Matt Carpenter said never mind; he would call Mrs. Hayes, and he gave a hop, skip and jump and went up stairs three at a time, followed by Mr. Hayes, who was shivering from the contact of his bare feet with the oil cloth in the hall.
"What is the trouble, Rutherford?" said Mrs. Hayes, as Mr. Carpenter rushed into the room.
"Get up and dress yourself, you are surrounded, and escape is impossible."
Mrs. Hayes screamed as she saw the bold buccaneer, pulled the bed clothes over her head and said, "We are lost."
At this point Hayes, who had got on a pair of woolen stockings, and was buttoning on a paper collar, said: "I say, Matt, of course this is all right, and I don't want you to be offended, but won't you just step out into the hall so Mrs. Hayes can get her clothes on."
"Why, to be sure," said Matt, as he got up out of a rocking chair, on which there were three skirts, a red petticoat, an emancipation corset, and a pair of striped stockings with long suspenders arranged to button on the waist, "of course I will go out, but you need not mind me. I am near sighted."
Matt went down stairs with the crowd, and when he was gone Mrs. Hayes got her head out from under the clothes and wanted to know what the trouble was, and if they could not fly.
Hayes told her not to be alarmed, as it was only one of those d—d surprise parties. He said there were two hundred hungry people down stairs, with baskets of sandwiches and pickles, and the chances were that they would eat up everything there was in the house, and mash crumbs and cold tongue into the carpet.
Mrs. Hayes got up and sent Rutherford into the linen closet after a clean white skirt, and he returned with a night gown and had to be sent back. While she was taking her hair down out of the curl papers, and putting bandoline over her ears, she gave Mr. Hayes her opinion of surprise parties. She said that little shrimp, Alexander Stephens, would sit on the piano keys, and knock his boot heels against the piano case, and that Dave Davis would fall over the music rack, and sit down in her best rocking chair and break it.
Just then she touched her nose with a curling iron that she had heated in a gas jet, and screamed and woke Mr. Hayes up, and he wanted to know what was the matter. She rolled over in bed, felt of her nose to see if it was there, and told Mr. Hayes she had been dreaming there was a surprise party came to the house.
He said: "My dear, I trust there is no such fate in store for us. You are nervous. Try a little of that crab apple cider, and lay on your face, and see if you can't go to sleep."
THE DIFFERENCE IN CLOTHES.
There is something about the practice of "practical joking" that is mighty pleasant and enjoyable, if the joke is on somebody else. It was about six years ago that we quit practical joking, and the reason was that the boys played one on us that fairly broke our back. We had always been full of it, and an opportunity to play a joke on a friend was a picnic for us, but this time we had all the tuck taken out and fairly unraveled.
A party consisting of Hogan, Hatch, Root, Wood and Webb had been down from La Crosse to the marshes shooting ducks for a week. We had prepared to break camp and take the train to Brownsville at 2 o'clock, from which we took a little steamer for La Crosse.
We were out shooting and did not get to camp until everything was packed up, and just had time to catch the train with our hunting clothes on. The rest of the fellows had been in camp an hour, and had put on their good clothes, and washed up and looked like gentlemen, as they were, while we looked like a tramp, which we were not. All got on the little steamboat, and hugged around the boiler with the other passengers, for it was a cold night.
We felt a little ashamed of the old hunting clothes that had been worn so many years, and were covered with blood and dirt, but there was no chance to change, and we sat down with the boys. Finally Root, who was the biggest hector in the world, and a fine looking gentleman, turned to the captain of the boat and said, pointing to us:
"I wish, captain, you would ask this red-headed muskrat trapper to sit on the other side of me. He smells bad."
If lightning had struck us we could not have been more astonished. The passengers all looked at the dirty looking "muskrat trapper," and stuck up their noses. The captain asked us in a polite manner if we would not please move and get on the "lee side" of the passengers. He said he didn't mean any offence, but the smell of muskrats oftentimes made people sick.
Well, it was a pretty tight fix, but we forced a laugh and looked around at the rest of the boys in a familiar way, and began talking to them. Not a man of them would recognize us. The captain turned to Hogan and said, "Is this a friend of yours?" Hogan put on a look of disgust, and said he had never seen us before. "However," says Jim, "he may be a very deserving person of his class."
The captain said we had better go to the other end of the boiler and lay down with the dogs where it was warm. We tried to pass it off as a joke, and turned to Hatch and tried to get into conversation with him about a goose he had killed the day before, but he wouldn't have it. He said we could get the smell out of our clothes by burying them, and then he went on to tell how he shot a skunk once, and spoiled a suit of clothes.
We spoke to Colonel Wood, one of our party, as a last resort, and all he said was to draw in his breath with a "Whoosh," and put his handkerchief to his nose. We never felt so mean in the world. The whole gang had combined against us, and we got up to leave them, meditating revenge, when Walt Webb said, "Let's throw the cuss overboard." We went and laid down on the valises, and tried to think of some way to get even with the boys, when Root told the captain that they had got some valuables in those valises, and they didn't want any tramp laying down on them, and he came along and actually drove us off of our own valise. 4
To make the matter still worse, a homely looking Norwegian dog that we had borrowed to take on the hunt, and which was the worst looking brute that ever was, and which had been the laughing stock of the camp for a week, at this point came up to us, wagged his tail and followed us, and the boys said, "Look at the dog the muskrat trapper owns." That was the worst give away.
We walked around on deck, and would occasionally stop and speak to one of the boys, hoping they had given us enough and would relent, but all the way to La Crosse not one of them would speak to us, and when the boat arrived at the landing Root handed us a quarter, in the presence of the passengers, and asked if we wouldn't help Mike Doyle, the cook, carry the baggage ashore.
It was the worst joke we ever had perpetrated on us, and even after we got ashore, and Hatch said, "Come, old sorrel top, let's go and get a glass of beer," we could hardly smile. Since then when we go hunting we wear the best clothes we have got.
For years afterwards when fellows were joking, some of the party would ask us "if the trapping was good this season." We got so we could not look a myskrat in the face. So we say that practical joking is splendid if it is on the other fellow. Always quit when they get it on to you.
A TEMPERANCE LECTURE THAT HURT.
There was probably the most astonished temperance man up above Stevens Point the other day that ever was. The name of the temperance man is Sutherland.
He is a nice gentleman, but, like many another man, he can never see a person with his keg full of bug juice without giving him a talking to.
The other day Sutherland was driving along the road when he overtook an Indian who asked for a ride. He was allowed to get in the wagon, when Sutherland discovered that the Indian had a breath that would stop a temperance clock. He smelled like a sidewalk in front of a wholesale liquor store. The Indian was comfortably full, so full that his back teeth were floating.
Sutherland thought it was a good time to get in his work, so he began talking to the Indian about the wickedness of looking upon the whisky when it was bay, and when it giveth its color in the nose. He told the Indian of the wrecked homes, the poverty, the disgrace and death that followed the use of liquor, and wound up by pleading with him to give up his cups and join the angel band and shout hosannas in a temperance lodge. The Indian did not understand a word that Suthland was saying, but supposing by the looks of his nose and pleading eyes that he wanted a drink, the Indian drew a large black bottle from under his blanket and handed it to Sutherland, remarking: "Ugh! Dam firewater."
Sutherland thought that he had made a convert, and telling the Indian that he was glad he had resolved to lead a different life, took the bottle and dashed it upon the ground, smashing it into a thousand pieces.
Well, the air seemed full of Indians. If Sutherland had torn out the Indian's heart he could not have hurt the red man worse.
With a war whoop the Indian jumped on the seat, took Sutherland by the hair and yanked him out on the ground. Sutherland yelled and the Indian galloped over him. The team ran away, and the Indian mauled Sutherland. He cut open his face, italicised his nose, put a roof over his eye and felt for his knife to stab him.
Sutherland got away and run to Stevens Point, where his wounds were bound up. He says if any gentleman wants to take the job of reforming Indians he will give up his situation. He meant well, but lacked judgment.
An item in the La Crosse Chronicle says: "Two cats and a dog were killed at the high school yesterday for inspection by the class in physiology."
In preparing the youth of the land for a business career there is nothing that tends more to ripen the mind and to prepare it for overcoming the obstacles that will naturally be found in after life than to learn to cut a dog in two.
The ignorance of some of the business men of the present day is largely to be attributed to the fact that the instructors of the youth in the olden time never taught them how to carve a dog. How many times have we been in positions since arriving at man's estate, when poring over some great problem of science, where we would have given ten years of the front end of our life if we knew how to make both ends meat, even if it was dog meat?
The knowledge that the students of the present day obtain in their study of the dog will be valuable to them if ever they are caught in a melon patch, and a dog fastens his teeth into their garments. They will know how to go to work scientifically to unhinge the jaws of a dog, instead of pulling one way, while the dog pulls the other, until the cloth or the skin tears out.
It will be a great thing to know all about how a dog is put together. And if these students are taught how to kill cats they will more than get their money back when they grow up.
Ignorant people who have never had the advantages of studying the cat when it is dead, attempt to kill them with boot-jacks and empty ale bottles and tomato cans, but the next generation will know how to do it scientifically, and not hurt the cat.
This is certainly an age of improvement, and the Sun desires that school children shall know all about the anatomy of the festive dog and the nocturnal cat, if they don't even know how to spell their own names.
BRAVERY OF MRS. GARFIELD
The newspaper correspondents about the White House, echoing the remarks made by the doctors, are continually talking of Mrs. Garfield's bravery, and we frequently see the statement made that she is "the bravest woman in the world," and all that. While expressing great admiration for the gifted lady, in the trying ordeal through which she has passed, and admitting that she is brave as an American woman ought to be, and that by her conduct she greatly braced up her beloved husband when his liver was knocked around into the small of his back by the assassin's bullet, and he didn't know whether he was going to live till morning, we must say that Mrs. Garfield is no braver than thousands of other good women.
She simply took the chances on his dying, as thousands of other wives do every day, and for his good she put on the best face possible, and kept her tears back. But how many obscure women have done the same thing, as they sat by the side of their dying husbands, and made the patient believe that he was getting better, and smiled while their hearts were breaking? Was Mrs. Garfield braver than the sister of charity, God bless her, who goes from the North to nurse total strangers in a stricken southern city, when she knows that within a week the deadly fever will kill her?
Compare the President's wife for a moment with the wife of a drunken husband, who points a revolver at her heart, and his nervous finger on the trigger, while he announces that he will kill her. The wife looks him in the eye and says, "Kill me, John, but kiss me first," and the drunken brute breaks down and cries, and she takes the revolver from him, puts him to bed, soaks his feet and brings him a good supper. That is bravery.
Think of a frail little woman whose life has been one bed of thorns, and whose happy hours have been so few that if an hour seems to open to her with happiness she dare not enjoy it for fear there is a mistake, and it is not hers to enjoy. In the wreck of her life's ambitions and hopes she has saved only a dear little girl and her heart is so bound up in her that it ceases to beat when she thinks that God may forget that the little one is all she has, and call her home.
One day the little one comes home with fever, takes to her bed, and for weeks is just on the line between earth and heaven. The little mother, hardly able to be upon her feet, believes as firmly as she believes that she lives, that her darling will die, and that two hearts will be buried in the coffin, and yet she watches beside her night and day with smiles on her face, sings to her as though her heart were filled with happiness, and occasionally gives expression to a jolly laugh, just to brace up her little darling, and make her believe there is no danger, and when the doctor says "she will live," the brave little mother goes to her room and cries for the first time, and faints away.
Ah, gentlemen correspondents, you do well to speak of the bravery of the President's wife, but you know that these incidents we have related, and incidents you have seen in your own experiences, show as great, if not greater bravery and heroism than that of the first woman of the land. O, the country is full of women who are braver than the bravest man that ever walked.
ILLUSTRATING THE ASSASSINATION.
It is singular how a great calamity like the attempted assassination of the President will bring people together on terms of familiarity, and cause them to discuss things that they never knew anything about before. People who never thought of such things before, except during the cucumber season, have become familiar with their livers and internal improvements, and talk as glibly of the abdomen, the umbilicus—as well as the cuss who shot him—the peritonitis, the colon, the ilium, the diaphragm, the alacumbumbletop and the diaphaneous cholagogue as though they had been attending a Chicago meat cutting match at a students' dissecting room. Men talk of little else, and this is noticeable more particularly among men who have nothing to do.
There were two old men who loaf a good deal around a grocery, discussing the wound of the President, and one was trying to illustrate to the other how it was. He put on his glasses and took up a butter tryer and walked up to a lady customer who was leaning over the counter smelling of some boarding-house prunes. She was a large lady, and perhaps as good a subject as could have been found. The first old man called the other up behind the woman, and said:
"There, the assassin stood about as you do, and looked, probably, the same as you do. Now, you take this spigot and point to the woman, about here—" and he put the butter tryer on her back, near the belt.
"Yes, I see," said the second old man, as he nibbled a piece off a soda cracker, and pointed the wooden spigot at the woman, with his finger on the trigger. The woman was busy looking to see if there were any worms in the prunes, and she didn't notice what was going on.
"There," said the first old man, as he pushed the end of the butter tryer a little harder against the woman. "The bullet went in here, and went around here close to the liver, though probably it didn't touch the liver, passed through the thin membrane, and is probably lodged in here," and he reached around the woman with his left hand to where her apron was tied on. "Now, if they cannot extract the ball the great danger is from peritonitis—"
At this point the woman observed what was going on, and she was about as mad as a woman can be. Seizing a codfish that was on the head of a sugar barrel by the tail she whacked the first old gent, who held the butter tryer, over the head, and said:
"Peritonitis is beginning to set in, you bald-headed old villain, and general prostration will be the result. I will teach you to put your arm around me. I am no manikin. Do you take me for a dissecting room? Put down that gun, you idiot," said she, as she wafted the codfish toward the second old man, who still held up the spigot.
The grocery man, who was cutting a cheese, came around the counter with the cheese knife in his hand, and said he hoped there would be no more bloodshed, and asked the old man to put down the butter tryer and go out. The two old men went out on the sidewalk, when the woman told the grocery man that no woman was safe a moment when those old reprobates were allowed to run at large, and when she got so low down as to allow people to practice assassination on her with wooden faucets and butter tryers she would join a circus. When the two old men got out on the walk the second one said to the first:
"Didn't you know the woman?"
"Know her? No. I didn't think it was necessary for a formal introduction in a trying time like this, when we all want all the information we can get about the great tragedy. There is no accommodation about some people. But she has gone out now, so let us carry back the spigot and butter tryer, and may be the grocery man will treat to the cider."
And the two old setters went in and sat down on the barrels and talked about how they had known people along in 1837 to be shot all to pieces and recover.
THE INFIDEL AND HIS SILVER MINE.
It is announced in the papers that Colonel Ingersoll, the dollar a ticket infidel, has struck it rich in a silver mine, and is now worth a million dollars. Here is another evidence of the goodness of God. Ingersoll has treated God with the greatest contempt, called Him all the names he could think of, called Him a liar, a heartless wretch, and stood on a stump and dared God to knock a chip off his shoulder, and instead of God's letting him have one below the belt and knocking seven kinds of cold victuals out of him, God gives him a pointer on a silver mine, and the infidel rakes in a cool million, and laughs in his sleeve, while thousands of poor workers in the vineyard are depending for a livelihood on collections that pan out more gun wads and brass pants buttons to the ton of ore than they do silver. This may be all right, and we hope it is, and we don't want to give any advice on anybody else's business, but it would please Christians a good deal better to see that bold man taken by the slack of the pants and lifted into a poor house, while the silver he has had fall to him was distributed among the charitable societies, mission schools and churches, so a minister could get his salary and buy a new pair of trousers to replace those that he has worn the knees out of kneeling down on the rough floor to pray.
It is mighty poor consolation to the ladies of a church society, to give sociables, ice creameries, strawberry festivals and all kinds of things to raise money to buy a carpet for a church or lecture room, and wash their own dishes, and then hear that some infidel who is around the country calling God a pirate and a horse thief, at a dollar a head, to full houses, has miraculously struck a million dollar silver mine.
To the toiling minister who prays without ceasing, and eats codfish and buys clothes at a second hand store, it looks pretty rough to see Bob Inger-soll steered onto a million dollar silver mine. But it may be all right, and we presume it is. Maybe God has got the hook in Bob's mouth, and is letting him play around the way a fisherman does a black bass, and when he thinks he is running the whole business, and flops around and scares the other fish, it is possible Bob may be reeled in, and he will find himself on the bottom of the boat with a finger and thumb in his gills and a big boot on his paunch, and he will be compelled to disgorge the hook and the bait and all, and he will lay there and try to flop out of the boat, and wonder what kind of a game this is that is being played on him.
Everything turns out right some time, and from what we have heard of God, off and on, we don't believe He is going to let no ordinary man, bald headed and apoplectic, carry off all the persimmons, and put his fingers to his nose and dare the ruler of the universe to tread on the tail of his coat.
Bob Ingersoll has got the bulge on all the Christians now, and draws more water than anybody, but He who notes the sparrow's fall has no doubt got an eye on the fat rascal, and some day will close two or three fingers around Bob's throat, when his eyes will stick out so you can hang your hat on them, and he will blat like a calf and get down on his knees and say:
"Please, Mr. God, don't choke so, and I will give it all back and go around and tell the boys that I am the almightiest liar that ever charged a dollar a head to listen to the escaping wind from a blown up bladder. O, good God, don't hurt so. My neck is all chafed."
And then he will die, and God will continue business at the old stand.
THE GREAT MONOPOLIES.
There is an association of old fossils at New York calling themselves the "Anti-Monopoly League," that has taken the job on their hands of saving the country from eternal and everlasting ruin at the hands of the gigantic monopolies, the railroads, and this league, through its President, L. E. Chittenden, is sending editorials and extracts from speeches delivered by great men who have been refused passes, or who have not been retained by railroads to conduct law suits as much as they think they ought to be, to newspapers all over the country requesting their publication.
The Sun gets its regular share of these documents each week, which go into the waste basket with a regularity that is truly remarkable, considering that we are not a railroad monopoly. But there is something so ridiculous about these articles that one cannot help laughing. They claim that the country is in the grasp of the gigantic monopolies, and that they will choke the country to death and ruin everybody, though what the object can be in running the country and everybody in it, is not stated.
These monopolies have taken the country when it was as weak as gruel, and hoisted it by the slack of the pants to the leading position among nations. The monopolies have built their track all over God's creation, where land could not be given away, have hauled emigrants out there and set them up in business, and made the waste land of the government valuable. They have made transportation so cheap that the emigrant from Germany of last year can send wheat from Dakota to the Fatherland, and Bismarck and King William can get it cheaper than they can wheat grown within a mile of their castles.
These monopolies that the played out nine-spot anti-monopoly leagues are howling against have made the country what it is, and if there is anybody in this country that don't like it, they can get emigrant tickets and go to Germany or Norway and take the places of the men that the monopolies are causing to settle here. Of course we could all run railroads better than the owners run them, but as long as we have not got money enough to buy them we better shut up our yap and let Jay Gould and his fellows do what they please with their own, as long as they permit the country to prosper as it is prospering now. The anti-monopoly leaguers had better go to driving street cars.
ANOTHER DEAD FAILURE.
Again we are called upon to apologize to our readers for advertising what we had reason to expect would occur at the time advertised, but which failed to show up. We allude to the end of the world which was to have taken place last Sunday.
It is with humility that we confess that we were again misled into believing that the long postponed event would take place, and with others we got our things together that we intended to take along, only to be compelled to unpack them Monday morning.
Now this thing is played out, and the next time any party advertises that the world will come to an end, we shall take no stock in it. And then it will be just our luck to have the thing come to an end, when we are not prepared. There is the worst sort of mismanagement about this business somewhere, and we are not sure but it is best to allow God to go ahead and attend to the closing up of earthly affairs, and give these fellows that figure out the end of all things with a slate and pencil the grand bounce.
It is a dead loss to this country of millions of dollars every time there is a prediction that the world will come to an end, because there are lots of men who quit business weeks beforehand and do not try to earn a living, but go lunching around. We lost over fifteen dollars' worth of advertising last week from people who thought if the thing was going up the flue on Sunday there was no use of advertising any more, and we refused twenty dollars' worth more because we thought if that was the last paper we were going to get out we might as well knock off work Friday and Saturday and go and catch a string of perch. The people have been fooled about this thing enough, and the first man that comes around with any more predictions ought to be arrested.
People have got enough to worry about, paying taxes, and buying strawberries and sugar, to can, without feeling that if they get a tax receipt the money will be a dead loss, or if they put up a cellar full of canned fruit the world will tip over on it and break every jar and bust every tin can.
Hereafter we propose to go right along as though the world was going to stay right side up, have our hair cut, and try and behave, and then if old mother earth shoots off into space without any warning we will take our chances with the rest in catching on to the corner of some passing star and throw our leg over and get acquainted with the people there, and maybe start a funny paper and split the star wide open.
OUR BLUE-COATED DOG POISONERS.
"Papa, the cruel policeman has murdered little Gip! He sneaked up and frowed a nice piece of meat to Gip, and Gip he eated it, and fanked the policeman with his tail, and runned after him and teased for more, but the policeman fought Gip had enough, and then Gip stopped and looked sorry he had eaten it, and pretty soon he laid down and died, and the policeman laughed and went off feeling good. If Dan Sheehan was the policeman any more he wouldn't poison my dog, would he, pa?"
The above was the greeting the bald-headed Sun man received on Thursday, and a pair of four-year-old brown eyes were full enough of tears to break the heart of a policeman of many years' standing, and the little, crushed master of the dead King Charles spaniel went to sleep sobbing and believing that policemen were the greatest blot upon the civilization of the nineteenth century.
Here was a little fellow that had from the day he first stood on his feet after the scarlet fever had left him alive, been allowing his heart to become entwined with love for that poor little dog. For nearly a year the dog had been ready to play with the child when everybody else was tired out, and never once had the dog been cross or backed out of a romp, and the laughter and the barking has many a time been the only sound of happiness in the neighborhood.
If the boy slept too long after dinner, the dog went and rooted around him as much as to say, "Look a here, Mr. Roy, you can't play this on your partner any longer. You get up here and we will have a high old time, and don't you forget it." And pretty soon the sound of baby feet and dog's toe nails would be heard on the stairs, and the circus would commence.
If the dog slept too long of an afternoon, the boy would hunt him out, take hold of his tail with one hand, and an ear with the other, and lug him into the parlor, saying, "Gip, too much sleep is what is ruining the dogs in this country. Now, brace up and play horse with me." And then there was fun.
Well, it is all over; but while we write there is a little fellow sleeping on a tear-stained pillow, dreaming, perhaps, of a heaven where the woods are full of King Charles' spaniel dogs, and a doorkeeper stands with a club to keep out policemen. And still we cannot blame policemen—it is the law that is to blame—the wise men who go to the legislature, and make months with one day too much, pass laws that a dog shall be muzzled and wear a brass check, or he is liable to go mad. Statistics show that not one dog in a million ever goes mad, and that they are more liable to go mad in winter than in summer; but several hundred years ago somebody said that summer was "dog days," and the law-makers of this enlightened nineteenth century still insist on a wire muzzle at a season of the year when a dog wants air and water, and wants his tongue out.
So we compel our guardians of the peace to go around assassinating dogs. Men, who as citizens, would cut their hands off before they would injure a neighbor's property, or speak harsh to his dog, when they hire out to the city must stifle all feelings of humanity, and descend to the level of Paris scavengers. We compel them to do this. If they would get on their ears and say to the city of Milwaukee, "We will guard your city, and protect you from insult, and die for you if it becomes necessary; but we will see you in hades before we will go around assassinating dogs," we as a people, would think more of them, and perhaps build them a decent station house to rest in.
The dog law is as foolish as the anti-treating law, and if it were not enforced, no harm would be done. Our legislators have to pass about so many laws anyway, and we should use our judgment about enforcing them.
But the dog is dead, and the little man meditates a terrible revenge. He is going to have a goat that can whip a policeman, he says; then there will be fun around the parsonage.
AND HE ROSE UP AND SPAKE.
As a general thing railroad men are "pretty fly," as the saying is, and not very apt to be scared. But a case occurred up on the La Crosse division of the St. Paul road last week that caused a good deal of hair to stand.
The train from St. Paul east runs to La Crosse, where all hands are changed, and the new gang run to Chicago. On the trip of which we speak there was placed in the baggage car at St. Paul a coffin, and at Lake City a parrot in a cage was put in. Before the train got to Winona other baggage was piled on top, so the coffin only showed one end, and the parrot cage was behind a trunk, next to the barrel of drinking water, out of sight, and where the cage would not get jammed. At La Crosse the hands were changed, and conductor Fred Cornes, as 6:35 arrived, shouted his cheery "All aboard," and the train moved off. The coffin was seen by all the men in the baggage car, and a solemnity took possession of everybody. Railroad men never feel 'entirely happy when a corpse is on the train.
The run to Sparta was made, and Fred went to the baggage car, and noticing the coffin and the mournful appearance of the boys, he told them to brace up and have some style about them He said it was what we had all to come to, sooner or later, and for his part a corpse or two, more or less, in a car made no difference to him. He said he had rather have a car load of dead people than go into an emigrant train when some were eating cheese and others were taking off their shoes and feeding infants.
He sat down in a chair and was counting over his tickets, and wondering where all the passes come from, when the Legislature is not in session. The train was just going through the tunnel near Greenfield, and Fred says.
"Boys, we are now in the bowels of the earth, way down deeper than a grave. Whew! how close it smells."
Just then the baggagemaster had taken a dipper of water from the barrel, and was drinking it, when a sepulchral voice, that seemed to come from the coffin, said:
"Dammit, let me out!"
The baggage man had his mouth fall of water, and when he heard the voice from the tombs, he squirted the water clear across the car, onto the express messenger, turned pale, and leaned against a trunk.
Fred Cornes heard the noise, and, chucking the tickets into his pocket and grabbing his lantern, he said, as he looked at the coffin:
"Who said that! Now, no ventriloquism on me, boys. I'm an old traveler, and don't you fool with me."
The baggage man had by this time got his breath, and he swore upon his sacred honor that the corpse in there was alive, and asked to be let out.
Fred went out of the car to register at Greenfield, and the express messenger opened the door to put out some egg cases, and the baggage man pulled out a trunk. He was so weak he couldn't lift it. They were all as pale as a whitewashed fence.
After the train left Greenfield they all gathered in the car and listened at a respectful distance from the coffin. All was as still as a car can be that is running twenty-five miles an hour. They gathered a little nearer, but no noise, when Cornes said they were all off their base, and had better soak their heads.
"You fellows are overworked, and are nervous, The company ought to give you a furlough, and pay your expenses to the sea shore."
Just then there was a rustling as if somebody had rolled over in bed and a voice said, as plainly as possible:
"O, how I suffer!"
If a nitro-glycerine bomb had exploded there could not have been more commotion. The express man rushed forward, and was going to climb over into the tender of the engine, the baggage man started for the emigrant car to see if there was anybody from the place in Germany that his hired girl came from, and Cornes happened to think that he had not collected fare from an Indian that got on at Greenfield with a lot of muskrat skins. In less than four seconds the corpse and parrot were the sole occupants of the car. The three train men and a brakeman met in the emigrant car and looked at each other.
They never said a word for about two minutes, when Fred opened the ball. He said there was no use of being scared, if the man was dead he was not dangerous, and if he was alive the four of them could whip him, if he undertook to run things. What they were in duty bound to do was to let him out. No man could enjoy life screwed down in a sarcophagus like that.
"Now," says Cornes, "there is a doctor from Milwaukee in the sleeper. I will go and ask him to come in the baggage car, and you fellows go in and pull the trunks off that coffin, and we will take a screw driver and a can-opener and give the man air. That's doing as a fellow would be done by."
So he went and got the doctor and told him he had got a case for him. He wanted him to practice on a dead man. The doctor put on his pants and overcoat, and went with Fred. As they came into the baggage car the boys were lifting a big trunk off the coffin, when the voice said:
"Go easy. Glory hallelujah!"
Then they all turned pale again, but all took hold of the baggage and worked with a will, while the doctor held a screw driver he had fished out of a tool box.
The doctor said the man was evidently alive, but the chances were that he might die from suffocation before they could unscrew all the screws of the outside box and the coffin, and he said he didn't know but the best way would be to take an ax and break it open.
Fred said that was his idea, and he was just going for the ax when the brakeman moved the water barrel, tipped over the parrot cage, and the parrot shook himself and looked mad and said. "There, butterfingers! Polly wants a cracker."
Cornes had just come up with the axe, and was about to tell the brakeman to chop the box, when the parrot spoke.
"Well, by——-," said the baggageman. The doctor laughed, the brakeman looked out the door to see how the weather was, and the conductor said, "I knew it was a parrot all the time, but you fellows were so anxious to chop into the box that I was going to let you. I never saw a lot of men with so much curiosity." Then they all united in trying to bribe the doctor not to tell the story in Milwaukee.
GOT IN THE WRONG PEW.
When the Young Men's Christian Association left our bed and board, without just cause or provocation, and took up its abode in Bon Accord Hall, we felt as though we had been bereaved of a fruitful source of items, and at first we were inclined to advertise the association, and warn dealers not to trust them on our account, as their credit was as good as ours, but almost every day we hear of something that will do to write up.
The new hall of the association was formerly used by Prof. Sherman as a dancing academy, and the other night when young Mr. Collingbourne agreed to go around to the dancing school and escort a lady friend home, about half past nine, he did not know of the change. At the appointed time he went to the place he had always found the dancing school, and at the bottom of the stairs he met a solemn looking sort of person who handed him a circular and said, "Come in, brother, and partake freely of the waters of life."
"You bet your boots," says Collingbourne, as he threw his cigar into the street, "but don't we get anything but water?"
Mr. Collingbourne is the last man in the world who would appear irreverent, but he thought it was a dancing school, and when a mournful looking man on the first landing took him by the arm and said, "Come all ye who are weary and heavy laden," he felt that there was an effort being made to snatch his watch, so he jerked away from the brother and told him he didn't want any taffy, and if he wasn't careful he would get kicked so his head would ache.
The good brother thought Collingbourne was a brand that it would be creditable to pluck from the burning, so he followed him up stairs, telling him there was salvation for all, only to meet with the reply that he better mind his own business or he would get salivated so his folks would not know him.
At the top of the stairs he met two men that he had never seen at the dancing school, and he felt as though he was being cornered for no good, as the other fellow had closed in on his rear. The two new brothers each took hold of one of his hands, and were telling him how glad they were that he had shown a disposition to turn over a new leaf and try to lead a different life, and they began to picture to him the beauty of faith, when he backed up against the railing and said, "I don't know who you fellows are, but you have tackled the wrong boy. I have been brought up in this town, and I know all the games, and you can't get me on any racket," and then he looked at the door, as the piano sounded the beautiful tune, "From Greenland's Icy Mountains," and asked, "What time does the cotillion break up?" The good brother told him it was early yet, and "while the lamp holds out to burn, the vilest sinner may return."
The visitor said he would go in, he guessed, and shake his foot once, just for luck, and he opened the door. Such a sight met his eyes as he never saw in a dancing school before. The whole congregation nearly, was on its knees, and a good man was offering up a prayer that was indeed beautiful. Collingborne began to sweat in three different languages, but being a gentleman who had the most unbounded respect for religion in all its forms, he uncovered his head and bowed reverently while the prayer was being uttered.
When it was through he turned to one of the truly good people in the hall, that had watched his devotion, and said, "Say, boss, this is evidently a new scheme. I thought this was Sherman's dancing school. You must excuse my seeming irreverence. If you will kick me down stairs I will consider it a special dispensation of providence," and he went down into the wicked world and asked a policeman where the dancing school was. All the way home the lady friend asked him what made him so solemn, but he only said his boots fit him too quick. He never goes to a dancing school now without finding out if it is there yet.
PALACE CATTLE CARS.
The papers are publishing accounts of the arrival east of a train of palace cattle cars, and illustrating how much better the cattle feel after a trip in one of these cars, than cattle did when they made the journey in the ordinary cattle cars.
As we understand it the cars are fitted up in the most gorgeous manner, in mahogany and rosewood, and the upholstering is something perfectly grand, and never before undertaken except in the palaces of the old world.
As you enter the car there is a reception room, with a few chairs, a lounge and an ottoman, and a Texas steer gently waves you to a seat with his horns, while he switches off your hat with his tail. If there is any particular cow, or steer, or ox, that you wish to see, you give your card to the attendant steer, and he excuses himself and trots off to find the one you desire to see. You do not have long to wait, for the animal courteously rises, humps up his or her back, stretches, yawns, and with the remark, "the galoot wants to interview me, probably, and I wish he would keep away," the particular one sought for comes to the reception room and puts out its front foot for a shake, smiles and says, "Glad you came. Was afraid you would let us go away and not call."
Then the cow or steer sits down on its haunches and the conversation flows in easy channels. You ask how they like the country, and if they have good times, and if they are not hard worked, and all that; and they yawn and say the country is splendid at this season of the year, and that when passing along the road they feel as though they would like to get out in some meadow, and eat grass and switch flies.
The steer asks the visitor if he does not want to look through the car, when he says he would like to if it is not too much trouble. The steer says it is no trouble at all, at the same time shaking his horns as though he was mad, and kicking some of the gilding off of a stateroom.
"This," says the steer who is doing the honors, "is the stateroom occupied by old Brindle, who is being shipped from St. Joseph, Mo. Brindle weighs 1,600 on foot—Brindle, get up and show yourself to the gentleman."
Brindle kicks off the red blanket, rolls her eyes in a lazy sort of way, bellows, and stands up in the berth, humps up her back so it raises the upper berth and causes a heifer that is trying to sleep off a debauch of bran mash, to kick like a steer, and then looks at the interviewer as much as to say, "O, go on now and give us a rest." Brindle turns her head to a fountain that is near, in which Apollinaris water is flowing, perfumed with new mown hay, drinks, turns her head, and licks her back, and stops and thinks, and then looking around as much as to say, "Gentlemen, you will have to excuse me," lays down with her head on a pillow, pulls the coverlid over her and begins to snore.
The attendant steer steers the visitor along the next apartment, which is a large one, filled with cattle in all positions. One is lying in a hammock, with her feet on the window, reading the Chicago Times article on "Oleomargerine, or Bull Butter," at intervals stopping the reading to curse the writer, who claims that oleomargarine is an unlawful preparation, containing deleterious substances.
A party of four oxen are seated around a table playing seven-up for the drinks, and as the attendant steer passes along, a speckled ox with one horn broken, orders four pails full of Waukesha water with a dash of oatmeal in it, "and make it hot," says the ox, as he counts up high, low, jack and the game.
Passing the card players the visitor notices an upright piano, and asks what that is for, and the attendant steer says they are all fond of music, and asks if he would not like to hear some of the cattle play. He says he would, and the steer calls out a white cow who is sketching, and asks her to warble a few notes. The cow seats herself on her haunches on the piano stool, after saying she has such a cold she can't sing, and, besides, has left her notes at home in the pasture. Turning over a few leaves with her forward hoof, she finds something familiar, and proceeds to walk on the piano keys with her forward feet and bellow, "Meat me in the slaughterhouse when the due bill falls," or something of that kind, when the visitor says he has got to go up to the stock yards and attend a reception of Colorado cattle, and he lights out.
We should think these parlor cattle cars would be a success, and that cattle would enjoy them very much. It is said that parties desiring to charter these cars for excursions for human beings, can be accommodated at any time when they are not needed to transport cattle, if they will give bonds to return them in as good order as they find them.
DUCK OR NO DINNER.
There is nothing that gives pious people more annoyance than to hear shooting on Sunday on some adjacent marsh while they are worshipping, and there is nothing much more annoying to wicked Sunday, hunters than to have ducks fly habitually in the vicinity of a church.
Winneconne, up on the Wolf river, is about evenly divided between-church going people and those who take more pleasure in standing behind a shot gun. When ducks fly about Winneconne in the Spring they follow the river up and down, and the bridge in town is a favorite place for hunters to stand and pepper the ducks with shot.
One Sunday about three weeks ago the ducks were flying terrible, and when the bell rung for church the bridge was pretty well covered with hunters, and many worshippers entered the church hard by with the smell of powder in their spring bonnets. The hunters were so interested in the ducks of the air that they did not notice the ducks on the way to church.
Finally the church people all got seated and the minister gave them an excellent sermon, which was only occasionally interrupted by the good man dodging down behind the pulpit to escape a stray charge of No. 4 shot which came through the open window. No complaint was made, and no sarcastic remarks were made about the wicked men who were out of meat, and were shooting up a little for dinner, though there were silent prayers offered for the Sabbath breakers.
At last the services were over, and the chair was singing, "A charge to keep I have," as the minister was picking some duck shot out of his trousers, when there was a commotion. A wounded duck had fallen on the door step of the church and being only "winged" had fluttered into the church, and crawled under the seats, when a couple of retriever dogs belonging to a German rushed into the sacred edifice and went howling under the seats after the duck, while the owner's voice could be heard outside yelling, "Rouse mit em!"
Well, some of them, those who had clock work stockings, held their feet up in the air to get them away from the dogs, while others jumped up on the pews and yelled bloody murder. Some went for the windows, and a brakeman tells us that the senior deacon fainted away.
The dogs retrieved the duck, and as the congregation came out of the church the German went down toward the bridge wringing the neck of the duck and kicking the dogs for not having more sense than to go right into a church during service.
The hunters of Winneconne should be talked to by the presiding elder. They do very wrong to shoot on Sunday.
THE GUINEA PIG.
Nobody knows who is to blame for bringing the first Guinea pig to this country, but certainly he didn't do anything very creditable. A Guinea pig does not know anything, and never-learns anything. It is quite a neat little plaything for children, and if it had any sense would become a pet, but it never learns a thing.
A lady living near a theatre in this city bought a Guinea pig in Chicago recently and brought it home, and it has been in the family ever since, and it has never learned anything except when it is hungry it goes to the lady and nibbles her foot, and how it learned that nobody knows.
One day it got away and strayed into the theatre, where it ran around until the audience got seated for the evening performance, when the pig began to fool around under the seats, probably looking for the lady that owned it. On the front row in the dress circle was a young man and woman from Waukesha. Whether the Guinea pig mistook the girl for its owner or not is not positively known, but the animal was seen to go under the seat occupied by the young woman.
Her attendant was leaning over her shoulder whispering in her ear, when suddenly she jumped about two feet high, and grabbed her dress with both hands. Her feller had his chin scratched by a pin that held a bow on her shoulder, and as he wiped it off he asked her, as she came down into the seat again, if she had them often.
A bald-headed citizen who sat next to her looked around at the woman in astonishment, and took up his overcoat and moved to another seat. She looked sassy at the bald-headed man, and told her escort the man had insulted her. He said he would attend to the man after the show was out.
About three seats further down toward the stage there was a girl from the West Side, with a young fellow, and they were very sociable. Suddenly he leaned over to pick up a programme he had dropped, just as the Guinea pig nibbled her instep. She drew herself away from her escort, blushing, and indignation depicted on every feature, looked the other way, and would not speak to him again during the whole evening. He thought she was flirting with somebody else, and he was mad, and they sat there all the evening looking as though they were married.
The Guinea pig went on down the row, and presently another woman hopped up clear out of the seat, said, "For heaven's sake what was that?" and looked around at a man who sat in the seat behind her as though she could eat him raw.
Just before the curtain rose the pig got into a lady's rubber and went to sleep, and when the performance was over and she went to put on the shoe, she screamed a little and jumped up on the seat, and said something about rats, which brought an usher to her assistance, and he took the Guinea pig and sent it to its owner. For a few minutes there was almost as much commotion as there would be at a picnic if a boy should break up a nest of hornets.
FAILURE OF A SOLID INSTITUTION.
We are astonished to see that a Boston dealer in canned goods has failed. If there is one branch of business that ought to be solid it is that of canning fruits and things, for there must be the almightiest profit on it that there is on anything. It must be remembered that the stuff is canned when it is not salable in its natural state.
If the canners took tomatoes, for instance, when they first came around, at half a dollar for six, and canned them, there would be some excuse for charging twenty-five cents for a tin thing full, but they wait until the vines are so full of tomatoes that the producer will pay the cartage if you will haul them away, and then the tomatoes are dipped into hot water so the skin will drop off, and they are chucked into cans that cost two cents each, and you pay two shillings for them, when you get hungry for tomatoes. The same way with peas, and peaches, and everything.
Did you ever try to eat canned peas? They are always old back numbers that are as hard and tasteless as chips, and are canned after they have been dried for seed. We bought a can of peas once for two shillings and couldn't crack them with a nut cracker. But they were not a dead loss, as we used them the next fall for buck shot. Actually, we shot a coon with a charge of those peas, and he came down and struck the water, and died of the cholera morbus the next day.
Talk of canned peaches; in the course of a brilliant career of forty years we have never seen only six cans of peaches that were worth the powder to blast them open. A man that will invent a can opener that will split open one of these pale, sickly, hard hearted canned peaches, that swim around in a pint of slippery elm juice in a tin can, has got a fortune. And they have got to canning pumpkin, and charging money for it.
Why, for a dollar a canning firm can buy pumpkins enough to fill all the tin cans that they can make in a year, and yet they charge a fellow twenty cents for a can of pumpkin, and then the canning establishment fails. It must be that some raw pumpkin has soured on the hands of the Boston firm, or may be, and now we think we are on the right track to ferret out the failure, it may be that the canning of Boston baked beans is what caused the stoppage.
We had read of Boston baked beans since school days, and had never seen any till four years ago, when we went to a picnic and bought a can to take along. We new how baked beans ought to be cooked from years' experience, but supposed the Boston bean must hold over every other bean, so when the can was opened and we found that every bean was separate from every other bean, and seemed to be out on its own recognizance, and that they were as hard as a flint, we gave them to the children to play marbles with, and soured on Boston baked beans. Probably it was canning Boston beans that broke up the canning establishment.
The Decoration Day exercises at Appleton were somewhat marred by a discussion as to whether the graves of Confederate soldiers should be decorated, and one man—Prof. Sawyer—a soldier who lost a leg in the army, said that if anybody should attempt to decorate a rebel soldier's grave in his vicinity, it would have to be done over his—Sawyer's—dead body.
Notwithstanding this heartrending recital, the graves of rebel soldiers in many places in this state and throughout the north, were decorated by Union soldiers. What hurt does it do to throw a few flowers on the clay that covers one who was once your enemy? Nobody thinks less of the Union soldier for it, and it would make the southern mother or sister of the dead boy feel so much better to know that kind hands at the north had done a noble act.
Suppose this Professor Sawyer had been killed and buried down south, and the Confederate people should be decorating the graves of their own dead, and they should throw a few flowers on his grave, and some hot-headed vindictive rebel should get on his ear and say that the man who laid that bouquet on the Yankee's grave would have to take it off or fight. The professor, if he laid there and heard it, would feel like getting out of the grave, and taking a crutch and mauling the liver out of the bigoted rebel.
It is not the rebel's cause that we decorate, but we put a few flowers above his remains to show the people who loved him at home, that there is nothing so confounded mean about us after all, and that we do as we would be done by, and that while we were mad, and sassy, and full of fight, eighteen years ago, we want to be friends, and shake hands over the respective graves of our loved ones, and quit making fools of ourselves.
A Ridiculous scene occurred a Palmyra, the other day. The furnace in the basement of the church is reached by a trap door, which is right beside the pulpit. There was a new preacher there from abroad, and he did not know anything about the trap door, and the sexton went down there to fix the fire, before the new minister arrived. The minister had just got warmed up in his sermon, and was picturing to his hearers hell in all its heat. He had got excited and told of the lake of burning brimstone below, where the devil was the stoker, and where the heat was ten thousand times hotter than a political campaign, and where the souls of the wicked would roast, and fry, and stew until the place froze over.
Wiping the perspiration from his face, he said, pointing to the floor, "Ah, my friends, look down into that seething, burning lake, and—" Just at this point the trap door raised a little, and the sexton's face, with coal smut all over it, appeared. He wanted to come up and hear the sermon.
If hell had broke loose, the new minister could not have been more astonished. He stepped back, grasped his manuscript, and was just about to jump from the pulpit, when a deacon on the front seat said, "It's all right, brother, he has only been down below to see about the fire." The sexton came up and shut down the trap door, the color came back to the face of the minister, and he went on, though the incident seemed to take the tuck all out of him.
A traveling man who happened to be at the church tells us that he knows the minister was scared, for he sweat so that the perspiration run right down on the carpet and made a puddle as though a dipper of water had been tipped over there. The minister says he was not scared, but we don't see how he could help it.