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The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.), page 1

 part  #VII. (of X.) of  The Wit and Humor of America Series


The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.)

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The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.)

  Produced by Suzanne Lybarger, Brian Janes and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net

  Library Edition


  In Ten Volumes





  _Volume VII_

  Funk & Wagnalls CompanyNew York and London



  PAGE Alphabet of Celebrities Oliver Herford 1243 Assault and Battery Joseph G. Baldwin 1391 Associated Widows, The Katharine M. Roof 1338 Bill Nations Bill Arp 1368 Brakeman at Church, The Robert J. Burdette 1323 Breitmann and the Turners Charles Godfrey Leland 1217 By Bay and Sea John Kendrick Bangs 1367 Camp-Meeting, The Baynard Rust Hall 1265 Critic, The William J. Lampton 1336 Cupid, A Crook Edward W. Townsend 1220 Dubious Future, The Bill Nye 1298 Educational Project, An Roy Farrell Greene 1264 Fable Ralph Waldo Emerson 1358 Goat, The R.K. Munkittrick 1247 Happy Land, The Frank Roe Batchelder 1389 He and She Ironquill 1250 Holly Song Clinton Scollard 1260 How Mr. Terrapin Lost His Beard Anne Virginia Culbertson 1328 How Mr. Terrapin Lost His Plumage and Whistle Anne Virginia Culbertson 1360 In Defense of an Offering Sewell Ford 1248 It is Time to Begin to Conclude A.H. Laidlaw 1294 Jack Balcomb's Pleasant Ways Meredith Nicholson 1309 Lost Inventor, The Wallace Irwin 1385 Margins Robert J. Burdette 1297 My Cigarette Charles F. Lummis 1292 Nonsense Verses Gelett Burgess 1244 Notary of Perigueux Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1251 Nothin' Done Sam S. Stinson 1296 Omar in the Klondyke Howard V. Sutherland 1387 Prayer of Cyrus Brown, The Sam Walter Foss 1398 Rhyme for Christmas, A John Challing 1290 Siege of Djklxprwbz, The Ironquill 1246 Skeleton in the Closet, The Edward Everett Hale 1371 Songs Without Words Robert J. Burdette 1261 Talk John Paul 1307 Triolets C.W.M. 1262 Two Cases of Grip M. Quad 1239 Utah Eugene Field 1305 Wicked Zebra, The Frank Roe Batchelder 1322 Winter Fancy, A R.K. Munkittrick 1308 What She Said About It John Paul 1263 Woman-Hater Reformed, The Roy Farrell Greene 1359 Women and Bargains Nina R. Allen 1352




  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners Novemper in de fall, Und dey gifed a boostin' bender All in de Toorner Hall. Dere coomed de whole Gesangverein Mit der Liederlich Aepfel Chor, Und dey blowed on de drooms und stroomed on de fifes Till dey couldn't refife no more.

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners, Dey all set oop some shouts, Dey took'd him into deir Toorner Hall, Und poots him a course of shprouts, Dey poots him on de barrell-hell pars Und shtands him oop on his head, Und dey poomps de beer mit an enchine hose In his mout' dill he's 'pout half tead!

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners;-- Dey make shimnastig dricks; He stoot on de middle of de floor, Und put oop a fifdy-six. Und den he trows it to de roof, Und schwig off a treadful trink: De veight coom toomple pack on his headt, Und py shinks! he didn't vink!

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners:-- Mein Gott! how dey drinked und shwore Dere vas Schwabians und Tyrolers, Und Bavarians by de score. Some vellers coomed from de Rheinland, Und Frankfort-on-de-Main, Boot dere vas only von Sharman dere, Und _he_ vas a _Holstein_ Dane.

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners, Mit a Limpurg' cheese he coom; Ven he open de box it schmell so loudt It knock de musik doomb. Ven de Deutschers kit de flavor, It coorl de haar on dere head; Boot dere vas dwo Amerigans dere; Und, py tam! it kilt dem dead!

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners; De ladies coomed in to see; Dey poot dem in de blace for de gals, All in der gal-lerie. Dey ashk: "Vhere ish der Breitmann?" And dey dremple mit awe and fear Ven dey see him schwingen py de toes, A trinken lager bier.

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners:-- I dells you vot py tam! Dey sings de great Urbummellied: De holy Sharman psalm. Und ven dey kits to de gorus You ought to hear dem dramp! It scared der Teufel down below To hear de Dootchmen stamp.

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners:-- By Donner! it vas grand, Vhen de whole of dem goes a valkin' Und dancin' on dere hand, Mit de veet all wavin' in de air, Gottstausend! vot a dricks! Dill der Breitmann fall und dey all go down Shoost like a row of bricks.

  Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners, Dey lay dere in a heap, And slept dill de early sonnen shine Come in at de window creep; And de preeze it vake dem from deir dream, And dey go to kit deir feed: Here hat' dis song an Ende-- Das ist DES BREITMANNSLIED.



  The first night assignment Francis Holt received from his city editorwas in these words: "Mr. Holt, you will cover the Tenderloin to-night.Mr. Fetner, who usually covers it, will explain what there is to do."

  Fetner, when his own work was done that night, sought Holt to help himwith any late story which might be troublesome to a new man. They werewalking up Broadway when Fetner, lowering his voice, said: "Here'sDuane, a plain-clothes man, who is useful to us. I'll introduce you."

  As the reporters, in the full flood of after-theater crowds, stoodtalking to the officer, a young man hurrying past abruptly stopped andstepped to Duane's side.

  "Well, Tommy, what's up with you?" the officer asked. Holt noted thatTommy, besides being breathed, was excited. His coat and hat had theprovisional look of the apparel of house servants out of livery, and histrousers belonged to a livery suit. Tommy hesitated, glancing at Duane'scompanions, but the officer said: "Tell your story: these are friends ofmine."

  "I was just on my way to the station house to see the captain, but I'mglad I met you, for we don't want the papers to say anything, andthere's always reporters around the station."

  Holt would have stepped back, but Fetner detained him, while Duane saidcheerfully: "You're a cunning one, Tommy. Now, what's wrong?"

  "Well," began the youth in the manner of a witness on the stand, "I wason duty in the hall this evening and noticed one of our tenants, Mr.Porter H. Carrington, leave the house about ten o'clock. I noticed thathe had no overcoat, which I thought was queer, for I'd just closed thefront door, because
it was getting chilly."

  At the mention of the name Holt started, and now paid close attention tothe story.

  "I was reading the sporting extra by the hall light," Tommy continued,"when, in about twenty minutes, Mr. Carrington returned--that is, Ithought it was Mr. Carrington--and he says to me, 'Tommy, run up to mydressing-room and fetch my overcoat.' 'Yes, sir,' I says; 'which one?'for he has a dozen of 'em. 'The light one I wore to-day,' he says, and Istarts up the stairs, his apartment being on the next floor, thinkingI'd see the coat he wanted on a chair if he'd worn it to-day. I'd justgot to his hall and was unlocking the door, when he comes up behind meand says, 'I'll get it, Tommy; there's something else I want.' So in hegoes, handing me a dime, and I goes back to the hall. In about fifteenminutes he comes downstairs wearing an overcoat and carrying a bundle,tosses me the key and starts for the door. He's the kind that nevercarries a bundle, so I says to him, 'Shall I ring for a messenger tocarry your package?' 'No,' says he, and leaves the house."

  Tommy paused, and there was a shake of excitement in his voice when heresumed: "In five minutes Mr. Carrington comes back without anyovercoat, and says, Tommy, run upstairs and get me an overcoat.' Ilooks, and he was as sober as I am at this minute, Mr. Duane, and Ibegins to feel queer. It sort of comes over me all of a sudden that thevoice of the other man I'd unlocked the door for was different from thisone. But I'd been reading the baseball news, and didn't notice much atthe time. So I says, hoping it was some kind of a jolly, 'Did you losethe one you just wore out, sir?' 'I wore no coat,' he says, giving me alook. Well, he goes to his apartment, me after him, and there was thingsflung all over the place, and all the signs of a hurry job by asneak-thief. Mr. Carrington was kind of petrified, but I runs downstairsand tells the superintendent, and he chases me off to the station. Thesuperintendent was mad and rags me good, for there never was a job ofthat kind done in the house. But the other man was the same looking asthe real, so how was I to know?"

  Duane started off with Tommy, and winked to the reporters to follow. Atthe Quadrangle, a bachelor apartment house noted for its high rents andexclusiveness, Duane was met at the entrance by the superintendent, whotold the officer that there was nothing in the story, after all. It wasa lark of a friend of his, Mr. Carrington had said, and was annoyed thatnews of the affair had been sent to the police. The superintendent wasglad that Tommy had not reached the station house. Duane lookedinquiringly at the superintendent, who gravely winked.

  "Good night," said Duane, holding out his hand. "Good night," repliedthe other, taking the hand. "You won't report this at the station?""No," said Duane, who then put his hand in his pocket and returned tothe reporters. He told them what the superintendent had said.

  "What do you make out of it?" asked Fetner.

  "Nothing," the officer replied. "If I tried to make out the cases we areasked not to investigate, I'd have mighty little time to work on thecases we are wanted in. If Mr. Carrington says he hasn't been robbed, itisn't our business to prove that he has been. You won't print anythingabout this?"

  Fetner said he would not. To have done so after that promise would haveclosed a fruitful source of Tenderloin stories. The reporters left theofficer at Broadway and resumed their interrupted walk to supper. "Lotsof funny things happen in the Tenderloin," Fetner remarked, in themanner of one dismissing a subject.

  "But," exclaimed Holt, quite as excited as Tommy had been, "I knowCarrington."

  "So does every one," answered Fetner, "by name and reputation. He's justa swell--swell enough to be noted. Isn't that all?"

  "He was a couple of classes ahead of me at college," continued Holt. "Ididn't know him there--one doesn't know half of one's own class--but hisfamily and mine are old friends, and without troubling himself to knowme, more than to nod, he sometimes sent me word to use his horses whenhe was away. Before I left college and went to work on a Boston paper,Carrington started on a trip around the world. My people heard of himthrough his people at times, and learned that he was doing a number ofcrazy things, among them getting lost in all sorts of No-man's-lands.His people were usually asking the State Department to locate him,through the diplomatic and consular services."

  "Then this is one of his eccentricities," commented Fetner.

  "How can you treat it like that?" exclaimed Holt. "I think it is afascinating mystery, and I'm going to solve it."

  "Not for publication," warned Fetner.

  "For my own satisfaction," declared Holt, with great earnestness.

  * * * * *

  When the superintendent of the Quadrangle had shaken hands with theofficer he turned to Tommy and said: "You go up to Mr. Carrington. Hewants to see you."

  "Tommy," said Mr. Carrington, "I think this is a joke on you."

  This view of the event was such a relief to Tommy that he grinnedbroadly.

  "It is certainly a joke on you. Now, Thomas, did my friend make himselfup to look so much like me that you could not have told the difference,even if you were not distracted by the discomfiture of the New York ninethis season?"

  "I can't say how much he looked like you, and how much he didn't. Inaturally thought he was you--that's all."

  "Not all, Thomas: nothing is all. He asked in an easy, nice voice for acoat, so you thought he was somebody who had a coat here. How did youknow whose coat he preferred?"

  "Because I thought he was you."

  "If I had not been the last tenant to leave the house before that, wouldyou have thought so? If Mr. Hopkins had just left, and that man had comein and asked for 'My coat,' wouldn't you have got Mr. Hopkins' coat?"

  "Mr. Hopkins did go out after you," Tommy admitted, reluctantly.

  "Oh, he did, eh? Well, Hopkins is always going out. I never knew such aregular out-and-outer as Hopkins. He should reform. It's a joke on you,Thomas, and if I were you I wouldn't say anything about it."

  "I ain't going to say anything," declared Tommy. "If I don't lose my jobfor it, I'll be lucky."

  "I'll see that you do not lose your job. What police did you see?"

  "Only a plain-clothes man I know, and a couple of his side-partners.They won't say anything, for the superintendent fixed them."

  * * * * *

  Mr. Carrington secured his college degree a year after his class. Thedelay resulted from an occurrence which he never admitted deserved ayear's rustication. By mere chance he had learned the date of thebirthday of one of the least known and least important instructors, anddecided that it would be well to celebrate it. So he made theacquaintance of the instructor and invited him to a birthday dinner. Alarge and exultant company were the instructor's fellow guests at theSt. Dunstan, and there was jollity that seemed out of drawing with thedominant lines of the guest of honor; yet the scope of the celebrationwas extended until it included the burning of much red fire andexplosion of many noisy bombs at a late hour, as the instructor wasmaking a speech of thanks in the yard, surrounded by the dinner guests,heartily encouraging him. It seemed that upon the manner in which theaffair was to be presented to the Faculty depended the dismissal of theinstructor or the rustication of Mr. Carrington; and the latter managedto present the case so as to save the instructor. If he had foreseen allthe consequences of taking all the blame for an occurrence promptlydistorted in report into the aspect of a riotous carousal, perhaps Mr.Carrington would not have sacrificed himself for a neutral personalitywhich had so recently swum into his ken. One consequence was a letterfrom Mr. Draper Curtis, of New York, commanding Mr. Carrington to ceasecorrespondence with Miss Caroline Curtis; and a note from Caroline, inwhich a calmer man than a distracted lover would have seen signs ofparental censorship, wherein that young lady said that she had read herfather's letter and added her commands to his. She had heard from manysources, as had numerous indignant relatives and friends, theparticulars of the shocking affair which had compelled the Faculty todiscipline Mr. Carrington; and she could but agree with her family thather happiness would rest upon insecure
ground if trusted to the inciterand principal offender in such a terrible transaction. He was to forgether at once, as she would try to forget him.

  Caroline and her mamma sailed for Europe the next day, and severalletters Carrington wrote to her, giving a less censurable version of thelittle dinner to the little instructor, were returned to him unopened.

  After receiving his delayed degree Carrington began a tour around theworld. In the court of the Palace Hotel, the day of his departure fromSan Francisco, a commonplace-looking man stepped up to him briskly, andsaid, placing a hand on his shoulder: "Presidio, you've got a nerve tocome back here. You, to the ferry; or with me to the captain!"

  Carrington turned his full face toward the man for the first time as hebrushed aside the hand with some force. The man reddened, blinked, andthen stammered: "Excuse me, but you did look so--Say, you must excuseme, for I see that you are a gentleman."

  "Isn't Presidio a gentleman?" Carrington asked, good-naturedly, when hesaw that the man's confusion was genuine.

  "Why, Presidio is--do you mind sitting down at one of these tables? Ifeel a little shaky--making such a break!"

  He explained that he was the hotel's detective, and had been on thecity's police force. In both places he had dealings with a confidenceman, called Presidio--after the part of the city he came from. Presidiowas an odd lot; had enough skill in several occupations to earn honestwages, but seemed unable to forego the pleasure of exercising his wit inconfidence games and sneak-thievery. Among his honest accomplishmentswas the ability to perform sleight-of-hand tricks well enough to workprofitably in the lesser theater circuits. He had married a woman whomade part of the show Presidio operated for a time--a good-lookingwoman, but as ready to turn a confidence trick as to help her husband'sstage work, or do a song and dance as an interlude. They had been warnedto leave San Francisco for a year, and not to return then, unlessbringing proof that they had walked in moral paths during their exile.

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