Samuel E. (Samuel Ellsworth) Kiser.

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THRILLS OF A BELL BOY ***




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THRILLS OF A BELL BOY




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[Illustration: Frontispiece]




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THRILLS OF A
BELL BOY

By

Samuel Ellsworth Kiser

Author of “Love Sonnets of an Office Boy,”
“Ballads of the Busy Days,” etc.

Illustrated by

John T. McCutcheon


[Illustration: Publisher’s Logo]


Chicago
Forbes & Company
1906




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Copyright, 1904
BY THE SATURDAY EVENING POST

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Copyright, 1906
BY FORBES & COMPANY




Colonial Press: Electrotyped and Printed
by C. H. Simonds & Co., Boston, U. S. A.




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THRILLS OF A
BELL BOY




I.


GEE! There’s a call from seven-forty-eight—
That’s Miss Le Claire; she wants some ice, I’ll bet;
She stars in “Mrs. Middleton’s Regret.”
And when you mention peaches—say, she’s great!
If I could marry her I guess I’d hate
To have to do it—nit! I’d go and get
A plug hat and a fur-trimmed coat and let
The guy that’s managin’ her, pay the freight.

They say she gets a hundred dollars per;
I’d like to draw that much a year or two.
They’d know I’d been around when I got through.
I wish the dude that comes here after her
Was in my place and me in his—I’d stir
Things up around this town. I wouldn’t do
A thing but buy her everything I knew
She didn’t have but might be wishin’ fer.

She rung fer me to get some stamps, and when
I took them up she says, “Just wait a bit.”
She put one on a note and handed it
To me to mail—and he come in just then
And grabbed the thing—I’ve heard of crazy men,
And I know when it’s up to me to quit:
She had him goin’ groggy when I lit,
But, blame the luck, they’ve made it up again.




II.


IF I could have my choice I wouldn’t be
The main guy of a kingdom—nix fer me.
I’d only wish that I could be as great
As one of these gay boys from up the State
Imagines that we think he is when he
Tilts back his hat and lights his cigarette
And does the pouter-pigeon act; I’d let
Them have their thrones if I could be as grand
As these boys think they are when they “run down”
On business trips and let their chests expand
And act as though they’d come to buy the town.


[Illustration]


The minute one of them gets in he shies
Around the telegraph girl, makin’ eyes
And wantin’ to know what it costs to send
Ten words to Saugatuck or Brady’s Bend,
Or dictates to the shorthand girl and tries
To make her think he’s Mike from Up-the-Crick—
It’s easy work to spot these Johnnies quick:
They try to mash the chambermaids up-stairs,
And buzz the news-stand lady, and I s’pose
They think that we all think they’re millionaires—
Hello! There that sweet little actress goes.




III.


I WENT to see the show last night, the one
She’s playing in, you know, but all the fun
I thought I’d have was spoiled, confound the luck,
I bought a forty-cent bouquet to chuck
Down at her when the second act was done.
I got a seat in front, all right, and, oh!
How grand she looked away down there below!
I thought of angels every time she’d look
Up at the gallery—but when I let
My flowers tumble down the villain took
And give them to the putty-faced soubrette!


[Illustration]


I wish I was the hero of the play
She’s actin’ in and had the chance to lay
Her head agin my buzzom every night
And knock the villain down and hold her tight—
I wouldn’t ask to have a cent of pay.
And when she’d look up at me sweet and proud
I’d feel so glad I’d have to yell out loud:
I’ll bet the knock I give the villain when
I come to rescue her would make him grunt.
And when she wound her arms around me, then—
Oh, blame it, there’s Old Morton howlin’ “Front!”




IV.


I DON’T feel like I used to feel no more;
It seems as though I’d like to go away
From where the racket’s goin’ on all day,
And have her with me there, and she’d be sore
At that rich dude who meets her at the door
Back by the stage when she’s got through the play:
I wish that she’d get sweet on me and say
She never knew what lovin’ was before.

I’ve got a tooth-brush now, and every night
I wash my neck and ears: I don’t intend
To chew tobacco any more, nor spend
My change fer cigarettes; her teeth are white,
And if she seen that mine were, too, she might
Be liable to love me. Every time
She looks at me it kind of seems that I’m
All full of something tickel-ish and light.


[Illustration]


I’d like it if I knew some way to make
My ears stay closer to my head and not
Stick out the way they do, as though they’d got
Unfastened and hung loose. I wish I’d wake
To-morrow so good-lookin’ it would break
Her heart unless I’d take her on the spot;
And I could lick that dude if he got hot
And made rough house when she’d give him the shake.

If I could go away with her to where
There wasn’t anybody else at all,
And we could set around all day or loll
Beside the cricks and never have to care
When bells would ring, and all around us there
The posies would be growin’ sweet and tall,
I’d never mind if it was spring or fall—
But still I s’pose she couldn’t live on air.




V.


I THINK I’ll chuck this job and go and try
To be a supe with her, and by and by
Get speakin’ parts to play, and then—who knows?—
Be leadin’ man, at last, and wear dude clo’s.
I’d drink champagne whenever I was dry,
And have a chance to travel up and down
Around the country, seein’ every town,
And after every act they’d call fer me;
All week I’d only work two afternoons,
And nearly everywhere I went I’d see
My picture in the windows of saloons.

I’d have a stage name that was grand to hear—
I think I’d make it Reginald De Vere—
Gee! Wouldn’t that loom up great on the bills?
They’d never know they cheered fer Eddie Mills
When I would get the signal to appear.
I’d give her all the beautiful bouquets
The girls would send to me at matinées,
And when the show was over crowds would stand
Outside to watch fer me and her and stare
When we come out, and I would take her hand
And lead her to our carriage, waitin’ there.


[Illustration]




VI.


I WENT up-stairs, this morning, when she rung—
I guess she must of just got out of bed—
It seemed to me her nose looked kind of red;
They was a little wad of hair that hung
Down in a pigtail on her back; she brung
A telegram out to the door, and said:
“Well, get a move—good Heavens, are you dead?”
Somehow she didn’t seem to look so young.

I can’t help kind of wonderin’ to-day
What made her look so queer; it seems as though
There’s something that is gone. I’d like to know
If all the ones that’s beautiful when they
Get on their riggin’ and are fixed up gay
Ain’t much but framework when they’ve gone at night
And safely locked themselves in out of sight
And laid what ain’t growed on to them away.

When me and Mike, the porter, were alone
I got to tellin’ him about my thoughts—
Mike’s had two wives, and so, of course, knows lots.
He told me in a kind of sollum tone:
“Me boy, a woman cr-rathure’s like a shtone—
At laste some women ar-re—Whin dr-ressed they’re foine,
But whin they ain’t ye’ll ha-ardly see a soign
Av beauty that ye’d ta-ake to be their own.”


[Illustration]




VII.


IT’S all off now. She’s gone out West somewhere—
The papers say to South Dakota—there
She’s got things fixed to get divorced, they claim.
It seems that Mrs. Pickleham’s her name
In private life, instead of Miss Le Claire.
Her father runs a dray in Buffalo,
That’s what the papers say: I s’pose they know.
I wonder why it always has to be
That everything you think is great before
You know about it, when you get to see
Just how it is don’t seem so grand no more?


[Illustration]


I wish I had the forty cents I blew
To get the bunch of posies what I threw
At her that night. I had to gasp almost
Whenever she’d look up. Gee! What a roast
The boys would give me fer it if they knew.
But still there ain’t no use of feelin’ bad;
I got my money’s worth, fer I was glad,
And every minute that you’re feelin’ gay
About a thing that never can come true
Is something that’ll not get took away;
It’s in your system and belongs to you.




VIII.


THEY’VE give us a new operator here
To take the telegrams; she’s pretty near
A daisy, too. Her eyes are big and brown;
And when she sets there kind of lookin’ down,
As though she didn’t notice things, it’s queer
The way I get to wishin’ I could go
And save her from the clutches of some foe.
She makes me feel as though I’d like to be
A handsome man, about six foot, and strong,
To take her in my arms and let her see
That I was here protectin’ her from wrong.


[Illustration]


The other day I talked to her a while:
It seemed as though whenever she would smile
I’d have a goneish feelin’ in my breast.
She’d be a peach, no matter how she dressed,
She’s got the other girls here beat a mile.
The red that’s on her cheeks ain’t painted there,
And she ain’t wearin’ no dead woman’s hair:
I don’t blame homely women if they try
To make themselves look fine, fer good looks pay—
But hers is not the kind that they can buy—
The beauty that she’s got grew there to stay.




IX.


ONCE, when her instrument was workin’ bad
She jerked the thing and hit it with her fist
And nearly broke her round, soft little wrist—
I never s’posed that she could get so mad.
When I told ma it seemed to make her glad.
She says a girl that looks as nice as pie
Sometimes has awful thoughts: I wonder why
Ma’s always knockin’ so? It makes me sad.




X.


SOME people make me sick. They act as though
They’d leased this hemisphere. See that boy there,
The way he tilts his head up in the air
And struts around so everybody’ll know
He’s cut his second teeth. Now watch him go
And ask about the telegrams. I’ll bet
Nobody ever telegraphed him yet,
Or if they did it’s comin’ mighty slow.

When she was operatin’ yesterday
He leaned against the railin’, lookin’ wise
And spoilin’ blanks and makin’ goo-goo eyes.
I wish he’d pay his bill and go away,
Or that she’d slap his face for gettin’ gay.
When fellows hang around a girl to buzz
Her hours at a time the way he does
I wonder how they think of things to say?

Mike says he never seen a woman yet
That hated men fer showin’ them they’d like
To take them in their lovin’ arms and hike
Away to where nobody else could get.
Mike says it doesn’t seem to make them fret
When men get gone on them—I guess I’ll strike
Out bold, because it must be so, fer Mike
He’s had two wives, and knows a lot, you bet.

There goes that dude again, confound the luck!
I wish he’d get a telegram that said
Some chap was comin’ here to punch his head,
And he’d fergit how sweet she was, and duck:
Mike says that when a fellow shows he’s struck
A woman hardly ever raises Ned
Or seems to get to wishin’ she was dead—
Gee whiz! he’s went and give her chin a chuck.




XI.


THE Johnny’s went away that got so brash;
I let his blamed old satchel fall and smash
When him and me was goin’ out the door;
His razor and his brush rolled on the floor,
Mixed with his nightshirt and some other trash.
He’d just smiled back at her and raised his lid;
I’d hate to get let down the way he did:
She laughed, and all the rest let out a whoop—
I never seen a guy so mad before;
He got his things together with a swoop—
I guess he’ll never be our guest no more.

I s’pose I lost a tip, but I don’t care,
I’d rather have the chance fer gettin’ square;
What good is havin’ money, anyway,
If havin’ it don’t keep you feelin’ gay
Nor make you push your chest out in the air?
I snuck away, out by the barber shop,
And laughed so hard I couldn’t seem to stop:
Mike says that every laugh you ever laugh
Is something that you’re richer fer, and so
I gained about eight dollars and a half—
They called me down and nearly bounced me, though.




XII.


IF I would get to be a millionaire
And didn’t have to work or anything,
I’d go and buy a dimun’ stud and ring
And open up a swell hotel somewhere
And be head clerk myself, and have my hair
All curled and fixed like Morton’s is, and fling
On agony as though I’d be a king
And had a throne behind the counter there.

The guy that owns this joint ain’t got no style:
He wears his whiskers down around his neck:
I’ll bet that I’d have shiners by the peck
If I was in his place and had his pile.
When guests come in he don’t put on a smile
And get to lookin’ chesty and say “Front”
As though he owned the earth: he leaves that stunt
Fer Morton, who can beat him out a mile.


[Illustration]




XIII.


I WISH somebody’d kick me through a fence;
I must be gettin’ dotty; I’m so dense
I couldn’t see half through an iron gate;
Why, any one could string me while you wait;
No wonder Morton says I’m shy of sense.
A man arrived here yesterday forenoon
Who seemed to be a fighter, and as soon
As ever I had spotted him I flew
And grabbed his satchel and got useful. Say,
His clo’s were great, he had on dimun’s, too—
I picked him fer a winner right away.


[Illustration]


It wasn’t tips I thought of, understand:
I hoped that mebby I could touch his hand;
I brought him pens and ink and things and stood
Around to be as useful as I could
And let him see I thought that he was grand.
I’d like to bump my head against a wall,
Because he ain’t a pugilist at all.
I’ll bet he never even seen a ring;
He’s just an author that is writin’ books:
That shows that you can never tell a thing
About how great a man is by his looks.




XIV.


I WISH some day there’d be a lawyer come
And say I’d got a fortune left by some
Rich relative I didn’t know I had;
The ones that’s kiddin’ now would soon be sad,
You’d see old Morton lookin’ pretty glum.
I’d buy this place and fire him so quick
The tumble that he got would make him sick;
And then I’d get the bridal-chamber key,
And take the little operator there,
And ask her how she’d like to marry me
And let some other girl hold down her chair.

I wish my hair would get to turnin’ gray,
And ma would suddenly find out some day
That I was ten years older than she thunk,
And I would grow six inches while you wunk.
But what’s the use of wishin’, anyway?
Mike says nobody ever caught a fish
By simply settin’ down somewhere to wish;
He claims if all our wishes would come true
We’d none of us be happy any more,
Fer every day we’d all be feelin’ blue
Because we wished fool things the day before.




XV.


THE news-stand lady’s got a steady beau;
He comes each night at six o’clock or so,
And when they leave he takes her by the arm,
As though he thought she might get into harm,
Or slip on something smooth, or stub her toe.
Mike says he’d let his mother get along
Without an arm to hang to that was strong,
And never seem to think she might get hurt
By bein’ bumped, and never fret at all
If she would put her foot down in the dirt,
And never be afraid that she would fall.

I wonder why a fellow’s mother tries
To make you think that every man that’s wise
Steers clear of all the girls? I wonder why
A fellow’s mother thinks they’re mean and sly
And hardly fit to look you in the eyes?
Ma thinks the operator here has planned
To hook the first poor chap that she can land;
And one night, when I got to tellin’ ma
How sweet she was—I mean the operator—
The more I tried to praise her up I saw
The more it kind of seemed to make ma hate ’er.

Ma says they’re all a schemin’ lot, who fix
Themselves up nice to fool the Toms and Dicks
And Harrys that don’t know enough to run:
You’d think, to hear her talk, that all they done
Was try to catch the boys by foxy tricks.
I don’t see why ma runs them down that way;
She used to be a girl herself, one day.
Mike says that when a woman’s married, though,
She never wants the rest that ain’t been took
To ever stand a chance or have a show
To ever get a nibble at the hook.




XVI.


THE other day we had excitement here;
The news-stand caught afire, and I thought
I’d be heroic Johnny-on-the-spot;
I grabbed the operator, yellin’: “Dear,
I’m here to save your life, so never fear.”
But just about that time I felt a swat,
And there was lots of things that I fergot
While Morton dragged me with him by the ear.

They’d doused the blaze before it got a start,
And I’d fergot our fire-drill, you see,
That’s what made Morton come and jump on me—
He nearly tore my head and ear apart—
That Alexander’s too dumnation smart.
They’re all a-kiddin’ me fer what I done,
And she looks on and seems to think it’s fun
Confound it! that’s What nearly breaks my heart.




XVII.


I’M sorry fer the poor old boy we’ve got
In seven-sixty-six; he’s nearly due
To ask St. Peter to please let him through.
His wife’s a beaut and young, and mebby what
She’s doin’ right along is hope he’ll not
Be yanked away and planted in the sod
With her left here to fasten to his wad—
If that’s your guess, though, take another shot.

She won’t allow him to get out of bed,
But once when I went up because she’d rung
The first thing that I knew he up and flung
The quilts and things across the room and said
She’d hid his shirt and pants—that’s on the dead—
And then, before she’d caught her breath, he sprung
Up like a wild man and got in among
Her trunks and looked up pitiful and pled.

“I want my pants,” he says, “I’ll die unless
You let me out to get some exercise.”
She shook her head and looked him in the eyes
And told me it was second childishness
And that he wasn’t strong enough to dress—
Then out he jumped and started fer the door,
With nothin’ but his nightshirt on, and swore
He’d run away—he meant it, too, I guess.

But he was old and slow and she was spry,
And when he started to get out she caught
A pitcherful of water up and got
Around in front of me and let it fly.
She turned and give a sorry little sigh
When he’d went back to bed, and said a lot


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Online LibrarySamuel E. (Samuel Ellsworth) KiserThrills of a Bell Boy → online text (page 1 of 2)