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Table _of_ Contents

_The_ Fable _of_ How Uncle Brewster was _Too_ Shifty _for the_ Tempter

_The_ Fable _of the_ Grass Widow _and the_ Mesmeree _and the_ Six

_The_ Fable _of the_ Honest Money-Maker and the Partner of His Joys,
_Such as They Were_

_The_ Fable _of_ Why Sweetie Flew _the_ Track

_The_ Fable _of the_ Ex-Chattel _and the_ Awful Swat _that_ was Waiting
_for the_ Colonel

_The_ Fable _of the_ Corporation Director _and the_ Mislaid Ambition

_The_ Fable _of_ What Happened _the_ Night the Men Came _to the_ Women's

_The_ Fable _of_ Why Essie's Tall Friend Got _the_ Fresh Air

_The_ Fable _of the_ Michigan Counterfeit _Who_ Wasn't One Thing _or
the_ Other

_The_ Fable _of the_ Adult Girl Who Got Busy Before They Could Ring
_the_ Bell _on_ Her

_The_ Fable _of the_ Man-Grabber Who Went Out _of_ His Class

_The_ Fable _of the_ Inveterate Joker who Remained _in_ Montana

_The_ Fable _of the_ Cruel Insult _and the_ Arrival _of the_ Lover
_from_ No. 6

_The_ Fable _of the_ Lodge Fiend, _and the_ Delilah Trick Played _by_
His Wife

_The_ Fable _of the_ Apprehensive Sparrow _and_ Her Daily Escape

_The_ Fable _of the_ Regular Customer _and the_ Copper-Lined Entertainer

_The_ Fable _of_ Lutie, _the_ False Alarm, _and_ How She Finished about
_the_ Time _that_ She Started

_The_ Fable _of the_ Cotillon Leader _from the_ Huckleberry District
_with the_ Intermittent Memory

_The_ Fable _of the_ He-Gossip _and the_ Man's Wife _and the_ Man

_The_ Fable _of the_ Author Who was Sorry _for_ What He Did _to_ Willie


When Uncle Brewster had put on his Annual Collar and combed his Beard
and was about to start to the Depot, his Wife, Aunt Mehely, looked at
him through her Specs and shook her Head doubtfully.

Then she spoke as follows: "You go slow there in the City. You know your
Failin's. You're just full of the Old Harry, and when you're Het Up
you're just like as not to Raise Ned."

"I guess I can take keer of myse'f about as well as the Next One,"
retorted Uncle Brewster. "I've been to the Mill an' got my Grist, if any
one should ask. I ain't no Greeny."

With that he started for the Train, which was due in one Hour.

As he rode toward the Great City he smoked a Baby Mine Cigar, purchased
of the Butcher, and told the Brakeman a few Joe Millers just to throw
out the Impression that he was Fine and Fancy.

After he had Registered at the Hotel and Swelled Up properly when
addressed as "Mister" by the Clerk, he wanted to know if there was a
Lively Show in Town. The Clerk told him to follow the Street until he
came to all the Electric Lights, and there he would find a Ballet. Uncle
Brewster found the Place, and looked in through the Hole at an Assistant
Treasurer, who was Pale and wore a Red Vest.

[Illustration: UNCLE BREWSTER]

"I want a Chair near the Band," said Uncle Brewster. "How much does one
of 'em Fetch?"

"Two Dollars," replied the Assistant Treasurer, pulling down his Cuffs
and then examining himself in a small Mirror at one side of the Diagram.

"Great Grief!" ejaculated Uncle Brewster. "I only paid Thirty-Five Cents
for the Glass Blowers, an' I'll warrant you they beat your Troupe as bad
as Cranberries beats Glue. I'll see you plumb in Halifax before I - "

"Stand aside, please," said the Assistant Treasurer.

Uncle Brewster saw a Policeman, and thought it his Duty to tell the
Officer that the Theater Folks were a Pack of Robbers.

"Up an Alley," said the Policeman.

Instead of going to a Show, Uncle Brewster stood in front of a Clothing
Store and watched the Wax Figures.

When he got back to his Room the Bell-Hopper came around and asked him
if he cared to Sit in a Quiet Game. Uncle Brewster wanted to know
whether they were Gamblers or Business Men, and the Boy said they were
Business Men. It was all Friendly, with an Ante of Two Bits and the
Chandelier as the Limit. Uncle Brewster said he was accustomed to
playing with Lima Beans, Three for a Cent and One call Two and no fair
to Bluff. The Bell-Hopper told him to Turn In and get a Good Night's

Next Morning at the Hotel he spotted a stylish little Chunk of a Woman
who kept the Cigar Case and sold Books with Actress Photos on the

He walked over to buy a Cigar, but he happened to see the "3 for 50c."
Label and his Feet got cold.

So, instead of buying a Cigar, he conversed with the Proprietress. He
seemed to be a Success with her, and ventured to say that he was a
Stranger in Town and would like first-rate to go out to a Lecture or
some other kind of Entertainment that Evening if he could find a Nice
Girl that didn't mind going with a Respectable Man who could give
References, and besides was nearly old enough to be her Father. Then
after the Lecture they could go to a First-Class Restaurant and have an
Oyster Stew.

[Illustration: THE INVITATION]

Uncle Brewster had read the Illustrated Papers in the Barber Shop out
Home, and he certainly knew what was Expected of a Man who wanted to
give a Gay Girl the Time of her Life.

The Cigar and Literary Girl said she would be Charmed to Accompany him
only for one Thing: She said she didn't have a Hat that was Fit to Wear.
She said she could tell by his Looks that he was a Gentleman that
wouldn't want to go anywhere with a Lady whose Lid was Tacky. Possibly
he would be willing to Stake her to a Hat.

"What would the Hat come to?" asked Uncle Brewster, somewhat Leary.

"Only Fourteen Dollars," she replied.

"I'll Think it Over," quoth Uncle Brewster, in a choking Voice, and he
was so Groggy he walked into the Elevator instead of going out the
Street Door.

A little while later Uncle Brewster met an Acquaintance who gave him a
Complimentary Badge to the Races. He walked out to the Track, so as to
make the Expense as Reasonable as possible.

As soon as he was in the Ring a Tout took him back of a Hot Sausage
Booth and told him not to Give it Out, but Green Pill in the First Race
was sure to Win as far as a man could throw an Anvil, and to hurry and
get a Piece of Money on. Uncle Brewster looked at the Entries and began
to Quiver. He wished that Doc Jimmison could be there to Advise him.
Green Pill was 30 to 1, and the Tout had his information from a Stable
Boy that slept with the Horse.

A Reckless Spirit seized Uncle Brewster. He said he would take a Chance
even if he didn't know for Sure that he would Win. So he walked up to a
Bookie and said to him: "I want to Bet Fifty Cents on Green Pill, and
this is a Dollar here, so you want to give me Fifty Cents Change."

Whereupon the Bookie told him to Back Up and Fade and do a Disappearing

Uncle Brewster Escaped and found himself at a Bar. He decided that he
would take a Drink, because he wouldn't be Home until next Day and by
that time it would be off his Breath.

[Illustration: NON-COMBUSTIBLE]

So he laid his Bosom against the Brass Railing and said to the Man in
White, "You might as well draw me a Glass of Beer."

"We've got it in Bottles," said the Barkeep, regarding Uncle Brewster
without a sign of Enthusiasm.

"What do you git for a Bottle?" asked Uncle Brewster.

"Twenty Cents," was the Reply of the Liquor Clerk.

"Keep it," said Uncle Brewster.

Perceiving that the Race-Track was in the hands of Gougers, Uncle
Brewster walked back to the Hotel. By that Time his New Shoes had
Crippled him, and he decided to take the Afternoon Train for home
instead of Waiting Over.

That Evening he was back at his own Fireside, with the Bunged-Up Feet
resting in Carpet Slippers. As he sat and read the Poultry Magazine,
Aunt Mehely looked at him sidewise, and full of Suspicion said, "I
s'pose you just Played Hob there in the City."

And Uncle Brewster replied as follows: "No, Mother, I didn't Drink and I
didn't Gamble. I didn't do Nothin' - not even go to a Theayter."

And as he spoke an Aureole of Virtue seemed to curdle above him, while
his Countenance bore an Expression of Placid Triumph, which meant that
he was the real Asbestos Paragon who had been tried in the Furnace and
declared Non-Combustible.

MORAL: _Some People are Good because it Comes High to be Otherwise_.


One Day a keen Business manager who thought nobody could Show him was
sitting at his Desk. A Grass Widow floated in, and stood Smiling at him.
She was a Blonde, and had a Gown that fit her as if she had been Packed
into it by Hydraulic Pressure. She was just as Demure as Edna May ever
tried to be, but the Business Manager was a Lightning Calculator, and he
Surmised that the Bunk was about to be Handed to him. The Cold Chills
went down his Spine when he caught a Flash of the Half-Morocco

If it had been a Man Agent he would have shouted "Sick 'em" and reached
for a Paper-Weight. But when the Agent has the Venus de Milo beaten on
Points and Style, and when the Way the Skirt sets isn't so Poor, and she
is Coy and introduces the Startled Fawn way of backing up without
getting any farther away, and when she comes on with short Steps, and he
gets the remote Swish of the Real Silk, to say nothing of the Faint
Aroma of New-Mown Hay, and her Hesitating Manner seems to ask, "Have I
or have I not met a Friend?" - in a Case of that kind, the Victim is just
the same as Strapped to the Operating-Table. He has about One Chance in
a Million.

The timorous but trusting little Grass Widow sat beside the Business
Manager and told him her Hard-Luck Story in low, bird-like Notes. She
said she was the only Support of her Little Boy, who was attending a
Military School at Syracuse, N.Y. She turned the Liquid Orbs on him and
had him to the Bad. He thought he would tell her that already he had
more Books at Home than he could get on the Shelves, but when he tried
to Talk he only Yammered. She Kept on with her little Song, and Smiled
all the Time, and sat a little Closer, and he got so Dizzy he had to
lock his Legs under the Office Chair to keep from Sinking Away.

[Illustration: GRASS WIDOW]

When she had him in the Hypnotic State she pushed the Silver Pencil into
his Right Hand, and showed him where to sign his Name. He wrote it,
while the dim Sub-Consciousness told him that probably he was the
Softest Thing the Lady Robber had Stood Up that Season. Then she
recovered the Pencil, which he was confusedly trying to put into his
Vest Pocket, and missing it about Six Inches, and with a cheery Good By
she was gone.

He shook himself and took a Long Breath, and asked where he was. Then it
all came back to him and he felt Ornery, and called himself Names and
roasted the Office Boy in the Next Room, and made a Rule that hereafter
Nobody could get at him except by Card, and if any Blonde Sharks in
Expensive Costumes asked for him, to call up the Chief and ask for a

[Illustration: THE OFFICE BOY]

He was so Wrothy at himself for being Held Up that he could not find any
Consolation except in the Fact that he had seen on the List of
Subscribers the name of nearly every well-known married Citizen above
the Age of 35. He was not the Only One. She had Corralled the Street.

When the Man came around to deliver the seven-pound copy of "Happy Hours
with the Poets," and he paid out his Six Silver Pieces for a queer
Volume that he would not have Read for Six an Hour, he hated himself
worse than ever. He thought some of giving the Book to the Office Boy,
by way of Revenge, but he hit upon a Better Use for it. He put it back
into the Box and carried it Home, and said to his Wife, "See what I have
Bought for you."

It occurred to him that after getting a Present like that, she ought to
let him stay out every Night for a Month. But she could not see it that
Way. He had to tell her that Some Women never seem to Appreciate having
Husbands to Grind and Toil all day, so as to be able to purchase
Beautiful Gifts for them. Then she told him that all the Women of her
Acquaintance had received these Books as Presents, and a crowd of
Married Men must have been given a Club Rate. Then he Spunked up and
said that if she was going to look a Gift Horse in the Mouth, they
wouldn't Talk about it any more.

In the meantime the Grass Widow was living at the Waldorf-Astoria.

MORAL: _Those who are Entitled to it Get it sooner or later_.


The Prosperous Farmer lived in an Agricultural Section of the Middle
West. He commanded the Respect of all his Neighbors. He owned a Section,
and had a Raft of big Horses and white-faced Cows and Farm Machinery,
and Money in the Bank besides. He still had the first Dollar he ever
made, and it could not have been taken away from him with Pincers.

Henry was a ponderous, Clydesdale kind of Man, with Warts on his Hands.
He did not have to travel on Appearances, because the whole County knew
what he was Worth. Of course he was Married. Years before he had
selected a willing Country Girl with Pink Cheeks, and put her into his
Kitchen to serve the Remainder of her Natural Life. He let her have as
high as Two Dollars a Year to spend for herself. Her Hours were from 6
A.M. to 6 A.M., and if she got any Sleep she had to take it out of her
Time. The Eight-Hour Day was not recognized on Henry's Place.

[Illustration: HENRY]

After Ten Years of raising Children, Steaming over the Washtub, Milking
the Cows, Carrying in Wood, Cooking for the Hands, and other Delsarte
such as the Respected Farmer usually Frames Up for his Wife, she was as
thin as a Rail and humped over in the Shoulders. She was Thirty, and
looked Sixty. Her Complexion was like Parchment and her Voice had been
worn to a Cackle. She was losing her Teeth, too, but Henry could not
afford to pay Dentist Bills because he needed all his Money to buy more
Poland Chinas and build other Cribs. If she wanted a Summer Kitchen or a
new Wringer or a Sewing Machine, or Anything Else that would lighten her
Labors, Henry would Moan and Grumble and say she was trying to land him
in the Poorhouse.

They had a dandy big Barn, painted Red With White Trimmings, and a
Patent Fork to lift the Hay into the Mow, and the Family lived in a Pine
Box that had not been Painted in Years and had Dog-Fennel all around the
Front of it.

The Wife of the Respected Farmer was the only Work Animal around the
Place that was not kept Fat and Sleek. But, of course, Henry did not
count on Selling her. Henry often would fix up his Blooded Stock for the
County Fair and tie Blue Ribbons on the Percherons and Herefords, but it
was never noticed that he tied any Blue Ribbons on the Wife.

And yet Henry was a Man to be Proud of. He never Drank and he was a Good
Hand with Horses, and he used to go to Church on Sunday Morning and hold
a Cud of Tobacco in his Face during Services and sing Hymns with Extreme
Unction. He would sing that he was a Lamb and had put on the Snow-White
Robes and that Peace attended him. People would see him there in his
Store Suit, with the Emaciated Wife and the Scared Children sitting in
the Shadow of his Greatness, and they said that she was Lucky to have a
Man who was so Well Off and lived in the Fear of the Lord.

Henry was Patriotic as well as Pious. He had a Picture of Abraham
Lincoln in the Front Room, which no one was permitted to Enter, and he
was glad that Slavery had been abolished.

Henry robbed the Cradle in order to get Farm-Hands. As soon as the
Children were able to Walk without holding on, he started them for the
Corn-Field, and told them to Pay for the Board that they had been
Sponging off of him up to that Time. He did not want them to get too
much Schooling for fear that they would want to sit up at Night and Read
instead of Turning In so as to get an Early Start along before Daylight
next Morning. So they did not get any too much, rest easy. And he never
Foundered them on Stick Candy or Raisins or any such Delicatessen for
sale at a General Store. Henry was undoubtedly the Tightest Wad in the
Township. Some of the Folks who had got into a Box through Poor
Management, and had been Foreclosed out of House and Home by Henry and
his Lawyer, used to say that Henry was a Skin, and was too Stingy to
give his Family enough to Eat, but most People looked up to Henry, for
there was no getting around it that he was Successful.

[Illustration: THE FARM]

When the Respected Farmer had been Married for Twenty Years and the
Children had developed into long Gawks who did not know Anything except
to get out and Toil all Day for Pa and not be paid anything for it, and
after Henry had scraped together more Money than you could load on a
Hay-Rack, an Unfortunate Thing happened. His Wife began to Fail. She was
now Forty, but the Fair and Fat did not go with it. At that Age some
Women are Buxom and just blossoming into the Full Charm of Matronly
Womanhood. But Henry's Wife was Gaunt and Homely and all Run Down. She
had been Poorly for Years, but she had to keep up and do the Chores as
well as the House-Work, because Henry could not afford to hire a Girl.
At last her Back gave out, so that she had to sit down and Rest every
Once in a While. Henry would come in for his Meals and to let her know
how Hearty all the Calves seemed to be, and he began to Notice that she
was not very Chipper. It Worried him more than a little, because he did
not care to pay any Doctor Bills. He told her she had better go and get
some Patent Medicine that he had seen advertised on the Fence coming out
from Town. It was only Twenty-Five cents a Bottle, and was warranted to
Cure Anything. So she tried it, but it did not seem to restore her Youth
and she got Weaker, and at last Henry just had to have the Doctor,
Expense or No Expense. The Doctor said that as nearly as he could
Diagnose her Case, she seemed to be Worn Out. Henry was Surprised, and
said she had not been Complaining any more than Usual.

Next Afternoon he was out Dickering for a Bull, and his Woman, lying on
the cheap Bedstead, up under the hot Roof, folded her lean Hands and
slipped away to the only Rest she had known since she tied up with a
Prosperous and Respected Farmer.

[Illustration: THE FAMILY]

Henry was all Broken Up. He Wailed and Sobbed and made an Awful Fuss at
the Church. The Preacher tried to Comfort him by saying that the Ways of
Providence were beyond all Finding Out. He said that probably there was
some Reason why the Sister had been taken right in the Prime of her
Usefulness, but it was not for Henry to know it. He said the only
Consolation he could offer was the Hope that possibly she was Better
Off. There did not seem to be much Doubt about that.

In about a Month the Respected Farmer was riding around the Country in
his Buck-Board looking for Number Two. He had a business Head and he
knew it was Cheaper to Marry than to Hire one. His Daughter was only
Eleven and not quite Big Enough as yet to do all the Work for five Men.

Finally he found one who had the Reputation of being a Good Worker. When
he took her over to his House to Break Her In, the Paper at the County
Seat referred to them as the Happy Couple.

MORAL: _Be Honest and Respected and it Goes_.


Once there were two Married People who used "Lovey" and "Pet" when they
were in Company, and as soon as they were at Home they Threw Things at
each other. She used to watch him through a Hole in the Curtain to see
if he Flirted with any Women as he walked up the Street, and he bribed
the Hired Girl to tell him Everything that happened while he was off the

They did not Mocha and Java worth a Cent.

The Cardboard Motto in the Dining Room said, "Love One Another," but
they were too Busy to Read.

He had a Clearing on the top of his Head and wore Side-Whiskers and bore
a general Resemblance to the Before in an Ad for a Facial Treatment, and
yet she suspected that all the Women in Town were Crazy to steal him
away from her.

Likewise, inasmuch as she was the same Width all the way up and down,
the same as a Poster Girl, and used to sport a Velvet Shroud with Black
Beads on it, and could wield a Tooth-Pick and carry on a Conversation at
the same time, he knew that sooner or later some Handsome Wretch with
Money would try to Abduct her.

Sometimes he would bring a Friend Home to Dinner, and then if the Friend
extended himself and told the Missus how well she was looking or
Perjured himself over her Hand-Painting, Papa would get a Grouch and
hide in the Corner.

[Illustration: BABY]

Then she would Fan herself rapidly and ask, "Aren't you well, Dear?"

Dear would force one of those Dying-Martyr Smiles and reply, "I am quite
well, Puss."

Then Puss would tell the Visitor that Baby was simply ruining his Health
through Devotion to his Employers, but they didn't seem to Appreciate
him at all.

After the Visitor went away there would be Language all over the Shop,
and the poor Hired Girl would lock the Door and write to the
Intelligence Office for a new Place.

Truly, it was a Happy Little Home, with the Reverse English.

She would Frisk his Wardrobe every day or two, looking for Evidence, and
he would compel her to Itemize her Accounts so that he might be sure she
was not giving Jewelry to the Iceman.

She would find a certain Passage in a Book, relating to Man's Cruelty
and Woman's Silent Suffering, and then she would Mark the Passage and
put it where he could Find it. Then when he Found it, he would Mark it
"Rot!" and put it where She could find it, and then she would Weep and
write Letters to Lady Authors telling them how Sad and Lonely she was.

But all the Time they kept up an Affectionate Front before their
Acquaintances. They thought it better to avoid Scenes in Public; and
although each knew that the other was False and had ceased to Love, they
could not bring themselves to think of a Separation or a Divorce on
account of the Cat - their Cat! The Cat must never know.

However, one of his Business Associates was On. He was a Bachelor and
had lived at a European Hotel for Years, and he knew just how to
Arbitrate a Domestic Scrap. So he sat down one day and gave the Husband
a Good Talking-To. He said it was a Shame that such Nice People should
have their Differences when it was so easy to be Happy. With that he
handed over a Slew of Platitudes and Proverbs, such as: "A Soft Answer
Turneth Away Wrath," "It takes Two to Make a Quarrel," "Think Twice
before you Speak once," _et cetera._

[Illustration: SWEETIE]

The Gist of his heart-to-heart Talk was that any Husband could stop
Rough House Proceedings and shoot all kinds of Sweetness and Light into
the sassiest Mooch a Wife ever got on to herself, if only he would
refuse to Quarrel with her, receive her Flings without a Show of Wrath,
and get up every Morning ready to Plug for a Renaissance of their Early

Oh, but it was a Beauty Bright System! The European Hotel Bachelor said
it couldn't Lose.

The Husband decided to give it a Trial. That very Afternoon he met his
Wife, who had come out in her long Fawn-Colored Coat that fell straight
in the Back. She had her Upper Rigging set, and was trying to Blanket
everything on the Street. He flashed a Smiling Countenance, and said he
was glad to see her. Then, instead of asking her When she left the
House, and Where she had been since then, and How Soon she expected to
go Home again, he told her she was looking Unusually Charming. She was

[Illustration: THE CAT]

He handed her a Ten and told her to have a Good Time. Now, usually, when
she wanted any Pin Money, she had to Pry it out of him.

On her way home her Mind was in a Tumult. Why had he given her the Con
Speech and all that Money? What was the Ulterior Motive? What had he
been Doing that he should attempt to Coddle her into a Forgiving Mood?
Did he Fear that she would get next to his Past? Huh?

He just couldn't Fool her. She knew Something was Doing. Else why should
he try to Fix her?

As soon as he came Home that Evening she Accused him and said she knew
All. Instead of Countering with the usual Gibe, he told her that she was
the Only Woman he had ever Loved and would she go to a Show that
Evening? She went, thinking that perhaps the Other Woman might be there
and she could detect some Signal passing between them. While at the

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