E-text prepared by Al Haines
BY HUGH McHUGH
"JOHN HENRY," "DOWN THE LINE WITH JOHN HENRY," "IT'S UP TO YOU," "BACK TO THE WOODS," "OUT FOR THE COIN" "I NEED THE MONEY," "I'M FROM MISSOURI," "YOU CAN SEARCH ME," ETC.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY GORDON H. GRANT
JOHN HENRY ON RACE TIPSTERS
JOHN HENRY ON BRIDGE WHIST
JOHN HENRY ON AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY
JOHN HENRY ON THE GRIP
JOHN HENRY ON COURTING
JOHN HENRY ON SUMMER RESORTS
JOHN HENRY ON GREAT MEN
JOHN HENRY ON RACE TIPSTERS
One day last week I was beating the ballast up Broadway when Pete, the Piker, declared himself in and began to chatter about cinches at the track.
"Get the saw, Pete, and cut it," I said; "it's many a long day since I've been a Patsy for the ponies. Once they stung me so hard that for months my bank account looked like a porous plaster, so I took the chloroform treatment and now you and your tips to the discards, my boy, to the discards!"
Pete isn't really a native of Dopeville-on-the-Fence, but he likes to have people think he knows the racing game backwards.
And he does—backwards. In real life he's a theatrical manager and his name on the three-sheets is Peter J. Badtime, the Human Salary Spoiler.
In theatrical circles they call him the impresario with the sawdust koko and the split-second appetite.
Every time Pete poses as an angel for a troupe if you listen hard you can hear the fuse blow out somewhere between Albany and Schenectady.
From time to time over 2,197 actors have had to walk home on account of Pete's cold feet.
Pete can develop a severe case of frosted pave pounders quicker than any angel that ever had to dig for the oatmeal money.
Pete is an Ace all right—the Ace of Chumps!
His long suit when he isn't dishing out his autobiography is to stand around a race track and bark at the bookmakers.
Pete is what I would call a plunger with the lid on.
He never bets more than two dollars on a race and even then he keeps wishing he had it back.
Pete had me nailed to the corner of Broadway and 42d Street for about ten minutes when fortunately Bunch Jefferson rolled up in his new kerosene cart and I needed no second invitation to hop aboard and give Pete the happy day-day!
"Whither away, Bunch?" I asked, as the Bubble began to do a Togo through the fattest streets in the town.
"I thought I'd run up and get the girls and take 'em for a spin out to the Belmont Park races," Bunch came back.
"Did you telephone them?" I inquired.
"No, but I told Alice this morning that if I got through at the office in time I'd take her to the track. We can call for Peaches on the way across town," was Bunch's program.
"Whisper, Bunch!" I suggested; "let's do the selfish gag for once and leave the wives at home. I haven't bet a nickle on a skate for two years, but my little black man has the steering wheel to-day and I'm going to fall off the sense wagon and break a five dollar bill."
"I'm with you, John," chuckled Bunch, and half an hour later we were on our way to the track, after having sent notes to our wives that important business kept us chained to the post of duty, but if they would meet us at the Hotel Astor at 7 p.m. we'd all dine together.
Bunch had just tied his Bubble to a tree at the track and was in the act of giving it a long cool drink of gasolene and some cracked oats, when Flash Harvey bore down on us and made a touch for the turn-out.
"Say, Bunch!" chirped Flash, "lend me the choo-choo for half an hour, will you? I have my sister and a dream cousin of ours from Hartford here this aft. and I'm eager to show them how I can pound a public road with a rowdy-cart. I'll take good care of the machine and be back in two hours, honest, Bunch!"
Flash being an old friend of ours Bunch had to fall for the spiel and loaned him the Bubble forthwith.
Ten minutes later we were so busy listening to the sure-things falling from the eager tongues of the various friends we met that we quite forgot all about Flash and the busy barouche.
The first cinch-builder we fell over was Harry McDonough, the inventor of the stingless mosquito now in use on his Jersey farm.
Harry has the mosquito game down so fine that he's going to take a double sextette of them into vaudeville next season.
He has trained these twelve skeets to sing "Zobia Grassa," and Al Holbrook has promised to teach them a Venetian dances.
Harry offered us four winners in the first race and two cigars. He told us if we lost to smoke the cigars carefully and we'd forget our troubles and our names; but if we won we could use the cigars as firecrackers.
Then we ran across Jeff D'Angelis, the composer of the new tune now played on the automobile horns.
Jeff hadn't picked out a horse to win any race because his loyalty to sneeze-wagons is so intense that he won't even drink a horse's neck.
He explained that he only came to the race track to show the horses his smoke-buggy and make them shiver.
George Yates, the inventor of the machinery for removing sunburn from pickles, was there and he tried to present us with a sure winner in the third race.
A little later on we discovered that the horse Yates was doing a rave over had been dead for four years and that the card from which he was lifting his dope was the program of the meet at Sheepshead in 1896.
Some kind and thoughtful stranger had lifted fifty cent from George's surplus and in return had stung him with an ancient echo of the pittypats.
Our next adventure was with Joe Miron, the famous horse trainer and inventor of the only blue mare in captivity at Elmhurst.
"Say, why didn't I see you guys before the first race; I had a plush-covered pipe!" yelled Joe.
"I had that race beat to a stage wait," Joe went on, enthusiastically. "Why, all you had to do was play 'The Goblin Man' to win and 'Murderallo' for a place—it was just like getting money from the patent medicine business."
"How much did you win, Joe?" I inquired.
"Who, me!" Joe came back. "Why I didn't get here in time to place a bet. I drove over from Elmhurst and the blue mare burst a tire. But, say, I've got a mother's darling in the third race! Oh, it's a ladybug for certain! You guys play 'Perhaps' to win and you'll go home looking like Pierp Morgan after a busy day. It can't lose, this clam can't! Say, that horse 'Perhaps' wears gold-plated overshoes and it can kick more track behind it than any ostrich you ever see! Why, it's got ball-bearing castors on the feet and it wears a naphtha engine in the forward turret. Get reckless with the coin, boys, and go the limit, and if the track happens to cave in and it does lose, I'll drag you down to Elmhurst behind the blue mare and make the suction pump in the backyard do an imitation of Walter Jones singing 'Captain Kidd' with the bum pipes."
Joe was so much in earnest about it that Bunch and I put up fifty on "Perhaps" and waited.
We are still waiting.
"Perhaps" may have been a good horse but he had a bad memory and never could recollect which end of the track was the proper place to finish.
Joe must have left for Elmhurst immediately after the race because he failed to answer roll call.
Then we ran across Dave Torrence, the famous inventor of the disappearing trump so much used by pinochle players.
When Dave began to dope 'em out for us Bunch and I hid our pocketbooks in our shoes.
"Here's a good one," Dave suggested; "listen to this 'Easy Money' out of 'Life Insurance' by 'Director.' And here's a good one, 'Chauffeur' out of 'Automobile' by 'Policeman!' Do you care for those?"
There were tears in Bunch's eyes, but I was busy looking for a rock.
"Here are some more peacherinos," Dave went on, relentlessly, "here is 'Golf Player' out of 'Business' by 'Mosquito,' and here's another good one, 'Eternal Daylights' out of 'Russia' by 'Japan'—like 'em?"
Bunch and I handed Dave the reproachful face and fled for our lives.
Then we got down to business and began to lose our money with more system and less noise.
At the end of the fifth race we hadn't the price of a leather sandwich between us.
Every dog we had mentioned to the Bookies proved to be a false alarm.
Every turtle we plunged on carried our money to the bonfire and dumped it in.
"My little black man is whimpering, Bunch," I said. "I'm cured."
"One hundred and sixty bucks to the bad for mine," laughed Bunch. "I guess that will hold me temporarily. Come on, John; let's hop in the Bubble and dash back to the Hotel Astor; the girls will be waiting for us."
We hurried to the spot where Flash Harvey was to leave the gas-hopper but there was no sign of Flash or the machine.
Seven o'clock came and still no sign of Flash or the Bubble, and there we sat, two sad boys without a baubee in the jeans, hungry to the limit and with an ever present vision of our two worried wives displacing a bunch of expensive space in a restaurant while they waited for us to show.
It was pitiful.
Eight o'clock came, no Flash, no machine, while there we waited and watched our hair as it slowly turned gray.
I had gone through my pockets till I wore holes in them without locating anything in the shape money, but finally on about the 919th lap Bunch discovered dollar bill tucked away in a corner, whereupon we turned our faces to every point of the compass and called down maledictions on the head of Flash Harvey, wherever he might be, and then ducked for the trolley.
When we finally reached the Hotel Astor it was a quarter past ten, so we decided it was too late for dinner and we didn't go in.
At home—but what's the use?
The war is over now and a treaty of peace has been signed.
We are even with Flash Harvey, though.
He got speed-foolish in the Bubble and tried to give an imitation of a torpedo destroyer, with the result that a Reub constable pinched him and the whole outfit and threw him in a rural Bastile for the night.
That's what delayed him.
JOHN HENRY ON BRIDGE WHIST
I received a letter the other day that put me over the ropes.
I'll paste it up here just to show you that it's on the level:
PHILADELPHIA, This Week.
Dear John:—I have never met you personally, but I've heard my brother, Teddy, speak of you so often that you really seem to be one of the family.
(Teddy talks slang something fierce.)
Dear John, will you please pardon the liberty I take in grabbing a two-cent stamp and jumping so unceremoniously at one who is, after all, a perfect stranger?
Dear John, if you look around you can see on every hand that the glad season of the year is here, and if you listen attentively you may hear the hoarse cry of the summer resort beckoning us to that burn from which no traveller returns without getting his pocketbook dislocated.
Dear John, could you please tell me how to play bridge whist, so that when I go to the seashore I will be armed for defraying expenses.
Dear John, I am sure that if I could play bridge whist loud enough to win four dollars every once in a while I could spend a large bunch of the summer at the seashore.
Dear John, would you tell a loving but perfect stranger how to play the game without having to wear a mask?
Dear John, I played a couple of games recently with a wide faced young man who grew very playful and threw the parlor furniture at me because I trumpeted his ace. I fancy I must have did wrong. The fifth time I trumpeted his ace the young man arose, put on his gum shoes, and skeedaddled out of the house. Is it not considered a breach of etiquette to put on gum shoes in the presence of a lady?
If you please, dear John, tell me how to play bridge whist.
Yours fondly, GLADYS JONES.
P.S.—The furniture which he threw was not his property to dispose of. G.J.
When my wife got a flash of this letter she made a kick to the effect that it was some kind of a cypher, possibly the beginning of a secret correspondence.
It was up to me to hand Gladys the frosty get-back, so this is what I said:
Respected Madam:—I'm a slob on that bridge whist thing, plain poker being the only game with cards that ever coaxes my dough from the stocking, but I'll do the advice gag if it chokes me:
Bridge whist is played with, cards, just like pinochle, with the exception of the beer.
Not enough cards is a misdeal; too many cards is a mistake; and cards up the sleeve is a slap on the front piazza if they catch you at it.
You shouldn't get up and dance the snakentine dance every time you take a trick. It looks more genteel and picturesque to do the two-step.
When your opponent has not followed suit it is not wise to pick out a loud tone of voice and tell him about it. Reach under the table and kick him on the shins. If it hurts him he is a cheater; if it doesn't hurt him always remember that you are a lady.
Don't forget what is trumps more than eighteen times during one hand. The limit used to be twenty-six times, but since the insurance people have been playing Hyde and seek the best bridge whist authorities have put the limit down to eighteen.
It isn't wise to have a conniption fit every time you lose a trick. Nothing looks so bad as a conniption fit when it doesn't match the complexion, and generally it delays the game.
When the game is close don't get excited and climb up on the table. It shows a want of refinement, especially if you are not a quick climber.
Never whistle while waiting for someone to play. Whistling is not in good taste. Go over and bite out a couple of tunes on the piano.
When your opponent trumps an ace don't ever hit him carelessly across the forehead with the bric-a-brac. Always remember when you are in Society that bric-a-brac is expensive.
Don't lead the ten of clubs by mistake for the ace of trumps and then get mad and jump seventeen feet in the air because they refuse to let you pull it back.
In order to jump seventeen feet in the air you would have to go through the room upstairs, and how do you know whose room it is?
There, Gladys, if you follow these rules I think you can play the game of bridge whist without putting a bruise on the Monroe doctrine.
P.S.—When you play for money always bite the coin to see if it means as much as it looks.
The next day, in order to square myself with my wife for getting a letter I hadn't any use for, I went to one of those New York department stores to get her a birthday present.
Say! did you ever get tangled up in one of those department store mobs and have a crowd of perfect ladies use you for a door mat?
I got mine!
They certainly taught me the Rojestvensky glide, all right!
At the door of the department; store a nice young man with a pink necktie and a quick forehead bowed to me.
"What do you wish?" he asked.
"Well," I said; "I'm down here to get a birthday present for my wife. I would like something which would afford her great pleasure when I give it to her and which I could use afterwards as a pen-wiper or a fishing-rod."
"Second floor; to the right; take the elevator," said the man.
Did you ever try to take an elevator in a department store and find that 3,943 other American citizens and citizenettes were also trying to take the same elevator?
How sweet it is to mingle in the arms of utter strangers and to feel the gentle pressure of a foot we never hope to meet again!
I was standing by one of the counters on the second floor when a shrill voice crept up over a few bales of dry goods and said, "Are you a buyer or a handler?"
"I am looking for a birthday present for my wife," I answered. "I want to get something that will look swell on the parlor table and may, be used later on as a tobacco jar or a trouser stretcher!"
"Fourth floor; to the left; take the elevator!" said the lady's voice.
With bowed bead I walked away.
I began to feel sorry for my wife.
Nobody seemed to be very much interested whether she got a birthday present or not.
On the fourth floor I stopped at a counter where a lot of eager dames were pawing over some chinchilla ribbon and chiffon over-skirts.
It reminded me of the way our dog digs up the vegetables in the garden.
I enjoyed the excitement of the game for about ten minutes and then I said to the clerk behind the counter who was refereeing the match, "Can you tell me where I can buy a sterling silver birthday present for my wife which I could use afterwards as a night key or a bath sponge?"
"Fifth floor; to the rear; take the elevator!" said the clerk.
On the fifth floor I went over to a table where a young lady was selling "The Life and Libraries of Andrew Carnegie" at four dollars a month and fifty cents a week, and in three years it is yours if you don't lose the receipts.
She gave me a glad smile and I felt a thrill of encouragement.
"Excuse me," I said, "but I am looking for a birthday present for my wife which will make all the neighbors jealous, and which I can use afterwards as an ash-receiver or a pocket flask."
The young lady cut out the giggles and pointed to the northwest.
I went over there.
To my surprise I found another counter.
A pale young woman was behind it.
I was just about to ask her the fatal question when a young man wearing a ragtime expression on his face rushed up and said to the young lady behind the counter, "I am looking for a suitable present for a young lady friend of mine with golden brown hair. Could you please suggest something?"
The saleslady showed her teeth and answered him in a low, rumbling voice, and the man went away.
Then came an old lady who said, "I bought some organdie dress goods for a shirt-waist last Tuesday and I would like to exchange them for a music box for my daughter's little boy, Freddie, if you please!"
The saleslady again showed her teeth and the old lady ducked for cover.
After about fifty people had rushed up to the saleslady and then rushed away again, I went over and spoke to her.
"I am looking," I said, "for a birthday present for my wife. I want to get something that will give her a great amount of pleasure and which I can use later on as a pipe cleaner or a pair of suspenders!"
The saleslady fainted, so I moved over.
At another counter another young lady said to me, "Have you been waited on?"
"No," I replied; "I have been stepped on, sat on and walked on, but I have not yet been waited on."
"What do you wish?" inquired the young woman.
"I am looking for a birthday present for my wife," I said. "I want to buy her something that will bring great joy to her heart and which I might use afterwards as a pair of slippers or a shaving mug."
The young lady caught me with her dreamy eyes and held me up against the wall.
"You," she screamed; "you complete a total of 23,493 people who have been in this department store to-day without knowing what they are doing here, and I refuse to be a human encyclopaedia for the sake of eight dollars a week. On your way for yours!"
I began to apologize, but she reached down under the counter and pulled out a club.
"This," she said, with a wild look in her side lamps; "this is the happy summer season, but, nevertheless, the next guy that leaves his brains at home and tries to make me tell him what is a good birthday present for his wife will get a bitter swipe across the forehead!"
It was up to me, so I went home without a present.
JOHN HENRY ON AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY
Peaches, my wife, acquired the amateur photography bug last week, and it was really surprising how quickly she laid the foundation of a domestic Rogue's Gallery.
She bought a camera and went after everybody and everything in the neighborhood.
She took about eight million views of our country home before she discovered that the camera wasn't loaded properly, which was tough on Peaches but good for the bungalow.
Like everything else in this world picture pinching from still life depends entirely on the point of view.
If your point of view is all right it's an easy matter to make a four dollar dog-house look like the villa of a Wall Street broker at Newport.
Ten minutes after my wife had brought the camera home she had me set up as a statue all over the lawn, and she was snapping at me like a Spitz doggie at a peddler.
I sat for two hundred and nineteen pictures that forenoon, so I suppose if she snapped like a Spitz I must have looked like a Setter.
Anyway, before I was through setting I felt like a hen, but when she tried to coax me to climb up on a limb of a tree and stay there till she got a picture of me looking like an owl, I swore softly in three languages, fell over the back fence, and ran for my life.
When I rubbershoed it back that afternoon my wife was busy developing her crimes.
The proper and up-to-date caper in connection with taking snap shots these days is to buy a developing outfit and upset the household from pit to dome while you are squeezing out pictures of every dearly beloved friend that crosses your pathway.
My wife selected a spare room on the top floor where she could await developments.
A half hour later ghostly noises; began to come from that room and mysterious whisperings fell out of the window and bumped over the lawn.
When I reached the front door I found that the gardener had left, the waitress was leaving, the baby had discharged the nurses and the nurse was telephoning for a policeman.
"Where is Mrs. Henry?" I asked Mary, the nurse.
"She is still developing," said Mary.
"What has she developed?" I inquired.
"Up to the present time she has developed the cook's temper and she has developed the baby's appetite, and a couple of bill collectors developed a pain in the neck when they couldn't see her; and if things go on in this way I think this will soon develop into a foolish house!" said Mary, the nurse.
A half hour later while I was hiding under the hammock on the front porch, not daring to breathe above a whisper for fear I would get my picture taken again, my wife rushed out exclaiming, "Oh, joy! Oh, joy! John, I have developed two pictures!"
I wish you could have seen the expression on Peaches' face.
In order to develop the films a picturesque assortment of drugs and chemicals have to be used.
Well, my wife had used them.
A silent little stream of wood alcohol was trickling down over her left ear into her Psyche knot, and on the end of her nose about six grains of bichloride of potash was sending out signals of distress to some spirits of turpentine which was burning on the top of her right eyebrow.
Something dark and lingering like iodine had given her chin the double cross and her apron looked like the remnants of a porous plaster.
Her right hand had red, white, green, purple and magenta marks all over it, and her left hand looked like the Fourth of July.
"John!" she yelled; "here it is! My goodness, I am so excited! See what a fine picture of you I took!"
She handed me the picture, but all I could see was a wood-shed with the door wide open.
"A good picture of the woodshed," I said; "but whose woodshed is it?"
"A wood-shed!" exclaimed my wife; "why, that is your face, John. And where you think the door is open is only your mouth!"
I looked crestfallen and then I looked at the picture again, but my better nature asserted itself and I made no attempt to strike this defenceless woman.
Then she handed me another picture and said, "John, here is one I took of you and little Peaches!"
Little Peaches is the name of our baby.
We call her Little Peaches because that's what she is.
I looked at the picture and then I said to big Peaches, "All I can see is Theodore, our colored gardener, walking across lots with a sack of flour on his back!"
"John, you are so stupid," said my wife. "How can you expect to see what it is when you are holding the picture upside down?"
I turned the picture around, and then I was quite agreeably surprised.
"It's immense!" I shouted. "It's the real thing, all right! Why this is aces! I suppose it is called 'Moonlight On Lake Champlain?' Did this one come with the camera or did you draw it from memory?"
"The idea of such a thing," my wife snapped; "can't you see that you're holding the picture the wrong way. Turn it around and you will see yourself and Little Peaches!"
I gave the thing another turn. "Gee whiz!" I said, "now I have it! Oh, the limit! You wished to surprise me with a picture of the sunset at Governor's Island. How lovely it is. See, over here in this corner there's a bunch of soldiers listening to what's cooking for supper, and over here is the smoke from the gun that sets the sun—I like it!"
Then my wife grabbed the picture out of my hands and burst into speech.
When the exercises were over I inquired casually, "Where, my dear, where are the other 21,219 pictures you snapped to-day?"
"Only these two came out good because, don't you see, I'm an amateur yet," was her come back.
Then she looked lovingly at the result of her days work and began to peel some bicarbonate of magnesia off her knuckles with the nut cracker.
"Only two out of 21,219—I think you ought to call it a long shot instead of a snap shot," I whispered, after I had dodged behind a tree on the lawn.
She went in the house without saying a word and I took out my pocketbook and looked at it wistfully.
JOHN HENRY ON THE GRIP
Say, did you ever spar a few hot rounds with a real attack of grip?
When it comes right down to a case of being a Bad Boy the grip has every other disease slapped to a sit-down.
I had the grip some weeks ago and ever since my system has felt like eight cents worth of cheese.
The medicine sharps tell us that the grip is caused by a little germ which emigrated to this country originally from Russia.
If that's the case I'm glad the Japs put the boots to the Czar. I wish they would go after him again and kick his crown off.
I'll bet even money that the father of the first grip germ must have been a bombshell and his mother was some relation to one of Kuropatkin's retreats.
It's dollars to pretzels that the grip germ is the busiest idea that was ever chased by a doctor.
Nobody knows just how or when the grip germs break into the system, but once they get a foothold in the epiglottis nothing can remove them except inward applications of dynamite.
The grip germ hates the idea of race suicide.
From one small germ there will arise and go forth a family the size of which was never dreamed of in the philosophy of our wise and busy President.
I don't know just exactly how they happened to warm wise to me, but a newly married couple of grip germs took a notion to build a nest somewhere on the outskirts of my solar plexus, and two hours later they had about 233 children attending the public school in my medusa oblongata; and every time school would let out for recess I would go up in the air and hit the ceiling with my top-knot.
Before the next morning came all these grip children had graduated from school and after tearing down the school-house the whole bunch had married and had large families of their own, and all hands were out paddling their canoes on my alimentary canal.
By nine o'clock that morning there must have been eighty-five million grip germs armed with self-loading revolvers all trying to shoot their initials over the walls of my interior department.
It was fierce!
When the doctor arrived on the scene I was carrying enough concealed weapons to exterminate the entire Japanese army.
I'm up to one thing and that is that the Russians couldn't beat the Japs because all the national energy and vitality emigrated from St. Petersburg and came over here with the first grip germs.
If the Czar of all the Russians had been a wise Little Father he would have encouraged the grip germs to remain loyal to their native land and then he could have sent them out to Manchuria to bite the ramparts out of General Oyama instead of chasing inoffensive American citizens into the drug stores.
"Well, anyway the medicine mixer blew in, threw his saws behind the sofa, put his dip net on the mantlepiece, and took a fall out of my pulse.
"Ah!" he said, after he had noted that my tongue looked like a currycomb.
"The same to you, Doc," I said.
"Ah!" he said, looking hard at the wall.
"Say, Doc!" I whispered; "there's no use to cut off my leg because the germs will hide in my elbow."
"Do you feel shooting pains in the cerebellum near the apex of the cosmopolitan?" inquired the doctor.
"Surest thing you know," I said.
"Have you a buzzing in the ears, and a confused sound like distant laughter in the panatella?" he asked.
"It's a cinch, Doc," I said.
"Do you feel a roaring in the cornucopia with a tickling sensation in the diaphragm?" he asked.
"Right again," I whispered.
"Do the joints feel sore and pinched like a pool-room?" he said.
"Does your tongue feel rare and high-priced like a porterhouse steak at a summer resort?"
"Do you feel a spasmodic fluttering in the concertina?"
"Have you a sort of nervous hesitation in your hunger and does everything you eat taste like an impossible sandwich?"
"Does your nerve centre tinkle-tinkle like a breakfast bell?"
"Have you a feeling that the germs have attacked your Adam's apple and that there won't be any core?"
"When you look at the wall paper does your brain do a sort of loop-the-loop and cause you to meld 100 aces or double pinochle?"
"Yes, and 80 kings, too!"
"Do you feel a slight palpitation of the membrane of the Colorado madura and is there a confused murmur in your brain like the sound of a hard working gas meter?"
"You've got me sized good and plenty, Doc!"
"Do you have insomnia, nightmare, loss of appetite, chills and fever and concealed respiration in the carolina perfecto?"
"That's the idea, Doc."
"When you lie on your right side do you have an impulse to turn over on your left side, and when you turn over on your left side do you feel an impulse to jump out of bed and throw stones at a policeman?"
"There isn't anything you can mention, Doc, that I haven't got!"
"Ah!" said the doctor; "then that settles it."
"Tell me the truth, Doctor!" I groaned; "what is it, bubonic plague?"
"You have something worse—you have the grip," he whispered gently. "You see I tried hard to mention some symptom which you didn't have, but you had them all, and the grip is the only disease in the world which makes a specialty of having every symptom known to medical jurisprudence."
Then the doctor got busy with the pencil gag and left me enough prescriptions to keep the druggist in pocket money throughout the summer.
Later my wife came in and asked me how I felt, and when I began to discourse amiably about undertakers she put up a howl that brought the rest of the family around the bedside on a hurry call.
When I told them I had the grip each and every member of the household from Uncle Peter down to the cook began to suggest remedies, and if I had taken half they suggested they could have sold me to a junk dealer and got good money.
That evening our next door neighbor, Bud Taylor, came in and advised me to take quinine and whiskey every time I felt a shooting pain.
I took his advice, but at the end of the first hour the score was 98 to 37 in favor of the shooting pains, and the whiskey had such an effect on the quinine that it made the germs jealous, so between them they cooked up a little black man who advised me to chase Bud out of the house, which I did by throwing medicine bottles at him.
That night the whiskey and quinine held a director's meeting with the germs and then they wound up with a sort of Mardi Gras parade through my system.
I was the goat!
When daylight broke I was a total wreck, and I swore that the next person that said whiskey and quinine to me would get all his.
After breakfast another friend of ours, Jack Gibson, blew in, and after he looked me over his weary eye fell on the decanter.
Then Jack smacked his lips and whispered that the best cure for the grip was a glass of whiskey and quinine every time I felt chills and fever, and he'd be glad to join me.
When loving hands picked Jack up at the bottom of the stairs he was almost insulted, but he quieted down when my wife explained to him that I was suffering not only from the grip but that I had also a slight attack of jiu jitsu.
After weeks of study devoted to the subject I have come to the conclusion that the only way to cure the grip is to stay sick until you get better.
That's what I did!
JOHN HENRY ON COURTING
Are you wise to the fact that everything is changing in this old world of ours, and that since the advent of fuss-wagons even the old-fashioned idea of courtship has been chased to the woods?
It used to be that on a Saturday evening the young gent would draw down his six dollars worth of salary and chase himself to the barber shop, where the Dago lawn trimmer would put a crimp in his moustache and plaster his forehead with three cents worth of hair and a dollar's worth of axle-grease.
Then the young gent would go out and spread 40 cents around among the tradesmen for a mess of water-lilies and a bag of peanut brittle.
The lilies of the valley were to put on the dining-room table so mother would be pleased, and with the peanut brittle he intended to fill in the weary moments when he and his little geisha girl were not making googoo eyes at each other.
But nowadays it is different, and Dan Cupid spends most of his time on the hot foot between the coroner's office and the divorce court.
I've got a hunch that young people these days are more emotional and like to see their pictures in the newspapers.
Nowadays when a clever young man goes to visit his sweetheart he hikes over the streets in a benzine buggy, and when he pulls the bell-rope at the front door he has a rapid fire revolver in one pocket and a bottle of carbolic acid in the other.
His intentions are honorable and he wishes to prove them so by shooting his lady love if she renigs when he makes a play for her hand.
I think the old style was the best, because when young people quarreled they didn't need an ambulance and a hospital surgeon to help them make up.
In the old days Oscar Dobson would draw the stove brush cheerfully across his dog-skin shoes and rush with eager feet to see Lena Jones, the girl he wished to make the wife of his bosom.
"Darling!" Oscar would say, "I am sure to the bad for love of you. Pipe the downcast droop in this eye of mine and notice the way my heart is bubbling over like a bottle of sarsaparilla on a hot day! Be mine, Lena! be mine!"
Then Lena would giggle. Not once, but seven giggles, something like those used in a spasm.
Then she would reply, "No, Oscar; it cannot be. Fate wills it otherwise."
Then Oscar would bite his finger nails, pick his hat up out of the coal-scuttle and say to Lena, "False one! You love Conrad, the floorwalker in the butcher shop. Curses on Conrad, and see what you have missed, Lena. I have tickets for a swell chowder party next Tuesday. Ah! farewell forever!"
Then Oscar would walk out and hunt up one of those places that Carrie Nation missed in the shuffle and there, with one arm glued tight around the bar rail, he would fasten his system to a jag which would last for a week.
Despair would grab him and he'd be Oscar with the souse thing for sure.
When he would recover strength enough to walk down town without attracting the attention of the other side of the street, he would call on Lena and say, "Lena, forgive me for what I done, but love is blind—and, besides, I mixed my drinks. Lena, I was on the downward path and I nearly went to hell."
Then Lena would say, "Why, Oscar, I saw you and your bundle when you fell in the well, but I didn't know it was as deep as you mention."
Then they would kiss and make up, and the wedding bells would ring just as soon as Oscar's salary grew large enough to tease a pocketbook.
But these days the idea is altogether different.
Children are hardly out of the cradle before they are arrested for butting into the speed limit with a smoke wagon.
Even when they go courting they have to play to the gallery.
Nowadays Gonsalvo H. Puffenlotz walks into the parlor to see Miss Imogene Cordelia Hoffbrew.
"Wie gehts, Imogene!" says Gonsalvo.
"Simlich!" says Imogene, standing at right angles near the piano because she thinks she is a Gibson girl.
"Imogene, dearest," Gonsalvo continues; "I called on your papa in Wall Street yesterday to find out how much money you have, but he refused to name the sum, therefore you have untold wealth!"
Gonsalvo pauses to let the Parisian clock on the mantle tick, tick, tick!
He is making the bluff of his life you see, and he has to do even that on tick.
Besides, this furnishes the local color.
Then Gonsalvo bursts forth again, "Imogene! Oh! Imogene! Will you be mine and I will be thine without money and without the price."
Gonsalvo pauses to let this idea get noised about a little.
Then he goes on, "Be mine, Imogene! You will be minus the money while I will have the price!"
Gonsalvo trembles with the passion which is consuming his pocketbook, and then Imogene turns languidly from a right angle triangle into more of a straight front, and hands Gonsalvo a bitter look of scorn.
Then Gonsalvo grabs his revolver and, aiming it at her marble brow, exclaims, "Marry me this minute or I will shoot you in the top-knot, because I love you."
Then papa rushes into the room and Gonsalvo politely requests the old gentleman to hold two or three bullets for him for a few moments.
Gonsalvo then bites deeply into a bottle of carbolic acid and just as the Coroner climbs into the house the pictures of the modern lover and loveress appear in the newspapers, and fashionable Society receives a jolt.
This is the new and up-to-date way of making love.
However, I think the old style of courting is the best, because you can generally stop a jag before it gets to the undertaker.
What do you think?
JOHN HENRY ON SUMMER RESORTS
Me for that summer resort gag—Oh! fine!
I fell for a Saratoga set-back this summer but never no more for mine.
At night I used to sit up with the rest of the social push and drink highballs to make me sick, so I could drink Saratoga water in the morning to make me well.
That's what is called reciprocity, because it works both ways against the middle.
Isn't it the limit the way people from all over the country will rush to these fashionable summer resorts with wide open pocketbooks and with their bank accounts frothing at the mouth!
The most popular fad at every summer resort I've ever climbed into is to watch the landlord reaching out for the coin.
Husbands make bets with their wives whether the landlord of the hotel will get all their money in an hour or an hour and a half.
Both husband and wife loose; because the landlord generally gets it in ten minutes.
At some of the hotel diningrooms it costs six dollars to peep in, eight dollars to walk in, and fifteen dollars to get near enough to a waiter to talk soup.
You can see lots of swell guys in the dining-rooms who are now using a fork in public for the first time.
This reminds me of an experience I had in a certain summer resort dining-room not long ago.
At a table near me sat Ike Gooseheimer.
Ike is a self-made man and he made a quick job of it.
Ike was eating with his knife and doing it so recklessly that I felt like yelling for the sticking plaster.
After I had watched him for about five minutes trying to juggle the new peas on a knife, it got on my nerves, so I spoke to him.
"Ike," I said, thinking possibly I might cure him with a bit of sarcasm, "aren't you afraid you will cut yourself with the sword?"
"Oh! no, no," Ike answered, looking at the knife with contempt; "there is no danger at all. But at the Palmer House in Chicago—Ah! there they have sharp knives!"
Ike is beyond the breakers for mine.
The races at Saratoga were extremely exciting.
A friend of mine volunteered to pick out the winners for me, but after I lost eight dollars I decided that it would be cheaper to pick out a new friend.
But I do love to mingle with Society at the summer resorts.
It isn't generally known, but one of my great-grandfathers was present when the original 400 landed at Plymouth Rock.
My great-grandfather owned the Rock.
A couple of nights after the original 400 landed on Plymouth Rock the leader of the smart set, Mrs. Von Tweedledum, gave a full dress ball.
My great-grandfather looked in at the full dress ball and was so shocked that he went and opened a clothing store next day.
Society never forgave him for this insinuation.
But, say, isn't it immense the way the doings of these Society dubs are chronicled in the Society papers?
In case you haven't noticed them I would like to put you wise to a few:
Social Glints From the Summer Resorts
Among the Smart Setters now present at Saratoga is John J. Sousebuilder, the well-known millionaire from Cincinnati. He is here to follow the races but he seems to have an idea that the horses live in the hotel bar-room, because that is where he does most of his following.
Cornelius Sudslifter, the well-known inventor of the patent chowless chow chow, is paying deep attention to Esmeralda Ganderface, the brilliant daughter of old man Tightfist Ganderface, the millionaire inventor of a system of opening clams by steam. Cornelius and Esmeralda make a sweet and beautiful picture as they stroll arm in arm to the post-office, where Cornelius mails a check for the week's alimony to his former wife, who is visiting lawyers in South Dakota.
Hector J. Roobernik, well known in Society, is spending the summer at Atlantic City. Hector was formerly a Bohemian glass blower, but he is now rich enough to leave off the last part of his occupation, so he calls himself just a Bohemian—which is different. Hector is paying deep attention to Phyllis Kurdsheimer, the daughter of Mike Kurdsheimer, the millionaire inventor of the slippery elm shoe horn.
Gus Beanhoister, the widely known bunion broker and Society man of South Newark, is summering at Cape May, where he mingles with the other pets of fashion. Gus finds it very hard to refrain from looking at people's feet during the bathing hours, but otherwise he is doing quite well.
Hank Schmitpickle and his latest wife from Chicago sailed on the steamship Minnehaha last week to spend the season in the British capital. The Schmitpickles will occupy the villa at No. 714 Cottagecheese Place, Blitheringham Park, near Speakeasy Towers, on the Old Kent Road, Bayswater, across from Shoreditch—God save the King!
Mercedes Cauliflower is summering at Narragansett Pier, and her fiance, Mr. Peter Cuckoobird, is dancing attendance upon her. It will be remembered that Mercedes is the daughter and heiress of Jacob Cauliflower, the millionaire manufacturer of boneless tripe, which has become quite a fad in Society since the Beef Trust got chesty. Peter Cuckoobird is a rising young brick-layer on his father's side, but on account of the fortune left him by his mother, he is now butterflying through life in a gasolene barouche with diamond settings in the tires.
Hank Dobbs and his daughter, Crystaline, sailed on the Oceanic yesterday for the Riviera. Before the steamship pulled out Hank admitted that he didn't know whether the Riviera was a city or a new kind of cheese, but if money could do the trick he intended to know the truth.
Mr. and Mrs. James Shine von Shine were divorced yesterday at the home of the bride's parents in Newport. The ceremony was very simple but expensive to the ex-husband. Considerable alimony changed hands.
The private cottage of Mrs. Offulrich Swellswell at Bar Harbor has been beautifully decorated in honor of the approaching divorce of their daughter, Gladys, from her husband, Percy Skiddoo. Percy is the well-known manufacturer of the reversible two-step so much used by Society.
Cards are all out for a divorce in the family of the Von Guzzles, but owing to a typographical error in the cards it is impossible to say whether it is the old man or the son. Both employ blonde typewriters.
JOHN HENEY ON GREAT MEN
Uncle Peter is one of the gamest little chunks of humanity that ever looked the world in the eye, but when he heard the edict put forth by Doctor Osler the old man went overboard with a splash.
He was under water a long time.
He thought the Bogey Man had him for sure.
Uncle Peter felt that it would no longer be possible for him to pass a drug store without some young fellow rushing out with a handkerchief full of chloroform and yelling, "Here, you old chestnut! here's where you get it in the nose!"
In the dark watches of the night Uncle Peter used to wake up covered with cold perspiration, because he had dreamed that Doc Osler was pounding him on the bald spot with a baseball bat after having poured hair dye all over his breakfast food.
At last Uncle Peter got so nervous I advised him to write to the Doctor.
"Ask him if he won't commute your sentence because you live in the country and are a commuter," I suggested.
The doctor replied to Uncle Peter at once and I will try to translate his letter from Johns Hopkins into pure English, as near as I can remember:
JOHNS HOPKINS, To-day.
Dear Uncle Peter:—When I cut loose with the observation that men were all in at 40 and rauss mittim at 60 I kept several exceptions up my sleeve.
The exceptions include you, Uncle Peter, and myself also.
It could not apply in your case, Uncle Peter, because I have known you since we lived together in Baltimore many moons ago, and I realize that the years have only improved you, Uncle Peter, and that to-day you are a bigger shine than you ever were.
One point about my observation which seems to have escaped the eyes of the general public, but which you suggest so delicately in your letter, Uncle Peter, will be found in the beautiful words of the poet who says:
Some advertisement now and then Is needed by the greatest men!
Don't mention it, Uncle Peter, for what I tell you is confidential, but do you know that my little bunch of remarks, which cost me nothing anyway because I was invited to the banquet, have given me more widespread advertisement than Andy Carnegie can get for eighteen public libraries?
You know, Uncle Peter, there is nothing in the world so easy to make stand up on its hind legs as the general public if you just go after it right.
But the trick is, Uncle Peter, to know what to say and when to say it.
Look at my case and then tell me if it wasn't up to me to emit a rave.
There I was, just about to leave my native land to go to Oxford and become the squeegee professor in the Knowledge Factory and be all swallowed up in the London fog, but nobody seemed to miss me before I went away.
I began to feel lost, lonely and forgotten like a vice-president of the United States.
Then came the banquet, Uncle Peter, and like a flash the inspiration came to me and I arose in my seat and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, after a man reaches the age of 40 he is a seldom-happener, and after he gets to the age of 60 he is a dead rabbit and it's the woods for his."
What was the result, Uncle Peter?
Every man in the world felt that I was his personal insult.
Every man over 40 listened to what I said and began to yell for the police; and every man under 40 realized that he would be over 40 some day, so he began to look for a rock to throw at me.
I had them, going and coming.
Then the newspapers heard about it and where formerly in their columns was nothing but dull and harmless war news my picture began, to blossom forth like the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la!
Pretty soon, Uncle Peter, every man, woman and child in the world began to know me and I couldn't walk out in the public streets without being snap-shotted or bowed to, or barked at, according to the age of those present.
Of course, we all know, Uncle Peter, that my theory has wormholes all over it, but didn't I make good?
We do not need a book or history to tell us that Julius Caesar was over forty before he ever saw the base of Pompey's statue; that Brutus and Cassius were over forty before they saw a chance to carve their initials on Caesar's wishbone; that Cleopatra was over forty before she saw snakes; that Carrie Nation was over forty before she could hatchet a barroom and put the boots to the rum demon; that Mrs. Chadwick was over forty before she opened a bank account; that Jonah was over forty before he saw a whale; that President Roosevelt was over forty before he saw a self-folding lion; that Kuropatkin was over forty before he learned to make five retreats grow where only one retreat grew before; that George Washington was over forty before he was struck with the idea of making Valley Forge a winter resort; and so forth, and so forth, world without end.
But these suggestions only prove the rule, Uncle Peter, and the rule is this:
Some advertisement now and then Is relished by the greatest men!
Don't worry, Uncle Peter, because you are getting to be a has-was.
You may do something in your old age which will make people think less of you than they do now—you never can tell.
With these few words I will leave you, Uncle Peter; wishing you as much age in the future as you have had in the past.
Yours with love, WILLIAM OSLER.
After getting this letter Uncle Peter began to breathe easier and two days later he was quite able to resist the desire to crawl under the bed every time a bottle of soothing syrup arrived from the drug store.
Uncle Peter got very gay the day after Admiral Togo won the battle of the Sea of Japan.
Fifteen minutes after the last Russian battleship had been slapped on the cross-trees Uncle Peter had a letter written to Togo.
I am going to show you a copy of it, if I get pinched in the act:
NEW YORK, This Morning. To Admiral William Duffy Togo, the Japanese crackerjack.
Dear Togie:—Please forgive me for writing you these few lines, but I have been through several wars myself and I have witnessed how easy it is for a hero to take the wrong road and walk unexpectedly into the cold storage department of the public's estimation. That is the reason I wish to give you a few points on the etiquette of being a hero, which I have studied from observation in this country.
Brave Togie:—When you get home in Tokio or Yokohama, or Communipaw, or wherever it is, keep the face closed, more especially in the region of the mouth, because the moment a hero begins to speak somebody will misconstrue what he says and get him talking politics when he only meant to say, "Drink hearty!"
Clever Togie:—Don't ever talk with an ambitious reporter unless you have a baseball mask over the face and a mosquito netting over the vocabulary; because if you only say to him, "How's the health?" you will find in the morning paper a column interview, in which you have decided to run for Mikado on the Democratic ticket.
Good Togie:—When you arrive at the depot in your home town you will find lined up in front of the baggage-room about sixty-seven young ladies, all with their lips puckered up in the most kissifactory manner—but don't do it, Togie.
Friend Togie:—-Resist the awful temptation to go down the line and plant burning kisses on the front teeth of these beautiful maidens, because after planting these kisses the harvest will be the long grass of oblivion, and you will find yourself rushing madly through the comic papers trying to bite all the fair ladies therein.
Fine Togie:—When you meet this awful situation, as meet it you will, sneer gently at the puckered lips and repeat over and over that old proverb, Osculation is the thief of reputation.
Then with a haughty glance at the lady kissing bugs jump quickly into your ginrickeyshaw and gallop swiftly home to the loving arms of your wife.
If the kissing buggettas should follow you to the sacred precincts of the home circle send your mother-in-law out with the broomstick, and may a kind Heaven help those who cannot run fast enough.
Beloved Togie:—Now listen with all your ears. This advise I give you from the heart. Don't let any committee present you with a house.
Handsome Togie:—Avoid this house proposition as you would a creditor.
Remember, Togie, that the public likes to honor a hero by giving him something expensive, and then dishonor him afterwards by watching what he does with it.
Noble Togie:—There are only two ways a hero can remain a hero in this strange world of ours. One way is to die just after he has heroed, and the other way is to get in a glass case and stay there—but he must buy the glass case himself.
Unbeatable Togie:—When the public gets a jag of joy from the intoxication of your success they will surely rush up to you with the plans and specifications of a fine bungalow with hot and cold gas and running servants, but when they do so just place the left hand in the apex of the waistcoat and say to them with a cold glitter in the lamps, "I thank you, public, for this display of generosity, but I would prefer that you keep the bungalow and I will keep my own little flat on 109th Street, because I know the janitor there and he never steals the milk."
Nice Togie:—Republics and any old kind of publics are always grateful while the jag of joy lasts. They are dead anxious to give a hero more than is coming to him, but after the jag of joy wears off then comes the bitter morning after, when they wake up with the head full of third-rail microbes and the tongue like a bridge with the draw open, and they keep saying to themselves, "Why did I give that hero such a nice house, because, to save my soul, I can't remember just what kind of heroing he did to deserve it."
My dear Togie:—Avoid the kissing buggettas and don't pay any attention to the house committee and possibly you will be able to keep on your heroesque way to the bitter end.
I have never been a hero myself, Togie, with the exception of one afternoon when I sunk an armored cruiser cook in our kitchen after she had swallowed a bottle of vodka and was bombarding the gas stove with our best set of china dishes, but I love all the heroes, and if any little advise of mine could help a hero to keep busy at the job of heroing I would be pleased and tickled internally.
Yours with love, UNCLE PETER.
Togo hasn't replied as yet, but Uncle Peter expects a postal card or a hand-painted fan in every mail.