T. S. (Timothy Shay) Arthur.

Ten nights in a bar-room and what I saw there online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibraryT. S. (Timothy Shay) ArthurTen nights in a bar-room and what I saw there → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


DAVIS



TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM,



AND



WHAT I SAW THERE.



BY



T. S. ARTHUR,

AUTHOR OF "THB BAR-ROOMS AT BRANTLEY," "ORANGE BLOSSOMS,"
ETC., ETC., ETC.




PHILADELPHIA:
PORTER & COATES



f-rta



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
T. S. ARTHUR,

in th* Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



Re-issued according to Act of Congress, and entered according to Act
of Congress in the year 1882, by

T. S. ARTHUR,
in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



CONTENTS.



. NIGHT THE FIRST.

The " Sickle and Sheaf 7

NIGHT THE SECOND.

The Changes of a Year 52

NIGHT THE THIRD.

Joe Morgan s Child 87

NIGHT THE FOURTH.

Death of Little Mary Morgan . . . .122

NIGHT THE FIFTH.

Some of the Consequences of Tavern-Keeping . 1 54

NIGHT THE SIXTH.

More Consequences 197



Vi CONTENTS.

NIGHT THE SEVENTH.

Sowing the Wind . -. .-...'. . . . 224



PAGE



NIGHT THE EIGHTH.

Reaping the Whirlwind . , . . . 292

NIGHT THE NINTH.

A Fearful Consummation . * . . . 325

NIGHT THE TENTH.

The Closing Scene at the " Sickle and Sheaf" . 345



TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.



NIGHT THE FIRST.



THE "SICKLE AND SHEAF."



years ago, business required me to
pass a day in Cedarville. It was late
in the afternoon when the stage set me down
at the " Sickle and Sheaf," a new tavern, just
opened by a new landlord, in a new house,
built with the special end of providing "ac
commodations for man and beast." As I
stepped from the dusty old vehicle in which
I had been jolted along a rough road for some
thirty miles, feeling tired and hungry, the
good-natured face of Simon Slade, the land
lord, beaming as it did with a hearty welcome,
was really a pleasant sight to see, and the grasp
of his hand was like that of a true friend.
I felt, as I entered the new and neatly fur-



8 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

nished sitting-room adjoining the bar, that I
had indeed found a comfortable resting-place
after my wearisome journey.

"All as nice as a new pin," said I, approv
ingly, as I glanced around the room, up to the
ceiling white as the driven snow and over
the handsomely carpeted floor. " Haven't seen
any thing so inviting as this. How long have
you been open ? "

" Only a few months," answered the gratified
landlord. "But we are not yet in good going
order. It takes time, you know, to bring every
thing into the right shape. Have you dined yet ? "

" No. Every thing looked so dirty at the stage-
house, where we stopped to get dinner, that I
couldn't venture upon the experiment of eating.
How long before your supper will be ready ? "

" In an hour," replied the landlord.

" That will do. Let me have a nice piece of
tender steak, and the loss of dinner will soon
be forgotten."

" You shall have that, cooked fit for an alder-



NIGHT THE FIRST. 9

man," said the landlord. " I call my wife the
best cook in Cedarville."

As he spoke, a neatly dressed girl, about six
teen years of age, with rather an attractive
countenance, passed through the room.

"My daughter," said the landlord, as she
vanished through the door. There was a
sparkle of pride in the father's eyes, and a cer
tain tenderness in the tones of his voice, as he
said " My daughter " that told me she was
very dear to him.

"You are a happy man to have so fair a
child," said I, speaking more in compliment
than with a careful choice of words.

" I am a happy man," was the landlord's smil
ing answer; his fair, round face, unwrinkled by
a line of care or trouble, beaming with self -satis
faction. "I have always been a happy man,
and always expect to be. Simon Slade takes
the world as it comes, and takes it easy. My
son, sir," he added, as a boy, in his twelfth year,
came in. " Speak to the gentleman."



10 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

The boy lifted to mine a pair of deep blue
eyes, from which innocence beamed, as he
offered me his hand, and said, respectfully
"How do you do, sir?" I could not but
remark the girl-like beauty of his face, in which
the hardier firmness of the boy's character was
already visible.

" What is your name ? " I asked.

"Frank, sir."

" Frank is his name," said the landlord " we
called him after his uncle. Frank and Flora
the names sound pleasant to our ears. But,
you know, parents are apt to be a little partial
and over fond."

"Better that extreme than its opposite," I
remarked.

"Just what I always say. Frank, my son,"
the landlord spoke to the boy " there's some
one in the bar. You can wait on him as well
as I can."

The lad glided from the room, in ready
obedience.



NIGHT THE FIRST. 11

"A handy boy that, sir; a very handy boy.
Almost as good in the bar as a man. He mixes
a toddy or a punch just as well as I can."

"But," I suggested, "are you not a little
afraid of placing one so young in the way of
temptation."

" Temptation ! " The open brows of Simon
Slade contracted a little. "No, sir!" he re
plied, emphatically. "The till is safer under
his care than it would be in that of one man in
ten. The boy comes, sir, of honest parents.
Simon Slade never wronged anybody out of
a farthing."

" Oh," said I, quickly, " you altogether misap
prehend me. I had no reference to the till, but
to the bottle."

The landlord's brows were instantly unbent,
and a broad smile circled over his good-humored
face.

" Is that all ? Nothing to fear, I can assure
you. Frank has no taste for liquor, and might
pour it out for months without a drop finding



12 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-KOOM.

its way to his lips. Nothing to apprehend
there, sir nothing."

I saw that further suggestions of danger
would be useless, and so remained silent. The
arrival of a traveler called away the landlord,
and I was left alone for observation and reflec
tion. The bar adjoined the neat sitting-room,
and I could see, through the open door, the
customer upon whom the lad was attending.
He was a well-dressed young man or rather
boy, for he did not appear to be over nineteen
years of age with a fine, intelligent face, that
was already slightly marred by sensual indul
gence. He raised the glass to his lips, with a
quick, almost eager motion, and drained it at a
single draught.

"Just right," said he, tossing a sixpence to
the young bar-tender. " You are first-rate at a
brandy -toddy. Never drank a better in my
life."

The lad's smiling face told that he was
gratified by the compliment. To me the sight



NIGHT THE FIRST. 13

was painful, for I saw that this youthful tip
pler was on dangerous ground.

" Who is that young man in the bar ? " I
asked, a few minutes afterward, on being re
joined by the landlord.

Simon Slade stepped to the door and looked
into the bar for a moment.

Two or three men were there by this time;
but he was at no loss in answering my ques
tion.

" Oh, that's a son of Judge Hammond, who
lives in the large brick house just as you enter
the village. Willy Hammond, as everybody
familiarly calls him, is about the finest young
man in our neighborhood. There is nothing
proud or put-on about him nothing even if
his father is a judge, and rich into the bargain.
Every one, gentle or simple, likes Willy Ham
mond. And then he is such good company.
Always so cheerful, and always with a pleasant
story on his tongue. And he's so high-spirited
withal, and so honorable. Willy Hammond



14 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAK-ROOM.

would lose his right hand rather than be guilty
of a mean action."

" Landlord ! " The voice came loud from the
road in front of the house, and Simon Slade
again left me to answer the demands of some
new-comer. I went into the bar-room, in order
to take a closer observation of Willy Ham
mond, in whom an interest, not unmingled with
concern, had already been awakened in my
mind. I found him engaged in a pleasant con
versation with a plain-looking farmer, whose
homely, terse, common sense was quite as con
spicuous as his fine play of words and lively
fancy. The farmer was a substantial conserva
tive, and young Hammond a warm admirer of
new ideas and the quicker adaptation of means
to ends. I soon saw that his mental powers
were developed beyond his years, while his
personal qualities were strongly attractive. I
understood better, after being a silent listener
and observer for ten minutes, why the land
lord had spoken of him so warmly.



NIGHT THE FIRST. 15

"Take a brandy- toddy, Mr. H ?" said

Hammond, after the discussion closed, good
humoredly. "Frank, our junior bar-keeper
here, beats his father, in that line."

" I don't care if I do," returned the farmer ;
and the two passed up to the bar.

"Now, Frank, my boy, don't belie my
praises," said the young man ; " do your hand
somest."

"Two brandy-toddies, did you say?" Frank
made the inquiry with quite a professional
air.

" Just what I did say ; and let them be equal
to Jove's nectar."

Pleased at this familiarity, the boy went
briskly to his work of mixing the tempting
compound, while Hammond looked on with
an approving smile.

"There," said the latter, as Frank passed the
glasses across the counter, "if you don't call
that first-rate, you're no judge." And he handed
one of them to the farmer, who tasted the



16 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

agreeable draught, and praised its flavor. As
before, I noticed that Hammond drank eagerly,
like one athirst emptying his glass without
once taking it from his lips.

Soon after the bar-room was empty ; and then
I walked around the premises, in company with
the landlord, and listened to his praise of every
thing and his plans and purposes for the future.
The house, yard, garden, and out-buildings were
in the most perfect order; presenting, in the
whole, a model of a village tavern.

" Whatever I do, sir," said the talkative Simon
Slade, "I like to do well. I wasn't just raised
to tavern-keeping, you must know ; but I'm one
who can turn his hand to almost any thing."

" What was your business ? " I inquired.

" I'm a miller, sir, by trade," he answered
" and a better miller, though I say it myself, is
not to be found in Bolton county. I've fol
lowed milling these twenty years, and made
some little money. But I got tired of hard
work, and determined to lead an easier life.



NIGHT THE FIRST. 17

So I sold my mill, and built this house with
the money. I always thought I'd like tavern-keep
ing. It's an easy life ; and, if rightly seen after,
one in which a man is sure to make money."

" You were still doing a fair business with
your mill ? "

" Oh, yes. Whatever I do, I do right. Last
year, I put by a thousand dollars above all
expenses, which is not bad, I can assure you,
for a mere grist mill. If the present owner
comes out even, he'll do well ! "

" How is that ? "

"Oh, he's no miller. Give him the best
wheat that is grown, and he'll ruin it in grind
ing. He takes the life out of every grain. I
don't believe he'll keep half the custom that
I transferred with the mill. "

" A thousand dollars, clear profit, in so useful
a business, ought to have satisfied you," said I.

" There you and I differ," answered the land
lord. "Every man desires to make as much
money as possible, and with the least labor. I



18 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

hope to make two or three thousand dollars a
year, over and above all expenses, at tavern-
keeping. My bar alone ought to yield me that
sum. A man with a wife and children very natu
rally tries to do as well by them as possible."

"Very true; but," I ventured to suggest,
" will this be doing as well by them as if you
had kept on at the mill ? "

" Two or three thousand dollars a year against
one thousand ! Where are your figures, man ?"

" There may be something beyond the money
to take into the account," said I.

" What ? " inquired Slade, with a kind of half
credulity.

"Consider the different influences. of the two
callings in life that of a miller and a tavern-
keeper."

" Well ! say on."

" Will your children be as safe from tempta
tion here as in their former home? "

" Just as safe," was the unhesitating answer.
"Why not?"



NIGHT THE FIRST. 19

I was about to speak of the alluring glass in
the case of Frank, but remembering that I had
already expressed a fear in that direction, felt
that to do so again would be useless, and so kept
silent.

" A tavern-keeper," said Slade, " is just as
respectable as a miller in fact, the very people
who used to call me ' Simon ' or ' Neighbor
Dusty coat,' now say ' Landlord,' or Mr. Slade,
and treat me in every way more as if I were an
equal than ever they did before."

"The change," said I, "maybe due to the
fact of your giving evidence of possessing 'some
means. Men are very apt to be courteous to
those who have property. The building of the
tavern has, without doubt, contributed to the
new estimation in which you are held."

"That isn't all," replied the landlord. ".It
is because I am keeping a good tavern, and
thus materially advancing the interests of Cedar-
ville, that some of our best people look at me
with different eyes."



20 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAK-KOOM.

" Advancing the interests of Cedarville ! In
what way ? " I did not apprehend his meaning.

"A good tavern always draws people to a
place, while a miserable old tumble-down of an
affair, badly kept, such as we have had for
years, as surely repels them. You can gener
ally tell something about the condition of a
town by looking at its taverns. If they are
well kept, and doing a good business, you will
hardly be wrong in the conclusion that the
place is thriving. Why, already, since I built
and opened the i Sickle and Sheaf,' property
has advanced over twenty per cent, along the
whole street, and not less than five new houses
have been commenced."

" Other causes, besides the simple opening of
a new tavern, may have contributed to this
result," said I.

" None of which I am aware. I was talking
with Judge Hammond only yesterday he
owns a great deal of ground on the street and
he did not hesitate to say, that the building



NIGHT THE FIRST. 21

and opening of a good tavern here had increased
the value of his property at least five thousand
dollars. He said, moreover, that he thought
the people of Cedarville ought to present me
with a silver pitcher; and that, for one, he
would contribute ten dollars for the purpose."
The ringing of the supper bell interrupted
further conversation ; and with the best of appe
tites, I took my way to the room, where a plen
tiful meal was spread. As I entered, I met the
wife of Simon Slade, just passing out, after
seeing that every thing was in order. I had not
observed her before ; and now could not help
remarking that she had a flushed, excited coun
tenance, as if she had been over a hot fire, and
was both worried and fatigued. And there was,
moreover, a peculiar expression of the mouth,
never observed in one whose mind is entirely
at ease an expression that once seen is never
forgotten. The face stamped itself, instantly,
on my memory ; and I can even now recall it
with almost the original distinctness. How



22 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

strongly it contrasted with that of her smiling,
self-satisfied husband, who took his place at the
head of his table with an air of conscious impor
tance. I was too hungry to talk much, and so
found greater enjoyment in eating than in con
versation. The landlord had a more chatty
guest by his side, and I left them to entertain
each other, while I did ample justice to the
excellent food with which the table was liber
ally provided.

After supper I went to the sitting-room, and
remained there until the lamps were lighted.
A newspaper occupied my time for perhaps
half an hour ; then the buzz of voices from the
adjoining bar-room, which had been increasing
for some time, attracted my attention, and I
went in there to see and hear what was passing.
The first person upon whom my eyes rested was
young Hammond, who sat talking with a man
older than himself by several years. At a glance,
I saw that this man could only associate him
self with Willy Hammond as a tempter. Un-



NIGHT THE FIRST. 23

scrupulous selfishness was written all over his
sinister countenance ; and I wondered that it
did not strike every one, as it did me, with
instant repulsion. There could not be, I felt
certain, any common ground of association, for
two such persons, but the dead level of a village
bar-room. I afterward learned, during the even
ing, that this man's name was Harvey Green,
and that he was an occasional visitor at Cedar-
ville, remaining a few days, or a few weeks at
a time, as appeared to suit his fancy, and hav
ing no ostensible business or special acquaint
ance with anybody in the village.

" There is one thing about him," remarked
Simon Slade, in answering some question that
I put in reference to the man, "that I don't
object to ; he has plenty of money, and is not
at all niggardly in spending it. He used to
come here, so he told me, about once in five or
six months ; but his stay at the miserably kept
tavern, the only one then in Cedarville, was so
uncomfortable, that he had pretty well made



24 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-KOOM.

up his mind never to visit us again. Now,
however, he has engaged one of my best rooms,
for which he pays me by the year, and I am to
charge him full board for the time he occupies
it. He says that there is something about
Cedarville that always attracts him ; and that his
health is better while here than it is anywhere,
except South during the winter season. He'll
not leave less than two or three hundred dol
lars a year in our village there is one item, for
you, of advantage to a place in having a good
tavern."

"What is his business?" I asked. "Is he
engaged in any trading operations ? "

The landlord shrugged his shoulders, and
looked slightly mysterious, as he answered :

"I never inquire about the business of a
guest. My calling is to entertain strangers.
If they are pleased with my house, and pay my
bills on presentation, I have no right to seek
further. As a miller, I never asked a cus
tomer whether he raised, bought, or stole his



NIGHT THE FIRST. 25

wheat. It was my business to grind it, and I
took care to do it well. Beyond that, it was
all his own affair. And so it will be in my
new calling. I shall mind my own business
and keep my own place."

Besides young Hammond and this Harvey
Green, there were in the bar-room, when I
entered, four others besides the landlord.
Among these was a Judge Lyman so he was
addressed a man between forty and fifty years
of age, who had a few weeks before received
the Democratic nomination for member of
Congress. He was very talkative and very
affable, and soon formed a kind of centre of
attraction to the bar-room circle. Among
other topics of conversation that came up was
the new tavern, introduced by the landlord, in
whose mind it was, very naturally, the upper
most thought.

"The only wonder to me is," said Judge
Lyman, "that nobody had wit enough to see
the advantage of a good tavern in Cedar vi lie



26 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

ten years ago, or enterprise enough to start
one. I give our friend Slade the credit of
being a shrewd, far-seeing man ; and, mark my
word for it, in ten years from to-day he will be
the richest man in the county."

"Nonsense Ho ! ho ! " Simon Slade laughed
outright. " The richest man ! You forget
Judge Hammond."

"No, not even Judge Hammond, with all
deference for our clever friend Willy," and
Judge Lyman smiled pleasantly on the young
man.

"If he gets richer, somebody will be poor
er!" The individual who uttered these words
had not spoken before, and I turned to look at
him more closely. A glance showed him to
be one of a class seen in all bar-rooms ; a poor,
broken-down inebriate, with the inward power
of resistance gone conscious of having no
man's respect, and giving respect to none.
There was a shrewd twinkle in his eyes, as he
fixed them on Slade, that gave added force to



NIGHT THE FIRST. 27

the peculiar tone in which his brief but telling
sentence was uttered. I noticed a slight con
traction on the landlord's ample forehead, the
first evidence I had yet seen of ruffled feelings.
The remark, thrown in so untimely (or timely,
some will say), and with a kind of prophetic
malice, produced a temporary pause in the con
versation. No one answered or questioned the
intruder, who, I could perceive, silently enjoyed
the effect of his words. But soon the obstruct
ed current ran on again.

"If our excellent friend, Mr. Slade," said
Harvey Green, "is not the richest man in
Cedarville at the end of ten years, he will at
least enjoy the satisfaction of having made his
town richer."

" A true word that," replied Judge Lyman
"as true a word as ever was spoken. What a
dead-and-alive place this has been until within
the last few months. All vigorous growth had
stopped, and we were actually going to seed."

" And the graveyard too," muttered the indi



28 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

vidual who had before disturbed the self -satis
fied harmony of the company, remarking upon
the closing sentence of Harvey Green. " Come,
landlord," he added, as he strode across to the
bar, speaking in a changed, reckless sort of a
way, " fix me up a good hot whisky-punch, and
do it right; and there's another sixpence toward
the fortune you are bound to make. It's the
last one left not a copper more in my pock
ets," and he turned them inside-out, with a
half-solemn, half-ludicrous -air. " I send it to
keep company in your till with four others
that have found their way into that snug place
since morning, and which will be lonesome
without their little friend."

I looked at Simon Slade ; his eyes rested on
mine for a moment or two, and then sunk be
neath my earnest gaze. I saw that his coun
tenance flushed, and that his motions were
slightly confused. The incident, it was plain,
did not awaken agreeable thoughts. Once I
saw his hand move toward the sixpence that lay



NIGHT THE FIRST. 29

upon the counter ; but whether to push it back
or draw it toward the till, I could not deter
mine. The whisky-punch was in due time
ready, and with it the man retired to a table
across the room, and sat down to enjoy the
tempting beverage. As he did so, the landlord
quietly swept the poor unfortunate's last six
pence into his drawer. The influence of this
strong potation was to render the man a little
more talkative. To the free conversation pass
ing around him he lent an attentive ear, drop
ping in a word, now and then, that always told
upon the company like a well-directed blow.
At last, Slade lost all patience with him, and
said, a little fretfully :

" Look here, Joe Morgan, if you will be ill-
natured, pray go somewhere else, and not inter
rupt good feeling among gentlemen."

"Got my last sixpence," retorted Joe, turn
ing his pockets inside-out again. u No more
use for me here to-night. That's the way of
the world. How apt a scholar is our good



30 TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR-ROOM.

friend Dustycoat, in this new school ! Well,
he was a good miller no one ever disputed
that and it's plain to see that he is going to
make a good landlord. I thought his heart
was a little too soft ; but the indurating process
has begun, and, in less than ten years, if it
isn't as hard as one of his old millstones, Joe
Morgan is no prophet. Oh, you needn't knit
your brows so, friend Simon, we're old
friends; and friends are privileged to speak
plain."

"I wish you'd go home. You're not your
self, to-night," said the landlord, a little coax-
ingly, for he saw that nothing was to be gained
by quarreling with Morgan. " Maybe my heart
is growing harder," he added, with affected
good-humor ; " and it is time, perhaps. One of
my weaknesses, I have heard even you say, was
being too woman-hearted."

" No danger of that now," retorted Joe Mor
gan. "I've known a good many landlords in
my time, but can't remember one that was



NIGHT THE FIRST. 31

troubled with the disease that once afflicted
you."

Just at this moment the outer door was
pushed open with a slow, hesitating motion;
then a little pale face peered in, and a pair of
soft blue eyes went searching about the room.
Conversation was instantly hushed, and every
face, excited with interest, turned toward the
child, who had now stepped through the door.
She was not over ten years of age ; but it
moved the heart to look upon the saddened
expression of her young countenance, and the
forced bravery therein, that scarcely over
came the native timidity so touchingly visi


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryT. S. (Timothy Shay) ArthurTen nights in a bar-room and what I saw there → online text (page 1 of 13)