PECK'S BAD BOY ABROAD
By Hon. Geo. W. Peck
Being a Humorous Description of the Bad Boy and His Dad in Their Journeys Through Foreign Lands, Their Visits to Crowned Heads, the Manners and Customs of the People, and the Bad Boy's Never Ending Efforts to Provide Fun No Matter Where He Is.
Profusely Illustrated by D. S. Groesbeck And R. W. Taylor
THOMPSON & THOMAS - 1904
The Bad Boy and His Chum Call on the Old Groceryman After Being Away at School—The Bad Boy's Dad in a Bad Way
The Bad Boy and His Dad Ready for Their Travels—The Bad Boy Labels the Old Man's Suit Case—How the Cowboys Made Him Dance Once
The Bad Boy Writes About the Fun They Had Going to Washington—He and His Dad Call on President Roosevelt—The Bad Boy Meets One of the Children and They Disagree
The Bad Boy and His Dad Visit Mount Vernon—Dad Weeps at the Grave of the Father of Our Country
The Bad Boy and His Dad Have Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria—The Bad Boy Orders Dinner—The Old Man Gets Stuck—Tries to Rescue a Countess in Distress
The Bad Boy Writes the Old Groceryman About Ocean Voyages—His Dad Has an Argument Over a Steamer Chair.
The Bad Boy and His Dad Eat Fog—Call on Astor—A Dynamite Outrage
The Bad Boy Writes About the Craze for Gin in the White-chapel District—He Gives His Dad a Scare in the Tower of London
The Bad Boy and His Dad Call on King Edward and Almost Settle the Irish Question
The Bad Boy Writes of Ancient and Modern Highwaymen They Get a Taste of High Life in London and Dad Tells the Story of the Picklemaker's Daughter
The Bad Boy Writes About Paris—Tells About the Trip Across the English Channel—Dad Feeds a Dog and Gets Arrested
The Bad Boy's Second Letter from Paris—Dad Poses as a Mormon Bishop and Has to Be Rescued—They Climb the Eiffel Tower and the Old Man Gets Converted
The Bad Boy's Dad and a Man from Dakota Frame Up a Scheme to Break the Bank, But They Go Broke—The Party in Trouble
The Bad Boy and His Dad Have an Automobile Ride—They Run Over a Peasant—Climb "Glaziers"—Dad Falls Over a Precipice, But Is Rescued by the Guides After a Hard Time of It
Dad Plays He Is an Anarchist—They Give Alms to the Beggars and the Bad Boy Ducks a Gondolier and His Dad in the Grand Canal
The Bad Boy Writes from Naples—Dad Sees Vesuvius and Calls the Servants to Put Out the Fire—They Have Trouble with a "Dago" in Pompeii
The Bad Boy and His Dad Climb Vesuvius—A Chicago Lady Joins the Party and Causes Trouble
The Bad Boy Makes Friends with Some Italian Children—Dad is Chased by Lions from the Coliseum—" Not Any More Rome for Papa," says Dad
The Bad Boy and His Dad Visit the Pope—They Bow to, the King of Italy and His Nine Spots—Dad Finds That "The Catacombs" Is Not a Comic Opera
The Bad Boy Tells About the Land of the Czar and the Trouble They Had to Get There—Dad Does a Stunt and Mixes It Up with the People and Soldiers
Dad Sees a Russian Revolution and Faints—'The Bad Boy Arranges a Wolf Hunt—Dad Threatens to Throw the Boy to the Wolves
Dad Wears His Masonic Fez in Constantinople—They Find the Turks Sensitive on the Dog Question—A College Yell for the Sultan Sends Him Into a Fit
The Bad Boy and His Dad Meet the Cream of the Harem—"Little Egypt" Does a Dancing Stunt—The Sultan Wants to Send Fifty Wives to the President
The Bad Boy and His Dad Arrive in Cairo—At the Hotel They Meet Some Egyptian Princesses—Dad Rides a Camel to the Pyramids and Meets with Difficulties
The Bad Boy and His Dad Climb the Pyramids—The Bad Boy Lights a Cannon Cracker in Rameses' Tomb—They Flee from Egypt in Disguise
The Bad Boy Writes About Gibraltar—The Irish-English Army—How He Would Take the Fortress—Dad Wants to Buy the "Rock"
The Bad Boy Writes of Spain—They call On the King and the Bad Boy Is At It Once More—They See a Bull Fight and Dad Does a Turn
The Bad Boy and His Dad at Berlin—They Call On Emperor William and His Family and the Bad Boy Plays a Joke on Them All
The Bad Boy Writes from Brussels—He and Dad See the Field of Waterloo and Call on King Leopold, and Dad and the King Go in for a Swim—The Bad Boy, a Dog and Some Goats Do the Rest
The Bad Boy's Delayed Letter About Holland and Cuba—Dad and the Boy Go for a Drive in a Dog-Cart—They Have a Great Time—Land in Cuba and See the Island We Fought For
PECK'S BAD BOY ABROAD.
The Bad Boy and His Chum Call on the Old Grocery-man After Being Away at School—The Bad Boy's Dad in a Bad Way.
The bad boy had been away to school, but the illness of his father had called him home, and for some weeks he had been looking about the old town. He had found few of his old friends. His father had recovered somewhat from his illness, and one day he met his old chum, a boy of his own age. The bad boy and the chum got busy at once, talking over the old times that tried the souls of the neighbors and finally the bad boy asked about the old groceryman, and found that the old man still held out at the old stand, with the same old stock of groceries, and they decided to call upon him, and surprise him. So after it began to be dark they entered the store, and found the old groceryman sitting on a cracker box by the stove, stroking the back of an old maltese cat that had a yellow streak on the back, where it had been singed by crawling under the red-hot stove. As the boys entered the store the cat raised its back, its tail became as large as a rolling pin, and the cat began to spit, while the old groceryman held up both hands and said:
"Don't shoot, please, but one of you go behind the counter and take what there is in the cash drawer, while the other one can reach into my pistol pocket and release my pocketbook. This is the fifth time I have been held up this year, and I have got so if I am not held up about so often I can't sleep nights."
"O, put down your hands and straighten out that cat's back," said the bad boy, as he slapped the old groceryman on the back so hard his spine cracked like a frozen sidewalk. "Don't you know us, you old geezer? We are the only and original Peck's Bad Boy and his Chum, come to life, and ready for business," and the two boys danced a jig on the floor, covered an inch thick with the spilled sugar of years ago, the molasses that had strayed from barrel, and the general refuse of the dirty place, which had become as hard as asphalt.
"O, dear, it is worse than I thought," said the old groceryman as he laughed a hysterical laugh through the long whiskers, and he hugged the boys as though he had a liking for them, notwithstanding the suffering they had caused him. "By gosh, I thought you were nothing but common robbers, who just wanted my money. You are old friends, and can have the whole place," and he poured some milk into a basin for the cat, but the animal only looked at the two boys as though she knew them, and watched them to see what was coming next.
The bad boy looked around the old grocery, which had not changed a particle during the time he had been away, the same old box of petrified prunes, the dried apples that could not be cut with a hatchet, the canned stuff on the shelves had become so old that the labels had curled up and fallen off, so it must have been a guess with the old groceryman whether he was selling a can of peas or tomatoes, and the old fellow standing there as though the world had gone off and left him, as his customers had.
"Well, wouldn't this skin you," said the bad boy, as he took up a dried prune and tried to crack it with a hatchet on a two-pound weight, turning to his chum who was stroking the singed hair of the old cat the wrong way. "Say, old man, you ought to get a hustle on you. Why don't you clean out this shebang, and put in a new stock, of goods, and have clerks with white aprons on, and a girl bookkeeper, and goods that people will buy and eat and not get sick? There is a grocery down street that is as clean as a whistle, and I notice all your old customers go there. Why don't you keep up with the times?"
"O, I ain't running a dude place," said the old man, as he took a piece of soft coal and put it in the old round stove, and wiped the black off his hands on his trousers. "I am trying to get rid of my customers. I have got money enough to live on, and I just stay here waiting for the old cat to die. I have only got six customers left, and one of them has got pneumonia, and is going to die, then there will be only five. When they are all gone I shall sit here by the stove until the end comes. There is nothing doing now to keep me awake, since you boys quit getting me mad. Say, boys, do you know, I haven't been real mad since you quit coming here. The only fun I have had is swearing at my customers when they stick up their noses at my groceries. It's the funniest thing, when I tell an old customer that if they don't like my goods they can go plum to thunder, they get mad and go somewhere else to trade. Times must be changing. Years ago, the more I abused customers the more they liked it, and I just charged the goods to them with a pencil on a piece of brown wrapping paper. I had four cracker boxes full of brown wrapping paper with things charged on the paper against customers, but when anybody wanted to pay their account it made my head ache to find it, and so one day I balanced my books by using the brown wrapping paper to kindle the fire. If you ever want to get even with the world, easy, just pour a little kerosene on your accounts, and put them in the stove. I have never been so free from worry as I have since I balanced my books in the stove. Well, I suppose you have come home on account of your dad's sickness," said the old groceryman, turning to the bad boy, who had written a sign, 'The Morgue,' and pinned it on the window. "I understand your dad had an operation performed on him in a hospital. What did the doctors take out of him?"
"Dad had an operation all right," said the bad boy, "but he is not as much interested in what they took out of him, as what he thinks they left in. They said they removed his appendix, and I guess they did, for dad showed me the bill the doctors rendered. The bill was big enough so they might have taken out a whole lot more. If I had been home I would never have let him be cut into, but ma insisted that he must have an operation. She said all the men on our street, and all that moved in our set, had had operations, and she was ashamed to go out in society and be forced to admit that dad never had an operation, She told dad that he could afford it better than half the people that had operations, and that a scar criss-cross on the stomach was a badge of honor. He never got a scar in the army, and she simply would not be able to look people in the face unless dad was operated on. Dad always was subject to stomach ache, but until appendicitis became fashionable he had always taken a mess of pills, and come out all right, but ma diagnosed the case the last time he was doubled up like a jack-knife, and dad was hustled off to the hospital, and they didn't do a thing to him.
"He told me about it since I came home, and now he lays the whole thing to ma, and I have to stand between them. He is going to get even with ma, though. The first time she complains of anything going on inside of her works, he is going to send her right to a hospital and have the doctors do their worst. Dad said to me, says he:
"'Hennery, if you ever feel anything like a caucus being held inside you, don't you ever go to a hospital, but just swallow a stick of dynamite and light the fuse, then there won't be anything left inside to bother you afterwards. When I got to the hospital they stripped me for a prize fight, put me on a table made of glass, and rolled me into the operating room, gave me chloroform and when they thought I was all in, they took an axe and chopped me. I could feel every blow, and it is a wonder they left enough of your old dad for you to hug when you came home.'
"Say, it is kind of pitiful to hear dad talk about the things they left in him."
"What things does he think they left in him," asked the old groceryman, as he looked frightened, and felt of his stomach, as though he mistrusted there might be something wrong with him, too.
"O, dad has been reading in the papers about doctors that perform operations leaving sponges, forceps, and things inside of patients, when they close up the place, and since dad has got pretty fussy since his operation he thinks they left something in him. Some days he thinks they left a roll of cotton batting, or a pillow, or a bale of hay, but when there is a sharp pain inside he thinks they left a carving knife, but for a week he has settled down to the belief that the doctors left a monkey wrench in him, and he is just daffy on that subject. Says he can feel it turning around, as though it was miscrewing machinery, and he wants to consult a new doctor every day as to what he can take to dissolve a monkey wrench, so it will pass off through the blood and pores of the skin. He has taken it into his head that nothing will save his life except to travel all over the country, and the world. I am to go with him to look after him."
"By ginger, it's great! Just think of it. Traveling all over the world and nothing to do but nurse my old dad who thinks he is filled with hardware and carpenter's tools. Gee! but I wish you could go," said the bad boy, as he put him arm around his chum. "Maybe we wouldn't make these foreigners sit up and take an interest in something besides Royalty and Riots."
"Well," said the groceryman, "they will have my sympathy with you alone over there."
"But before you start on the road with your monkey-wrench show, you come in here and let me put up a package of those prunes to take along. They will keep in any climate, and there is nothing better for iron in the blood, such as your dad has, than prunes. Call again, bub, and we will arrange for you to write to your chum from all the places you go with your dad, and he can come in here and read the letters to me and the cat."
"All right, old Father Time," said the bad boy, as he drew a mug of cider out of the vinegar barrel, and took a swallow. "But what you want to do is to get a road scraper and drive a team through this grocery, and clean the floor," and the boys went out just ahead of the old man's arctic overshoes, as he kicked at them, and then he went back and sat down by the stove and stroked the cat, which had got its back down level again, after its old enemies had gone down the street, throwing snowballs at the driver of a hearse.
"It is a solemn occupation to drive a hearse," said the bad boy.
"Not so solemn as riding inside," said the chum.
The Bad Boy and His Dad Ready for Their Travels—The Bad Boy Labels the Old Man's Suit Case—How the Cowboys Made Him Dance Once.
The old groceryman was in front of the grocery, bent oyer a box of rutabagas, turning the decayed sides down to make the possible customer think all was not as bad as it might be, when a shrill whistle down the street attracted his attention. He looked in the direction from which it came, and saw the bad boy coming with a suit case in one hand and a sole leather hat box in the other, and the old man went in the store to say a silent prayer, and to lay a hatchet and an ax handle where he could reach them if the worst came.
"Well, you want to get a good look at me now," said the bad boy, as he dropped the valise on the floor, and put the hat box on the counter, "for it will be months and maybe years, before you see me again."
"Oh, joy!" said the old groceryman, as he heaved a sigh, and tried to look sorry. "What is it, reform school, or have the police ordered you out of town? I have felt it coming for a long time. This is the only town you could have plied your vocation so long in and not been pulled. Where are you going with the dude suit case and the hat box?"
"Oh, dad has got a whole mess more diseases, and the doctors had a conversation over him Sunday, and they say he has got to go away again, right now, and that a sea voyage will brace him up and empty him out so medicine over in Europe can get in its work and strengthen him so he can start back after a while and probably die on the way home, and be buried at sea. Dad says he will go, for he had rather die at sea than on land, 'cause they don't have to have any trouble about a funeral, 'cause all they do is to sew a man up in a piece of cloth, tie a sack of coal to his feet, slide him off a board, and he goes kerplunk down into the salt water about a mile, and stands there on his feet and makes the whales and sharks think he is a new kind of fish."
"Gee! but that is a programme that appeals to me as sort of uncanny," said the old man. "Is your dad despondent over the outlook? What new disease has he got?"
"All of 'em," said the boy, as he took a label off a tomato can and pasted it on the end of the suit case. "You take an almanac and read about all the diseases that the medicine advertised in the almanac cures, and dad has got the whole lot of them, nervous prostration, rheumatism, liver trouble, stomach busted, lungs congested, diaphragm turned over, heart disease, bronchitis, corns, bunions, every darn thing a man can catch without costing him anything. But he is not despondent. He just thinks it is an evidence of genius, and a certificate of standing in society and wealth. He argues that the poor people who have only one disease are not in it with statesmen and scholars. Oh, he is all right. He thinks if he goes to Europe all knocked out, he will class with emperors and dukes. Oh, since he had that operation and had his appendix chopped out, he thinks there is a bond of sympathy between him and King Edward that will cause him to be invited to be the guest of royalty. He is just daffy," and the bad boy took a sapolio label out of a box and pasted it on the other end of the valise.
"What in thunder and lightning are you pasting those labels on your valise for?" said the old man, as the boy reached for a Quaker oats label and a soap advertisement and pasted them on.
"Oh, dad said he wished he had some foreign labels of hotels and things on his valise, to make fellow travelers believe he had been abroad before, and I told him I could fix it all right. You see, if I paste things all over the valise he will think it is all right, 'cause he is near sighted," and the boy pasted on a label for 37 varieties of pickles, and then put on an advertisement for hair restorer on the hat box.
"Say, here's a fine one, this malted milk label, with a New Jersey cow on the corner," said the old man, as he began to take interest in the boy's talent as an artist. "And here, try one of these green pea can labels, and the pork and beans legend, and the only soap. Say, if you and your dad don't create a sensation from the minute you take the train till you get back, you can take it out of my wages. When are you going?"
"To-morrow night," said the boy, as he put more labels on the hat box, and stood off and looked at them with the eye of an artist. "We go to New York first to stay a few days and see things, and then we take a steamer and sail away, and the sicker dad is the more time I will have to fill up on useful nollig."
"Hennery," said the old groceryman, as his chin trembled, and a tear came to his eye. "I want to ask you a favor. At times, when you have been unusually mean, I have thought I hated you, but when I have said something ugly to you, and have laid awake all night regretting it, it has occurred to me that you were about the best friend I had. I think it makes an old man forget his years, to be chummy with a live boy, full of ginger, and I do like you, condemn you, and I can't help it. Now I want you to write me every little while, on your trip, and I will read your letters to the customers here in the store, who will be lonely until they can hear that you are dead. The neighbors will come in to read your letters, and it will bring me custom. Will you write to me, boy, and pour out your heart to me, and tell me of the different troubles you get your dad into, for surely you cannot help finding trouble over there if you go hunting for it. Promise me, boy."
"You bet your life I will, old pard," said the bad boy. "I shall have to have some escape valve to keep from busting. I was going to write to my chum, but he is in love with a telephone girl, and he don't take any time for pleasure. I will write you about every dutch and duchess we meet, every prince and pauper, and everything. You watch my smoke, and you will think there is a train afire. I hope dad will try and restrain himself from wanting to fight everybody that belongs to any country but America. He has bought one one these little silk American flags to wear in his button hole, and he swears if anybody looks cross-eyed at that flag he will simply cut his liver out, and toast it on a fork, and eat it. He makes me tired, and I know there is going to be trouble."
"Don't you think your dad's mind sort of wanders?" said the old groceryman, in a whisper, "It wouldn't be strange, after all he has gone through, in raising you up to your present size, if he was a little off his base."
"Well, ma thinks he is bug-house, and the hired girl is willing to go into court and swear to it, and that experience we had coming home from the Yellowstone park some time ago, made me think if he was not crazy he would be before long, You see, we had a hot box on the engine, and had to stay at a station in the bad lands for an hour, and there were a mess of cow boys on the platform, and I told dad we might as well have some amusement while we were there, and that a brake-man told me the cow boys were great dancers, but you couldn't hire them to dance, but if some man with a strong personality would demand that they dance, and put his hand on his pistol pocket they would all jump in and dance for an hour. That was enough for dad, for he has a microbe that he is a man of strong personality, and that when he demands that anybody do something they simply got to do it, so he walked up and down the platform a couple of times to get his draw poker face on, and I went up to one of the cow boys and told him that the old duffer used to be a ballet dancer, and he thought everybody ought to dance when they were told to, and that if the spell should come on him, and he should order them to dance, it would be a great favor to me if they would just give him a double shuffle or two, just to ease his mind.
"Well, pretty soon he came along to where the cowboys were leaning against the railing, and, looking at them in a haughty manner, he said: 'Dance, you kiotes, dance,' and he put his hand to his pistol pocket. Well, sir, I never saw so much fun in my life. Four of the cow boys pulled revolvers and began to shoot regular bullets into the platform within an inch of dad's feet, and they yelled to him: 'Dance your own self, you ancient maverick; whoop 'er up!' and by gosh! dad was so frightened that he began to dance all around the platform, and it was like a battle, the bullets splintering the boards, and the smoke filling the air, and the passengers looking out of the windows and laughing, and the engineer and fireman looking on and yelling, and dad nearly exhausted from the exertion. I guess if the conductor had not got the hot box put out and yelled all aboard, dad would have had apoplexy."
"When he let up, the cow boys quit shooting, and he!'ol aboard the train and started. I stayed in the smoking car with the train butcher for more than an hour, 'cause I was afraid if I went in the car where dad was he would make some remark that would offend my pride, and when I did go back to the car he just said: 'Somebody fooled you. Those fellows couldn't dance, and I knew it all the time.' Yes, I guess there is no doubt dad is crazy sometimes, but let me chaperone him through a few foreign countries and he will stand without hitching all right. Well, goodby, now, old man, and try and bear up under it, till you get a letter from me," and the bad boy took his labeled valise and hat box and started.
The Bad Boy Writes About the Fun They Had Going to Washington—He and His Dad Call on President Roosevelt— The Bad Boy Meets One of the Children and They Disagree.
Washington, D. C—My Dear Old Skate: I didn't tell you in my last about the fun we had getting here. We were on the ocean wave two days, because the whole country was flooded from the rains, and dad walked the quarter deck of the Pullman car, and hitched up his pants, and looked across the sea on each side of the train with a field glass, looking for whales and porpoises. He seems to be impressed with the idea that this trip abroad is one of great significance to the country, and that he is to be a sort of minister plenipotentiary, whatever that is, and that our country is going to be judged by the rest of the world by the position he takes on world affairs. The first day out of Chicago dad corraled the porter in a section and talked to him until the porter was black in the face. I told dad the only way to get respectful consideration from a negro was to advocate lynching and burning at the stake, for the slightest things, so when our porter was unusually attentive to a young woman on the car dad hauled him over the coals, and scared him so by talking of hanging, and burning in kerosene oil, that the negro got whiter than your shirt, and when he got away from dad he came to me and asked if that old man with the red nose and the gold-headed cane was as dangerous as he talked. I told him he was my dad, and that he was a walking delegate of the Amalgamated Association of Negro Lynchers, and when a negro did anything that he ought to be punished for they sent for dad, and he took charge of the proceedings and saw that the negro was hanged, and shot, and burned up plenty. But I told him that dad was crazy on the subject of giving tips to servants, and he must not fall dead when we got to Washington if dad gave him a $50 bill, and he must not give back any change, but just act as though he always got $50 from passengers. Well, you'd a dide to see that negro brush dad 50 times a day, and bring a towel every few minutes to wipe off his shoes, but he kept one eye,' about as big as an onion, on dad all the time, to watch that he didn't get stabbed. The next morning I took dad's pants from under his pillow, and hid them in a linen closet, and dad laid in his berth all the forenoon, and had it out with the porter, whom he accused of stealing them. The doctors told me I must keep dad interested and excited, so he would not dwell on his sickness, and I did, sure as you are a foot high. Dad stood it till almost noon, when he came out of his berth with his pajamas on, these kind with great blue stripes like a fellow in the penitentiary, and when he went to the wash room I found his pants and then he dressed up and swore some at everybody but me. We got to Washington all right, and I thought I would bust when dad fished out a nickel and gave it to the porter, and we got out of the car before the porter came to, and the first day we stayed in the hotel for fear the negro would see us, as I told dad that porter would round up a gang of negroes with razors and they would waylay us and cut dad all up into sausage meat.
Dad is the bravest man I ever saw when there is no danger, but when there is a chance for a row he is weak as a cat. I spect it is on account of his heart being weak. A man's internal organs are a great study. I spose a brave man, a hero, has to have all his inside things working together, to be real up and up brave, but if his heart is strong, and his liver is white, he goes to pieces in an emergency, and if his liver is all right, and he tries to fight just on his liver, when the supreme moment arrives, and his heart jumps up into his throat, and wabbles and beats too quick, he just flunks. I would like to dissect a real brave man, and see what condition the things inside him are in, but it would be a waste of time to dissect dad, 'cause I know all his inner works need to go to a watchmaker and be cleaned, and a new main spring put in.
Well, this morning dad shaved himself, and got on his frock coat, and his silk hat, and said we would go over to the white house and have a talk with Teddy, but first he wanted to go and see where Jefferson hitched his horse to the fence when he came to Washington to be innogerated, and where Jackson smoked his corn cob pipe, and swore and stormed around when he was mad, and to walk on the same paths where Zachariah Taylor Zacked, Buchanan catched it, and Lincoln put down the rebellion, and so we walked over toward the white house, and I was scandalized. I stopped to pick up a stone to throw at a dog inside the fence, and when I walked along behind dad, and got a rear view of his silk hat, it seemed as though I would sink through the asphalt pavement, for he had on an old silk hat that he wore before the war, the darnedest looking hat I ever saw, the brim curled like a minstrel show hat, the fur rubbed off in some places, and he looked like one of these actors that you see pictures of walking on the railroad track, when the show busts up at the last town. I think a man ought to dress so his young son won't have a fit. I tried to get dad to go and buy a new hat, but he said he was going to wait till he got to London, and buy one just like King Edward wears, but he will never get to London with that hat, 'cause to-night I will throw it out of the hotel window and put a piece of stove pipe in his hat box.
Well, sir, you wouldn't believe it, but we got into the white house without being pulled, but it was a close shave, 'cause everybody looked at dad, and put their forefingers to their foreheads, for they thought he was either a crank, or an ambassador from some furrin country. The detectives got around dad when we got into the anteroom, and began to feel of his pockets to see if he had a gun, and one of them asked me what the old fellow wanted, and I told them he was the greatest bob cat shooter in the west, and was on his way to Europe to invite the emperors and things to come over to this country and shoot cats on his preserve. Well, say, you ought to have seen how they stepped one side and waltzed around, and one of them went in the next room and told the president dad was there, and before we knew it we were in the president's room, and the president began to curl up his lip, and show his teeth like some one had said "rats."
He got hold of dad's hand, and dad backed off as though he was afraid of being bitten, and then they sat down and talked about mountain lion and cat shooting, and dad said he had a 22 rifle that he could pick a cat off the back fence with every time, out of his bedroom window, and I began to look around at the pictures. Dad and the president talked about all kinds of shooting, from mudhens to moose, and then dad told the president he was going abroad on account of his liver, and wanted a letter of introduction to some of the kings and emperors, and queens, and jacks, and all the face cards, and the president said he made it a practice not to give any personal letters to his friends, the kings, but that dad could tell any of them that he met that he was an American citizen, and that would take him anywhere in Europe, and then he got up and began to show his teeth at dad again, and dad gave him the grand hailing sign of distress of the Grand Army and backed out, dropped his hat, and in trying to pick it up, he stepped on it, but that made it look better, anyway, and we found ourselves outside the room, and a lot of common people from the country were ready to go in and talk politics and cat shooting.
Well, we looked at pictures, and saw the state dining room where they feed 50 diplomats at a time on mud turtle and champagne, and a boy about my size looked sort of disdainful at me, and I told him it he would come outside I would mash his jaw, and he said I could try it right there if I was in a hurry to go, and I was starting to give him a swift punch when a detective took hold of my arm and said they couldn't have any scrap there, 'cause the president's son could not fight with common boys, and I asked him who he called a common boy, and then dad said we better go before war broke out in a country that was illy prepared for hostilities on a large scale, and then I told a detective that dad was liable to have one of his spells and begin shooting any minute, and then the detectives all thought dad was one of these president assassinationists, and they took him into a room and searched him, and asked him a whole lot of fool questions, and they finally let us out, and told us we better skip the town before night.
Dad got kind of heavy-hearted over that and took a notion he would like to see ma again before crossing the briny deep, so you came near having your little angel again soon. This weakness of dad's didn't last long, for we're looking for a warm time in New York and old Lunnon.
The Bad Boy and His Dad Visit Mount Vernon—Dad Weeps at the Grave of the Father of Our Country.
New York City.—My Dear Uncle Ezra: I got a letter from my chum this morning, and he says he was in the grocery the day he wrote, and you were a sight. He says that if I am going to be away several months you will never change your shirt till I get back, for nobody around the grocery seems to have any influence over you. I meant to have put you under bonds before I left, to change your shirt at least quarterly, but you ought to change it by rights every month. The way to do is to get an almanac and make a mark on the figures at the first of the month, and when you are studying the almanac it will remind you of your duty to society. People east here, that is, business men in your class, change their shirts every week or two. Try and look out for these little matters, insignificant as they may seem, because the public has some rights that it is dangerous for a man to ignore.
Dad and I have been down to Mount Vernon, and had a mighty solemn time. I think dad expected that we would be met at the trolley car by a delegation of descendants of George Washington, by a four-horse carriage, with postilions and things, and driven to the old house, and received with some distinction, as dad had always been an admirer of George Washington, and had pointed with pride to his record as a statesman and a soldier, but all we saw was a bunch of negroes, who told us which way to walk, and charged us ten cents apiece for the information.
At Mount Vernon we found the old house where George lived and died, where Martha told him to wipe his feet before he came in the house, and saw that things were cooked properly. We saw pictures of revolutionary scenes and men of that period, relics of the days when George was the whole thing around there. We saw the bed on which George died, and then we went down to the icehouse and looked through the fence and saw the marble coffins in which George and Martha were sealed up. Say, old man, I know you haven't got much reverence, but you couldn't look through that fence at what remains of the father of his country without taking off your hat and thinking good things while you were there.
I was surprised at dad; he cried, though he never met George Washington in all his life. I have seen dad at funerals at home, when he was a bearer, or a mourner, and he never acted as thought it affected him much, but there at Mount Vernon, standing within eight feet of the remains of George Washington, he just lost his nerve, and bellered, and I felt solemn myself, like I had been kept in after school when all the boys were going in swimming. If a negro had not asked dad for a quarter I know dad would have got down on his knees and been pious, but when he gave that negro a swift kick for butting in with a commercial proposition, in a sacred moment, dad come to, and we went up to the house again. Dad said what he wanted was to think of George Washington just as a country farmer, instead of a general and a president. He said we got nearer to George, if we thought of him getting up in the morning, putting on his old farmer pants and shirt, and going downstairs in his stocking feet, and going out to the kitchen by the wooden bench, dipping a gourd full of rain water out of a barrel into an earthen wash basin and taking some soft soap out of a dish and washing himself, his shirt open so his great hairy breast would catch the breeze, his suspenders, made of striped bed ticking, hanging down, his hair touseled up until he had taken out a yellow pocket comb and combed it, and then yelling to Martha to know about how long a workingman would have to wait for breakfast. And then dad said he liked to think of George Washington sitting down at the breakfast table and spearing sausages out of a platter, and when a servant brought in a mess of these old-fashioned buckwheat cakes, as big as a pieplate, see George, in imagination, pilot a big one on to his plate, and cover it with sausage gravy, and eat like he didn't have any dyspepsia, and see him help Martha to buckwheat cakes, and finally get up from breakfast like a full Christian and go out on the farm and count up the happy slaves to see if any of them had got away during the night.
By ginger, dad inspired me with new thoughts about the father of his country. I had always thought of Washington as though he was constantly crossing the Delaware in a skiff, through floating ice, with a cocked hat on, and his coat flaps trimmed with buff nankeen stuff, a sort of a male Eliza in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," getting away from the hounds that were chasing her to chew her pants. I was always thinking of George either chopping cherry trees, or standing on a pedestal to have his picture taken, but here at the old farm, with dad to inspire me, I was just mingling with Washington, the planter, the neighbor, telling the negroes where they would get off at if they didn't pick cotton fast enough, or breaking colts, or going to the churn and drinking a quart of buttermilk, and getting the stomach ache, and calling upstairs to Martha, who was at the spinning wheel, or knitting woolen socks, and asking her to fix up a brandy smash to cure his griping pains. I thought of the father of his country taking a severe cold, and not being able to run into a drug store for a bottle of cough sirup, or a quinine pill, having Martha fix a tub of hot mustard water to soak those great feet of his, and bundle him up in a flannel blanket, give him a hot whisky, and put him to bed with a hot brick at his feet.
Then, when I looked at a duck blind out in the Potomac, near the shore, I thought how George used to put on an old coat and slouch hat and take his gun and go out in the blind, and shoot canvas-back ducks for dinner, and paddle his boat out after the dead birds, the way Grover Cleveland did a century later. I tell you, old man, the way to appreciate our great statesmen, soldiers and scholars is to think of them just as plain, ordinary citizens, doing the things men do nowadays. It does dad and I more good to think of Washington and his friends camping out down the Potomac, on a fishing trip, sleeping on a bed of pine boughs, and cooking their own pork, and roasting sweet potatoes in the ashes, eating with appetites like slaves, than to think of him at a state dinner in the white house, with a French cook disguising the food so they could not tell what it was.
O, I had rather have a picture of George Washington and Lafayette coming up the bank of the Potomac toward the house, loaded down with ducks, and Martha standing on the porch of Mount Vernon asking them who they bought the ducks of and how much they cost, than to have one of those big paintings in the white house showing George and Lafayette looking as though they had conquered the world. If the phonograph had been invented then, and we could listen to the conversation of those men, just as they said things, it would be great. Imagine George saying to Lafayette, so you cotild hear it now: "Lafe, that last shot at that canvasback you made was the longest shot ever made on the Potomac. It was a Jim dandy, you old frog eater," and imagine Lafayette replying: "You bet your life, George, I nailed that buck canvasback with a charge of number six shot, and he never knew what struck him." But they didn't have any phonographs in those days and so you have got to imagine things.
How would Washington's farewell address sound now in a phonograph, or some of George's choice swear words at a slave that had ridden a sore-backed mule down to Alexandria after a jug of rum. I would like to run a phonograph show with nothing in the machine but ancient talk from George Washington, but we can have no such luck unless George is born again.
Old man, if you ever get a furlough from business, you go down to Mount Vernon and revel in memories of the father of his country. If you go, hunt up a negro with a hair lip, that is a servant there, and who used to be Washington's body servant, unless he is a liar, and tell him I sent you and he won't do a thing to you, for a dollar or so. I told that negro that dad was a great general, a second Washington, and he wore all the skin off his bald head taking off his hat to dad every time dad looked at him, and he bowed until his back ached, but when we were going away, and dad asked me what ailed the old monkey to act that way, the old negro thought these new Washingtons were a pretty tough lot.
All the time at Mount Vernon I couldn't get up meanness enough to play any trick on dad, but I picked up a sort of a horse chestnut or something, with prickers on it as sharp as needles, and as we were getting on the trolley I slipped it down the back of dad's pants, near where his suspenders button on, and by the time we sat down in the car the horse chestnut had worked down where dad is the largest, and when he leaned back against the seat he turned pale and wiggled around and asked me if he looked bad.
I told him he looked like a corpse, which encouraged him so he almost fainted. He asked me if I had heard of any contagious diseases that were prevalent in Virginia, 'cause he felt as though he had caught something. I told him I would ask the conductor, so I went and asked the conductor what time we got to Washington, and then I went back to dad and told him the conductor said there was no disease of any particular account, except smallpox and yellow fever, and that the first symptom of smallpox was a prickling sensation in the small of the back.
Dad turned green and said he had got it all right, and I had the darndest time getting him back to the hotel at Washington. Say, I had to help him undress, and I took the horse chestnut and put it in the foot of the bed, and got dad in, and I went downstairs to see a doctor, and then I came back and told him the doctor said if the prickly sensation went to his feet he was in no danger from smallpox, as it was an evidence that an old vaccination of years ago had got in its work and knocked the disease out of his system lengthwise, and when I told dad that he raised up in bed and said he was saved, for ever since I went out of the room he had felt that same dreaded prickling at work on his feet, and he was all right.
I told dad it was a narrow escape and that it ought to be a warning to him. Dad has to wear a dress suit to dinner here and cough up money every time he turns around, 'cause I have told the bell boys dad is a bonanza copper king, and they are not doing a thing to dad.
O, I guess I am doing just as the doctors at home ordered, in keeping dad's mind occupied.
Well, so long, old man, I have got to go to dinner with dad, and I am going to order the dinner myself, dad said I could, and if I don't put him into bankruptcy, you don't know your little
The Bad Boy and His Dad Have Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria— The Bad Boy Orders Dinner—The Old Man Gets Stuck—Tries to Rescue a Countess in Distress.
Waldorf-Astoria, New York.—Dear Uncle Ezra: We are still at this tavern, but we don't do anything but sleep here, and stay around in the lobby evenings to let people look at us, and dad wears that old swallow-tail coat he had before the war, but he has got a new silk hat, since we got here; one of these shiny ones that is so slick it makes his clothes look offul bum. We about went broke on the first supper we had, or dinner they call it here. You see, dad thought this was about a three-dollar-a-day house, and that the meals were included, like they do at Oshkosh, and so when we went down to dinner dad said we wouldn't do a thing to old Astor. He let me order the dinner, but told me to order everything on the bill-of-sale, because we wanted to get the worth of our three dollars a day. Well, honest, I couldn't order all there was, 'cause you couldn't have got it all on a billiard table. Say, that list they gave me had everything on it that was ever et or drunk, but I told dad they would fire us out if we ordered the whole prescription, so all I ordered was terrapin, canvasback duck, oysters, clams, crabs, a lot of new kinds of fish, and some beef and mutton, and turkey, and woodcock, and partridge, and quail, and English pheasant, and lobster and salads and ices, and pie and things, just to stay our stomachs, and when it came to wine, dad weakened, because he didn't want to set a bad example to me, so he ordered hard cider for hisself and asked me if I wanted anything to drink, and I ordered brown pop. You'd a been tickled to see the waiter when he took that order, 'cause I don't s'pose anybody ever ordered cider and brown pop there since Astor skinned muskrats for a living, when he was a trapper up north. Gosh, but when they brought that dinner in, you ought to have seen the sensation it created. Most of the people in the great dining hall looked at dad as though he was a Crases, or a Rockefeller, and the head waiter bowed low to dad, and dad thought it was Astor, and dad looked dignified and hurt at being spoken to by a common tavern keeper. Well, we et and et, but we couldn't get away with hardly any of it, and dad wanted to wrap some of the duck and lobsters and things in a newspaper and take it to the room for a lunch, but the waiter wouldn't have it. But the cyclone struck the house when dad and I got up to go out of the dining-room, and the waiter brought dad the check.
"What is this?" said dad, as he put on his glasses and looked at the check which was $43 and over.
"Dinner check, sir," said the waiter, as he straightened back and held out his hand.
"Why, ain't this house run on the American plan?" said dad, as his chin began to tremble.
"No, sir, on the Irish plan," said the waiter. "You pays for what you horders," and dad began to dig up. He looked at me as though I was to blame, when he told me to order all there was in sight. Well, I have witnessed heart-rending scenes, but I never saw anything that would draw tears like dad digging down for that $43. The doctors at home had ordered excitement for dad, but this seemed to be an overdose, and I was afraid he would collapse and I offered him my glass of brown pop to stimulate him, but he told me I could go plumb, and if I spoke to him again he would maul me. He got his roll half out of his pistol pocket, and then talked loud and said it was a damoutridge, and he wanted to see Astor himself before he would allow himself to be held up by highwaymen, and then all the other diners stood up and looked at dad, and a lot of waiters and bouncers surrounded him, and then he pulled out the roll, and it was pitiful to see him wet his trembling thumb on his trembling dry tongue and begin to peel off the bills, like you peel the layers off an onion, but he got off enough to pay for the dinner, gave the waiter half a dollar, and smiled a sickly smile at the head waiter, and I led him out of the dining-room a broken-down old man. As we got to the lobby, where the horse show of dress-suit chappies was beginning the evening procession, I said to dad: "Next time we will dine out, I guess," and at that he rallied and seemed to be able to take a joke, for he said: "We dined out this time. We dined out $43," and then we joined the procession of walkers around, and tried to look prosperous, and after awhile dad called a bell boy, and asked him if there wasn't a good dairy lunch counter near the Waldorf, where a man could go and get a bowl of bread and milk, and the bell boy gave him the address of a dairy lunch place, and I can see my finish, 'cause from this out we will probably live on bread and milk while we are here, and I hate bread and milk.
It got all around the hotel, about the expensive dinner dad ordered for himself and the little heir to his estate, and everybody wanted to get acquainted with dad and try to get some stock in his copper mine. I had told dad about my telling the boys he was a bonanza copper miner, and he never batted an eye when they asked him about his mine, and he looked the part.
One man wanted dad to cash a check, 'cause the bank was closed, and he was a rich-looking duke, and dad was just going to get his roll out and peel off some more onion, when I said: "Not on your tintype, Mr. Duke," and dad left his roll in his pocket, and the duke gave me a look as though he wanted to choke me, and went away, saying: "There is Mr. Pierpont Morgan, and I can get him to cash it." I saved dad over a hundred dollars on that scheme, and so we are making money every minute. We went to our room early, so dad could digest his $43 worth of glad food.
Gee, but this house got ripped up the back before morning. You remember I told you about a countess, or a duchess, or some kind of high-up female that had a room next to our room. Well, she is a beaut, from Butte, Mont., or Cuba, or somewhere, for she acts like a queen that has just stepped off her throne for a good time. She has got a French maid that is a peacharino. You know that horse chestnut, with the prickers on, that I put in dad's pants at Washington. Well, I have still got it, and as it gets dry the prickers are sharper than needles, sharper even than a servant's tooth, as it says in the good book. I thought I would give dad a run for his money, 'cause exercise and excitement are good for a man that dined heartily on $43 worth of rich food, so when we went to our room I told dad that I was satisfied from what a bell boy told me that the countess in the next room, who had gold cords over her shoulders for suspenders, was stuck on him, because she was always inquiring who the lovely old gentleman was with the sweet little boy. Dad he got so interested that he forgot to cuss me about ordering that dinner, and he said he had noticed her, and would like real well to get acquainted with her, 'cause a man far away from home, sick as a dog, with no loving wife to look after him, needed cheerful company. So I told him I had it all arranged for him to meet her, and then I went out in the hall, sort of whistling around, and the French maid came out and broke some English for me, and we got real chummy, 'cause she was anxious to learn English, and I wanted to learn some French words; so she invited me into the room, and we sat on the sofa and exchanged words quite awhile, until she was called to the telephone in the other room. Say, you ought to have seen me. I jumped up and put my hand inside the sheets of the bed, and put that chestnut in there, right about the middle of the bed, and then, after learning French quite a spell, with the maid, we heard the countess getting off' the elevator, and the maid said I must skip, 'cause it was the countess' bed-time, and I went back and told dad the whole thing was arranged for him to meet the countess, in a half an hour or so, as she had to write a few letters to some kings and dukes, and when she gave a little scream; as though she was practicing her voice on an opera, or something, dad was to go and rap at the door. Gosh, but I was sorry for dad, for he was so nervous and anxious for the half hour to expire that he walked up and down the room, and looked at himself in the mirror, and acted like he had indigestion. I had told the maid that she and the countess must feel perfectly safe, if anything ever happened, 'cause my dad was the bravest man in the world, and he would rush to the rescue of the countess, if a burglar got in in the night, or the water pipes busted, or anything, and all she had to do was to screech twice and dad would be on deck, and she must open the door quicker-n scat, and she thanked me, and said she would, and for me to come, too. Say, on the dead, wasn't that a plot for an amateur to cook up? Well, sir, we had to wait so long for the countess to get on the horse chestnut that I got nervous myself, but after awhile there came a scream that would raise your hair, and I told dad the countess was singing the opera. Dad said: "Hennery, that ain't no opera, that's tragedy," but she gave two or three more stanzas, and I told dad he better hustle, and we went out in the hall and rapped at the door of the countess' room, and the maid opened it, and told us to send for a doctor and a policeman, 'cause the countess was having a fit. Well, say, that was the worst ever. The countess had jumped out of bed, and was pulling the lace curtains around her, but dad thought she was crazy, and was going to jump out of the window, and he made a grab for her, and he shouted to her to "be cam, be cam, poor woman, and I will rescue you." I tried to pacify the maid the best I knew how, and dad was getting the countess calmer, but she evidently thought he was an assassin, for every little while she would yell for help, and then the night watchman came in with a house policeman, and one of them choked dad off, and they asked the countess what the trouble was, and she said she had just retired when she was stabbed about a hundred times in the small of the back with a poniard, and she knew conspirators were assassinating her, and she screamed, and this old bandit, meaning dad, came in, and the little monkey, meaning me, had held his hand over her maid's mouth, so she could not make any outcry.
Well, I got my horse chestnut all right, out of the bed, and the policeman told the countess not to be alarmed, and go back to bed, and they took dad and I to our room, and asked us all about it. Gee, but dad put up a story about hearing a woman scream in the next room, and, thinking only of the duty of a gentleman under the circumstances, rushed to her rescue, and all there was to it was that she must have had a nightmare, but he said if he had it to do over again, he would do the same. Anyway, the policeman believed dad, and they went off and left us, and we went to bed, but dad said: "Hennery, you understand, I don't want to make any more female acquaintances, see, among the crowned heads, and from this out we mingle only with men. The idea of me going into a woman's room and finding a Floradora with fits and tantrums, and me, a sick man. Now, don't write to your ma about this, 'cause she never did have much confidence in me, around women with fits." So, Uncle Ezra, you must not let this get into the papers, see?
Well, we have bought our tickets for Liverpool, and shall sail to-morrow, and while you are making up your cash account Saturday night, we shall be on the ocean. I s'pose I will write you on the boat, if they will tie it up somewhere so it will stand level. Your dear boy. Hennery.
The Bad Boy Writes the Old Groceryman About Ocean Voyages— His Dad Has an Argument Over a Steamer Chair.
On Board the Lucinia, Mid-ocean.
Dear Old Geezer.
I take the first opportunity, since leaving New York, to write you, 'cause the boat, after three days out, has got settled down so it runs level, and I can write without wrapping my legs around the table legs, to hold me down. I have tried a dozen times to write, but the sea was so rough that part of the time the table was on top of me and part of the time I was on top, and I was so sick I seem to have lost my mind, over the rail, with the other things supposed to be inside of me. O, old man, you think you know what seasickness is, 'cause you told me once about crossing Lake Michigan on a peach boat, but lake sickness is easy compared with the ocean malady. I could enjoy common seasickness and think it was a picnic, but this salt water sickness takes the cake. I am sorry for dad, because he holds more than I do, and he is so slow about giving up meals that he has paid for, that it takes him longer to commune with nature, and he groans so, and swears some.
I don't see how a person can swear when he is seasick on the ocean, with no sure thing that he will ever see land again, and a good prospect of going to the bottom, where you got to die in the arms of a devil fish, with a shark biting pieces out of your tender loin and a smoked halibut waiting around for his share of your corpse, and whales blowing syphons of water and kicking because they are so big that they can't get at you to chew cuds of human gum, and porpoises combing your damp hair with their fine tooth comb fins, and sword fish and sawtooth piscatorial carpenters sawing off steaks. Gee, but it makes me crawl. I once saw a dead dog in the river, with bull heads and dog-fish ripping him up the back, and I keep thinking I had rather be that dog, in a nice river at home, with bullheads that I knew chewing me at their leisure, than to be a dead boy miles down in the ocean, with strange fish and sea serpents quarreling over the tender pieces in me. A man told me that if you smoke cigarets and get saturated with nickoteen, and you are drownded, the fish will smell of you, and turn up their noses and go away and leave your remains, so I tried a cigaret, and, gosh, but I had rather be et by fish than smoke another, on an ocean steamer. It only added to my sickness, and I had enough before. I prayed some, when the boat stood on its head and piled us all up in the front end, but a chair struck me on the place where Fitzsimmons hit Corbett, and knocked the prayer all out of me, and when the boat stood on her butt end and we all slid back the whole length of the cabin, and I brought up under the piano, I tried to sing a hymn, such as I used to in the 'Piscopal choir, before my voice changed, but the passengers who were alive yelled for some one to choke me, and I didn't sing any more. Dad was in the stateroom when we were rolling back and forth in the cabin, and between sicknesses he came out to catch me and take me into the stateroom, but he got the rolling habit, too, and he rolled a match with an actress who was voyaging for her health, and they got offully mixed up. He tried to rescue her, and grabbed hold of her belt and was reeling her in all right, when a man who said he was her husband took dad by the neck and said he must keep his hands off or get another nose put on beside the one he had, and then they all rolled under a sofa, and how it came out I don't know, but the next morning dad's eye was blacked, and the fellow who said he was her husband had his front teeth knocked out, and the actress lost her back hair and had to wear a silk handkerchief tied around her head the rest of the trip, and she looked like a hired girl who has been out to a saloon dance.
The trouble with dad is that he butts in too much. He thinks he is the whole thing and thinks every crowd he sees is a demonstration for him. When the steamer left New York, there were hundreds of people on the dock to see friends off, and they had flowers to present to Unfriends, and dad thought they were all for him, and he reached for every bunch of roses that was brought aboard, and was going to return thanks for them, when they were jerked away from him, and he looked hurt. When the gang plank was pulled in, and the boat began to wheeze, and grunt, and move away from the dock, and dad saw the crowd waving handkerchiefs and laughing, and saying bon voyage, he thought they were doing it all for him, and he started in to make a speech, thanking his fellow countrymen for coming to see him off, and promising them that he would prove a true representative of his beloved country in his travels abroad, and that he would be true to the stars and stripes wherever fortune might place him, and all that rot, when the boat got so far away they could not hear him, and then he came off his perch, and said, "Hennery, that little impromptu demonstration to your father, on the eve of his departure from his native land, perhaps never to return, ought to be a deep and lasting lesson to you, and to show you that the estimation in which I am held by our people, is worth millions to you, and you can point with pride to your father." I said "rats" and dad said he wouldn't wonder if the boat was full of rats, and then we stood on deck, and watched the objects of interest down the bay.
As we passed the statue of Liberty, which France gave to the republic, on Bedloe's Island, dad started to make a speech to the passengers, but one of the officers of the boat told dad this was no democratic caucus, and that choked him off, but he was loaded for a speech, and I knew it was only a matter of time when he would have to fire it off, but I thought when we got outside the bar, into the ocean, his speech would come up with the rest of the stuff, and I guess it did, for after he began to be sea sick he had to keep his mouth shut, which was a great relief to me, for I felt that he would say something that would get this country in trouble with other nations, as there were lots of foreigners on board. I heard that J. Pierpont Morgan was on board, and I told everybody I got in conversation with that dad was Pierpont Morgan, and when people began to call him Mr. Morgan, I told dad the passengers thought he was Morgan; the great financier, and it tickled dad, and he never denied it. Anyway, the captain put dad and I at his own table, and he called me "Little Pierp," and everybody discussed great financial questions with dad, and everything would have been lovely the whole trip, only Morgan came amongst us after he had been sea sick for three days, and they gave him a seat opposite us, and with two Morgans at the same table it was a good deal like two Uncle Tom's in an Uncle Tom's Cabin show, so dad had to stay in his stateroom on account of sickness, a good deal. Then dad got to walking on deck and flirting with the female passengers. Say, did you ever see an old man who was stuck on hisself, and thought that every woman who looked at him, from curiosity, or because he had a wart on his neck, and watch him get busy making 'em believe he is a young and kitteny thing, who is irresistible? Gee, but it makes me tired. No man can mash, and make eyes, and have a love scene, when he has to go to the rail every few minutes and hump hisself with something in him that is knocking at the door of his palate, to come out the same way it went in. Dad found a widow woman who looked back at him kind of sassy, when he braced up to her, and when the ship rolled and side-stepped, he took hold of her arm to steady her, and she said maybe they better sit down on deck and talk it over, so dad found a couple of steamer chairs that were not in use, and they sat down near together, and dad took hold of her hand to see if she was nervous, and he told me I could go any play mumbletypeg in the cabin, and I went in the cabin and looked out of the window at dad and the widow. Say, you wouldn't think two chairs could get so close, and dad was sure love sick, and so was she. The difference between love sick and sea sick is that in love sick you look red in the face and snuggle up, and squeeze hands, and look fondly, and swallow your emotion, and try to wait patiently until it is dark enough so the spectators won't notice anything, and in sea sickness you get pale in the face, and spread apart, and let go of hands, and after you have stood it as long as you can you rush to the rail and act as though you were going to jump overboard, and then stop sudden and let-'er-go-gallagher, right before folks, and after it is over you try to look as though you had enjoyed it. I will say this much for dad, he and the widow never played a duet over the rail, but they took turns, and dad held her as tenderly as though they were engaged, and when he got her back to the steamer chair he stroked her face and put camphor to her nose, and acted like an undertaker that wasn't going to let the remains get away from him. They were having a nice convalescent time, just afore it broke up, and hadn't either of them been sick for ten minutes, and dad had put his arm around her shoulders, and was talking cunning to her, and she was looking lovingly into dad's eyes, and they were talking of meeting again in France in a few weeks, where she was going to rent a villa, and dad was saying he would be there with both feet, when I opened the window and said, "The steward is bringing around a lunch, and I have ordered two boiled pork sandwiches for you two easy marks." Well, you'd a dide to see 'em jump. What there is about the idea of fat pork that makes people who are sea sick have a relapse, I don't know, but the woman grabbed her stum-mix in both hands and left dad and rushed into the cabin yelling "enough," or something like that, and dad laid right back in the chair and blatted like a calf, and said he would kill me dead when we got ashore. Just then an Englishman came along and told dad he better get up out of his chair, and dad said whose chair you talking about, and the man said the chair was his, and if dad didn't get out of it, he would kick him in the pants, and dad said he hadn't had a good chance at an Englishman since the Revolutionary war, and he just wanted a chance to clean up enough Englishmen for a mess, and dad got up and stood at "attention," and the Englishman squared off like a prize fighter, and they were just going to fight the battle of Bunker Hill over again, when I run up to an officer with gold lace on his coat and lemon pie on his whiskers, and told him an old crazy Yankee out on deck was going to murder a poor sea sick Englishman, and the officer rushed out and took dad by the coat collar and made him quit, and when he found what the quarrel was about, he told dad all the chairs were private property belonging to the passengers, and for him to keep out of them, and he apologized to the Englishman and they went into the saloon and settled it with high balls, and dad beat the Englishman by drinking two high balls to his one. Then dad set into a poker game, with ten cents ante, and no limit, and they played along for a while until dad got four jacks, and he bet five dollars, and a Frenchman raised him five thousand dollars, and dad laid down his hand and said the game was too rich for his blood, and when he reached in his vest pocket for money to pay for his poker chips he found that his roll was gone, and he said he would leave his watch for security until he could go to his state room and get some money, and then he found that his watch had been pinched, and the Englishman said he would be good for it, and dad came out in the cabin and wanted me to help him find the widow, cause he said when she laid her head on his shoulder, to recover from her sickness, he felt a fumbling around his vest, but he thought it was nothing but his stomach wiggling to get ready for another engagement, but now he knew she had robbed him. Say, dad and I looked all over that boat for the widow, but she simply had evaporated. But land is in sight, and we shall land at Liverpool this afternoon, and dad is going to lay for the widow at the gang plank, and he won't do a thing to her. I guess not. Well, you will hear from me in London next, and I'll tell you if dad got his money and watch back.
The Bad Boy and His Dad Eat Fog—Call on Astor—A Dynamite Outrage.
Dear Old Man:
Well, sir, if a court sentenced me to live in this town, I would appeal the case, and ask the judge to temper his sentence with mercy, and hang me. Say, the fog here is so thick you have to feel around like a blind goddess, and when you show up through the fog you look about eighteen feet high, and you are so wet you want to be run through a clothes wringer every little while. For two days we never left the hotel, but looked out of the windows waiting for the fog to go by, and watching the people swim through it, without turning a hair. Dad was for going right to the Lord Mayor and lodging a complaint, and demanding that the fog be cleared off, so an American citizen could go about town and blow in his money, but I told him he could be arrested for treason. He come mighty near being arrested on the cars from Liverpool to London. When we got off the steamer and tried to find the widow who robbed dad of his watch and roll of money, but never found her, we were about the last passengers to reach the train, and when we got ready to get on we found these English cars that open on the sides, and they put you into a box stall with some other live stock, and lock you in, and once in a while a guard opens the door to see if you are dead from suffocation, or have been murdered by the other passengers. Dad kicked on going in one of the kennels the first thing, and said he wanted a parlor car; but the guard took dad by the pants and gave him a shove, and tossed me in on top of dad, and two other passengers and a woman in the compartment snickered, and dad wanted to fight all of 'em except the woman, but he concluded to mash her. When the door closed clad told the guard he would walk on his neck when the door opened, and that he was not an entry in a dog show, and he wanted a kennel all to himself, and asked for dog biscuit. Gee, but that guard was mad, and he gave dad a look that started the train going. I whispered to dad to get out his revolver, because the other passengers looked like hold up men, and he took his revolver out of his satchel and put it in his pistol pocket, and looked fierce, and the woman began to act faint, while the passengers seemed to be preparing to jump on dad if he got violent. When the train stopped at the first station I got out and told the guard that the old gentleman in there was from Helena, Montana, and that he had a reputation from St. Paul to Portland, and then I held up both hands the way train robbers make passengers hold up their hands. When I went back in the car dad was talking to the woman about her resembling a woman he used to know in the states, and he was just going to ask her how long she had been so beautiful, when the guard came to the side door and called the woman out into another stall, and then one of the passengers pulled out a pair of handcuffs and told dad he might as well surrender, because he was a Scotland yard detective and had spotted dad as an American embezzler, and if he drew that gun he had in his pocket there would be a dead Yankee in about four minutes. Well, I thought dad had nerve before, but he beat the band, right there. He unbuttoned his overcoat and put his finger on a Grand Army button in his buttonhole, and said, "Gentlemen, I am an American citizen, visiting the crowned heads of the old world, with credentials from the President of the United States, and day after tomorrow I have a date to meet your king, on official business that means much to the future peace of our respective countries. Lay a hand on me and you hang from the yard arm of an American battleship." Well, sir, I have seen a good many bluffs in my time, but I never saw the equal of that, for the detective turned white, and apologized, and asked dad and I out to luncheon at the next station, and we went and ate all there was, and when the time was up the detective disappeared and dad had to pay for the luncheon, but he kicked all the way to London, and the guard would not listen to his complaints, but told him if he tried to hold up the train he would be thrown out the window and run over by the train. We had the compartment to ourselves the rest of the way to London, except about an hour, when the guard shoved in a farmer who smelled like cows, and dad tried to get in a quarrel with him, about English roast beef coming from America, but the man didn't have his arguing clothes on, so dad began to find fault with me, and the man told dad to let up on the kid or he would punch his bloody 'ed off. That settled it, when the man dropped his "h," dad thought he was one of the nobility, and he got quite chummy with the Englishman, and then we got to London, and dad had a quarrel about his baggage, and after threatening to have a lot of fights he got his trunk on the roof of a cab, and in about an hour we got to the hotel, and then the fog began an engagement. If the fog here ever froze stiff, the town would look like a piece of ice with fish frozen in. Gee, but I would like to have it freeze in front of our hotel, so I could take an ax and go out and chop a frozen girl out, and thaw her till she came to.
Say, old man, if anybody ever wants to treat you to a trip to Europe, don't come here, but go to some place where they don't think they can speak English. You can understand a Nitalian or a Frenchman, or a Dutchman, who can't speak English, and knows he can't, better than you can an Englishman who thinks he can speak English, and can't, "don't you know." Everything is "don't you know." If a servant gives you an evening paper, he says, "'Ere's your paiper, don't you know," and if a man should—I don't say they would, but if a man should give you a civil answer, when you asked him the name of a street, he would look at you as though you were a cannibal, and say, "Regent street, don't you know," and then he would act as though you had broken him of his rest. Dad asked more than a dozen men where Bill Astor lived, and of all the population of London I don't believe anybody knows, except one newsboy. We rode half a day on top of a bus, through streets so crowded that the horses had to creep, and dad hung on for fear the bus would be tipped over, and finally we got out into the suburbs, where the rich people live, and dad said we were right on the trail of King Edward, and we got off and loitered around, and dad saw a beautiful place, with a big iron fence, and a gate as big as a railroad bridge, and dad asked a newsboy who lived there, and the boy made up a face at dad and said, "H'astor, you bloke," and he put out his hand for a tip. It was the first civil answer dad had received in London, so he gave the boy a dollar. The boy fell over on the sidewalk, dead, and dad started to go away for fear he would be arrested for murder, but I kicked the boy on the pants, and he got up and yelled some kind of murdered English, and more than a dozen newsboys came on a gallop, and when the boy told them what had happened they all wanted dad to ask them questions. I told the boys dad was Andrew Carnegie, and that he was giving away millions of dollars, so when dad got to the gate of the beautiful H'astor place, the boys yelled Andrew Carnegie, and a flunkey flunked the gate open and dad and I went in, and walked up to the house. Astor was on the veranda, smoking a Missouri corn cob pipe, and drinking American beer, and seemed to be wishing he was back home in America. Dad marched right up to the veranda, like a veteran soldier, and Astor could see dad was an American by the dandruff on his coat collar, and Astor said, "You are an American citizen and you are welcome. Once I was like you, and didn't care a continental dam for anybody, but in a moment of passion I renounced my country, swore allegiance to this blawsted country, and everybody hates me here, and I don't dare go home to collect my rent for fear I will be quarantined at Ellis Island and sent back to England as an undesirable emigrant who has committed a crime, and is not welcome in the land where I was born. Old man, have a glass of Milwaukee beer and let's talk of your home and my birthplace, and forget that there is such a country as England." Dad sat down on the porch, and I went out on the lawn chasing peacocks and treeing guinea hens, and setting dogs on the swans, until a butler or a duke or something took me by the collar and shook me till my teeth got loose, and he took me back to the veranda and sat me down on the bottom step so hard my hair raised right up stiff, like a porcupine. Then I listened to dad and Astor talk about America, and I never saw a man who seemed to be so ashamed that he was a brevet Englishman, as he did. He said he had so much money that it made his headache to hear the interest accumulate, nights, when he couldn't sleep, and yet he had no more enjoyment than Dreyfus did on Devil's Island. He had automobiles that would fill our exposition building, horses and carriages by the score, but he never enjoyed a ride about London, because only one person in ten thousand knew him, and those who did looked upon him with pity and contempt because he had renounced his country to get solid with the English aristocracy, and nobody would speak to him unless they wanted to borrow money, and if they did borrow money from him he was afraid they would pay it back, and make him trouble counting it. He told dad he wanted to get back into America, and become a citizen again of that grand old country of the stars and stripes, and asked dad how he could do it, for he said he had rather work in a slaughter house in America than be a grand duke in England. I never saw dad look so sorry for a man as he did for Astor, and he told him the only way was to sell out his ranch in London and go back on an emigrant ship, take out his first papers, vote the democratic ticket and eventually become a citizen. Astor was thinking over the proposition, and dad had asked him if he was not afraid of dynamiters, when he shuddered and said every day he expected to be blown sky high, and finally he smelled something burning and said the smell reminded him of an American 4th of July. You see, I had been sitting still on the step of the veranda so long I got nervous, for something exciting, so I took a giant firecracker out of my pocket and lit the long tail, and shoved it under the porch and looked innocent, and just then one of the flunkies with the tightest pants you ever saw came along and patted me on the head and said I was a nice boy, and that made me mad, and when he went to sit down beside me on the step I took my horse chestnut out of my pocket and put it on the step just where he sat down, and how it happened to come out so I don't know, it must have been Providence.
You see just as the flunkey flunked on the chestnut burr, the fire cracker went off, and the man jumped up and said '"Ells-fire, h'am blowed," and he had his hands on his pants, and the air was full of smoke, and dad got on his knees and said, "Now I lay me," and Mr. Astor fainted all over a rocking chair and tipped beer bottles on the veranda and more than forty servants came, and I told dad to come on, and we got outside the gate, ahead of the police, and got a cab and drove quicker than scat to the hotel, and I ast dad what he thought it was that went off, and he said "You can search me," but he said he had got enough of trying to reform escaped Americans, and we got in the hotel and laid low, and the newspapers told about a dynamite outrage, and laid it to anarchists. Well I must close, cause we are going to see the American minister and get a date to meet King' Edward. We won't do a thing to Edward.
The Bad Boy Writes About the Craze for Gin in the Whitechapel District—He Gives His Dad a Scare in the Tower of London.
London, England.—My Dear Chum: I received your letter yesterday, and it made me homesick. Gee, but if I could be home there with you and go down to the swimming hole and get in all over, and play tag in the sand, and tie some boy's pants and shirt in knots, and yell that the police are coming, and all grab our clothes under our arms and run across lots with no clothes on, and get in a barn and put on our clothes, and dry our hair by pounding it with a stick, so we would not get licked when we got home, life would be worth living, but here all I do is to dodge people on the streets and see them look cross when they step on me.
Say, boy, you will never know your luck in being a citizen of good old America, instead of a subject of Great Britain, because you have got to be rich or be hungry here, and if you are too rich you have got no appetite. You have heard of the roast beef of old England, but nobody eats it but the dukes and bankers. The working men never even saw a picture of a roast beef, and yet we look upon all Englishmen as beef-eaters, but three-fourths of the people in this town look hungry and discouraged, and they never seem to know whether they are going to have any supper.
I went down to a market this morning where the middle class and the very poor people buy their supplies, and it would make you sick to see them. They buy small loaves of bread and a penny's worth of tea, and that is breakfast, and if a man is working he takes some of the bread to work for lunch, and the wife or mother buys a carrot or a quarter of a cabbage, and maybe a bone with a piece of meat about as big as a fish bait, and that makes supper, with a growler of beer.
Say, the chunk of meat with a bone that an American butcher would throw at a dog that he had never been introduced to would be a banquet for a large family over here.
I have been down into the White Chapel district, which is the Five Points of London, and of the thousands of tough people I saw there was not a man but looked as though he would cut your liver out for a shilling, and every woman was drunk on gin. What there is about gin that makes it the national beverage for bad people beats me, for it looks like water, tastes like medicine and smells like cold storage eggs. At home when a person takes a drink of beer or whisky he at least looks happy for a minute, and maybe he laughs, but here nobody laughs unless somebody gets hurt, and that seems to tickle everybody in the White Chapel district.
The people look mad and savage when they are not drinking, as though they were only looking for an opportunity to commit murder, and then when they take a drink of gin, instead of smiling and smacking their lips as though it was good and braced them up, they look as though they had been stabbed with a dirk and they put on a look of revenge, as though they would like to wring a child's neck or cut holes in the people they meet.
Two drinks of gin makes a man or woman look as though they had swallowed a buzz saw. I always thought drinking liquor made people think they were enjoying themselves, or that they took it to drive away care and make them forget their sorrows, but when these people drink gin they seem to do it the way an American drinks carbolic acid, to end the whole business quick.
At home the drinker drinks to make him feel like he was at a picnic. Here every drinker acts like a suicide, who only hopes that he may commit a murder before the gin ends his career. And there are hundreds of thousands of people in this town who have no ambition except to get a bit of bread to sustain them till they can get a drink of gin, and gradually they let up on bread entirely and feed on gin, and look like mad dogs and snarl at everybody they see, as much as to say: "What are you going to do about it?"
A good square American meal would give them a fit, and they would go to a hospital and die if the meal could not be got out of them.
Gosh, but I was glad to get out of the White Chapel district, and I kept looking back for fear one of the men or women would slit me up the back with a butcher knife, and laugh like an insane asylum inmate.
Do you know, those people who drink gin and go hungry are different from our American murderers. Our murderers will assault you with a smile, rob you with a joke on their tongue's end, and give you back car fare when they hold you up, and if they murder you they will do it easy and lay you out with your hands across on your breast and notify the coroner, but your White Chapel murderer wants to disembowel you and cut you up into chunks, and throw your remains head first into something nasty, and if you have money enough on your person to buy a bottle of gin your murderer is as well satisfied as though he got a roll. Some men in our country commit murders in order to get money to lay away so they can live a nice, respectable life and be good ever afterwards, but your slum murderer in London just kills because his stomach craves a drink, and when he gets it he is tame, like a tiger that has eaten a native of India.
You may think this letter is a solemn occasion because I tell you about things that are not funny, but if you ever traveled abroad you will find that there is no fun anywhere except in America unless you make it or buy it.
We are taking in the solemn things first in order to get dad's mind in a condition so he can be cured of things he thinks ail him. I took dad to the Tower of London, and when we got out of it he wanted to have America interfere and have the confounded place burned down and grass sown on the site and a park made of it.
The tower covers 13 acres of ground, and there are more things brought to a visitor's attention that ought to be forgotten than you ever thought about.
I remember attending the theater at home and seeing Richard the Third played, and I remember how my sympathies were aroused for the two little boy princes that were murdered by Richard the Third, but I thought it was a fake play, and that there was nothing true about it, but, by gosh, it was right here in the Tower of London that the old hump-backed cuss murdered those little princes, and dad and I stood right on the spot, and the beef-eater who showed us around told us all the particulars. Dad was indignant, and said to the beef-eater:
"Do you mean to tell me you stood around and let Richard kill those princes without uttering a protest or protecting them or ringing for the police? By the great hornspoon, you must have been accessory to the fact, and you ought to be arrested and hung," and dad pounded his cane on the stone floor and looked savage.
The beef-eater got red in the face and said: "Begging your pardon, don't you know, but h'l was not 'ere at the time. This 'istory was made six 'undred years ago."
Dad begged the man's pardon and told him he supposed the boys were murdered a year or two ago, and he gave the beef-eater a dollar, and he was so gratified I think he would have had a murder committed for dad right there and then if dad had insisted on it.
You feel in going through the tower like you was in an American slaughter house, for it was here that kings and queens were beheaded by the dozen. They showed us axes that were used to behead people, and blocks that the heads of the victims were laid on, and the places where the heads fell on the floor. It seemed that in olden times when a king or a queen got too gay, the anti-kings or queens would go to the palace and catch the king or queen in the act, and take them by the neck and hustle them to the tower, and when a king or queen got in the tower they went out on the installment plan, and after being thrown in the gutter for the mob to recognize, and walk on the bodies, they would bring them back in the tower, and seal them up in a pigeon hole for future generations to cry over.
All my life I have had in our house to look at a picture of beautiful Anne Boleyn, and here I stood right where her head was cut off, and I couldn't help thinking of how we in America got our civilization from the descendants of the English people who cut her head off.
By ginger, old chum, it made me hot. I didn't care to look at the old armor, or the crown jewels, which make you think of a cut glass factory, but I reveled in the scenes of the beheading. I never was stuck much on kings and queens, but it seems to me if they had to murder them they ought to have given 'em a show, and let them fight for their lives, instead of getting into a trap, like you would entice a rat with cheese, and then cut their heads off.
I suppose it is right here that we inherited the desire to lynch and burn at the stake the negroes that commit crime and won't confess at home. When anything is born in the blood you can't get rid of it without taking a dose of patriotism and purifying the blood, and I advise you never to visit the Tower of London, unless you want to feel like going out and killing some one that is tied up with a rope.
Hearing of these murders and seeing the place where they were committed does not give you an idea of fair play and you don't feel like taking some one of your size when you fight, but you get to thinking that if you could catch a cripple who couldn't defend himself you would like to take a baseball club and maul the stuffing out of him. You become imbued with the idea that if you went to war you would not want to stand up and fight fair, but that you would like to get your enemy in a bunch and drop dynamite down on him from a balloon, and kill all in sight, and sail away with an insane laugh.
Gee, but another day in this tower, and I would want to go home and murder ma, or the neighbors.
The only thing we have got in America that compares with the Tower of London and its associates is the Leutgert sausage factory in Chicago, where Leutgert got his wife into the factory, murdered her, and is alleged to have cut her up in pieces and made sausage of the meat, given the pieces with gristle in to his dogs, boiled the bones until they would run into the sewer, dissolved the remnants in concentrated lye, and sold the sausage to the lumber Jacks in the pine woods.
I expect Chicago will buy that sausage factory and make a show of it, as London does the tower, and you can go and see it, and feel that you are as full of modern history as I am of ancient history, here in London.
I could see that dad was getting nervous every time a new beheading was described to us, and I thought it was time to wake him up. In going through the room where the old armor was displayed the beef eater told us who wore the different pieces of armor, and he said at times the spirit of the dead came back to the tower and occupied the armor, and I noticed that dad shied at some of the pieces of armor, so when we got right into the midst of it, and there was armor on every side, and dad and the beef eater were ahead of me, and dad was walking fast in order to get out quick, I pushed over one of the pieces, and it went crashing to the floor and the noise was like a boiler factory exploding, and the dust of centuries rose up, and the noise echoed down the halls.
Well, you'd a died to see dad and the beef eater. Dad turned pale and got down on his knees, and I think he began to pray, if he knows how, and he trembled like a leaf, and the beef eater got behind a set of armor that Cromwell or some old duck used to wear, and said, "Wot in the bloody 'ell is the matter with the h'armor?" and then a lot of other beef eaters came, and they thought dad was the spirit of King John, and they stampeded, and finally I got dad to stop praying, or whatever it was that he was doing, and I led him out, and when he got into the open air he recovered and said. "'Ennery, 'hi have got to get out of Lunnon, don't you know, because me 'eart is palpitating," and we went back to the 'otel, to see if our invitation to visit King Hedward had arrived.
Say, we are getting so we talk just like English coachmen, and you won't hundredstand us when we get 'ome. Yours, with a haccent.
The Bad Boy and His Dad Call on King Edward and Almost Settle the Irish Question.
London, H-england.—Dear Uncle Ezra: The worst is over, and dad and I have both touched a king. Not the way you think, touching a king for a hand-out, or borrowing his loose change, the way you used to touch dad when you had to pay for your goods, but just taking hold of his hand and shaking it in good old United States fashion.
The American minister arranged it for us. He told somebody that Peck's Bad Boy and his dad were in town, and just wanted to size up a king and see how he averaged up with United States politicians, and the king set an hour for us to call.
Well, you'd a dide to see dad fix up. Everybody said, when we showed our card at the hotel, notifying us that we were expected at Marlboro House at such a time, that we would be expected to put on plenty of dog. That is what an American from Kalamazoo, who sells breakfast food, said, and the hotel people said we would be obliged to wear knee breeches and dancing pumps and silk socks, and all that kind of rot, and men's furnishers began to call upon us to take our measure for clothes, but when they told us how much it would cost, dad kicked. He said he had a golf suit he had made in Oshkosh at the time of the tournament, that every one in Oshkosh said was out of sight, and was good enough for any king, and so he rigged up in it, and I hired a suit at a masquerade place, and dad hired a coat, kind of red, to go with his golf pants and socks, and he wore canvas tennis shoes.
I looked like a picture out of a fourteenth century book, but dad looked like a clown in a circus. One of dad's calves made him look as though he had a milk leg, cause the padding would not stay around where the calf ought to be, but worked around towards his shin. We went to Marlboro House in a hansom cab, and all the way there the driver kept looking down from the hurricane deck, through the scuttle hole, to see if we were there yet, and he must have talked with other cab drivers in sign language about us, for every driver kept along with us, looked at us and laughed, as though we were a wild west show.
On the way to the king's residence it was all I could do to keep dad braced up to go through the ordeal. He was brave enough before we got the invitation, and told what he was going to say to the king, and you would think he wasn't afraid of anybody, but when we got nearer to the house and dad thought of going up to the throne and seeing a king in all his glory, surrounded by his hundreds of lords and dukes and things, a crown on his head, and an ermine cloak trimmed with red velvet, and a six-quart milk pan full of diamonds, some of them as big as a chunk of alum, dad weakened, and wanted to give the whole thing up and go to a matinee, but I wouldn't have it, and told him if he didn't get into the king row now that I would shake him right there in London and start in business as a Claude Duval highwayman and hold up stage coaches, and be hung on Tyburn Tree, as I used to read about in my history of Sixteen-String Jack and other English highwaymen. Dad didn't want to see the family disgraced, so he let the cabman drive on, but he said if we got out of this visit to royalty alive, it was the last tommyrot he would indulge in.
Well, old man, it is like having an operation for appendicitis, you feel better when you come out from under the influence of the chloroform and the doctor shows you what they took out of you, and you feel that you are going to live, unless you grow another vermiform appendix. We were driven into a sort of Central park, and up to a building that was big as a lot of exposition buildings, and the servants took us in charge and walked us through long rooms covered with pictures as big as side show pictures at a circus, but instead of snake charmers and snakes and wild men of Borneo and sword swallowers, the king's pictures were about war, and women without much clothes on from the belt up. Gosh, but some of those pictures made you think you could hear the roar of battle and smell gun powder, and dad acted as though he wanted to git right down on the marble floor and dig a rifle pit big enough to git into.