping, to-day, 'neath the sod in your shroud !
Just for the sake of being called clever—dashing— By human hogs living outside of a pen. The rain on your cold bed is ceaselessly splashing. While you should be living—a man among men !
Just for the sake of being pointed at—looked at—
liy the false, insincere, hypocritical crew,
That grows on the follies of weak brains—like yours—fat.
You are as dead as the dreams your boyish soul knew !
You feigned a contempt for the eagles of yellow, And scattered them broadcast, with boisterous mirth— Just for the sake of being called a good fellow !— You arc nothing, to-day, but a boxful of earth.
My neighbors will never gloat over tlie fall
Of a weak brother fighting the battle of life. Not one of my mascu'ine neighbors will call
The pla:nc^t cr fainest of sweet women, wife ! They often go in, and they never come out;
Hut my neighbors are only inanimate clay ; And Ihe lill'e frame houses I'm writing about
Are in Trinity Churchyard, just over the way.
EMPTY CHARLEY'S HIATUS.
RMPTYr CHARUiV stood in the doorway of ^^ a Bowery saloon at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning. His nickname was suggested by his physical condition. It is a difficult matter to get fat on free lunch, especially when the proprietor is lynx-eyed.
Charlie's overcoat was thinner than sliced smoked beef. His broken shoes were covered with a pair of rubbers which leaked at the heels. As the holy day had been ushered in with sleet and snou-, an amalgamation of liowery mud and water had worked inside the rubbers. Charlie felt as if his feet were in an ice box. His teeth chattered and hot words came from between his lips, already cracked by hotter liquor.
Empty Charlie was on guard. He was a sort of Howery watch-dog. It was bis duty, as his employer expressed it, "to pike off de blokes wot wants a drink and see dat dey wasn't coppers in disguise." Charlie went on duty at 12 o'clock Saturday night and remained at his post until i o'clock Monday morning. He was selected for this important office because of his 65
wide acquaintanceship. Several times in the course of three years he had " saved the ranch from hein' pulled," and the proprietor was correspondingly grateful.
Charlie received $1.50 per week for his services, which he was unreasonable enough to think was small pay. But then, he had only to stand in the doorway and watch. To be sure, he couldn't sit down, for then his posture would reveal his mission. Besides, he didn't care to sit down, for the February nights were cool and he had to dance a hornpipe now and then to keep his blood in circulation. During the week his time was taken up in tapping fresh kegs of beer and in helping to drink their contents when introduced by the proprietor to a customer as "me frien'."
Brutalized as Charlie had been from the suckling period of his existence, he still retained a spark of the divine essence. So whe i an outcast dog with drooping head and tail snuffed wistfully at his trouser-legs, he patted the brute tenderly upon the head and wished that he had access to the lunch counter.
On the night in question Empty Charlie had tried to dance a jig, but the sloshing sound of the water in his rubbers had made him feel damp and melancholy, so he gave it up. A short distance down the street he could see the cheerful light shining through the transparency in front of a lodging-house. An inviting legend outlined in letters of fire, read : " Nice, clean beds, 25 cents." It was so long since Charlie
had slept anywhere but on a beer-table or a saw-dusted floor that he vaguely wondered how it would feel to lie between clean sheets once more.
It happened that in his three years of service as a buffer between the police and his employer Charlie had contracted inflammatory rheumatism. He walked now with two canes. This was one reason why he didn't do more dancing. Misery and Empty Charlie were shaking hands. As he crawled into the doorway, now and then uttering the talismanic words which admitted a customer, he had a vague perception that after all there were more exalted spheres of action in life than his. The blissful rnusic of clinking glasses leaked through the crack of the door. Now and then the fragrant odor of the steaming stuff that had killed his father saluted his eager nostrils. Now, if he could only be a bartender ! Then his thoughts strayed to the Elysian Field in which walked the pugilists. If he could banish his rheumatiz and "lick" somebody he might secure a job as a boxer at the Oriental or the Windsor ! Visions of widely-applauding pits filled his mind with Tantalus delights. Hulley gee, how his leg did hurt ! Who invented the rheumatism, anyhow ? A horrible gnawing sensation at the pit of the stomach made him feel faint for a moment. He fought it off and tried to whistle a stave of " Sunday Morning," which he had heard a charming vocalist sing at Tony Pastor's. But he was so cold that his lips wouldn't pucker. He slid back the panel which 67
concealed a round hole in the door, and putting his lips to the hole muttered in a hoarse, trembling whisper :
" 15 b-b-illy, gi' me a little taste o' booze ! " " Hav' ye got the price, Empty ? " " Naw."
" Kind o' chilly out dere, ain't it, Empty ? " " Me backbone is like an icicle." "Well, wait a minute, Empty ; I'll fill ye." Charlie closed the panel and waited. The minutes were freighted with impatience and longing. Laughter and song came to his ears from the other side of the door. At last the door opened on a crack. A hand holding a tumbler was thrust out into the Bowery. Ah ! here was the magic, fluid which would banish hunger and steal from rheumatism its sting ! Here was the nepenthe which so oft had agitated his nerves with delightful sensation! It was rich and brown, and a faint, inviting odor arose from the tumbler as his eager, trembling fingers closed around it.
" Drink lively, Empty," said Hilly. He raised the brimming tumbler to his lips and poured its contents down his throat. A look of speechless amazement overspread his face. The glass fell upon the stones and was shattered into a thousand fragments. In answer to its tingling a shout of mocking laughter came from the saloon. The glass was filled with hot, colored water !
Wicked words have polluted the liowery ever since its discovery in the dim past, but Empty Charlie had taken the thirty-third degree in profanity. In the next sulphurous five minutes he
proved it. He swore by all his high hopes of one day owning a gin palace that he would get square with Billy by and by.
It was 4 o'clock. The electric lights hissed a protest at the sleet, still falling. Madison avenue was asleep, but the Bowery was wide awake. Windows shown in the advertising electric light, resplendent with second-hand watches, paste diamonds, $5 overcoats and the tarnished flotsam of the pawnshop. A tall man wrapped in a heavy overcoat walked leisurely up to Charlie and asked politely if he could get a drink inside. Charlie was not deceived by the stranger's decorous speech. There was something, too, in his carriage which suggested discipline. Knowing full well who the man was, he uttered the magic word and the door opened. In the hurry of serving out drinks to the thirsty crowd already within, Billy did not look closely at his new customer, trusting to the guardianship of the human watch-dog outside. Only when he had committed himself by serving a drink of whisky did he discover that he had supplied an officer with evidence to convict him.
Meanwhile Charlie chuckled and shivered outside and awaited developments. Afler the officer had gone Billy came rushing out, and without a word of explanation proceeded to pitch the recreant watchman into the middle of the street.
It was several minutes before Charlie managed to get back to the sidewalk, bruised and panting. He realized that he was out of a job. Still he laughed. Revenge is sweet. He lit a 69
cigarette, and standing under a lamp-post searched his pockets. A careful inventory showed his assets to consist of twenty-four cents in nickels and pennies.
He slipped the coin back into his clothes and hobbled around iiito Forsyth street. He was badly shaken up. His progress was very slow. In the course of fifteen minutes he came to a saloon where rum was sold for three cents a glass. He was well known and easily gained admission. He had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours but a soda cracker and a slice of bologna sausage. Stepping up to the bar, he ordered whiskey and poured the glass half full.
" Here's the stuff that has no bones," he muttered, as he tossed it off with a recklessness which was really criminal, considering his financial condition. Empty called for another glass, and still another, until his money was all gone, and with it his sense of weariness.
His nickname didn't fit him now. He was full. " Fullet'n a goat," the bartender said, as Charlie zig-zagged out upon the sidewalk. He braced his back against a lamp-post and tried to focus his wondering ga/.e upon the east, already soft with the first faint blush of the day. There was a buz/ing in his ears, as of a thousand bees. The sidewalk rocked, and his heart beat against his ribs like a trip-hammer. His veins were filled with molten lava. Some sort of heaven of delight revolved like a kaleidoscope in his whirling brain. His head fell forward upon his breast. His legs bowed outward like those of a 70
baby who has learned to walk too soon, and in
ert, like a bag of meal, he slid to the ground.
* » * *
Half an hour later, when the ambulance surgeon placed his hand upon Empty Charlie's heart he found that in getting full he had inadvertently released himself from hunger, contumely and " rheumatiz " forever.
COPPERTOES AND RAINBOWEYES.
I AM going to tell you a real nice story. It happened ever so long ago. Oh, ever so long ! Long before Little Boy IJlue blew his Horn ; ages before the Cow Jumped Over the Moon ; years before the Beggars were Coming to Town ; longer than before you rode a Cross Horse to Banbury Cross to See a Nice Lady upon a White Horse ; and before anybody ever said, Hark ! Hark ! the Dogs do Bark ; and before Jackey Horner Sat in a Corner, Eating, all alone by his own self, a Christmas 1'ie ; and before, Oh, Susanna ! cried for You, and Me, too ; and, I think, before Old Mother Hubbard Went to the Cupboard to Get Her Poor Doggie a Bone ; and before London Bridge was Fallin' Down, this story happened. 1 guess it was about the time when the Very lrirst King named Richard went away from England to fight away up in Jerusalem. He was very bold. He didn't have a heart like oilier men had. He had a lion's heart. You need not ask me how he got it. J guess if
THE SOLO OF THE KING PINE.
THE King Pine of Lindsley's Wood was sing-ing an obligato solo. The smaller trees around him furnished the chorus, but above the cymbal clanging of the maple's bare branches, above the chestnut's hoarse complaining, above the creaking of the oak and the whisper of the laurel bush, sounded the voice of the mighty Pine, the thunderer. Deep into the hill's crest had he thrust his foot, now moccasiiied with snow. His foothold was firm. When the tempest smote him his huge body swayed, he tossed his great arms against the night's blackness and sang his song of triumph—a song so deep, so profound, so awful, that the laurel bush over which he cast a kindly shadow in the summer's noonday trembled in every limb and expected to be crushed. But this Goliath of the woods was not singing his death song. He swung back and forth, to be sure, and never before had the Forest Chief been called upon for such an effort in nature's chorus. But he was equal to it. All the fibers of his mighty heart were strained, his clinging toes were loosened from the rock, his great, swaying, sinewy arms writhed in agony. But each pendant, slender needle did double duty, and when their million rustlings were united the deep-toned, reverberant voice of the King Pine was as the hoarse thunder of the sea. It was only at intervals that the pine roared. There were times when his voice was a lullaby, soft and soothing as that he had sung on
summer afternoons when crows perched in his hair and called to their mates in Stumpy Field. For three days did the King Pine shake the wood with his thunder tones and hush it to rest with his lullaby. Then the Great Maestro decreed the festival at an end. He leashed t.,e winds. He tore the black clouds into fragments. He sent down the silent sunbeams to start the sap flowing in the veins of the King Pine. And he, this Hercules of the forest, tossed his green crest and sang low, soothing symphonies.
THE CUCKOO IN THE BOWERY.
E rail around the bar shone in the gaslight like polished silver. The rosewood bar itself, with its heavy mouldings and its exquisite mechanical finish, would have been regarded by a Prohibitionist as a lamentable instance of art work misplaced. The gleaming mirror, fit for a king's palace, reflected the shining back of the bartender's head, which had been newly barbered, and the faces of two men standing before the bar. One of these faces was seamed with purple rivulets, and in the eyes there was a thirsty gliter as they looked upon the tempting array of bottles bearing such suggestive golden mottoes as "Old Rye," " Old Crow," " Kentucky Sour Mash" and others equally alluring. The bartender wore a white apron and an immaculate suirt front, upon
which glistened a diamond as large as a baby's little finger nail. His black mustache was waxed to a painfully acute stiffness. He looked rosy, fresh and smiling until his eye took in the forlorn figure at the bar. Then his face assumed a hard, cynical look as he said :
" Say, Jack, ain't it about your bedtime ? "
Jack tried to smile, for the cuckoo had just come out of the expensive clock on the shelf aiid announced the fact that it was only 9 o'clock. Besides, Jack's bedtime had no fixed status in the order of time. Jack meant that smile to be cheerful and propitiatory. He meant it to be understood as evoked by the wit of the bartender. But somehow it didn't convey such a meaning to the bartender, for he continued :
" It's no use, Jack ; you won't get a mouthful o' gin, or brandy or beer here to-night. That's the kind of a huckleberry I am, an' that's the kind of a raspberry you are. See ? "
Perhaps Jack's perceptions were blunted. Or it may have been that the fire within him was calling for more liquid fuel and would not be gainsaid. At any rate, he pleaded huskily :
"Billy, ole chap, jist a mouthful for the sake, of old times ! Hey, what d'ye say ? You know an' the boss knows that hundreds o' dollars o' my rocks has slid into that till. Come, Billy, just a. little taste. Only a spoonful. The fires of hell is burnin* me up ! "
There were tears in his voice, and his eyelashes were wet. But the bartender was obdu-
rate. Then Jack raised his clenched hand toward the ceiling and said :
" May the curse—"
He was interrupted by the appearance of another man from the end of the room which was in shadow. This man caught Jack's hand in a powerful grip and led him outside the door. Turning to a stranger, who had been an interested spectator of the scene, the barkeeper said :
" Stranger, I suppose you got onto that feller what took Jack out. Well, he's the whitest man there is this side o' Greenwood Cemetery, an' don't you forget it. Do you know what he's a-doin' now? No! Well, he's a takin' Jack round to the V. M. C. A. to get some strong coffee. Who is he ? Why, he's Wilk, the feller what cleans out the spittoons and sweeps up the floor. He polished that rail you're a leanin' on, he did. Kin ye find any fly specks on that mirror ? Well, I guess not. Oh, he's a Jim Dandy, he is. There ain't no moss on Wilk, stranger. What'll be ? Milk punch with only one spoonful of sugar ! All right, sir. Take one myself ! Don't care Ti do. Ain't that slick. Jist as smooth as oil. Oh, about Wilk. Well, I'm 'fraid I'm gain' to lose him. How's that ! Fact is, stranger, he's in love an' he's got religion. Kind o' funny to have two diseases like them to once, ain't it i Well, Wilk's got 'em both, an' they've struck inside. Le's see, did he get religion or love first? I kind o' think he got the love first. Yes, I re. member, now. He's been lovesick about two weeks, an' it's just about ten days since that
shoutin' Methodist Hanison got on to him an' hauled him to the altar down there in John street, where he's sockin' it to Jay Gool and them other rich fellers. Ye see, Wilk was goin' down for me to git a bottle o' bitters, an' he went by the door o' the John Street Church, where they've got signs hung out to come in an' have a rest from sin an' all that. Music was a-comin' out o' the door, an' Wilk, like a darn fool, 'stead o' comin' home with my bitters, goes in an' sits in the last seat near the door. Mind ye, Wilk didn't tell me anything about this, but one o' my friends seen Wilk, an' he told me all about it. Well, Wilk sat there awhile, an" pretty soon that jumpin'-jack revival feller jumps up an' asks if anybody wants to take a new grip an' shake theirselves along the narrer way, an', dod blast my coppers?—What'll it be this time, sir ? The same! No sugar this time, eh ? Well, as I was a-sayin', you can cram this tumbler down my neck if Wilk didn't git right up on his pins an' say he wanted to take a hand in the game. Here's hopin' you may always chuck aces. Finer'n silk, ain't it ? Yes, sir ; Wilk got right up an" says that's the kind of a clothespin he was. He 'lowed he'd been kickin' up the dust on the road what leads to hell an' damnation long enough, an' now he was ready to go huskin' in the Lord's cornfield. Did they take him in? Well, I should twitter like a sparrow. The sistern cried over him an' the brethring slapped him on the back an* said : Go it, old chap ; you'll get there when the gen-
eral roll is called.' An' you can stake your last chip he'll do it, too. They wanted him to throw away the bottle of bitters he had for me, but he said it wouldn't be a square deal, an' he wouldn't do it. Smoke, sir ! Heres' some fine Terra del Fuegos. An' they landed a mighty fine fish when they struck Wilk, for he can sing like a nightingale. Ha ! ha ! ha ! Makes me laugh when I think of it. Ye see, the other night there was a party o' bucks in here an' they knowed Jack was a corkin' singer, 'cause they'd heard him before.
" They jerked him out in front o' the bar, just where you're standin', an' said he'd got to sing. ' Well, gentlemen,' said he, ' I'll sing, but maybe you won't like the song.' It didn't make a d—d bit o' difference to them, they said, only he must sing. He took a little book out of his pocket, kind of hawked to clear his throat, and began to sing. What d'ye spose he sung, stranger ? Bet ye a box o' cigars ye can't guess. 'Twas a little gospel song. So thunderin' pooty it was that I learned the first verse myself.
I will sing of a beautiful city,
Far away in the mansions of light ;
I will tell how its walls are of jasper,
How its streets are all golden and bright.
" Etcetery, Yankee Doodle and Christopher Columbus ; that's all I can remember. But them chaps didn't want any more songs, an' they got kind o' quiet like after that an' went out.
" Say, pard, you've treated twice, an' I've
done the same, so honors is easy 'twixt us two. I'll chuck you to see who pays for the next round. Here's the leather and here's the bones. What d'ye say ? Is it a go ? "
The stranger assented and the cubes, dotted with little black marks, rolled out upon the bar. The bartender threw fourteen and alluded to his luck in connection with a perfunctory wish that he might be consigned to a very warm place. The stranger threw eighteen, and called for a little Antediluvian whiskey as a reward for his skill. When he set his glass upon the bar and the bartender was wiping up the drippings, the stranger remarked in a casual and disinterested manner something to the effect that he thought he had heard the bartender speak about love in connection with Wilk.
" You're right, stranger," said the loquacious dispenser of liquids. " I did say Wilk was stuck on a girl, an' that's just what galls me, for I'm kind o' gone on the same fairy myself. She lives up the street with an old English widder what likes her glass o' beer afore she turns in at night. J ust about the time every night that the cuckoo comes out o' the clock an' sings ten times, Mag—that's the short of her name for Margaret—comes 'round to the family entrance with a can in a basket. Lord love you, sir, she wouldn't carry the can in her fist ; not she. Mag gets one pint; no more, no less. You'd ought to see her, stranger. She's a little mite, not much bigger'n a pint o' cider ; but they do say as how the best goods come done up in the
smallest parcels. Her eyes is brown, sir; just the color o' beer when you looks at it under the white collar o' foam. I'll bet this here di'mon' pin what 1 paid $20 to a Jew for on the installment racket, and what I'm only owin' $2 on, that you'd fall in love with her yourself if you seen her once. An' her hair! I'll be ham-strung if I don't believe it would reach to her feet if she once took the pins out ! An' when she grins ! 'Sense me, I ought to said smiles, 'cause such kind as Mag don't grin. An' when she smiles, as I said—say, stranger, you've seen rainbows, hain't you ? Well, that's what her smile is, a rainbow smile, a kind of a promise of sunshine after rain. You know there's smiles an' smiles. Some gals yawps when they grins as if their heads would drop off when their mouth opens. But Mag ain't none o' that kind. Her cheeks just widen a little an' dimples comes in 'em like your mother used to make in a green loaf o' bread with her little finger before she put it in the oven. An' them cheeks o' hers ! Why, they're just the color o' Jersey peaches. To tell you the truth, stranger, I'm dead stuck on her myself. Now, I asks you, if it's a fair question, what right Wilk, who's only a supe 'round here, has got to get mashed on a girl like that ?
" Look here, he ain't got nothin' ain't Wilk ! Then look at me. Now, I'm a darn sight better lookin' than Wilk ; ain't I, stranger ? I'll leave it to you, honest ! You seen him an' you seen me If I ain't got more style in my little 8.,
finger than Wilk has in his whole body, I'll eat my shirt, buttons and all. What's th.it? The pootiest birds don't always fancy a gilded cage.' What are you givin' us, stranger ? What's birds and cages got to do with Mag an' me?"
The long finger of the clock had been slowly swinging around the circle, and it was near the time for the cuckoo to come out and sing 10. The jangle of horse cars came in at the latticed door. An ambulance went by ringing its alarm. There was a quick step on the sidewalk, the door flew open, and in came Wilk reeking with perspiration. The bartender grinned and whispered, while his hand described a circle over the left side of his mouth.
"It's about time for the fairy to come. See him look at the clock ! He thinks he's late."
Wilk took a seat near the family entrance. Taking a little book from his pocket he looked at the pages with an abstracted gaze, for his attention was really given up to listening.
" D'ye know what he's a-readin' now? No! Why, that's the new part of the bible, where it tells that story about hauling in so many fish that the net broke, an' that other little yarn about the man as was stoned to death. But Wilk's always readin' about the ‘Postle Paul what went down to Jericho or some other old-fashioned place. He wrote a lot, did Paul, about how to keep sober and go to church three times on Sunday. He was a great chap for writin' letters to ihe Hebrews, an' the Irish and
Dutch. In one o' them letters to some o' them furriners he kind o" got down on his marrer bones himself, for he said he found it was mighty hard work thinkin' to he good with his head an' doin' had with his hands. That's the letter Wilk's always readin'. Hush! Look at him now ! "
The bartender held up his hand in a warning gesture. Wilk had put the book in his pocket and was leaning over. His eyes shone and his lips were parted. The two men listened, too. There was a lull in the noises in the street, and the two men, by straining their sense of hearing, became aware that the door of the family entrance had opened. The cuckoo came out of the clock and made its usual hourly announcement. Wilk's face flushed, and he stepped quickly to the little compartment which now contained the object of his heart's desire. A low ripple of laughter floated into the bar-room.
" Hear that ? " said the bartender. " He's makin' love to Mag! "
Then followed an interval of whispering and the door leading into the bar-room opened and Wilk came out. He carried in his hand a neat little basket. This he set carefully upon the floor, lifted the cover and removed a shining one-quart tin pail. Walking to the brazen spigot projecting from the beer keg in the ice box, he drew the pail full of a brown liquid capped with foam. Then he returned the pail to the basket and closed the lid. After the door had closed behind him there was more whispering, 86
but the only words which the two men could distinguish were : "Oh, ain't you awful !" in a woman's voice. The outer door closed and the bartender said :
" He's gone home with her."
Ten minutes elapsed, during which time the bartender seemed moody and busied himself rearranging the already orderly bottles. Then Wilk returned. He walked straight to the bar. The passion and yearning and ardor of a soul aflame was about him. It shone in his eyes. It glorified the face marked with lines of dissipation. It redeemed his commonplace features with that subtle light which shines in a human face when that great alchemist, Love, is stirring up his emotions in his magic crucible. Holding his hand across the rosewood counter which he had polished so often, Wilk said :
" Good-by, Jim, old man ; I m goin' to leave you. The Y. M. C. A. folks has got a job for me down on West street, watchin' nights, an* I'm goin' to get $12 a week. I've got a hundred o' them long greens with Uncle Sam's name on 'em in the bank, an——"
The bartender's face lit up. lie thought his rival would now be disposed of. lie interrupted Wilk with :
"Glad to hear it, old chap. Hope you'll come to see me once in a while."
Wilk flushed and ran his eye over the familiar bottles. Then he stammered out :
" J-J-Jim, I won't be able t-t-to come very often."
"Why not? You'll have all your dnys to yourself."
Wilk looked at his old confrere with something of pity in his glance. He hesitated about crushing his hopes, for well he knew what the bartender's thoughts were. At last he blurted out :
"Well, the facts is—the facts, Jim, is—that— that—Mag an' me is goin' to git hitched next Sunday, an' I'll have to stay with her most o' the time when I ain't workin'."
The bartender winced as though he had been struck a blow in the face. He bent his head and busied himself under the bar. When he raised his head his face was pale, and he winked his eyes suspiciously. This he explained by saying there was a Bermuda onion behind the bar. Just as the cuckoo came out with a soft cooing to the effect that another sixty minutes had gone by, the three men touched glasses in a parting drink, and Wilk took ginger ale.
AN ATTIC PRINCE.
In a little square room, at the top of a house, I'm as still, and as poor, as a little church mouse. My two windows are hung with old, torn, yellow lace, Through the rents of which I see a dear little face, liy moonlight and noonlight, by night and by day, 1 can see, unperceived, plainly, over the way.
It's been done many times, since this crazy old world
Out of space like a crazy old cornet was hurled;
But no man ever gazed through old curtains to see
Such a face as the face that will not turn to me.
The hole in my heart's like the hole in my coat—
And the big ship of State could go through them and float.
WHAT THE BABY SAW.
The baby whined and was fretful. She petu-lantly threw down the stopple of the cologne Lottie and refused to play with the window-shade. This exhibition of temper may have been caused by the fact that she was unable to get her big toe in her mouth, a gymnastic feat which she had been trying to accomplish for fifteen minutes. Hut when the baby's mother took the child in her arms and wrapped her in a $4.50 cloak, and put a quaint little bonnet on the baby's head, the whining stopped and the fretfulness passed away like an April cloud. The wrinkles in the baby's face fled, the eyelids opened wide and laughter lurked in the dimples in the plump chin. She was going for a ride in her $14 carriage and s'ie knew it. Come, papa, the baby's ready ! Papa laid down his paper with a sigh and listened smilingly to the minute directions given by the baby's mother as to how far the ride was to extend. He was not to take her near the railroad track because the cars might run over her, nor in the vicinity of the pond, for fear of the mosquitoes ; he was to wheel the carnage slowly, and above all things, be sure and not give the baby any candy. The baby was to be gone just one hour and no longer. If she fell asleep her face must be screened from the wind with a handkerchief to prevent her from catching cold. And even for this short excursion the mother was loath to let the child go, and she hung over her, rearranging the cushions and smoothing the rib-
ons and then watched the carriage until it disappeared around the corner.
What a beautiful day it was, and how wonderful was Nature's panorama as it unfolded before the baby's wondering eyes ! Overhead was the blue sky dotted with white and fleecy islands ; around her was the wine-like atmosphere of June filled with spring's bouquet. The trees rustled for her, the sunshine caressed her. The baby raised her dimpled hands and crowed with delight. The first animate object to engross the attention of the blue eyes was a little yellow dog. He came trotting down the street with his tail like a banner in the air. And while this street scavenger examined all the brown paper and every nook and corner in the street for something with which to tickle its palate, the baby's blue eyes underneath the long lashes opened wider and wider with amazement at the actions of this marvellous beast. Then a. most remarkable horse car, painted yellow, came along, the sunlight making a dazzling radiance on its windows, drawn by two gigantic horses. Just as they passed by one of the horses sneezed a great " whoof," which made the baby wink both eyes in a most alarming manner, and when this convulsive movement was over, and the eyes shone out again like jewels set in pink and white, the big animals and the yellow box on wheels had gone. But a little further ahead, under a maple tree, whose leaves cast an oasis of shade on the dusty road, a little brook stole out of a meadow and went babbling over the cobble stones, and
standing knee-deep in the water was the funniest little brown bird imaginable. It was taking a bath. Its little tail was outspread, like a fan. The bird teetered back and forth and dashed the water in glittering drops into the street. The sharp beak of this feathered bather was thrust into the water and then used to comb out its fathers, so that the dainty plumage was rumpled and ruffled. Hut when the coy bather hopped out of the water and saw the baby clapping her chubby hands and heard her utter a gurgle of delight much like that made by the brook, it whisked its petticoats into shape like a flash and flew over on the peak of an old barn, where its toilet was completed.
There were so many interesting things to be seen, such a wealth of warmth and comfort in the sunlight, such melody from the throats of birds, such gentle intoxication in the air, that the baby's head was kept revolving on her shoulders like the button on a woodhouse door. Even those things which escaped the attention of her father the baby did not miss. A mosquito danced an aerial hornpipe before her wondering eyes and sang his buzzing song, which sounded like the hum of a little buzzsaw. Of course the baby didn't know that this gossamer winged singer carried a poisoned dart with it, and she reached out four fat fingers and a. fat thumb to grab it. Then the visitor from New Jersey flew away.
Soothed by the balmy air and lulled by the motion of the carriage swinging on its supple springs, the baby's head began to nod like that 92
of a violet on its stem, and the white curtains to droop over the blue eyes. Sleep was tugging at the long lashes. The carriage was going up a little steep hill carpeted with nature's superfine green Brussels, when the forward wheel dropped into a hollow, a sudden jolt followed and the blue eyes opened wide in alarm. They did not shut again right away, for their in front of them and only two feet from the carriage was an enormous animal with iron shoes on its four feet, swinging a tail of prodigious length in such a careless way that the end of it just grazed the carriage. And this mammoth was eating the green carpet, tearing it up in great mouthfuls. Such an astonishing thing was this huge beast that the blue eyes threatened to pop out of their sockets with wonder. And how it did stamp its great feet upon the hillside and shake its gigantic head when a small fly lit upon its great nostrils ! But there was no time to linger over this marvel. There were others in plenty ahead to be seen when the top of the hill was reached. The ashen spokes of the wheels revolved slowly, and the carriage came to a stop at the brow of the hill. In a little bowl-shaped vale at the foot of the hill lay a pool dimpling in the breeze and glistening in the sunlight. Through its clear water here and their a gold fish could be seen lazily waving its fins. Upon the surface of the pond floated a mother goose and beside her and in her wake floated four little bunches of yellow down imitating the lazy indifference affected by their mother. But the indifference was of short
duration, for a big black dog came running around the hill and began barking at the swimmers. So anxious was the baby to see the dog (hat she came very near falling out of the carriage. The little geese swam in a frightened way close to the mother goose's wings, while she hissed defiance at the clog.
Whether the dog plunged into the pond and tried to catch the geese the baby did not stop to see, for her father looked at his watch and learned that the time limit of one hour had been exceeded by thirty minutes. So he quickly started homeward. The journey was about half completed when the baby's mother was seen with an anxious look on her face.
" Oh ! you frightened me so," said she, placing her hand over her throbbing heart. " I thought some—some—-thing had happened to the baby. Stop ! let me have her."
Stooping down, the anxious mother lifted the now sleeping infant from the carriage. And so with her precious burden resting against her heart, the mother walked away, while the empty carriage came trundling after her.
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