Democratic watchman. (Bellefonte, Pa.) 1855-1940, December 25, 1896, Image 11

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say Johnny, what are you going to do to-night? Lets go up to Wil.
liams’ place and have a game of pool.”
The speaker was a dapper, well dressed little fellow, whom every
body liked because of his aff whility, yet there had been several ochre
ehades in his past that the little world in which he moved knew of and they
acted as a nicely constructed-brake whenever he would let that uncontrollable
vein of banter, that constituted a large portion of his character, lead him $c" a
far in poking the rattling ribs of other people’s skeletons.
“I tell you Johnny, its a corker, why I just got a telegram from Pittsburg,
but this business is getting too big, d’ you understand ? I’m going up to
Williams’ to-night and enjoy myself with the boys, whether school keeps
or not.”
Taking his somewhat indifferent friend by the arm he tried to drag him away
from the friendly post which had been supporting him for the past halt hour in
front of one of the leading hotels in the town. If the fair curling hair, the full
moon face and almost girlish mouth of the man whom he addressed as ‘‘John-
ny,” were indications of his nativity and his nature the physiognomist would
say that he was a Swede with a disposition as gentle asa June zephyr, yet
looks are deceptive and, alack, beauty is only skin deep.
As a matter of fact Johnny was oneof the most obstinate of men. His habit
of quizzing everyone until he found out what gide of a question they were
on, then taking the opposite, simply to get into an argument, was 80 well known to
his little friend that it was indeed a wonder that he even suggested Williams’
if he had any hopes of getting him there.
At this particular moment it was an ill timed suggestion for Johnny was
day dreaming. Mentally he was tossing about a chic, round pebble and
wondering if there were any rounder ones in existence than the one he had
picked up on the beach at Pleasure Bay the summer before.
The little fellow realized that he would have to take a different course with
his companion, so sauntering into the hotel he looked over the register of the
day’s arrivals, indulged in repartee with the loungers whom he knew, and went
out to find his friend awakened wide enough from his reverie to walk up street
with him.
They left the place together and wandered along, on that crisp fall evening,
talking all the small talk that men who are really actively in business delight
to regale themselves with occasionally and did not realize it until they were in
the cosy pool room, where half a dozen or more gentlemen were already hilarious
over a game. They were invited to take ‘‘gticks’’ immediately upon entering
and as the balls were just being placed for a new game both of them went into
“it. There was the usual jollying and being jollied that had made Williams’
place so popular a8 a resort for men, but the Pleasure Bay incident had not
entirely vanished from Johnny's mind and the contempt with which all the
players seemed to treat the green hall was more than his not altogether undis-
turbed frame of mind could stand. He tossed up for the tie he had been in
with the gentleman who could get “‘cripples”’ ‘any time’’ and left the place.
Half an hour later he conld have been seen bouncing up the stairs of his fav-
orite resort and brusquely entering a room where a party of friends were play-
ing cards—an innocent game of hearts, but over ‘which there was always as
much excitement as if the chips that were used had been worth a thousand
dollars the stack instead of having the merely fictitious value that was assigned
them. There was a double pot up, two eighteens and a thirteen, when Johnny
pulled his chair up beside one of the old Chesterfields of the town who had
always manifested a paternal interest in him. The friendship that existed be-
tween this pair was a beautiful illustration of what bachelorhood has lost in
not having found anything: to love. The admiration of the younger man for
the elder found vent in the truest blue expressions, as the old player led a
“‘thirteener”’ from a perfectly invincible hand and, of course, “got in.”” His love
was requited in a way that proves our theory that sentiment is not extinct, even
in the flintiest heart. The cards were dealt for the fifth hand and everything
had gone smoothly a8 a scientific game could go, when a discovery was made
that at once set the party by the ears. A card was missing. It had been in
the hand before and no one could imagine how it had slipped from the deck.
There was nothing wagered on the game, except the valueless chips, the play-
ers were all gentlemen and there was no apparent reason why it should be
missing other than that it was one of the “‘twoses,” but when, looking on the
floor for it, Johnny saw the corner of the lost card sticking above the side of his
old friend’s gum shoe, he shivered from head to toot. He could haveswallowed
gallons of boiling water and spat out blocks of ice, so chilled was he at the
thought that the man whom the whole party had juss heard him address, as he
wouldn’t even have done to his father, should be guilty of such a thing. Leav-
ing in disgust he joined a party of fellows who were on their way toa friend’s
house, where they had planned to spend an hour in telling tales of the town.
wx —% s
“Come in Johnny, you’re justin time to help me out in a little argument
I seem to have the short string on here” said the host, as the arrival of tho last
one of the guests interrupted a heated discussion long enough for all to look
up. The party was seated in what, for want: of some better name, was called
Duo et Viginti. It was plainly a man’s room. Two plain tables, a few chairs,
and a stove made up its furnishing, while a single electric lamp struggled to
send its yellowish glare through the clouds of tobacco smoke that curled toward
the ceiling. There was not a sign of woman’s refining touch about it, yet the
men loved the haunt simply because they knew its good natured owner
threw proprieties to the dogs, in that part of his home, at least.
A discussion was on as to whether Mrs. Sherwood would countenance such a
breach as accepting a man’s invitation to dinner and then departing without
thanking or even saying good night to him. ‘“That depends entirely on wheth-
er the host can be found when the guests are ready to depart,” said Johnny,
and as there was a likelihood of unpleasant detail: coming to light one of the
gentlemen, thinking to turn the conversation, remarked that it reminded him of
a little story about a livery-man, in the town, who had a very goo? stable boy
whose only failing was his inordinate craving for rum.
One morning, after the boy had been on a three day’s debauoh his employer
undertook to give him some advice and it ran as follows : ‘‘Now lookee here Lou-
is, I don’t vant yon to be gettin drunk for a whole veek on. Now I don’t mind
it if you git drunk yust once a day.”
Everyone laughed but the host, who became restless and tried to look as if the
relation between the story and the discussion that had been on was rather far
Just then a rather military looking young fellow began exploiting seme of
his hair raising experiences while campaigning with the N. G. P., when some
one remarked : ‘Oh, that ain’t in it with the man who carried such heavy bags
of shot on the old Gettysburg turnpike, during the war, that he sank into the
hard road up to his knees.” ‘Yes and he’s living and well right here in town
and he did something more remarkable than that. It ocourred down in the
Shenandoah valley the time McDowell’s raiders came vory near being corralled
by old Stonewall Jackson. Bill had fallen behind in the retreat so that if the
command : ‘To the rear, March,’ should be given he would be in his loved po-
sition in front of the van. Feeling that they were safely out of the rebel’s
clutches he sat down under an apple tree to take the spikes out of his ran-
ning shoes, when, all of a sudden, there was a clatter of horses’ hoofs, a sound
of scabbards clanking against spurred boots and he looked up to find himself sur-
rounded by a whole troop of rebel horsemen. They halted, when about forty
paces from the tree, and their lender advanced. He was none other than the
daring Jackson. He rode straight at Bill and when he had gotten so close
that the hot air from the pink nostrils of the horse swept his face he pulled it
on its haunches and thus addressed our hero: ‘William Unconquerable, will
you surrender? ‘No Sir!’ was the firm reply, and without further ado the
General wheeled about, ordered a retreat and the whole rebel out-fit was soon
lost in a cloud of dust down the valley.’
Such intrepidity took all the wind out of the sails of the modern blanket -
tossing, trick-paddie soldier and he ordered a bottle of appolinaris when ane
“other fellow exploited Bill still further in the following :
“Bill was color bearer for the 47th in the battle of the Wilderness and do you
know that old fellow didn’t know what fear was. Why one time he carried his
stand so far in advance of the line that the General in command shouted to him :
‘Here, you fellow, bring those colors back to the line!’ ‘Bring your d—d old
soldiers up to the colors I” shouted Bill, as he crept further into the woods and
dodged three grape shot through fear of losing his vermi-form appendix.”
At this juncture the dapper little fellow, who had been seen in front of the
hotel in the early part of the evening, dropped in smiling and rubbing his hands
like a French dancing master. The fit of his trousers appeared execrable. They
were puffed out about the pockets until he looked like a female Kangaroo
transporting her young. Not disconcerted, in the least, by the questioning stare of
the gentlemen he took advantage of the momentary lull in the conversation and
launched out into politics. Now that subject had been tabooed by the party,
but as the new arrival was known to be a staunch friend of a certain ex-Assem-
blyman who is said to have gotten so used to voting ‘No!’ on measures be-
. fore the House that one night, when he was traveling in Berks county and had
fallen asleep in his seat, the train pulled into a small town that bore his name.
The brakeman opened the door with a slam that shook the car and called the
station. Dreaming that he was in Harrisburg the \ Legislator was half aroused
by the sound of his name, and, with a sleepy drawl, the force of habit dictated
the d *‘No !"’ that he answered back.
“I tell you fellows its a corker, this Legislative fight, but we’ll show the
boys a thing or two.” With a gentle caress for the puffs that gave his trousers
such an ill fitting look he began talking in favor of the candidate whose friends
were supposed to be knifing the man ‘‘from over the mountain.’’ If a bomb had
belched forth from a spring lamb it could not have been more of asurprise to
the party, for only the day before he had been lauding ‘‘the boy’’ to the skies
and insisting that it was “dirty work that the fellows are doing around here.”’
"Few of the gentlemen knew how the little fellow enjoyed carriage riding and
few of them knew what caused those puffs in his trousers, so they all accepted
his explanation that he had been deceived by his quondam friend from ‘‘over
the mountain’ and was now ready to join forces with those who were pure and
straight in politics, .
: » x @
By this time most of the cigars had gone out, so intensely interesting was the
story told by the little fellow, but above the crackling of the matches that was
at once set upa new voice was heard. It wasn’t a strange or distinguished fellow
"who clamored for the floor, only a person who belongs to that great class of ab-
solute essentials, yet no one is able to give a satisfactory reason why. He had
“an idea. Nodoubt he had had several up to that time, but at least one had
come worthy of being sounded abrod. He said :
“I was standing in an up town clothing house, the other evening, when a man
came in to look around. After sizing up most everything in the cases he stopped
in front of afew cheap purses that looked decidedly shop worn. Upon inquiry
he found that the price was exceedingly low and was about to purchase one,
when he discovered that they were so cheaply made that they couldn’t possibly
last long. Remarking this to the clerk, that young man knew his business,
and, with all the sang froid in the world, assured the doubting purchaser that the
purses were all right. ‘Why we have had them for five years ourselves, he
said.’ 1" .
“That's a joke,’’ said Johnny, who had forgotten everything unpleasant that
had occurred in the early part of the evening, ‘‘but do you know that this town
has some of the meanest mortals who ever drew the breath of lite. Why, I know
"a man who gives his children a penny a piece for going to bed without their
supper ; then when they are sound asleep he slips up to their room and steals
the pennies back for use the next night. Yes, and he’s no relation to the law-
yer of whom this story is told.”
“One morning an old friend of the attorney’s passed his office on the way to
a train, that was to carry him to a little village in the county, and as the weath-
er looked threating the gentleman was undecided as to whether he would go, as
to get to his destination would require a drive of several miles over a muddy
country road. Stopping in front of his friend’s office he remarked: ‘Good morn-
ing, Mr. Blackstone, do you think it will rain to-day ?' The lawyer looked at
the sky and vouchsafed the information that he thought it would. Then turn-
ing on his heel he entered his office, turned to his client’s account and when
they settled, the following December, this entry was found :
189— Aug. 26th—To advice on condition of weather—85.00.
* * x
The appolinaris was gone and the military looking individual had made up
his mind not to be mad because someone had done greater things than he, so
he told a good one that occurred away back in the seventies, but had lost none
of its spice by having been stowed away in its winding sheet until a few days
before :
“There is a gentleman, of German antecedents, living in town who had a
thrilling experience with high-waymen one night, while drivingover the moun-
tain. It is very funny to hear him tell it, and a story loses half its interest if
nos told properly, but I'll try to tell it as nearly as possible, like he told it to
me :"’
¢ I tell you how it vas, Yonson, I vas yust takin tree tousand tollars ober
de mountain one night, already. Judas priest, but it vas dark. So dark dot I
couldn’t see my hands my face before. When I got up dere dot water in trof
by two strappin big fellows schumped out and grabbed de horse by de head. One
had two of dem boy knives as long as my arm an de odder one had a great big
pistil. Dey said : ‘Gib up dot money I’ Den what ’you tink I did, so help me
Judas? Vy I yust crawled out and grabbed a big dornick and yelled : Git, yon
gons-o-guns ! and youn ought to yust have seen dem takin upde mountain. I
vatched dem til dey gotabouta mile ahead and den I yust drove on.”
* Everyone recognized the hero in this tale and it called forth another about
the time he had dickered with a rich banker of the town on a horse deal.
The trade had been made and a few days alter the banker came into posses-
gion of his new horse he discovered that it wasa dummy. He sent for the man
who had dealt it to him and the following dialogue ensued :
“Say, Dealer, you'll have to take that horse back. I can’t use it, you cheated
me. Why that horse isa dummy.”
“Yes, Mr. Richman, but you got more money as I has, you yust edieate
him.” :
% % *
“Say, boys,” said a sallow faced young man who was sitting over by the
stove, ‘‘talkabout your folk-lore, stories of the town, etc., they don’t speak
half as loud as some of the foot prints on the streets of the town. What do you
suppose will become of that path down there on H-—— street. that used to be
made by the street sprinkler between a certain business place and the hotel, be-
fore they covered it up withstones?”’ ‘‘Oh,” said Johnny, ‘‘that’ll be all right,
that tire sale of shoes will furnish the crushers cheap and it won’t be long un-
til the path is worn down again.” :
* @ a
‘Say, Militaire, do you remember that little story about a local minister go-
ing his round of pastoral calls?" “‘Oh, yes,” came the reply, ‘‘but it has grown
whiskers now.” “Tell it anyway,’’ shoated the party in chorus.
“Well, one Monday a minister of the town was on his round of pastoral calla
and dropped in on a Logan street family, the mother of whom had lately con-
nected herself with hicehurch. It being wash day, she was up to her elbows in
the tubs and sent one of her sons into the room to entertain the pastor until she
could make herself presentable. The boy shuffled into the minister's presence
and slonched into a chair near the caller who got up and, laying his hand on
his shoulder, interrogated him as follows :
‘Good morning, son, are you working for the Lord ?’
In utter incomprehension the younth replied :
‘No sir, I am driving bus for Mr. Brandon, down at the Brockerhoff house.’’
% % 3
Some one started to telling Flick tales just then and half the party left. The
ones who stayed heard this remarkable story :
‘You all know Flick. He is the fellow who saw a pine tree, one - time, that
was 80 8t aight that it leaned a little. ell one day he was out hunting and
had tram ped all over the Alleghenies without getting a shot at anything and
was on his way home whea he cane to the Black M)shannon. As thers was no
3 ™
biidge at that point the only thing left for him to do was wade the stream. Just
ahous the ime he was ready to step into the water he spied a deer in some
laurel on the otherside. In-his haste, in loading his gun, he forgot to withdraw
the ram-rod and blazed away with it in. Would you believe it : The bullet
killed the deer and the ram-rod skimmed along the water in such a way that
when it reached the opposite bank there were nine ducks strung on it, then
when Flick started to wade across his pants got so full of fish that all the but-
tons were busted off and every bloomin button flew with such deadly force that
he found eleven dead rabbits when he went to pick up his deer and ducks.”
* % *
Fearing that this last story was going to lead to a general drawing on imag-
inations the gentlemen all said good night to their host and departed. Ahout
the time they wege leaving the house an elderly gentleman was met, whose cur-
josity led him to ask what such a crowd meant. When told what they had
been doing he said : ‘‘Let me tell you one.” Ashe was known to have a rich
store of the tales of long ago they gathered eagerly about him to hear the fol-
lowing little story of how one of Bellefonte’s most illustrious citizens once got
even with a York county farmer who was a little too out-gpoken. )
“Daring the rebellion Governor Curtin was returning from Washington to Har-
risburg and an old York county farmer got on the cars, and finding a vacant seat
along side of the Governor, whom he did not recognize, he soon got into conver-
sation with him. The first thing he did was to commence abusing Curtin and
every person connected with his administration. He told the Governor that
he was on his road to Harrisburg to buy substitutes for Codorus township and
he had four thousand dollarsin his pocket to pay for them. The Governor told
him that there were a great many sharpers and thieves about Harrisburg, and
that he had better be careful or he would lose his money. When they reached
that place Adjutant General Russel met the Governor at the cars, and the old
farmer was put in his care. He took him to a good hotel. Next day the rustic
called at the Executive mansion to see about his substitutes. Imagine his sur-
prise to find the man he had met in the cars the day hefore was the Governor
himself. The Governor saw that he was embarrassed, and told him to take a
seat, that he was busy—and would give him an audience in a short time. A
good many people were going in and out, but Curtin kept his eye on the old
farmer who was busy wiping the perspiration off his brow. Finally Curtin
surned around and asked him what he could do for him. The old fellow looked
at the Governor in a sheepish way and said : ‘I came here to see you, but I'll be
d——4 if I know what tosay’ I met you on the cara and did not know you
were the Governor and I know I made a d—d fool of myself’ and the more
he tried to apologize the more involved he got. The, Governor finally help-
ed him out of his trouble by making light of the whole transaction.
* % %
Although it had gotten very late the elderly gentlemen could not let the party
go without the following little story about the rivalry thas existed between old
Judge Burnside, who was on the common pleas bench here, and his brother-in-
law, Judge Huston, who had a seat on the supreme bench.
“Though they were brothers-in-law Judge Burnside was over-weeningly
envious of Judge Huston, and continually coveted the latter’s seat on the su-
preme bench. So one time when Judge Huston was taken suddenly ill in
Philadelphia and he was supposed to be in a precarious condition Judge Burn-
side sent a personal messenger clear down there to inquire as to the condition of
his health. That was the ostensible reason but Burnside really wanted to know
whether there was any probability of Huston’s dying, so he could arrange his
pins accordingly, Judge Huston was sharp enough to see his crafty brother-
in-law’s motive and answered the inquiry of the messenger regarding bis health
as follows :”’
“You just tell Judge Burnside that I'll neither die nor resign.’ ”
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