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Title: Treading the Narrow Way

Author: R. E. Barrett

Release Date: July 19, 2011 [EBook #36785]

Language: English

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By R. E. Barrett




Copyrighted 1917


Rights Reserved


The chapters in this book are not based on fiction, they are not drawn from imagination, they are not gems that come from culture and learning, but are gleaned entirely from the rugged school of life, and are for the purpose of cheering the down-hearted to a realization that a good life has its just reward, that through continued combat every temptation, obstacle and evil will vanish if a strict observance of God’s law is kept in carefully treading in the narrow way.


To that dear teacher who urged me to go to school when I was past twenty years of age, and helped to mold in me the true principles of honor.

To a fine Judge on the Bench whose many fatherly talks to poor unfortunates, whose feet had slipped from the narrow way, who helped me to obey and respect the law.

To a splendid intellectual lawyer, one of God’s clean home men, whose guest I have been at many intellectual feasts, to him I owe the avoidance of the saloon and learned the intrinsic value of sobriety.

To my two eldest sisters, one sister-in-law, and my devoted wife through whom I learned the desperate struggle and what it means to live clean.

To a poorly paid self-educated minister to whom I am deeply indebted for the first introduction to my master.

To these in the major part, and a few others, God bless them all, I owe whatever I am to them, to these dear people I affectionately dedicate this book.

R. E. B.


I.Early Footsteps.9
II.Getting the Backbone.21
III.The Two Paths.32
IV.God’s Intention Man’s Prevention46
V.The Sadness Behind the Vale61
VII.Just Poems.87
VIII.Sallie’s Loyalty.112
XI.Every Day Philosophy.145
XII.Glimpses from the Past.158
XIII.Hopes That Exploded.179
XIV.The Weary Traveler.196



Robert Emmett Barrett was the soothing and patriotic cognomen my father fastened upon me when I first opened my eyes and I looked him squarely in the face. I say my father named me and I honestly think he did. The first two-thirds of the name proves my contention and opens the book wide enough that the reader has no trouble in discerning the nationality of my father. Mother was an English woman and I knew it the first time she called father “Arry.” If mother had had her equal rights in naming me, I might have been a Gladstone; but somehow or other father monopolized mother’s half interest and she finally became disgusted and told him to name me any blooming thing he 10 wanted to. If mother could have foreseen this savage war across the orient, I believe, she would have handled the center name, but the way it stands I wouldn’t shoulder a gun for England and I can’t use my undeveloped oratory against Ireland, and I am about half persuaded to let them settle their own troubles. It being no fault of mine that I am half Irish and half English, I let it go at that and get along with everybody the best I can. It’s hard to separate the halves from the whole, and so, from a perpendicular standpoint, I give the Irish the top half and the English the bottom half; I’d rather let the English have the running half anyway.

So far the name Emmett hasn’t done me much good, I’ve only used it nine or ten times since I had it, thrice at political speeches, a couple of Fourth of July 11 addresses, once on Decoration Day, once at a church wrangle, and a few times when I was mad. I find it doesn’t help me much on bank cheques, they get turned down as quickly with the Emmett signed as without it. If the name is ever going to do me any good I wish it would hurry up and be a progressive or I will be compelled to think father was impartial and talked mother out of her rightful one-half interest.

After the ordeal of naming me had been fairly or unfairly dealt with, I was told I was a free born American citizen and some day I might be President and have absolute dominion over the blue room, where I suppose the chief executive goes when he has the “Blues.” I never considered this encouragement very seriously, for, as I have read in some almanac, there is only one chance in 12 eighteen million, the odds are against the slim chance and it’s sort of a blue skim milk proposition or a church raffle affair, and if it’s the only time that opportunity is going to knock at my door I don’t think I’ll be at home, I’ll let Wilson do the best he can and let some live Republican Progressive have my chance.

If Wilson would only hurry up and get the Government to make those loans they’ve been talking so long about and loan it, at about four per cent, to citizens like myself, irrespective of names and nationality, and not have the principal come due too quickly, but in periods, like twenty year franchises, I believe he ought to have a second term; but if he doesn’t get some loans placed pretty soon I don’t know what hard working men like myself are going to do. 13

The only thing I ask Wilson to be careful about when he loans the money is the rate. I don’t want to see the rate on loans as high as it was during Cleveland’s second administration.

I borrowed eighteen dollars in 1894 to settle up a partnership fanning deal with a Methodist preacher. It seems that outside of the banks no one had any money, and you had to call on the gentleman banker, get down on your knees and have tears as large as pullet eggs rolling down your hollow cheeks, if you succeeded in your desires. Somehow the bankers knew they had a good thing; they not only got the fat and tallow but they stripped you clear to the bone.

The eighteen dollar note was dated August 28, 1894, and read in part; “With interest at the rate of ten per cent per annum”; and from 14 here on comes the craftiness of the banker: He interlined thus: “From January 18, 1894, if not paid when due.” On October 23rd the same year I paid ten dollars on the note; September the 11th, 1895, six dollars; and December the 5th, 1895 the final payment and accrued interest was eight dollars and twenty-five cents, making a total of twenty-four dollars and twenty-five cents on a loan of eighteen dollars for one year, three months and seven days. What was the rate of interest charged? That banker is retired and worth a hundred thousand dollars; hadn’t he ought to be?

To borrow money under that rate you needed the health of a bear, a cataract of energy, a colossal mind, unlimited self-respect, boundless self-confidence, all impregnated with an iron honesty. That kind of 15 interest makes me feel like the investor, who bought some unseen land from an honest real estate man, and, when he went to look at his property he found it submerged in water. The real estate man told him it could be irrigated, but he had no idea it was susceptible of such profuse moisture. After he gazed at it a while he said “Instead of buying this land by the acre I should have bought it by the quart.” He probably has an unrecorded deed, I have the paid note in my possession, I feel proud I got it paid; but my pride halted suddenly when I got it paid and in all these years it hasn’t advanced much for men who can take a nickle and make it into a dollar so all fired quick. Some time I’ll frame that note with a glass on both sides of it.

Coming back to the early events. I was born beneath the shadows of the Rocky 16 Mountains where the placid and sleepy Platte wound leisurely through the broad meadows and sleeping undeveloped valleys and had abundance of God’s elixir before the day of the great reclamation projects that sapped its mountain waters.

Because I mention the Platte here, don’t get me mixed with that other fellow that has made the Platte famous and was until recently holding a cabinet position on an underpaid salary, he’s no relation of mine and I never knew him until he ran for President. He did the opposite from what I did and took that one slim chance, made three strikes and fanned; I’m glad I let it alone.

When I was six years old and my parents still said what I should do they took Horace Greeley’s advice and went a hundred and six miles farther west. At their destination there 17 was no buildings except the section house, depot and a little building that sheltered the hand car. The entire population was not over a baker’s dozen. I don’t believe there was a quieter place on God’s footstool.

One good thing about those days was the taxes; I think a week’s compensation on the railroad would pay the taxes, County, State and Municipal from 1887 to 1890. How we have progressed in taxes since then! Especially Colorado.

In this little dreary place where I had no associations to lead me astray I took account of my surroundings. I was away out there on the barren plains where the grass curled and burned under the blazing sun, where foliage was scant, where the lonely cactus and prickly pear awaited the step of man to imbed itself and cause more pain, no trees 18 or flowers to whisper words of encouragement, no cheerful forest or shady dells, nothing at all to cause the deeper emotions of a queer nature to assert themselves. Nothing but the broad miraged prairie stretching as far as the eye could see.

No cooling breeze to alleviate the pain on a youthful face or the faces of those careworn early pioneers who blazed the way for future generations, who would erect homes, till the soil, plant trees, and endeavor to further promote civilization, until succeeding generations would reap the pleasure and peace that was purchased through these sacrifices and hardships of their forefathers. We owe to the pioneers such a vast debt of gratitude that we never can pay the the principal with no interest attached, and it’s a different kind of interest than four per cent a month. 19

After I had grown to manhood and my lot had been cast in other places it was over fourteen years before I saw much of the old scenes, but when returning to the old places I noticed great changes. The town had grown; few of the old places were left and the old haunts and nooks were hard to find.

A dreary and quiet sadness steals over one when looking at his boyhood and manhood earliest recollections, and as I glanced at the old scenes I stood and looked longingly, earnestly and lovingly at the old familiar places. There was the locust grove I helped to plant two decades ago; there was the little stream after which the town was named: there was the old pump which so many times quenched my thirst; there was the exact spot where dearie said the joyful word; there was the old house where our first baby was born; 20 there was the farm patch I used to plow, and the meadow where I pitched the hay. All seemed different and as the pathos of the change surged in my breast I walked away longing for something I couldn’t get, and would never get again.


About the year 1889 when I was seventeen years old I commenced on the lowest rung on the railroad ladder and went to work on the section. I was frail physically, and must have been the same mentally, for I never got beyond the third rung. I worked in the days when you spoke for the spring job the preceding fall, and then often your application met failure. In hard times when jobs are few the fellow that has them is blessed with unusual longevity, and whenever some one did pass beyond, his demise was railroad talk for a long time.

When you consider that all through the central west, which had a few years earlier 22 been homesteaded after several repeated crop failures, almost the entire population were looking for employment and the only cash job in the country was a section job, you can realize how desirable and prized a position it was.

I don’t remember how it came that my application was slumbering all through the cold winter with a large number of those half-starved homesteaders who hadn’t raised anything for so many years, received recognition in the spring; but it did and I got one of the plums.

The first time I pumped a hand-car I fully realized the Lord had made no mistake by taking out one of the ribs and leaving the backbone whole. If you ever pumped a hand-car I will pass from this painful mode of travel and let you refresh your own memory and backache. 23

I got along pretty well, when the “Boss” wasn’t nervous that the road master would come along and want to borrow another fifty dollars on his word without interest, everything went nicely. When weed cutting time, came I gritted my teeth, held my back as straight as I could and whacked away. Besides the excruciating pain in the back that made you feel like you would like to give one long piercing yell, throw your shovel away and run for town, there was the additional pain of seeing the “Boss” sitting on the hand car resting his back. He had the advantage and the authority! I must keep at it and cut the weeds or the wheels of the locomotive would slip, the traveler couldn’t resume his journey, all traffic would stop, and down would go the railroad stock and let out all the water. 24

It would have been a blessing if the water could have been spilled by some patent process where the weeds were to be cut, but, monopolies monopolize and if the Lord didn’t see fit to have the rain fall in September instead of June no one was to blame, except Grover Cleveland. The Republicans said the country always went to the dogs and dried up when the Democrats elected a President. I was too young then to know much about statesmanship and I wouldn’t want to say for repetition whether or not the Lord and Cleveland were working together or otherwise, but I do remember some one was mighty stingy with the moisture.

If you, my dear reader, have never had the privilege of cutting weeds for a dollar and thirty-five cents per day for three weeks in succession then, for all that’s good and beautiful, 25 take my advice and let the Jap, Greek, or Italian have your place and do the mowing. Either of them can get better wages and any of these dark-skinned brethren will do as much in three days as the white man would in one day and cause the pale face no extra exertion.

The pain in the back caused from close association with a shovel from seven o’clock to twelve o’clock and from one o’clock to six even now, over twenty years afterwards, almost makes me break down and give vent to my feelings in a more noticeable manner than my friend Taft when he was informed that he had carried Utah. If you have ever been tortured with lumbago, you have a slight knowledge of what races up and down the back of a weed cutter. When he bends down he can’t get up and when he gets up he can’t 26 get down. There you are! Humiliated, suffering and mad, knife blade sticking you whenever you move, but you must or bust. You are a free born American citizen but you must lose sight of the special endowment when you are cutting weeds. The constitution may be back of you, but just at present you have got to get back of your own constitution and a “darn” good one too, or you’ve lost your job and that dearly beloved stipend of thirteen and one-half cents an hour.

Being on the low rung of the railroad ladder is the same as in all other departments, the man at the bottom gets the low wages, needs the good back and carries the heavy burden. He don’t need much brain; he is told what to do; how to do it and when. He’s told when to go to work and when to quit. Brains would be a nuisance and, if he 27 had any, he wouldn’t be working on the section. Time has proved that, and the Dago takes his place.

What became of the Irish, Swede, German and Bohemian section men of twenty-five years ago is more than I know. Extempore, an increase of brains did something for him and you don’t find him tramping ties with the Dago. But the man at the low rung hasn’t much choice; he can work or quit. His job is always in jeopardy as he couldn’t save enough in a year to loan out an occasional “fifty” to smooth the feelings of an over auspicious road-master. He’s at the bottom and whatever falls goes down to him and in an undignified way he must carry the whole load, for it can not go lower. The general manager can ease his feelings on the superintendent, and he on the road-master 28 and the road-master can growl at the section foreman, but when the section foreman dumps the whole putrid, half-boiled mess on the unlearned day laborer you can see the urgent necessity of a fine piece of choice workmanship in the middle of the back. You seldom see a man with a front like a wash-tub turned edgewise working on the railroad. There is no room for him! You must be able to see your feet if you cut weeds, and have a stomach that can say “Hello” to the backbone at nine fifteen A. M.

When the winds used to tear loose from the nasty bad lands of South Dakota and come tearing over the semi-arid plains for three days in succession at a velocity of sixty miles an hour it seems the Lord could have improved on man by giving him a gizzard to grind up the accumulated gravel that had been beaten into his daily bread. It came 29 pretty near taking the hide off from me to keep pace with those hungry homesteaders who were afraid of losing their jobs and existence.

I am glad that I had the backbone. The term is applicable in two ways. One is the acquisition of a resilient mechanism in the center of your back, starting at the base of your brain and running down to a certain point or as far as is necessary, and the other is a priceless stamina, determination and a square deal. I am not sorry that I acquired some on the railroad; its a good thing to have in the every day affairs of life.

I hardened my backbone when I worked on the steel gang a few years afterwards, and, if there is such a thing as a steel backbone, I claim some right to its possession through low remuneration and dirty cabbage. Keen retrenchment policies make better satisfied 30 stockholders and also make wages that would embarrass a bumble bee if he were buying a pair of leggings and expected to pay for them.

It takes unlimited backbone for a congressman to vote “Yes” on the prohibition amendment and turn down the easy money of the brewers. It takes backbone for a president to cast custom aside and step into the halls of congress and demand that the party pledges be kept. It takes a better backbone to enter the same halls and take a determined stand on a cause that means better citizenship. It takes backbone if the minister ousts the liberal paying hypocrite who is helping to kill the church with his pocketbook.

It takes backbone every day you live and if you don’t use it in the way it was intended you can’t tread the narrow path and expect to slip into heaven without being recognized. You may do it on earth but you must not try 31 it where you are known. It takes backbone to be a Christian, the earnest conscientious kind, that can lay all jealousy aside, all prejudice and hatred and give the offender a square Christian deal. Unless you can do these things you CAN’T be a Christian, the kind that Jesus told us to be. The other kind is a sham and an out-and-out sinner is far better. True Christianity will not allow one individual to do another of the slightest wrong. The conscience of a real Christian will not allow any ill feeling or the harboring of malice. You know it’s wrong, your conscience reminds you of the wrong and unless you remove that kind of Christianity you can never receive the fruits that come from the narrow way and be a successful Christian. You know yourself if you are a sham so why try to fool anybody and carry a false label.


Don’t forget the warning of the Saviour when he says: “Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter thereby. For narrow is the gate and straitened is the way that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.” Travel the path that becomes shining gold, the one that grows lovelier, the one where you are never alone: You’ll need the friend of this path when the heartaches and trials are hard to bear. Don’t chance the other path and sell your soul for pleasure, wealth and damnation.

The journey of life, be it one of success or 33 failure, closely resembles two paths. When we reach the age of accountability we must of our own volition choose one of these paths. Where the paths commence to fork out and go in separate directions we see a sign spread clear across the entrance and it says: “I am the way, the truth and the light.” We study this for a long time and then go to the other side and on the same sign board it says: “Though your sins were as crimson they shall be whiter than snow.” We are young, full of life and can’t really understand what it means but we are ready to start on life’s pathway and there are only two paths to choose from.

We look around and see the broad, open path with no restrictions, filled with the aroma of choice flowers, we meet social companions, have gay parties, they tell us of the pleasures 34 they are enjoying. From this survey and study we note that the broad path looks cheerful and inviting, the narrow one seems straight ahead as far as we can see.

We can notice that the crowd seems to be going the broad way. People in all conditions of life, well dressed, prosperous looking people of wealth and affluence, and the ordinary working people in their customary garb. They look happy and contented, and we decide to take the broad way.

We didn’t notice, until after the start, that the course has a descending grade and we get a long distance on the way before we call a halt. We have seen a great many things that are not elevating and we conclude that after we go a short distance we’ll turn back, start over and take the other path, and 35 though the things that looked so inviting at the beginning are losing their attractiveness.

The demoralizing things we see are pitiful. There is a poor fellow reeling with drunkenness. MY! hear that vulgar, profane language coming from the foul mouth of that young man. There’s a party drinking wine, laughing boisterously and telling stories that are very improper for ladies and gentlemen. There is a poor girl in a calico dress that seems to be alone; her face looks sad and she seems to be watching and waiting for someone. There is a pitiful story in her once pretty face that would cause you to weep if you knew it.

Look at that old man with a gray beard; he has been a powerful man in his day, his well built physique tells that. He’s a man of more than ordinary intelligence, his features 36 show fine breeding. He must have got on the wrong path from not noticing the sign board, he seems out of place here. I thought so. He is turning back! My! how he stoops as he commences the ascent. But he is sticking to it. There he is telling a younger man of the mistake he made and is trying to persuade him to accompany him back. Well, isn’t that splendid! They’re both going back. It must have been that last remark that the elder man said to the younger man that persuaded him. “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”

There is a whole crowd about to start back; are they going? No, they listen to that well dressed fellow over there smoking a cigarette, and holding up that beer bottle and he has influenced them to go a little further. It must have been that last remark he made 37 when he told him there was going to be a beer drink and a free dance at Switzers that persuaded them.

They go on and on; they are commencing to look ragged and worn out; the roses have flown from their cheeks: their eyes are no more full of lustre and keenness; the gray hairs are showing, the step is not so firm, but still they go on. Now they are old, they have lived so fast and reckless that they haven’t hardly got the strength nor the inclination to start to climb that long hill that took forty years of the best part of their lives to descend. It seems an impossibility and they do not desire to consider it.

Look at that poor woman over there. Listen to the poor soul as she is down on her knees and the tears are falling like summer rain. Listen to her broken, sobbing words. 38 My, isn’t she the most pitiful, dejected and forlorn looking creature you ever saw! Hear her as she sobs “Lord, I saw the sign but oh I was so foolish, I didn’t heed it but I remember it and dear Lord hear me, I’m old, feeble and poor, I am friendless and I have sinned and broken Thy laws. Oh take me as I am. Amen.”

Who is there beside the blessed Jesus that can pick up this poor unfortunate daughter as she now stands before the bar of sorrow and despair awaiting her dues? She was given and entrusted with a pure and innocent life in infancy but she was frivolous and sought after wealth, power, position and the many other transitory and fleeting things. She took her clean, innocent life and so soiled and stained it that it would be unrecognizable to any one but he who gave it, and now, 39 when it is filled with barrenness, she comes to her maker with her wasted life, when in all candor and sense of fairness she could expect nothing in return, but he says to her “Though your sins were as crimson they shall be whiter than snow.”

Then we see the other path that was trod by the bleeding feet of the lowly Nazarene. We know the anguish and pain he suffered; we think of the fiendish death he died that he might say to a sinful people; “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

This narrow and straight path may not be so beautiful at the beginning as the broader one. We think if we follow it all joys and pleasures are gone. But what a mistake, for each day that we travel, it becomes prettier, the flowers are sweeter, the trees are greener, 40 the skies seem bluer. We find temptations and trials but we have some one to lean on, and there is a sweet peace and enjoyment known only to his followers. It makes it easy to pass the saloon and enter the church. The Lord is in that little church and his servant there knows every man, woman and child for miles around. See them cluster around him; he loves them; each day he lives he does some one a kindness. He listens to your sorrows and heartaches; his joys are your joys and never a word or thought but one of goodness and kindness has he for anybody. He looks tired today; he spent an all night’s vigil at the bedside of a sick friend. Did you see him when he stopped and caressed that little girl who had broken her doll? It meant something to her and he has won her everlasting gratitude. See him talking to 41 that young fellow over there who is wavering and unable to decide which path to take. Notice his warm and friendly attitude and see, he has won his confidence and has got a promise from him. See that sweet-faced, light-hearted maiden, he has just come from her home and she has consented to lead a better life.

Look there, will you! He is helping up that poor man whose feet slipped from the narrow way and he is taking him home to the broken-hearted wife. See the sadness on his dear old face as he gives what comfort he can to the poor woman; he’s back again the next day and is talking to them both. “Yes,” they said from now on they’d cling close to the marriage vows. Don’t they all look happy and pleased. There he is again talking to a poor man who has been unsuccessful, he 42 worked hard, lived pure but went too heavily in debt and can’t meet his obligations. Worry is making him sorrowful and shortening his days, but the dear pastor with his hand on his shoulder and his warm words of sympathy has a telling effect and the heavy clouds are leaving his countenance and as they part, each understands the other. The cordial, glowing hand-shake is given and both have received good. There he goes again; he’s just married a young couple and is advising them, he is telling them not to be down cast when a snag comes along but to work together, tread the narrow way, keep faith in God, and He will bless and prosper them.

There is pain in his heart today; he has just come from the home of broken-hearted parents who have laid away in the silent city 43 their first born. In his great love for them he has told them about Jesus, the sorrowful life he lived, the great pains and heartaches he endured, and he did it all for them. As he leaves they love him as a father and a sweet peace has descended upon them and the wound commences to heal.

And so it goes, day after day,

He’s telling some one of God’s narrow way;

He’s planting some flowers where flowers should be;

He’s smoothing the path from dull misery;

Here a kind word, there a good deed,

He’s doing his best to meet every need.

The greatest need in keeping in the narrow way is in sincere and earnest prayer accompanied by a tenacious faith, is the only 44 source that leads to the full and sweet companionship of the blessed Jesus. The every near realization, what God can accomplish for us fulfills the truth that the ever listening ear of a just and righteous master has ample succor for a burdened and heavy heart. Faith without something to justify its establishment, though it be ever so great, is in reality groundless and contains no true merit, but honest prayer for honest motives and coming from a desirous heart is the great medium through which sinful mankind, so prone to err, is brought into a close relationship with a wise and prudent God, a God who willingly compensates every effort whose basis is a true and unselfish heart.

Trust God fully at all times and pray with such sincere, fervent and unselfish motives as is only needed to replenish a pure and unspotless 45 desire. When prayer is answered, as God sees fit to answer, we can discern its force and effect in our hearts from the knowledge and fact that a change has taken place and a deep feeling of keen satisfaction has fully satisfied a craving want. If this were not so the prayer alone without any manifestation from a true and living God, would be worthless. A long composition of nicely polished words spoken to an idol could in no wise be called a prayer. The densest mind could surely realize that no sympathy lies in anything not able to comprehend a feeling. Silence would be better and is more valuable. It is better to keep still than to say something that would cause some one to err or stumble.


God’s handiwork and its beauty is manifest wherever the eye rests. The towering mountain peaks, the great boulders, the babbling brooks, the peaceful valleys, the green grass, the beautiful flowers, the shady dells, all speak of his master hand. The moon-beams playing on the still waters, the sunshine streaming through the golden clouds, the perfect poise and artistic shape of the trees growing on the mountain side among the jagged rocks where the hand of man never trained or cultivated them. There they stand as sentinels waving to and fro by the gentle breezes and tell of His wonderful works. 47 The wild flowers growing side by side in the shady dell, each a different color, whisper His wonderful plan. The little brook dancing and playing in and out among the deep chasms chiseling its narrow passage among the granite, jumping over big rocks, rolling little pebbles, it steals here and there until it spreads out on the great plains and fertile prairies into a rushing river hurrying on its way to the ocean. The beautiful sun-set casting its long stream of golden beauty over the western sky mocks at the skillful artist when he tries to imitate its marvelous shades and tints. The moon breaking through the silvery clouds and showering the heavens with beauty and grandeur rests its glory on the evening dew, and the millions of diamonds glitter and glisten in a splendor and elegance far beyond the hand of man. The many stars hanging 48 like precious gems upon a great pedestal twinkling and sparkling tell the same story of His wonderful handiwork.

God was not satisfied with all these marvelous things and, though they are perfect, good and beautiful He must surpass them. He must have a crowning effort to all their glory. So to defy imitation He brought forth His masterpiece and called it man. The incomparable and unsurpassable, the grandest achievement of his architecture. In his wisdom He provided everything for his needs and comfort. Sunshine to warm him, darkness to rest him, trees to shade him, give him fuel and shelter, birds of song to cheer when weary with labor, flowers to beautify, soil to produce whatever he sowed, rain and sunshine to mature it, meats of all kind to nourish him, fruits, fishes, grains, honey, milk 49 and everything necessary for his growth and sustenance, He made him pure, clean, strong, and beautiful, just a little bit lower than the angels. He furnished man everything to start with. It was no disgrace if his hands were blistered and dirty if they were stained by honest toil, he fought hardships and privations, he was the hardy pioneer blazing his way for home and country, raising his children near to nature’s heart and cleanliness. He gave to posterity strong, hearty, rugged men and women, he lived honorably, his labor was rewarded and he died ripe in years as a fitting tribute to his great achievements.

Time rolled on! Years became centuries! Methods changed and the great plan of God was lost.

Greed, avarice and monopoly commenced to steal the bread from the infant’s mouth; 50 the keen and bitter struggle for existence is in full sway; the great land of liberty and opportunity no longer can put forth her boast and call and call for him to come, build homes, prosper, live well and accumulate.

What changeful conditions today from then! We boast of our great enlightenment and yet we are like the drowsy cat under centuries of domestication. As soon as the raw meat is put before us all the centuries’ training is cast aside and we are ready to do acts of barbarians. Instead of being able to arbitrate and handle all questions of war through peace tribunals we cast aside the brotherly teachings of the great book, increase the standing army, build more warships, enlarge the navy, and be ready for war, ready to shoot our brother, ready to destroy his home, leave his children penniless 51 and fatherless, a widow to struggle and mourn, posterity to be enfeebled, a gigantic debt to stagger many generations unborn, a country bankrupt and all teachings of love and better citizenship disgraced.

No wonder our people are discouraged and feel we are slipping away from the preamble of our great Constitution! If this age and this country can not handle all questions, national and international, and extend the fullest measure of brotherly love where peace is needed; what age or country can?

I think it may be America that will be called upon to lead other nations and have them cast aside their war preparations and prepare for peace. In every crisis through which this country has passed we have been fortunate, thank God, that the right man has always been found. We have had our Washingtons, Lincolns, 52 Websters, McKinleys, Wilsons, and hundreds of others and in every instance when some great problem has had to be solved, either in this country or abroad, in either science, statesmanship, literature or art, no matter how perplexing, difficult or intricate, American brains and ingenuity, in the vernacular of the day, has brought home the bacon, Swift’s premium, if you please!

I have always felt deeply sorrowful for the man who studies long and ardently with a bowed head resting upon his hands. His whole soul seems to be calling for the fine sympathies that can only be rendered from the loving teachings of the Nazarene. He is calling for the tender affection that is keenly necessary to right him just before that sullen burning wave of despondency casts him into utter gloom and sorrow. O Christianity! 53 Christianity! amid wealth, society, culture, influence, peace, advancement, laws, legislators, and boasted liberty where art thou?

Visit the parks of any cities, towns or small villages and you can find sitting on the benches man after man who is unable to solve the problem of an honest existence. There he is, honest, clean, and worthy of good citizenship, unable to find labor that will keep him an honor to society. What will become of him in this land of boasted opportunity and liberty? Plenty for all; but monopolized and organized until the laboring man is almost ostracized. Look at his countenance, clear cut, manly and open, haggard, yes, but from what? From worry, loss of sleep, lack of food, responsibility of a family without funds, etc. But withal you find no look of dissipation, no odor of liquor, no foul 54 language, and still with all these excellent qualities of meritorious citizenship he is sinking. How long will he stand it?

Were you ever in a condition of this kind when any way you turned you were outfigured. How long can a man have a thorn like this continually getting deeper and deeper into his flesh before he will make a grasp for it, and endeavor to release the pain? Where is the cause? What is wrong with our wide heralded economic system? This condition being true of the man with a family how alarming to the young man of today without a family? Show me any incentive or inducement for the common ordinary man of today without funds to cause him to establish a home and rear a family under the grand old Stars and Stripes, and I’ll show you a man that loses worse than a bankrupt in the finer sense of the word. 55

Without the establishment of homes this nation can not stand. No matter how frugal a man is, no matter how economical his habits you can give him the most promising part and he can not marry and rear a family because at every angle he is beaten. What is he going to do? Free land is almost gone, food stuffs are high, all his needs are expensive; how can he make it? Every line he wishes to enter is crowded! Reason for yourself and see if this is not true.

When you talk of large families, who raises them but the poor people and this will soon be eliminated. If the poor man raises one child he is doing more than his duty to society than the rich man. The expense is such a night-mare and horror to a common, ordinary and honest man to provide the necessaries of life for his family that I sometimes 56 shudder and feel sorry that I caused children to be born, fought for a home, paid my debts, and lived clean. I wouldn’t want to do it again for my country, and I love her as I do the man of Galilee.

I fear America is no longer another word for opportunity as was said by the beloved Emerson, unless she helps him to establish homes on the public domain by loaning him money at a low rate on long time periods and keep him at work and help him along and not foreclose when he is doing his best to win. He’ll win, give him a chance.

What Emerson said may have been true at an earlier period it was so intended, but the plan was lost sight of and the great greed for wealth was accomplished to the detriment of the majority who have been obliged to make their living with their hands. It is a sad fact 57 but true that there is a revolution slowly kindling in the breasts of the laboring class of people against capital; God grant that in some way the fire can be put out.

I have sometimes thought what’s the use of living. The sorrows and pains outnumber the joys by a large margin. You slip down the hill of pleasure without any exertion, but to climb the mountain of morality is a gigantic task, for every step is a struggle, and after you have fought and won nine-tenths of the journey one misstep and you slip to the bottom and the whole climb is before you again. It’s fight, fight all the time, continually and forever! It robs you of nature’s rest, steals away your ambition, stirs up hatred towards those in easy circumstances and causes conditions of unrest and strife.

Is life worth the gigantic struggle to overcome the 58 perplexing difficulties and endeavor to live honest and clean and not slip down the path of despair where the great majority seem to be going. I say it is! “For, what do you profit if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul.”

Let your mind ponder over the story of Lazarus picking up the crumbs from the rich man’s table and you must conclude the starving beggar gained uncomparable joy and satisfaction to the rich man’s torment when the two men’s lives were carefully weighed on the scales where God predominates and not the sugar trust. It pays! It pays in a thousand different ways!

There is something to a man that lives an upright life in the church and in the world. He is a valued asset to any community, he may be poor but he has character, and this is 59 something money can not buy. It takes a good life to make a man. A fellow that is rich and lives solely for the pleasure of his money is not a man.

One time I mused thus: If it could be so, just for the shortest duration of time, while temptation was the strongest and the fierce conflict was raging, if I could be blind, absolutely blind till the strong temptation had passed and then let me see again and have my first sight catch the last glimpse of the golden sun as it dipped behind the western horizon, leaving behind a long stream of golden beauty stretching out in its grandeur to kiss the evening sky; even if a scene like this could erase the temptation and the blindness prevail during the surging of the conflict, how could my faith be increased by not having the moral courage and strength of 60 character to withstand the evil? It’s the casting aside of temptation by the sheer strength of the will power that makes the struggle easier, the way grow brighter, and the victories grander. If God would allow such a condition once, we, in our weakness, might ask again and again and instead of growing stronger we would grow weaker. It is the heroic fighter who has won his laurels when the bullets of evil whizzed all around him that you like to go up to and pin the medal on.


A life of self-denial and sacrifice is the grandest object the sun shines on. There is nothing under the azure skies of heaven so worthy of true merit as the pure, unspotted and unselfish heart of a sacrificing mother. How my heart aches for the poor, worn and tired mother whose whole life is confined in four walls with three or four children, laying claim to her entire time and attention. You do not find these kind of women saturated with society; they are not fanatics on woman suffrage nor are they riding through the streets in a limousine with a good-for-nothing yellow-nosed pup sitting beside them. In common decency how can any woman with any affection or mother love center it upon such 62 an object as a despicable, worthless pug-nosed cur. If it was a dog like a Shepherd, St. Bernard, Newfoundland, and many others, there would be a little better taste shown, but when it is confined solely to the mongrel whelps and Teddy bears I think it is high time to pick up the Bible and read the thirty-second chapter of Isaiah from the first to the twelfth verse inclusive. Lord, but it is pitiful to see such things committed when there are thousands and thousands of poor little homeless girls and boys starving to death for some one to love them, give them a home and then see a poodle woman and her poodle dog go rushing by.

For a long number of years I have had the pleasure of being acquainted with one of God’s self-denial mothers. If this earth contains anything sweeter and the next world anything better the mind of man so far hasn’t been able to conceive it nor the Bible to reveal 63 it. In her early womanhood and all through her life she has been frail, small-boned, short of stature, delicate, and very unmuscular. Her’s was not the physique to struggle as she has against life’s tremendous battles, but she took up the burden cheerfully, looked every difficulty in the face squarely and openly and lifted her voice to the ever-listening ear and overcame every obstacle with gentleness and love. When heartaches, pains and sorrows seemed so heavy that human endurance could no longer stand the strain and tension, she would, through the channels of her wonderful self-control, step from beneath the heavy clouds of trials and sorrows out into the sunshine of God’s holy love and stand master and conqueror of every trial. The loyal battles she has swept with victory are worthy of such praise and eulogy that the human mind can not find words choice enough to meet it. 64

Poverty with all its worry can not engulf her, for she has that faith that there will be a way provided and she determines, and the mountain is seen moving in the distance. No time to partake of many pleasures is her lot; she must study her every day cares, rear her children, school, clothe, and provide for them. Many times a tear stands where joy should be. It is beyond all understanding why her cross should be so heavy when every atom of her strength has been used to make the world better, but no matter how heavy the load is, how painful the head might ache, or how discouraging the teacher, the present every day conditions must be met and the sooner begun the sooner ended. Every minute is occupied or the accumulation of wasted time makes the burden heavier.

The hands work and the mind works. Neither can rest and accomplish the needs, and while the hands iron and bake and wash, 65 the mind is occupied on what the hungry mouths demand, and how an old coat or vest or an under garment can be made into an article of service.

These are the kind of women worth while; these are the kind that more than do their part in sustaining a great government. Her lot is not a pleasant one, but she hands down to posterity a better and more substantial foundation for better government than any class of women in our nation; her life is an open book where the entries are made on each day’s pages. On page after page you can see where the tears have fallen, where the struggle has been so keen and bitter that hope had almost fled; but turn the page and you will find renewed hope. The ever-listening ear has heard the words bathed in grief and the answer came, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” How a few dollars from some good-hearted philanthropist would 66 ease the way for this poor little struggling woman. Why is it when she has reached the point in life where she should expect the most the least is at hand? She has passed the thirty-eighth mile post, with the odds strongly against her. The system is torn down more rapidly than it can be built up. Everything seems to combat against her and endeavor to overwhelm her, but sorrows, discouragements, trials, hardships and heartaches with their utmost collective strength have not been sufficient to thwart or encompass her. Every one has been defeated, the cost has been gigantic, it has stooped her shoulders, chiseled deep creases in her brow and cast snow among her locks, robbed her of comforts due her and strewn old age where youth should be. The sad face still smiles and with an unconceivable determination she meets every foe in the great battle field of life and crushes them.

She does it from close application of that 67 wonderful story of love that is found in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew from the third to the twelfth verses inclusive. The greatest solace to aching hearts the world has ever known. The struggle would have never been met and conquered if she had depended on her own strength, she needed a higher source to guide her and in every struggle the lowly man of Galilee stood beside her and when the cross became so heavy that she stumbled and was ready to fall, his loving arm was ready to shield and sustain her.

With all her pains and trials there came into her life one night the greatest sorrow of all, and although the load she had carried far overtaxed her strength she had to bear another and heavier one. Her little sweetheart boy of nearly two years old came toddling in 68 one day with the cruel marks of a fatal sickness on his sweet little face, and after three days and nights of long vigil the tired mother laid down to rest, and as she slept on a pillow bathed with tears the pure little innocent soul was gathered into the arms of angels and carried away. Years have passed, but the pain lingers and when the thoughts go back to the silent form in the little white casket the tender heart of this pure woman is so engulfed in sorrow that it seems it is entirely beyond all human endurance and patience. It is then this still, small voice she has known so long, again speaks and says: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”


How her dear heart did ache when the death angel trod

And took back her boy to his maker and God;

No sorrow nor pain nor heart aches nor tears

Are ever more known where he takes these small dears.


There is something so sad in the valley of death,

When the heart stops its beat and there’s no longer breath!

That angels must come to ease up the pain,

And open the soul to let the tears drain.


How long are the years and how many it takes

Before there is peace from the burning heart aches!

The home is so lonely so silent and still


There is something gone out that nothing can fill.


His little things stand where he left them one day,

The little toy dog all ready for play,

The big choo choo train and the horse he called Bill,

All wait for the hand that is silent and still.


Few people care to listen to your sorrows, trials and burdens if you are not succeeding. If you succeed, everybody is grabbing for the stock no matter how well filled with water it is. They point with pride at the successful man as he saunters by; he can do a great many things that are shady, but on account of his success and prominence they are hushed up and never rise above a whisper; he’s dined and wined; gets cut prices on everything he consumes; rebates from the railroads and special privileges in the churches. But take the poor fellow that each day’s debts eats up his pay roll and we never hear of his fine qualities until we read his obituary.

If you will take a few leisure moments and look up the meaning of the word “gratitude,” you will find that there are few words that 72 surpass it in quality, love and kindness. It clusters near the soul and is properly a virtue. In this life it is very hard to be misunderstood and undervalued by those we love, but this too in the journey from the cradle to the grave we must learn to bear without a murmur, for it’s a tale often repeated.

Any one who has given their time, talent and attention serving the dear people, either as a Town Trustee, member of the School Board, Mayor, or any of the petty offices of small towns and villages, used his best judgment in endeavoring to meet every issue honestly, fairly and squarely, wins for his gratuitous services the everlasting displeasure of his constituents.

No matter how hard you strive or how honest you may be there come up little intricate issues 73 where there is no middle course and no matter what stand you take some people charge you with graft and dishonest motives. Any one who can serve for one term and is so unfortunate and foolish as to accept another, has acquired a character so colored that it takes from ten to fifteen years in our best Sunday Schools to wash out the stains.

Don’t ever feel elated or think you are popular because you are elected and people call you alderman, for the first thing they will do will be to slip out that pleasant, sweet sounding word “Alderman” and put in “Grafter” with the thumbscrews set. They’d call you a grafter if they personally know the treasury had been depleted for fifteen years. My, the pleasures of a gratis councilman!

I have heard of people losing their minds 74 for long intervals and then suddenly regain them and I have often wondered if they had been favored with an aldermanic pleasure and the mind commenced to slip into space, I wonder if when the cog alderman appeared if it wouldn’t cause such a jolt that it would clear the whole mental atmosphere. Perhaps there is one redeeming feature and if it wasn’t for some consolation the pictures and scenes would be so indelibly impressed that you would be able to recall them long after you’d said “Amen.”

The spirit of revenge and retaliation were never very deeply imbedded in my make up. The seed being lightly sown I used the harrow instead of the cultivator and got it out. I am glad I did; it has helped me to get a good night’s rest instead of fondling and caressing discolored orbs that might have come 75 in sudden contact with solid and knotty obstacles.

I bought a small business one time from a devout Presbyterian; I had the greatest confidence and trust in him, which I had a sad right to have. If false colors are carried we must find it out because they carry no notice to warn us. Well, anyway, he spread the tempting menu of his careful preparation in great shape. He was pleasant, courteous and very entertaining. The way he figured up the invoice you’d thought mathematics was his specialty. His tongue kept pace with his pencil and after everything was figured up he brought up the “Bonus Good Will” part and I really thought he was letting me do him a favor by giving him one hundred iron men. You see I wanted his good will along with everybody else’s. 76

I am glad I learned about this “Good Will” business. All told “Good Will” and “Bonuses” have cost me nine hundred and thirty-three dollars thirty-three and a third cents. Don’t try to fool me on “Good Wills” again; they’re a drug on the market, very unsaleable and unpopular to your humble servant.

After I paid the “Good Will” price and everything was agreeably settled I started in with my maiden business. Going through the bags and some other stuff in the back room a few days afterwards, I discovered bags invoiced and paid for at one hundred pounds shy. “Shy,” I said, and he a Christian! This taught me that there are eighty and ninety pound Christians. The loud smelling, decaying and life moving gunny sacks contained prepared meats for poultry. I quit in disgust and went into the front department; 77 a fellow stepped in and said, “How is business?” and I answered “Rotten.” A frank acknowledgment of a painful truth.

Other things ran about the same; the horses were sold as unblemished, sound as a dollar, etc., and mind you, he a Christian and ministers dropping in every few days and talking and planning how to increase the congregation. My, I’m glad I used that harrow! When I sold out the business, I marked down experiences one thousand dollars. I felt pretty blue after I had lost the thousand bones I worked hard to get, and it used to be when I got the blues I eased my mind with graveyard poetry; pardon me for inserting it here.

If I should die tonight how few would care;

Perhaps some heart would ache, some one somewhere,


Some might cast a lingering look, a tear

And tremble with emotion at my bier,

But before many days would pass away,

Before my silent form would turn to clay,

I’d be forgotten and alone,

And not a heart to ache or moan.

Oh! this bitter, lonely life’s a snare,

The kind friends you hear so much about are rare.

Some may mean it in their hearts but feign

And measure men by dollars not by brain.

A friend came to me one time and said he was in pressing financial straits and asked me to loan him fifteen dollars for two weeks. I granted the request and the loan was made. I thought I was familiar with the calendar and knew when two ordinary weeks ended, but those two weeks were the longest I have 79 ever known. Fortnight after fortnight passed and no end came. Long and endless weeks of this kind might be all right for the man facing the electric chair, but they had no solace for an individual anxious to get married and needing the husky “Simoleans” to furnish a cage for his waiting bird.

One day I met the overdue biped and I said, “How about it?” I was young then and I thought I could glide in as easy this way as well as any phrase I had in my limited vocabulary. “Well,” he said, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I know you are about to plunge in the matrimonial sea and I have a proposition to offer you. I have a good standard make of organ that I don’t need and if you will give me forty-five dollars and forget about that previous fifteen we will call the transaction closed and drop the curtain.” 80

“All right,” I said, “here is your money.”

That organ may not be in existence yet, but it’s in my memory fresh as ever. I couldn’t play it, for it was all I could do to carry a tune when it was tied in a bag. I had no wife to play it and I couldn’t keep it and get married, I was in a desperate condition one day when I walked into a hardware store, that is a store, you know, where they keep ware that is hard, frying pans, dish pans, bread pans, etc., you know what those things are for. “Well,” I said to the village wit behind the case, “I’ll trade you that organ for enough household paraphernalia to cook with, take care of enough viands and stuff or whatever you call it, to keep two people about to start out together; each now separate and apart but very anxious to be united.” “Agreed,” he said, “hand over that list 81 you’ve got with the articles on and I’ll have them ready in a short time.”

Funny, isn’t it, how the wind is tempered to the shorn lamb, but how about the one ready to be shorn when there isn’t even a zephyr blowing. Well, the deal was transacted, exchange made, and that is how I got my household goods when I married dearie. The financial report read like this: Actual cash in organ, sixty dollars; actual worth, forty-five dollars; second actual value in organ, forty-five dollars; actual value of pots and pans twenty-five dollars, experience and pleasure of making a two weeks’ loan, thirty-five dollars. This was not putting a premium on “Bliss” for a fellow just getting ready to carry the matrimonial load.

The weight would have been some lighter if that weasened faced Dutchman had not 82 worked off on me a left handed frying pan for a right-handed bride, and was so extremely liberal on the good deal he had made that he threw in a second hand mouse trap when the new ones sold six for a dime. This was the first time I saw tears in my wife’s eyes. The fountain was opened and they flowed freely. Those tears were trivial to the tears we’ve in shed later life, but those first tears moved me to almost unconsolable grief and the emotion caused a flow of poetry. It’s not very long and will not tire you much, so I will slip it in here as a filler.

Cheer up, little darling,

You know my love is true,

And nowhere in this great big world

Is a sweeter girl than you.

I have loved you always


Trust me fully, dear,

Let me be your shining star

I’ll sparkle when you’re near.

And all along our pathway

We’ll never pluck a thorn,

But will pluck the roses

In life’s dewy morn,

Roses are more fragrant,

They’ll give us better cheer

And the thorns we’ll cast aside,

They are worthless, dear.

When I was a County Clerk and exceedingly busy pushing the quill over the big records, a M. E. Minister came in one day and accosted me with that word that arouses confidence. Brother, he said, we are figuring on a short order annex to the church, (remember that word SHORT?) and we, of course, 84 couldn’t slight you and if you will kindly donate as liberally as possible the Lord will bless you abundantly, for you know he loves a cheerful giver, and etc., and etc. Well, I responded. When you get your subscription list in these parts drop in and I will help you.

I know what an annex to some of the churches without or with cook stove means. It seems nowadays, as the prophecies are being filled, some churches deem it necessary to feed the stomach before the soul, realizing, I presume, a full stomach is a twin brother to a big heart. They beg the food and the utensils to serve it in from uncheerful givers and then dispense it cautiously and sparingly, the more sparingly the more money for the Lord. When the ice cream is served they forget all about scriptural measure of “Heaped up and running over” and run it under. If one dish 85 of scriptural measure can be stretched into four dishes of worldly measure, there is forty cents instead of ten. High finance, you see! I’ve often thought a society of this kind that would squeeze down the measure on ice cream procured at a minimum cost, would bear watching if they were running a milk wagon with a pump near. If any one else gets money in this way they call it an unearned increment. What would Jesus call it? I really would be afraid to express my thoughts at that kind of a meeting for fear they’d request the parcel post.

In a few days the brother dropped in and hoisted from his inside pocket the subscription list and handed it to me. I glanced over it casually, as is natural in such cases made and provided, to see who were the cheerful givers. After concluding what I thought was 86 a liberal donation and really beyond what a man of my means should give I put down forty dollars and handed the paper back to him. The ungentlemanly gentleman took it and looked at it and said, “Well, we expected much better than this from you.” You know what feelings ebb and flow within you when you get a snub like this. I could feel the Irish blood chasing the English blood at a hazardous speed, but I said nothing and was glad again of the early use of that harrow.


The Dog.


Of all the beasts beneath the sun

There is no other, not a one,

That clings to man in sweet and bitter

As faithful as the canine critter.


When fortune smiles upon its crest

And all your toil is richly blest

The loyal dog is near at hand

For slightest duty or command.


When poverty comes stalking in

And you have lost your precious tin,

The good old dog is just the same

In dire distress or glittering fame.



In tattered rags or spick and span

He has a truer heart than man,

And when you meet most keen defeat

His sympathy is there to greet.


When you are old and had your day,

With feeble limbs and head of gray,

And angels come to take you home,

The good old dog is last to roam.


He’ll watch beneath the stars at night

Beside your grave a sadful sight,

And wait and wait for many a day,

When faded flowers have blown away.


A dog’s great love is most sublime,

It lingers near the word divine,

And intertwines from him above,

For dog turned around is God and love.


The Booze.


Oh the ones who drink the booze,

You can tell it by their flues,

The torrid heat within flames up the nose.

At first they’re moderate drinkers,

And become the same as thinkers,

And what a sight for pity ere the close.




The booze, the booze,

Any way you choose,

No matter how you figure it you lose.


How many homes that suffer,

When they shelter such a duffer,

Whose presence causes heartaches, tears and blows,

But you can always tell ’em

If you can’t then you can smell ’em,


But if all the signs should fail you there’s the nose.


If you only take a drop

You know you’ll never stop,

Don’t you realize that dynamite explodes,

Better take an inventory,

Before you’re blown, no not to glory,

But to where they ignite quickly, Jimmy Rhodes.


What’s the matter with your clothes,

Or do you for artists pose,

Don’t you ever meditate or think

There’s enough loam in your hair

To rob an acre bare,

Take an invoice before another drink.


Stop, my friend, don’t be a slave,

Do not fill a drunkard’s grave,


Be a man from birth until close,

Come to him, the Galilean,

He will make your future clean,

He’s the one to take the add from off your nose.

What’s the Difference?


It matters not, so some folks say,

Where rests the form when ’neath the clay.

There is no choice when the heart is still,

Some always say and always will.


This may be true when we’re forgot,

And aught remains to mark the spot,

But a silent stone that stands all time,

With letters cold to tell mankind.


Some may not care where rest their bones,

In foreign lands or near their homes,


Where tender hearts can shed the tear

And bathe the roses on the bier.


I’d rather rest ’neath shady trees,

That beautify and kiss the breeze

With velvet grass spread over the plot,

With lilies and forget-me-not.

The Steering Wheel.


’Twas a party blithe and gay,

On a joy ride as they say,

Gliding many miles away from home.

Midnight long was by

They were coming in on high

When suddenly there was an awful moan.


The steering wheel went wrong, the papers said,


One was badly injured, three were dead.

The same old story neatly woven in a tale,

The sadness of the scene behind the vale,

And not a line or word to make you think,

What had put the wheel upon the blink.


The verdict of jury, so they say,

Said the steering wheel was loose and had too much play;

But by chance some people looking around,

Some real and newer evidence was found,

’Tis evidence you find and seldom fail

If you let the ribbon bottle tell the tale.

So in the name of justice, as I feel,

Why not exonerate the wheel.

Such High Taxes, Gee-Whilaker.

Meadow larks, as you have undoubtedly noticed, warble many different songs. They 94 sound like this to me: One says, “Here is your homesick girl.” Another, “Light the light, it is gone down.” Another, “Here is your English preacher.” Another, “The smeeking smock bird,” and others, from which the following poem is written, say, “Such high taxes, Gee-whilaker.”

As I stood in the yard of our high taxed home,

And filled my lungs with pure ozone,

My eye went wandering far and nigh,

And I saw a meadow lark flitting by.


He flew to a post for a moment’s rest,

And gazed a while both east and west,

And then soared on, going higher and higher,

Till he perched way up on the court house spire.



From a bird’s eye view of quaint renown,

He sized up the modern Julesburg town,

The stand pipe built on the court house square,

Is an old eye sore with a record rare.

The power house hid from the passer by

Must been for economy, heat or pie?

The city sewer, electric lights,

Cement side-walks and high school sites,

Was picturesque and nice to heed,

But sad for the one that held the deed.


He raised his head as he ceased to note,

And out from the depths of his golden throat

His voice did peal as he said with a whirr,

Such high taxes, Gee-whilaker.

To the Mrs.


I am going to take a kiss,

And I know it’s not a miss,


But before I miss my kisses,

I will take them from the Mrs.


Kisses from the dear old Mrs.

Are the sweetest kind of kisses.

But if the Misses kisses,

Then there will be kisses Mrs.


Just as long as Mrs. kisses,

There’s no trouble with the Misses

But let the Misses kisses

And something’s doing Misses Mrs.

Don’t Procrastinate.


Don’t wait till tomorrow,

For joy or sorrow,

And miss the golden today.

For every minute,


Your heart’s not in it,

There’s something slipping away.


’Twas Jesus who said,

’Ere his spirit fled,

On the cross at Calvary,

That he who had hope,

Need never grope,

For the better things to be.


So don’t never worry,

And fret and flurry,

For things that’s not for you,

But hammer away,

At life’s forge today,

For things that are good and true.

Sister Mary.


Mary, I know not who

Has a truer heart than you.


Your’s a life that does excell

For doing every duty well.


In this world of woman kind

A purer life I couldn’t find,

If I looked my life time thru,

I would bring the crown to you.


I am proud to tell you, dear,

Your’s has been a life of cheer,

Where every hardship, trial and sorrow,

Was sweetly met before tomorrow.


May God’s blessing sweetly rest,

In a life so richly blessed

With kind words and cheerfulness,

For every heart that knew distress.



’Twas underneath the columbine,


Where dearie said she would be mine,

My heart rejoiced at that glad word,

The sweetest one I ever heard.


I’ve wondered many times since then

How one word changes lives of men,

Some it makes and others breaks,

And others know they’ve made mistakes.


It gladdens some and saddens some,

It opens up the way to rum,

It fills the pen, the cells of jails,

It wags the tongue with many tales.


It fills the lawyer’s purse with fees,

It crowds the courts with quick decrees,

It to the drug store many guide,

It fills the graves with suicide.


It pulls the trigger of the gun,


It breaks the heart of many a one,

It causes pain where joy should be,

It fills the home with misery.


It joins the short unto the tall,

It never heeds old wisdom’s call,

It clasps the hands of slim and stout,

And makes a mess beyond a doubt.


It breaks the dishes on your head,

It makes you wish that you were dead,

It mixes father with the son,

It has no end when once begun.


It’s no respecter of your right,

It gets you out at dead of night,

It makes its scars and many a whelt,

It makes you cuss T. Roosevelt.


It makes the Irish like the Dutch,


The black the brown the squaw and such.

It causes if the truth would tell,

A thing on earth you all know well.


So with all wisdom I’ll confess,

Before you tackle this word yes,

Have these professions up in G,

Lawyer, preacher and M. D.

The Lay of the Last Hen.


’Twas yesterday the deed was done,

That made my heart feel like a ton,

When cruel fate held its sway,

And robbed my hen of her last lay.


The sympathy swelled in my breast,

For my old hen so long caressed,

Who stood by me for many years,

Thru joy and sorrow, mirth and tears.



When times were hard and crops were light,

There was to me no sweeter sight,

To get that egg and let it melt,

Underneath my gnawing pelt.


The tariff never worried her

She did her duty at one per,

Wilson, Taft or Roosevelt,

Never had a cause she felt.


She built the muscle in my arm,

She paid the taxes on the farm,

She kept the wolf from strolling in,

She clothed the kids from Kate to Win.


She always let the whole world know,

With joyful song in rain or snow,

That she’d performed a duty neat,

That man himself has never beat.



I couldn’t help it, I’ll confess,

The tears flowed freely, more or less,

When that dear form was tenderly laid,

Beneath the elm tree’s pleasant shade.


Here’s to the hen upon the nest,

That keeps the table, fills the guest,

Builds up the system, ne’er regrets

And brings results whene’er she sets.

The Dear Old Hod.


When I’ve labored hard all day,

And the supper’s cleared away,

There’s a joy before I nod,

When I load my dear old hod.


As the smoke curls in the air,

Chasing from me life’s dull care,

I can lean far back and think,

And put the worry on the blink.



Here’s to thee, Missouri cob,

Many years upon the job,

Your’s a mission not all bad,

If you ease the load on dad.

Dear Old Kate.


I know I stayed a little late,

The last time that I courted Kate,

I had a speech I wished to try,

And how the hours hurried by.


The question that I wished to pop,

Would never let me have the flop,

My cheeks would burn, my throat get dry,

I was nearly hot enough to fry.


I guess I tried a dozen times,

I drilled myself in all the lines,

But when I reached the vital point,

The whole blame works got out of joint.



It made me mad and also sad,

I felt like going to the bad,

I’d practised long, out in the trees,

Just how to face her on my knees.


I’d hold the bough as Katie’s hand,

And with the best at my command,

I’d bare my soul with pleading tears,

For her to join me all the years.


I guess I never would have won,

If Katie hadn’t just for fun

Heard my appeal with silent feet,

And said, “Why, sure, you dear old sweet.”



Once I knew a man named Tim,

Thought a mighty lot of him,

For his goodness, heart and mind,

Were of such a loving kind.



Never heard him boast or tell,

Of the things he’d done so well:

Lips would kinda set with tension,

If his past you’d slightly mention.


Kinda made his face look sad,

Maybe some great grief he’d had,

But he’d pass it off and say,

Kinda looks like rain today.


Wasn’t much past fifty-nine,

Led a life serene and fine,

Lived just on the edge of town,

Liked to have the folks look round.


Greatest chum of little tads,

Liked to humor all their fads,

Fixed their wagons, made them trains,

Soothed their many cares and pains.



Made no difference to Tim,

If you’d never heard of him,

He would always say, “Hello,”

Said his mother taught him so.


Worldly goods he hadn’t much,

Never seemed to care for such,

Said he liked the Master’s way,

Of doing things for just today.


Dear old Tim took sick one night,

Thought his spirit would take flight,

But we all just hurried in,

And it helped revive old Tim.


Said it made him awful glad,

Wished a larger house he had,

But we all said, get well, Tim,

Couldn’t lose a man like him.


The Business Man.


Here is to the business man,

Who does the very best he can,

And pays to each their honest debt,

And don’t forget it makes him sweat.


He labors from the morn till night,

With brain and muscle in the fight,

To keep his head above the stream,

When finances are not serene.


He’s to the one you always go,

When life has pained you with a woe,

You know his purse is always free,

To lessen grief or misery.


You toss on him most carelessly,

The gratis job of town trustee,

And then you pass around the word,

He’s just the man for the school board.



He helps to school your girls and boys,

He shares with you your pains and joys,

He helps to pay the preacher’s bill,

And aids the churches with good will.


He has to pay his bills when due,

But if he asks the same of you,

You think your credit’s met his fears,

And let it run along for years.


You let him long and look and look,

At your account upon the book,

And you’ll admit if you are frank,

He pays your interest at the bank.


If he would say and tell you true,

When your account has long been due,

That ten per cent was charged to you,

You’d swear until the air was blue.



If he helps you, then why not him,

And don’t keep sending off your tin,

But give it to your home merchants,

And keep the gloss from off their pants.

Falling Snow.


There’s something in the falling snow,

That brings back years of long ago,

That makes you think of younger days,

Behind a span of gallant bays.


The frosty air, the rosy dames,

The secrets and the loving names,

Of days gone by long years ago,

Comes back today with falling snow.


The laughter pealed o’er rocks and trees,

The songs re-echoed with the breeze,

Of merry rides so bright and gay,

Are chasing thru my mind today.



The biting air with keen delight,

Puts crispness in the appetite,

And mother’s pies of golden hue,

Soon faded like the morning dew.


And how I wish I could today,

Turn back the years the youthful way,

And drive the bays and see them go,

And blush with youth midst falling snow.


That’s Sallie over there in that potato patch. She has been endeavoring to tease from mother earth enough tubers to supply the family through a long winter. Nature in this and many other instances has been unkind. The rain waited too long and the one supply of food that fills so large a place are small as marbles, nevertheless this dear soul laboriously gathered them and is carrying them, pail at a time, and storing them away for a long, cold winter. Though the tubers are small and puny, she has a way of cooking them with such marked success that they would tickle the palate of a king and he’d be passing his plate the second time. 113

Sal does the housework, the buying of supplies, cares for the chickens, plants the garden, does the sewing, picks up the paint brush when necessary, and does about everything that anyone can do. She is past fifty years of age, most of them hard and bitter years. They have not been the kind of years where the goal has been worth the trials and bitterness. The streaks of silver are beginning to show in her dark hair, she is small in physique, clean limbed, lithe, resourceful, determined, and intelligent. Her schooling in the practical side of life is an attainment any one should be proud of. She is one of the most wiry and courageous women that has ever lived such a grand and noble life and kept the sad, dreary and lonely part locked up in her unselfish heart.

Behold her as she is, one of God’s purest 114 gifts! Her life is clean, wholesome and grand and of such a sweetness and beauty that mocks to scorn any imitation of the artist. For eight long years she has cared uncomplainingly for the aged, widowed mother as her almost sole benefactor of aid and cheer in the home. She has sacrificed, schemed, planned, worked, and struggled in a way that is worthy of our greatest financiers, diplomats, or statesmen. She has fought within her own heart far greater battles and carried away the victory to a more deserving reward than many a soldier on the battlefield. She has denied herself in order that she might give the fullest measure of devotion to a dear old mother who is slipping slowly, slowly to that great home of rest and comfort.

God bless you, Sallie, in your old age, when the silver streaks no longer glisten in your 115 hair and it is all turned to the whiteness and purity of snow; when your poor, tired aching limbs from their long years of toil no longer yield to quick response, when time chisels its deep furrows in your brow and your keen eye loses its lustre and grows dim. I hope God will reward you with the choicest gifts of his kingdom, and when the final summons is made and you stand in the open doorway of his love, bathed in the purity of the sparkling dew in the evening time of life, may the sweetness of your character come wafting gently in the fulness of its beauty and dwell amidst all that is holy, sweet and sacred.

Dearest Sal, you’re growing old,

But there never can be told,

The great jewels you possess,

In your life of righteousness.



I would love you just the same,

Had you reached the highest fame,

For you have a heart so true,

There would be no change in you.


You have done all duties well,

Better than my tongue can tell,

I would love to ease your way,

And turn your winters back to May.


I have but one life to live,

But for you I’d freely give,

I’d go down that lonesome valley,

If ’twould help you, dear old Sallie.


In endeavoring to entertain you in this chapter I wish I might have the wit of a Nasby or come Nye the Mark; but not having the brilliant talents of either of these illustrious wits who cracked the ribs of so many people I hope you will bear with me patiently as I proceed to give to you some rays of sunshine I have been picking up for the last twenty years from all classes of people.

A fellow said to me one time I’ll tell you a panacea for every ailment. I have taken it for years and you don’t need a skilled Pharmacist to compound it. This was the simple remedy: Trust in providence and keep your 118 bowels open. I thought it was a pretty good prescription and if applied carefully you would never have appendicitis or a good many other complaints. Of course, he said, some people ask too much of providence. I hardly think it fair to ask the Lord to furnish you the land, the patch of potatoes, a pail to put them in, a spade to dig them with, and then get down on your knees and in funeral tones tell him you are out of spuds and would like a mess for dinner with the jackets off. Don’t ask too much.

It is better to whistle than to groan. It will make some heart lighter to hear you whistle than to groan. If you can’t whistle a tune sizzle something through your teeth, there’s cheer in it for some one. No matter how worrisome, difficult or perplexing the problem is, don’t worry or brood over it. 119 Whistle if you can, sizzle if you can’t. It will keep you from getting meloncolic; colic that comes from something besides eating too many Colorado watermelons with the accent strong on the water.

I’ve known people whom you’d think from all appearances they hadn’t a care in the world, the sunny side was always exposed and unconsciously they would be dropping encouraging words, doing kind deeds, lending acts of assistance, and doing everything to lessen the other fellow’s burden. They didn’t tell any one that they didn’t know where their breakfast was coming from, but somehow or other they would get hold of some patent breakfast food and eat it in its native state if no cow was at hand and then they were all right until the next meal, luncheon, I believe is the proper society word. 120

It never pays to be stingy with eulogies or encomiums. A little praise has caused many a breast to heave with gladness and chase away gloom. The cost is small, thank God it’s outside of the trusts. So don’t be backward in using it at every opportunity you meet. If the sermon is good, go up and tell the semi-paid man behind the pulpit, it won’t kill him. He may be surprised, but keep at it until he gets used to it. If brother or sister so and so has made a misstep and you are an unbeliever or not, don’t break your neck in rushing to your neighbor and ah, ahing it all over town. Let two thoughts get into your head at once and let the better thought prevail, and instead of helping stain the character of a poor unfortunate, make it your business to use your good advice, if you haven’t any then keep still. 121

When a church member steps from the narrow path, why has everybody such a sudden interest? Why does it cause such a loosening of tongues? The Bible says, “he that is without sin among you let him cast the first stone.” If any one but Jesus was without sin why not advertise it. Give it to the Post and use the red letters on the front page. The way I look at the parable quoted by Jesus is that if a stone is thrown some one has to throw it, it may be thrown with intent or carelessness, but in either event the stone has been thrown and some one will be struck, so the best way is not to throw the stone, if you have to throw something, go into one of the leagues and then don’t throw a stone. Throw a baseball, but don’t hit the umpire.

Wherever you can place a rose where a thorn has been, do it. There is both fragrance 122 and class to a rose, something sweet, cheerful and pretty; but the fellow that can find any redeeming qualities in a thorn is not the person that can stand inspection. Where could you put him where he would be an improvement? You can’t progress unless you make use of the things progress is found in. Pluck the rose every time, leave the other alone.

Don’t wait ’till it’s time to erect the tombstone before you pay tribute to your dear friend. One small flower is worth more to the living than tons piled on their caskets. Some poor fellows never get tomb stones, head stones or anything to mark their graves. How much better you feel if you have never put a pebble in any one’s path as an obstruction to their progress than if you had been rolling boulders and now see your mistake. You can’t afford to do it. Pay your little tributes all 123 along the journey of life. Be as careful dropping pains or sorrows as you would dropping pearls.

Don’t wait ’till your father, mother or wife dies, then lie about them on their tombstones. You only have one father and one mother; be careful and think some before you pour out any derogatory statements or cheap invectives concerning them. Your wife is entitled to a great many compliments you never gave her. The reverential words on the slab in the cemetery isn’t going to fool any one, and have them to believe, as you would wish, that you did the fine thing, when really you are to blame for stealing from her about twenty years of her life time. You’ve caused hollow cheeks where roses should have been and you stole many pleasures from her and enjoyed them all by yourself. Too much swine in your 124 nature to make people think you were sincere in your profuse epigram on the tombstone.

So many people think they are endowed with a peculiar and special sort of wisdom and are able to fool their fellow men so successfully that they try it on the Lord. Here is where they make a fatal mistake, for the Lord certainly knew what he was doing when he made countenances. The newspaper’s most clever ads are no comparison to the clean, open ads the Lord puts on faces and the clear unfrosted windows where you can look far into the soul.

You can’t break man’s laws without being detected. If you are a sneak criminal, inebriate, crook, lascivious, immoral or any other of the degrading types in the category of a false man, the warning is openly and clearly displayed on your countenance. You can’t fly 125 false colors and succeed, for sooner or later you pay the penalty to the last farthing. When you hear the remark “I don’t like his looks,” there is something shown in the countenance to verify the statement or no accusation would have been made. Be a man and your face will do the advertising.

Don’t be afraid of censure or criticism or let it keep you from helping the fellow that is down. God gave us religion for that purpose. It’s something to use every day in the week and not a specialty for the Sabbath; the more you use it the brighter it gets. Anything you don’t use and keep polished loses its usefulness and becomes rusty. Use it whenever you can and you’ll be surprised the confidence you gain in people’s hearts. It’s the greatest purifier in the world, that’s why God gave it to us. He knew what he was doing. It’s the only 126 thing in the world that will lift up the fallen woman, the drunken man, the horse thief, the blasphemer and all others when every hand is turned against them. It’s a panacea for every evil. It’s the only thing that will take humanity with all their sins after they are entirely forsaken and down at the threshhold of hell and make them better. It will take them in the eleventh hour when they come sneaking in at the back door with characters stained as black as night and every law has been transgressed, but as they plead piteously for forgiveness, their petition is heard and all their sins are blotted out and the Lord gives them another chance. He stoops down in his great mercy and love and gives them that peace beyond all understanding. He raises them up and helps them reach for the cross when no hand is extended to help them. 127

At every opportune chance laugh long and heartily, nothing is better to cheer and comfort, and while it is doing the other fellow good you are getting the cheapest medicine on the market for your digestive organs. Try it after you eat some boarding house pancakes an inch think. You have lots of things to smile for. There is always some one else worse off than yourself. You see them everywhere. If you have a large family your neighbor has a larger one. If you have none at all pity your neighbor who can’t figure out some way to get rid of his mother-in-law without losing his wife. If you are able to hobble around, have a heart for the fellow in the wheel chair and the fellow that has to stay flat on his back and never sees the sun rise.

There are two kinds of sunshine; one is entirely dependent upon the individual and the 128 other was inaugurated shortly after creation. Each is necessary to fill the divine plan. While one kind is periodical in some people, the other is always at hand unless clouds intervene. God’s sunshine is unexcelled and is a marvel in itself for warmth, beauty, cheerfulness and grandeur. The rising and falling of this wonderful orbit body is said to start and finish the work of man, as he was supposed to labor and scheme from sun to sun.

This plan may have been popular and proper before the day of the multi-millionaire, but the time is too short for the present day man, and in order to pay the necessary obligations to exist the twilight at both ends must be consumed and then reach in and grab several hours of darkness. The housewife may have to sew and rock the baby and prove her contention that her work is never done, but it’s 129 up to the Governor, the old man, Dad, or any other name you may call him, to keep the flour in the bin, coal in the bucket, shoes on the children, and an endless number of other things. He’s the lad that must fix it up with the banker when the note is renewed. He must through some devised method dress the kids in schools as good as his more prosperous neighbor, or there’s snobs and tears. He must provide something besides the proverbial soup bone that one neighbor could borrow from another through the winter months. He must buy the latest books, procure lyceum and chautauqua tickets, pay the preacher, the ice man, the milk man, the water man, light man, and dig continually for charity, and thus you see the sun to sun theory has the bottom torn out of it.

Dad is never still long enough for the birds 130 to build nests in his goatee and set three weeks. If he slackens up you notice a visible reduction in your pancake pile. The Lord didn’t make the suns far enough apart for dad or some other people. I worked for a farmer one time that used to start out with a handmade sun about two-thirty A. M. and never ceased till ten P. M. The meals always bothered me; I couldn’t tell if it was breakfast the next morning or two suppers. If God’s sunshine meets man’s sunshine and the two mix properly, you’ve got an individual that is a continual pleasure, one whose existence is exhilarating. He whistles and sings and smiles and laughs and gets out of life everything that is good, and everybody likes and knows him.

I was never so ashamed in my life as I was one time when I had encased in my left cheek 131 a quid of tobacco the size of a hen’s egg. I was carrying on nonchalantly a conversation with a depot master, and the saliva was gathering so rapidly, it wasn’t long before I could only grunt. I always disliked to ruin a floor with expectoration and was also embarrassed by the presence of the agent’s boy, a little fellow of four years, but my mouth was so full and my cheeks so inflated that leakage was starting and I was forced to eject it or swallow it. I chose the former and let it go. It sounded like the distant booming of guns and the space required to contain it on the floor was unbelievable. If its dimensions didn’t cover a foot square outside of the innumerable rivulets in every direction, I’ll buy my wife a twelve dollar Easter bonnet for a Christmas present. The little boy looked at it and said, “My, that’s a big one!” I sneaked 132 out crestfallen, abashed and ashamed, but didn’t have the sense to quit for some years afterwards, when the preacher said something about the ashes to ashes and dust to dust.


The cause of temperance is one that has been close to my heart for twenty years. Taken from the logical standpoint of protection to the home, sound saneness, improvement in morals, an enhancement of citizenship, it is the second paramount issue of the age. Take away liquor, stop the traffic entirely, and you reduce seventy-five per cent of crime. The empty whisky-bottle is the greatest curse that ever existed. When it is standing filled in front of some bar-room mirror, it is harmless, but when it is empty it signifies that it has been drank by somebody and has been the direct cause for all that has followed. 134

Trace it up and you will find sorrow, misery, heartaches, remorse, disgrace, shame, humiliation, want, poverty, destroyed homes, cruelty, hatred, anger, revenge, and murder. Rags, vulgarity, dishonor, wasted lives, and deceit. Ruined sweethearts, broken-hearted wives, disgraced parents, and hungry, shoeless children. Disease, filth, white slavery, prize fights, tangoes, rottenness, and shame. Keeley cures, jails, penitentiaries, poorhouses, brothels, cabarets, and insane asylums. Thieves, robbers, safe blowers, beggars, pick-pockets, delirium tremors, and death. Leave it alone!

Some people say there is no harm in it; there isn’t if you leave it alone. You can take a loaded revolver and lay it alongside of a well-filled whisky bottle and they will get along side by side peacefully as long as time 135 exists. Each one separate and apart are harmless; but let a sane man come along and drink the whisky, pick up the revolver, and what happens? Every nationality without distinction to race or color, Irishmen included, will run for safety.

A well-educated young man with brilliant prospects, neatly attired, attractive, and of fine, honorable parentage, was passing a saloon one day when a friend standing in the doorway invited him in. He had never been in a place of this kind in his life. His parents had taught him, friends advised him, and a sweet faced girl had warned him. Conscience told him to decline and go on, but, like millions of others, he heeded the invitation and stepped in. “Come up and take something,” the tempter said. “No,” he said, “I never drink.” “Come on,” urged the tempter. “It 136 won’t hurt you.” “NO,” he said; “it’s beneath the dignity of a true gentleman and it would break my mother’s heart.” “Ah, come on, don’t be a kid,” he urged, and still the boy said no. After continued and repeated solicitation he finally yielded and drank his first glass.

Alas, the fatal mistake was made. Years of careful training were swept aside. Hopeful aspirations of his mother when she looked on his innocent face in the cradle were all for naught. Solemn advice from a kind father was lost sight of, and the deed was done. That first drink fired his brain. Others were taken and his eyes shone, the house treated, and the once quiet, manly lad was loud and boisterous. Self-respect was cast aside and foul utterances flew fast and thick from a once clean mouth. The end came. He reeled 137 in drunkenness and fell to the floor in a gibbering drunken stupor. He was put to bed and when sober he felt the shame and remorse so keenly that he was at the point of self destruction. He thought of his mother, his father, the dear little sweetheart, and his friends. He was so afraid they would all hear of his ignominy that he kept secluded. He couldn’t bear to face them, tell all and start anew.

The humiliation was more than he could stand and he slipped farther and farther down the steep and rapid descent to hell. Back in his cheerful and once comfortable home a dear old mother sat waiting and watching year after year the lamp was kept burning. A kind old father sat with bowed head thinking and thinking. A dear little girl was weeping and weeping, and still he didn’t come. Where, 138 O where was he and why didn’t he come? Alas! how sad as he sank lower and lower. Drunken brawls were common, nights spent in revelry very often; the dissipation was telling, his once clean countenance was haggard. His step was languid, lethargy was settling upon him, and his whole being was repulsive. His character was no longer clean and a thing of beauty. Brothels caught him and God’s penalties were discernible for the violation of his laws. Decent men shunned him and pure women scorned him, but still the light was kept burning. The mother watched, the father waited, the sweetheart prayed, and the friends yearned; but down, down, down he went. Even dogs hurried by him, the filth and disease was nauseating.

The years sped quickly and there he is clear down at the bottom, an object of disgust 139 and scorn. Behold him, beneath the mass of stale and putrid slime, a castoff, friendless and penniless vagabond. Beneath the most loathsome and foul degeneracy conceivable; even beneath the filthy sewer. He lay on a bundle of rags in a drunkard’s hut. As he moaned and groaned, an old friend passing by heard him, stepped in and stood looking at him. With tears streaming down his cheeks the boy looked up and said, “my life is ebbing, I am at the border line, my career is wasted; I am a drunken, despised and worthless sot, friendless and alone. I can see nothing ahead but the blackest despair. Oh my poor old mother, my poor old father, my dear little sweetheart, My Sav—oh—oh.” Another spell grasped him and as he tossed and shrieked and moaned, grappling with the demon, writhing in mental anguish, terror clouded his countenance, 140 his eyes rolled, his limbs jerked, the mouth dropped open, the tongue protruded, he clutched until the blood trickled from the torn flesh, a loud, gurgling, terrifying scream, and he was dead. Died with the delirium tremens caused by the rum demon. As the old friend wiped away the tears and stood looking at his pitiful form he noticed in one of his torn and ragged pockets a slip of paper. He pulled it out and read:

Listen, friend, today,

To what I have to say,

Don’t let temptation sway

And miss the narrow way.


When you are young and gay

And anxious for the fray

Be ready to say “Nay”

And tread the narrow way.



The debt I have to pay

As here near death I lay

Wouldn’t hold so much dismay

Had I trod the narrow way.


Oh tread the narrow way

And never miss a day

Ask Jesus how to pray

And tread the narrow way.

How can America, the foremost nation of the world, that has long boasted of liberty and advancement, allow the liquor traffic to continue when the condition it causes are so critical. It is stealing away her brains, increasing her crime, lowering her moral standing, demoralizing her citizenship, and giving to posterity a weaker race and causing such poverty, misery and unhumanitarian 142 distress. Can this enlightened nation afford its continuance and let it remain when it has a grasp so powerful that it is endangering its very vitals? Can America, with her unsurpassed institutions of learning, her brilliant and scholarly statesmen, her great mineral and agricultural wealth yet unfound and developed, allow a traffic so alarmingly demoralizing as to let her constitutional principles decline? Can she sit still, under her broad and world famed methods of progress, and allow such a traffic, that devastates from every source, for a revenue wrung from women’s tears, that is so rapidly depreciating her citizenship. Is she prudent? Is she applying the Christian principles of her constitution to obtain revenue from a traffic so nefarious and debauching? If she realizes the danger ahead why delay an amendment that enhances citizenship and principle. 143

America, ’tis thee I prize,

’Twas underneath thy azure skies,

Where heaven’s light first met my eyes.


I love thy thrift and enterprise,

To me beloved and so wise

Thy name is one I idolize.


Thy blood did purchase liberty,

To make this land so great and free,

And quench forever tyranny.


Oh may thy name forever be

Embraced within a righteous plea,

That lessens pain and misery.


It is for thee that I will fight,

When’er thy cause is for the right,

For none but these e’er use thy might.



I’ll heed your call with keen delight,

But should I fall before the night,

Let freedom’s flag be my last sight.


Look out for the man whose face shows it pains him to say “Good Morning.”

Never be afraid to trust the man whose dog meets him with a bound.

The mad rush to join the appendicitis club and sing in the choir invisible has lost its popularity, both for the good of posterity and the pocket book.

Some people take a great deal of liberty with the English language, when they speak of work.

Stick to the boys who borrow a five occasionally and 146 pay it back; rather than the fellows who love you like a fly does molasses when your roll would choke a lazy mule.

It’s cheaper to buy your coal from your regular dealer and take short weight, than to steal it from the railroad and pay court costs.

It’s an ice cold fact that the fellow who is continually condemning others’ faults and pointing with pride to his own great meritable achievements, is not entitled to a premium for sincerity.

It’s often the sour, surly looking man that goes down in his pocket and gives you his last quarter, when hunger is beating a fast tattoo against your breastworks. 147

Because a man joins the church and becomes a pious and strict respecter of Sunday observance, don’t cast all caution aside and let him sell you gold mine stock on Monday, unless you know something about the mine.

Some men tell you the wonderful things they have done from the corner store dry goods box and then let their wives earn the living over the wash tub.

Many a man has nearly grasped St. Peter’s hand, when his wife’s razor edged tongue drove him clean down to perdition.

The fellow who is always harping hypocrite and hurling cheap invectives against the church isn’t the man to arouse confidence, the only one he helps is the devil. 148

Take away profanity from some men’s conversation and you haven’t enough left to know what they said.

When a man buys an Auto or a Ford on credit and lets the whiskers grow on his coal bill they say he’s got the fever. I don’t think it could be the brain kind.

If money and whiskey would lose their influence in the courts, juries and legislatures would go to sleep and jail doors rust on their hinges.

When the Lord turns his X rays upon the people, the churches will fill so rapidly that Easter bonnets and dress suits can be picked up anywhere. 149

I know a wealthy man by the name of Moore who never was satisfied.

Obituaries are not a safe guide to the real truth.

Recollections become dim on the witness stand.

It’s better to faint in the arms of truth and die in poverty than to lie for the lap of luxury and die disgraced.

A drunken man’s breath is preferable to the wagging tongue of a gossip.

Any man could live with a woman who has the patience to bathe in a wash tub twenty-one inches in diameter for seventeen years without complaining. 150

Marry in haste and repent in alimony.

It’s a sad fact that many a man has missed his calling and there is elegant material for day laborers among the professions and vice versa.

If it wasn’t for $$$ a great many people would be wearing the stripes.

Some men are so economical they go without socks to buy whiskey.

If some women were better cooks there would be less dyspepsia and fewer divorces.

If too many cooks spoil the broth, could too many church denominations spoil the man? 151

The longer you use the Christ-like religion the better you like it and the better it makes you.

The man who makes careless remarks about women does not possess the fine attributes of a gentleman.

If religion cost money, how some church members with bible names would grab for their purses when the lights go out.

Religion and sympathy cost nothing, but you’d think they were diamonds the way some people use them.

The first marriage is for love, the second for convenience, and the third a cold business proposition. Don’t try for a four-bagger. 152

The cleanliness of the tea towel is a safe criterion to a good house-keeper.

The great jewel “Consistency” cannot be bought with money.

Some people are so hard hearted, onions would have no effect at a funeral.

If you don’t like the taste of life’s medicine, be your own doctor and change the ingredients.

If some weak-kneed marshals and sheriffs would do their duty, there would be less bootleggers.

Some women join the ladies’ aid and use the lemon extravagantly. 153

Many a woman can hardly keep from yelling “Hallelujah” when her husband dies.

If some mothers don’t spend more time with their children and less with politics this country will be over-run with pick-pockets.

If all mis-mated marriages were suddenly annulled, it wouldn’t take an expert mathematician to count those left in wedlock.

If it wasn’t for their money, thousands of women would leave their husbands.

Whiskey has killed more men than all the surgeons.

Lay the rod on the child before he gets too strong. 154

Better be a lady waiting than marry a sot.

Honesty stops millions from becoming millionaires.

Women born in Alaska seldom get married; too long in cold storage.

The undertaker’s sympathy never interferes with his profits; he gets the last crack at you and you can’t kick.

Many a woman, who never had an extra pair of hosiery at home, loses sight of economy, after her marriage, and plunges into extravagance so heedlessly that her husband gives up in discouragement. 155

Live within your means, but don’t borrow money to do it.

Spend your money when you are young, if you want to spend your old age in the poor house.

Put a strong proviso in your deed before you turn it over to your children, if you expect to buy your own tobacco.

The boy who criticizes his father’s depleted finances on account of hardships and honest failures, should be bodily removed into the open air with the same amount of clothes he had when he was born and let the thermometer show forty degrees below zero.

A court or jury that will convict a man for 156 stealing a ten cent soup bone and acquit the man who made thousands by going into bankruptcy ought to have a steady stream of hot tar running down their aesophagus.

Many a rock-ribbed democrat votes for a Republican, if there is something in it.

The tramp, with his back against the water tank, studies as hard on his side of the problem of existence as does the fellow with greater resources, who is up against it.

The man who can fulfill the bible by taking the slap on both sides of the cheek is seven parts lamb and one part Irish.

The difference between a cackling hen and 157 a cackling woman is, one cackles when she lays and the other cackles all the time she don’t lay.

Trust in God but look out for everybody else.

The man that totes a whiskey blossom on the end of his flue carries a cheap add for the devil.

Don’t worry over the sport that can smoke twenty cigarettes a day.

The girl that marries the man to reform him has a SAD lesson to learn.

A good excuse saves lots of lying.


I most humbly beg your pardon for inserting here a short address to a Republican Convention when I was aspiring to the office of County Clerk for the second term. The chairman having instructed the secretary of the convention to cast the entire vote of the delegation for myself, I addressed the convention as follows:

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the Convention: Accept my profound thanks for the splendid manifestation of honor that you have conferred upon an humble individual like myself. I wish to impress upon you the political principles I outlined to you briefly two years ago, are the same today as they 159 were then. I would rather be defeated honorably, squarely and honestly than to be successful with a tarnished character obtained through disreputable methods. I realize, as do all intelligent reasoners withholding myself to be the humblest among you, that character is something that is not acquired while we sleep. It is a constant every day struggle, a life-long battle. Take away our character and what have we left.

I desire to say to you gentlemen that during my lifetime I have been intimately acquainted with labor in its most aggressive form. I know what it is to stand between two shining bands of steel under a scorching July sun. I know what it is to stack hay under a sultry and oppressive heat. I know the loneliness and privations that comes to one 160 who has tended stock in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. I fully realize that these different pursuits require grit and determination, they are the hardest kind of labors, but I can say to you in all candor that I have never worked harder in my life than in the past two years endeavoring to serve the citizens of this county in the capacity of clerk.

If I have been competent, if I have been faithful, if I have done my duty, that is not for me to decide. You are the judges of these conditions, if you think I have, then I ask for your support and influence. You are a body of men from all parts of this county; if each one of you will work for the best interests of the party I see no reason why we should not be successful at the polls. The campaign this year is short; I wish to say for myself that I will not be able to get around 161 much. The duties of my office for the past six weeks have been very strenuous and will continue so to be for some time to come. The state board of equalization were late in sending their report and not only being late, but were unkind, and raised the valuation on several of our taxable properties and this makes extra work for the clerk, so I trust you will be like the turkey in the tall tree and keep one eye open for the boy from Lodge Pole.

There has happened in my short career as an American citizen a good many things that I have felt elated over and proud of. I am proud that I am an American citizen, born under the stars and stripes and belong to a nation second to none. I am proud I was born in a state whose brow is bathed by the mighty Missouri and upon whose bosom flourishes the most productive crop of the union. 162 But if there is one thing that I am prouder of more than any other, it is the fact that I belong to a party whose motto is principle and good government, and whose loftiest aim has always been to make America the ideal nation of the world. I thank you.

I will here relate an incident that happened when I first encountered experience in her knee breeches, I have termed it a fighting, explosive nauseating cough remedy. I would prefer calling it an egg nogg; but there is one extra ingredient that disfranchises the egg and in a peculiar way leaves the nogg there in a somewhat embarrassing condition.

When I was a youth, I had some peculiar traits in my makeup. My main instruction was received from that old professor, experience, and day by day I gained some valuable knowledge in the school of hard knocks. Being of 163 a peculiar turn of mind I had implicit truth and confidence in all mankind, and on account of this trait I have often met with misplaced confidence.

For instance, the “Bonuses” and “Good Wills” heretofore related. I had contracted a bad cold of tenacious irritability down near the little hamlet of Paxton, Nebraska, while performing the menial labor of an every day workman on the renowned line of the Union Pacific. The work being accomplished was known as bucking steel. Through climatic conditions of contraction and expansion the rails on one side had gained from nine to twelve feet over the rails in the other side. The side that was ahead was being pulled back to the point opposite the other by a locomotive attached to a large cable. Some said this strategic work swelled the premium of 164 the water soaked stock; but this contention is left to philosophers and those who study economic problems, as to whether or not the corporation was ahead rails at Omaha or short at Ogden.

The days were exceedingly warm, it being in the autumn of the year. I lost more perspiration than was due me and along toward evening, when old sol was getting ready to retire and also largely due to a scant wardrobe, a chilliness would steal over my spare physique. The ride home from the work in the evening, on flat cars, at a hurried speed, caused the night air to condense in the locality of the throat. Nature not doing her part, I tried to assist her in removing the obstruction and, as soon as the speed of the train would allow, I shot from the car in a mad race for the boarding house. Being sure footed and 165 fleet, I was generally first at the wash basin, erasing from my countenance Nebraska’s productive soil and leaving what the water didn’t loosen on the old fashioned long rolling boarding house towel. These repeated conditions day after day commenced to tell and the slight cold became a hacking cough that embraced more forcibly than a Dutch lassie reared on eastern corn.

After the work was completed, the men were returned to the various localities. Upon arriving safely at my destination, I went to the home physician. “Doc” when not incarcerated in the county bastile for dispensing a compound familiarly known as whiskey but better known to home residents as hades corked up in a bottle, prescribed, from his oft water stock. (I pause for a scalding sensation felt on my cheeks.) Poor Old “Doc” is sleeping beneath the sod. 166

Constant concoctions bringing no relief, I was at last listening to a well meant prescription from my co-laborer Dick. He said his remedy would give unwavering satisfaction to ailments like mine. I don’t think his remedy would stand the pure food law test; but when you get to clutching you’ll clutch anything. So I listened to the unlearned pharmacist and keenly assented and he started to compound two well known ingredients in equal parts. One ingredient was controlled by that magnetic dollar chaser, John D., and the other was controlled by nobody, it did the controling, i. e., oil and whiskey. I’d cover up this last ingredient and give it a better concealed classical standing but ignorance is bliss and there you are. This carefully prepared drink, my friend said, should be taken five minutes before breakfast. So according to directions 167 I hoisted the tin cup and down went the fluids. Just enough oil in it to make it slip quick, and you had it before you really knew it.

It is now twenty-three years since I swallowed that conglomeration and I can’t hardly pass a home one-gallon kerosene can full or empty without a keen desire to kick the bottom out of it, but you have to be careful with other people’s property, whether it’s mortgaged or not. No matter how keen or fertile your imagination may be you can’t realize a dose of this character unless you taste it. Take the minutest equal parts of each, mix them, drink them and be convinced. Was I sick? Of all the great guns of all our wars, Civil or uncivil, I will take my oath before any judge of common jurisdiction, sitting as a court of record and say I WAS.

The only recollection I have of the breakfast menu 168 was the two hard boiled eggs and a faint remembrance, as I was leaving the table, of a fruit picture on the wall tipping up and down. That was the first time I ever saw anything inanimate acting so. Mercy, the taste of that oil and the remembrance of it, mixing in a place the size of your fist! Think of that rip-roaring, sizzling tobacco flavored, ingredient, trying to slip one over on that kerosene and knock out those two hard-boiled, well matured, boarding-house eggs. I say in all candor, I don’t blame John D. for watering the oil. Water it more, John, it will be milder to take. I went through the oil belt in Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and all the rest, I visited all the stills, illicit, and otherwise of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Colorado; and as soon as brother Pat could get me to my room and my head out of the window I hoisted the 169 hottest fluids and food stuffs ever contained in the stomach of man or beast. I have always felt sorry for those eggs on account of their age.

I must take a short glimpse here of a peculiar incident that transpired under my roof between two men of the cloth. One was a M. E. minister and the other a seven day advent. The advent had been staying in town for several weeks and I became fairly well acquainted with him and his estimable wife, and he asked me if they might have a few meetings at our home in the evenings, and I said certainly and he came. Both he and his wife were scholars, well cultured and refined and we enjoyed listening to their version of the scriptures. How the M. E. minister came to be there one evening is still a mystery to me, but I think some one of his 170 parishioners must have told him that Satan had entered our home and he had better intervene and see if he couldn’t extricate us from the wary gentleman’s clutches.

The evening entertainment was progressing nicely and the advent man was in charge of the machinery, when suddenly the M. E. man took issue with him over his version of one of the scriptural passages and quick wit and repartee was fast and furious. The advent was the superior in scriptural knowledge and the way he got the other fellow in the meshes and so completely tangled him up is an event that can never be erased from my memory. The M. E. man was nonplussed, red of face and angry; and so ungentlemanly as to let all the fireworks in his dignified Sunday nature explode and told the cool, calm advent that teachings of his kind should be in 171 hell. You may lay this excitement to anger, being worsted, or anything you like, but I think the gentleman he came to remove from our home entered him one hundred per cent strong. Why he was on his feet with his Methodist fists clenched, ready to fight, and if it hadn’t been for the soothing, pacifying utterances of his good wife saying, “John,” “John,” I don’t know what would have happened. The other fellow laughed at him and I really think if the worst had occurred he would have given the angry man a fuller meaning of the Bible and turned the other cheek.

I think if an Advent says Saturday is the Lord’s day and should be observed on the Sabbath, the Methodist says Sunday is the day, and some other denomination says Friday is the day, I’m willing to be convinced. It 172 beats having the Fourth of July come on Saturday, and if I had enough money so I needn’t work I’d say let seven different denominations have seven different days, and no matter which home I observed I wouldn’t be left out shivering in an undershirt. Something peculiar about church denominations, all of them headed for the same place, but each one anxious to route you. One tells you they have the old travelled road, founded on the Bible, another a different way, founded on the Bible, and others another different way, also founded on the Bible. I conclude the best and surest way is to be a Christian and read the Bible, live it and let God show the way. Sunday churches or Saturday churches carry no guarantee that you’ll reach Heaven.

Before I invested in “Good-wills” and “Bonuses” and other losing investments, I 173 would occasionally take my family for a little trip on the Los Angeles limited and rub against the aristocracy and the diamonds. Years before when I was a day laborer on the same road over which this elegant train glides, I thought to travel on such a goddess of beauty was a luxury only for wealth and culture, and a pleasure unequaled, but hope beats eternal in the human breast and as I had lived largely on hope for over thirty years, I finally said hope can go to blazes, the opportunity is here and why not embrace it.

Well, it is certainly a big taste of wealth and affluence to settle in cushions a foot deep with all the wrinkles eradicated for once in a lifetime by a well filled stomach of the choicest viands in the culinary art. And oh the lofty thoughts as you settle down in the deep upholstery and listen to the clicking of 174 the rails as you speed away on this overland beauty. There is a peculiar feeling under your vest as you notice the well groomed man, the well groomed woman, the sparkle of the electric lights and the glitter of the diamonds. Elegance everywhere. The very height of ingenuity. Then when you enter the dining car with its rosewood finish, tastily decorated tables, superb linen, and cast your eye over the choice menu and have the black gentry all attention and ready to care for your smallest want, you may feel as I did, pretty classy company for a boy from Lodge Pole. Of course there are snubs here and there, you find them everywhere. They are in a class that is well known for nineteen hundred years. They took the leading part in the crucifixion of the Nazarene. We can’t exist without having them, and if you will 175 notice in any walk of life, there is a pain for nearly every pleasure, with corns and bunions thrown in.

As a hunter I never received any distinction and am forced to admit as such I am an entire nonentity and failure. My father owned a rifle which was the only one of its kind in our community for years and years. Its early history I am unfamiliar with and never learned it. It was in his possession when I was born and I suppose it was the gun he carried on the hand car for protection when the Indians were numerous in the latter sixties. At some time it received a broken stock and ever after its being repaired it was known as old splice. For many years when the old year died and the new year was born, old splice spoke forth at its birth and its missile of death generally lodged in the tail of the railroad wind mill. 176

Old splice was the type of one hundred years ago, when people weren’t killed as quickly as today, the loading was slow and gave one chance to escape; I remember brother Pat used it to shoot a dog that he had tied up with a rope. He took steady aim, pulled the old fashioned hammer and fired. When the smoke cleared away the dog was running with the fullest capacity of its limbs. The ball had cut the rope.

I never shot old splice but once and I’ll always remember the incident. A chicken hawk had been tormenting the poultry for a long time and I got bold and reckless one day, grabbed old splice (some one had been kind enough to leave it loaded) and sallied forth bent on destruction. The hawk was soaring high in the air but didn’t seem to want to descend any. Old splice was supposed to 177 carry half a mile and as I knew this was not the distance from the gun to the hawk, I concluded to test out old splice and see if the prowess of the old fellow had been exaggerated. I had heard some one say you must get down on one knee, as an attitude of respect, I presume, and hold the stock solidly and lovingly against the shoulder. I did both of these things and fired. I felt my head strike the ground so amazingly quick and hard that it confused and startled me. I knew I was committing no crime and couldn’t account for such harsh treatment. At first I thought the bird might have struck me in the face and, it coming from such a height, would cause a terrible compact when one body met another, but I abandoned this idea, as no hawk was anywhere above or below. Then I thought I might have torn some planet loose, 178 but this was an asylum idea also. Then I thought some one may have overfed old splice and made him bilious. I afterwards learned this was true. The miscreant still lives.


If it wasn’t for the word hope this would be a dreary world for the fellow who plans and builds in the future. It rises and falls in every human breast. Some have an over abundance, and others lack in not having enough. It arouses buoyancy and encouragement to see one who reaches toward hope and almost succeeds but doesn’t get quite a firm enough grip to fasten the goal securely before he has to let go; but no matter how hard the fall, or how often, he’s up and trying again. Discouragement or complete failure never causes a faltering step or gets time to fester with despondency before keener activity revives the energy and the shattered hope is 180 rehabilitated and again swells the breast so full there is nothing to do but try again. Bless the hopeful man or woman. Some can’t stand the fall, they go down clear to the bottom. Defeat and despondency chain them fast.

In the year 1896 when Bryan was preparing his famous oration “The Crown of Gold” that was so ably delivered and well received and which was the leading factor in opening up the road for him to the White House, I commenced scheming and planning on patentable ideas. Nineteen years of hard thinking has brought no visible financial returns and so far the patent attorney is the only one who has received toll. I never entered the field thinking I had any latent ingenuity like Edison, Westinghouse, Ford and many others; but I had hopes, as long as I could pay the 181 attorney and the filing fee of the patent office.

My first application for a patent was an adjustable track wrench that met complete failure after a year’s pendency. I thought I had a good, practical, economical, and convenient wrench, but after the said period of time elapsed my attorney informed me it was rejected by the chief examiner on account of prior similar claims already patented. Of course you must not get confused and wonder why he didn’t tell me this before I filed the application. If he had the self-explanatory portion of the scheme loses its self respect and puts the attorney in a bad financial light, which I would dislike to do. However, the discouraging news was so cool and saddening at this first attempt that it froze my ingenuity a decade and a quarter, and then hope rose again and I called once more on 182 the dormant faculty and changed attorneys.

After due diligence had persevered and I had stood the condemnation of my wife, who said I was getting absent-minded and hard of hearing, I sent in my application duly witnessed and sworn to, along with the necessary stipend that makes the wheels buzz in the attorney’s head and swells that seven millions of profit accrued in the patent office from a good many fellows like myself. Nice to help swell this big profit for some day when this accumulation becomes large enough our wise custodians of this fund may transfer it like ordinary Town Council men do when one fund gets too far ahead and pay off the national debt. My second application was an improved index and a device of meritable convenience over present ones, so I thought. It has been pending two years after failing 183 ten times before the chief examiner, who doesn’t seem to have the courtesy to allow it.

While the invention was safe and secure in the government vault, I was rash enough to go into another irrational period and get out a computing device for the busy coal man to aid him in rapid accurate calculations and do away with the old time method of having coal swell so sixteen hundred pounds was a ton; not really a long ton but a short ton. This wonderful invention hatched in the brain of an ordinary man, lingered in Washington one year and a half, and was then rejected. I wouldn’t care for having it rejected, but I’d like to have the rejectors use a milder word, one that doesn’t rankle so much and stir up the mean things in you.

Well, here are two great inventions for the betterment of the race denied, and from the 184 way the attorney wrote in his last tribute of love to me, the third is hanging over the precipice and is ready to fall among its ancestors.

I had hopes when I invested in the last two ideas, my total expenditures, including postage on a voluminous amount of correspondence, was $141.28, and this is how I disbursed the interest on that amount:—I calculated conservatively that the two inventions would net me $50,000. Here she goes! To my father-in-law, for giving away his daughter to me, for which I have never paid, $1,000.00; to two sisters-in-law that favored my suit, $1,000.00 each; to a brother-in-law that did the square thing by me, $1,000.00; to my oldest brother, who continually hammered me when I was young and smaller than he, $1,000.00; to a younger brother, whom I could hammer, $1,000.00; to my four sisters, 185 $1,000.00 each. Ten thousand of the iron men at work. The next $20,000 I put at interest in Colorado, where it is easy to get a ten per cent rate. This would bring me in $2,000.00 a year to live on, and by being frugal I might be able to smoke a five cent cigar occasionally and let the corn cob pipe have a chance to dry up some of its nicotine. The next $10,000 went to old people who have nearly reached the summit of their lives, but on account of the feebleness of their limbs, poor eyesight and a meagre pocketbook, the final ascent overtaxes their small reserve of strength and with want and sacrifice being in the majority they can’t quite make it. To these aged and needy people I would give $500.00 cash. This amount would render their last days comfortable, free from worry and care. That helps twenty old couples, forty 186 people that are worthy and needy. The remaining $10,000 goes from my pocket in ready cash to people met every day, people whose countenances have rigidly printed thereon a silent appeal for sympathy and help. A meal to the man suffering from the pangs of hunger; $50.00 to a woman making her living over a washboard and fighting a losing fight against poverty to rear her brood; $100.00 for a present and a Christmas tree to poor little children who never have the pleasure of unwrapping a doll or any kind of a toy; $5.00 to a laboring man looking for work; $10.00 on a subscription list to help a poor widow bury her boy; $25.00 to the man in the pulpit preaching straight from the shoulder; $10.00 for a railroad ticket to take a girl home who expected work in the city but didn’t find it. And so goes the remaining 187 $10,000, here a little and there a little. I think I could gladden more hearts with this last $10,000 than the great man who spent millions in libraries and free reading rooms throughout the country. With all due respect to him, the man in overalls and the girl who must work are the ones who need literature the worst, but the struggle for existence is so keen they haven’t time to read books and they feel humiliated and unwelcome in their everyday garb mingling with the better dressed people. The well-groomed man and woman of today, in a large sense, doesn’t apply any too closely the ethics of the Galilean and would rather not mingle with the less fortunate people, so the conclusive thesis is there is no congeniality between the two and the primary object of helping the fellow who needed it most is a failure. But alas, the $50,000 is 188 still behind the capitalist and must wait for hope to rise again.

Not feeling satisfied but that there was plenty of loose coin waiting to flow to me, I took up the pleasant but unprofitable part avocation of composing songs. I had a Washington music firm write the music, copyright the songs in my name, do the advertising, and remit one-half the proceeds to me semi-annually January 31st and July 31st. I was very careful to set out specifically the remitting part in our contract. Each song had its own peculiarity and sentiment to touch the public pulse, which so far has been untouchable. The first song, “A Tear Drop Always Glistened in His Eye,” was to fasten itself on the hearts of the people like “Annie Laurie.” “When the Silver Moon Light Sparkles on the Lake” made its bow to the public; I 189 hoped lovers with emotion would go wild over it and would know a good thing when they heard it. If they had such a feeling the emoluments failed to show it. The third song, “Anna, My Anna,” was short and jerky for the happy-go-lucky class of people that fell so in love with “Casey Jones.” But it seems this class wouldn’t respond either, and leaves me with the entire stock on hand with an expenditure of $90.00 trying to get the people to sing. I find them more unresponsive than the preacher when he says let everybody sing, and a few who gave their best years in the Lord’s service lift up their cracked voices in earnest endeavor to lead the sheep, and the sheep, lambs and all go astray. My share of the profits has been ten one cent postage stamps, just the ordinary kind, the common kind you can get from every postoffice in the 190 country. And the trio which failed to receive public recognition I laid away where moths and rust doth not decrease their earning power and neither do thieves molest them. Three more hopes decently but sadly buried.

There is also intertwined and resting sweetly in slumberland 175 shares of Cracker Engle Gold Mine Stock at twenty cents per share and twelve years accrued interest. I had the customary notice before I bought that the stock would advance rapidly in price and if I invested without hesitation and without investigation I would have the benefit of the first and early advance. I hearkened to the alluring honey literature and sent a U. S. money order, something whose face value couldn’t be questioned. I wanted to be absolutely sure I’d get the stock. I got it all right. I have such faith in that stock that I can go 191 anywhere and leave it behind unlocked doors and it never strays away.

A home boy succeeded in getting a patent on an improved table. He incorporated under the laws where Wilson was governor and then invited capital for manufacturing purposes. He styled his invention “The Great Western Improvement Company” and sold seventeen shares at the flat sum of $5.00. I learned a little from the crack at the Cracker Eagle and did not fly so high and only took the $5.00 worth. It’s comical now, to me, how the inventor and promoter explained how his table was superior to the common ordinary everyday table that’s been in use so long. It had a hollow holding receptacle in the center and he said after the meal had been stowed away and nothing was left but the dishes and flies, the housewife could, if she felt so disposed, 192 elevate a handle and the soiled dishes would disappear and the table would have an inviting appearance. He said it was especially fine when conversation had been brisk and company or peddlers were seen coming; all that was necessary was the quick jerk of the ever-ready handle and down out of sight went the dishes, flies, napkins, and everything untidy and untasty. I was looking for votes when this investment was made and while the votes may not have had an equal value I let it go at that and put away the stock for my grandchildren. Another share of stock in the Campbells’ Farming Association at a cost of $5.00 brings my get rich quick investments to a finis. The only other stock I ever had was bank stock. I invested $1,500.00 in a State Bank in Nebraska. I didn’t lose on this deal but the money would 193 have paid better on a straight five per cent rate.

Nothing would have done me more good and brought a keener satisfaction than to have had a nice remuneration from some investment that I have made. My wife called me what the bible says she shouldn’t so many times that it seems to look like I am really a bigger one than she said I was, and if I could have changed her mind by laying before her eyes a nice portly check for $5,000.00 or $10,000.00 it would have been such an agreeable surprise not only to her but to myself that we both would have enjoyed it, and especially myself if I could have pulled it over. But if hope don’t come again I will have to let that excellent pleasure be like Mathewson’s speedy one and fade away.

A lad of the average type at twenty-one has 194 a great deal of stored up energy; he has the muscle bank and the brain bank from which to get his necessary resources, and a great many lads think Dad is a back number and he sees where the old gentleman was short on gray matter, and all advice is lost on this sort of boys. I was never conceited this way, in fact I think somebody else got nearly all the gall that should have been mine. If a fellow holds his own in these days, no matter what party is in power, Democratic or Republican, you need your full allowance of gall. The lad that thinks that the governor’s gray matter is not as profuse as it should be, but he, through some unknown force, grabbed all that was coming to him and part of dad’s might read the following verse and the conclusive portion of this 195 chapter and apply it from a stand point of ordinary horse sense:

When Johnnie Jones was twenty-one

He said my farming life is done,

I’ll pack my duds and say Good Bye

And to the city I will hie.

I’ll show the ones who think they’re it

That Johnnie Jones has got the grit

To make a name that will be felt

Like Astor, Gould or Roosevelt.

It makes the pain come home when you look back from fifty and realize that a man at twenty-one is a darn big fool, at thirty still a fool, at thirty-five a little foolish, and at forty he still has some, at forty-five wisdom breaks in gently, and at fifty he stands on the threshold of learning ready to apply and absorb, and at sixty he’s a valuable asset to his community and country.


Something has been gained and our life has not been futile if we can say we owe no man and there is no obligation through which we have passed, financial or otherwise, of which we are ashamed. We may not have acquired honor, wealth or position but if we have lived up to the teachings of the plumb and the square, we have a record that will stand the closest investigation when we knock for entrance at the pearly gates. If we can stand with our whole soul bared before our maker and he sees that chastity and the sweet purity of any girl or woman has never been trespassed upon we have acquired something that brings smiles to angels’ faces. If we 197 have stood firm when temptations surged and tossed and clamored and we met them and conquered, we have through our moral force a better right to the precious gems of God’s kingdom than those saved in the eleventh hour. If we have never repeated unwholesome stories or spoken slightingly of another’s character or said disrespectfully something that we knew untrue, then we have lived well. Each day’s battles must be fought alone and leave tomorrow’s till they come. Never tear down character, it is the choicest gift in the universe and constitutes life’s work. Remember a pure woman or a pure man is the noblest work of God. Don’t let your footsteps slip from the path of virtue but plant them firm and deep in the path of righteousness. Keep away from people whose thoughts are degrading, and never harbor foul and indecent 198 language. Make it your most earnest desire to avoid using profanity and vile utterances, an immoral epithet has a clinging effect which takes years to erase, and those that emulate and make us better takes determination and purity.

I am now approaching the half-century mark. I can look ahead a few years and see the fiftieth mile post. In all the years that have past and gone I can recall none where my conditions and prospects are so alarming, serious and discouraging as at the present time. I have a peculiar ailment in my left side that has baffled the medical fraternity and caused extreme anxiety to myself. I have endeavored with courage and determination to exterminate it. I have tried assiduously physical culture, osteopathy, dietics, Christian science and medicine. I have consulted freely 199 and often the great physician and all so far have failed. With treatment at Hot Springs thrown in as good measure. The surgeons say an operation is the only hope through which they can discover the cause and eliminate it. I dread operations like I do “Good Wills” and “Bonuses.” My wife had one and the doctor in charge said she would be a well woman in three weeks, but those three weeks were worse than that two weeks’ loan. They stretched into six long, bitter years and were the direct cause of an outlay of money in excess of three thousand dollars. Glad again of the early use of that harrow, for there was surely a gross violation of the truth on the part of the surgeon. On account of dearie’s precarious health I was forced to try a lower altitude, and this not being sufficient it was 200 necessary to try the balmy, sunny air of California and sojourn there among the orange blossoms and the singing birds for seven long months. This caused me to give up my position of clerk that netted me in my four years’ labor the tidy sum of ten thousand dollars.

Today as I stand looking at that fiftieth mile post I realize in the vernacular of the day “I am up against it.” My money is gone, my ailment bothers me, I have a family to provide for, and the wolf stands on the threshold with his mouth open and his long, gaunt body in readiness to make the jump. In some way I must appease five empty stomachs from consuming five back bones. My investments were bad. I tied up thirty-five hundred dollars in a partnership lumber business, fifteen hundred dollars in a home to shelter my loved ones, and the rest went 201 for food and clothing. I struck a highly modern town with all the up-to-date conveniences, property depreciated fifty per cent, business was stagnant, interest kept gnawing, and taxes went skyward. The two sad mistakes I made was: first, to visit the office of the County Treasurer and learn about the taxes; and the second was to stay out of business unless we had enough money to pay for it and keep to the leeward of that ten per cent interest, but I didn’t and so much more for experience, the grandma of teachers.

I do not lack courage and determination but knowing and being able to see that fiftieth mile post causes a shudder and slight touches of despondency. I think my training is more than is alloted the average man. I have been a day laborer on the farm, railroad and hay field. I have worked for a large number of 202 task masters and I failed to remember when I was ever criticised for not keeping up my end. I have held a good many positions of trust such as census enumerator, section foreman, extra gang foreman, county clerk, clerk of the district court, abstractor, town trustee, and member of the school board.

The first time I was a candidate for county clerk I ran on the Republican ticket. I am not telling this in any spirit of the braggart but as a sample of confidence. In my old home precinct I received one hundred and twenty votes out of one hundred and thirty-two, and in the precinct where I worked as section foreman I received forty votes out of forty-eight, and this had always been a strong Democratic precinct. My opponent was a strong candidate and entirely familiar with political tactics, an old scholar in the school. 203 But when the votes were counted I received the certificate of election and laid down the tamping bar and took up the pen. I could have established a precedent and been elected again but dearie’s health would not permit and I declined to run.

Some say the hand of fate guides our destinies and it was so to be, but I am at a loss to understand why it should so be. I have lived clean, I have always met my obligations with the strictest honor, no marks of dissipation, inwardly or otherwise, have scarred my form and thank God he nor any other can find any danger signals that can isolate me from a free transport to the narrow path. I have been economical, conservative and kind and I think I have done my very best. I have treated every one with the closest application that can be unravelled from the ten commandments and 204 the additional commandment established through Christ.

All through my married life I have been attentive to my wife and in any room of our mortgaged home you can see many tokens of affection that she has received. I have endeavored to lighten her domestic burden and almost every Monday morning for the past twelve years I have been the propeller at the washing machine. Hundred of times I have arisen between the hours of three and four and wended my way to the family kitchen and waded in on the soiled linen. I never sneaked out the back way to avoid using the tea towel on waiting dishes. I can use the broom, duster and make the beds. I can scrub, polish the stove, cook the steak, and perform almost the entire category of domestic needs; but when it comes to baking I 205 would rather face the cannon’s mouth (a silent one like in the city park in Denver) and die like a martyr. I have often acted as maid. I recall once when I was a maid my wife was bed fast for three weeks. We lived in a strong church town, somewhere near eighty per cent, it seemed nearly all were Christians but during dearie’s sickness there was not a single Christian woman or suffragist came to see her, offered her services, or was in any way interested. I am sorry this happened in this broad land of boasted Christianity and civilization. Some of these same Christian ladies never failed to appear when the dues for foreign missions were bordering on delinquency or when some rations were needed for a church spread.

I believe in doing good and giving cheer. You can always notice a gleam of pleasure in 206 your wife’s face when you give her a box of candy, a dress, a dish, or some little token, and how she clings to the missiles of love that you may have penned on scraps of paper, chunks of wood and other things. They always speak for something I think meritable. I think the pathway of dearie can be made more cheerful if she is remembered daily and not all in one chunk at Christmas time, and then let her wait for another twelve months. I never feared I would kiss my wife too much. I kiss her more now than when I courted her and they are just as sweet as ever. It helps to keep the love light in her eye.

I have three fine children. I am not conceited about them; other people say they are good. I have done my best to raise them well. Two of them are in the County High 207 School, the eldest a girl of sweet sixteen and the other a noisy boy of fourteen. The remaining one is a baby of two and one-half years. I must leave these three children and dearie and look for employment. You can realize how pleasant it is to be separated from them. How sad it is to kiss dearie and the others good bye and have the many cute sayings of a strongly attached baby ringing in your ears, not only through the dreary, lonesome days but long after the shadows fall.

Such is life with its pains and sorrows. They come to us all and while I may think my road is rougher than is allotted the ordinary individual I suppose others think the same. The one great consolation I have is that dearie is almost a strong, well woman, and that is worth all I have passed through and I would gladly undergo it again for her. I must be 208 getting ready, the colonists reduced rates of our liberal hearted “S-T-E-E-L” railroads is near the finis of the twelve-day limit. The parting is at hand. I kiss the loved ones good bye, cling tenaciously to my second-class ticket, guard well my pneumatic pocket book with its ragged puncture and try again in pretty California among the salty ocean breezes, the cheerful flowers, the fragrant orange blossoms and the shady pepper trees to find work and health for those I love. GOOD BYE.

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