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all. My parents couldn't give me any advan
tages when I was young. When I ought to have
been learning how to make a red ink bird of
paradise swooping down on a violet ink butter
fly with green horns, I was frittering away my
time trying to keep my misguided parents out
of the poor-house.

I tell you, Henry, there was mighty little fluff
and bloom and funny business in my young life.
While you are acquiring the rudiments of Long
Dennis and polo and penmanship, and storing
your mind with useful knowledge with which
to parlize your poor parents when you come
home, do not forget, Henry, that your old sway-
back father never had those opportunities for
soaking his system full of useful knowledge
which you now enjoy. When I was your age, I
was helping to jerk the smutty logs off of a new
farm with a pair of red and restless steers, in
the interest of your grandfather.

But, I do not repine. I just simply call your
attention to your priviledges. Could you have a
Summer in the heart of the primeval forest,
thrown in contact with a pair of high-strung
steers and a large number of black flies of the
most malignant type, "snaking" half -burnt logs



44 BILL NY&S SPARKS.

across yourself and fighting flies from early
dawn till set of sun, you would be willing, nay
tickled, to go back to your monotonous round of
base ball and Suffolk jackets and pest-house
cigarettes.

We rather expected you home some time ago,
but you said you needed sea air and change of
scene, so you will not be home very likely till the
latter part of the month. We will be glad bo see
you any time, Henry, and we will try to make
it as pleasant as we can for you. Your mother
got me to fill the big straw-tick for your bed
again, so that you would have a nice tall place
to sleep, and so that you could live high, as the
feller said.

I tried on the old velocipede pants you sent
Aome last week. They are too short for me with
the style of legs I am using this Summer. Your
bathing pants are also too short for me, so I
gave them to a poor woman here who is trying
to ameliorate the condition of her sex.

I send you our love and $9 in money. We will
*ell the other calf as soon as it is ripe. Chintz
bugs are rather more robust than last year, and
the mortgage on our place looks as if it might
/nature prematurely. We had a lecture on phre-
no*ogy at the school-house Tuesday night, during



A FATHER S LETTER. 46

which four of our this spring's roan turkies
wandered so far away from home that they lost
their bearings and never came back again. So
good -by for this time. Your father,

BILL



at

IT HAS been my good fortune within the past
ten years to "witness a number of the re
maining landmarks left to indicate the trail
of the original inhabitant of this country. It
has been a pleasure, and yet a kind of sad plea
sure, to examine the crumbling ruins of what
was once regarded, no doubt, as the very tri
umph of aboriginal taste and mechanical in
genuity.

I can take but a cursory glance at these ear
marks of a forgotten age, for a short treatise
like this cannot embrace minute details, of
course.

"We are told by the historian that there were
riginally two distinct classes of Indians occupy
ing the territory now embraced by the United
States, viz., the Tillage Indians or horticultural
Indians, and the extremely rural Indians or non-
horticultural variety.

The village Indians or horticulturalists sub-



TEE AZTEC AT HOME. #

sisted upon fruits and grain, ground in a crude
way, while the non-horticulturalists lived oa
wild game, berries, acorns and pilgrims.

Of the latter class few traces remain, except
ing rude arrow heads and coarse stone weapons.
These articles show very little skill as a rule,
the only indication of brains that I ever dis
covered being on a large stone hammer or Mo
hawk swatter, and they were not the brains of
the man who made it either.

The village Indians, however, were architects
from away up the gulch.

They constructed a number of architectural
works of great beauty, several of which I have
visited. They were once, no doubt, regarded as
very desirable residences, but now, alas, they
have fallen into innocuous desuetude at least
that is what it looked like to me, and the odor
reminded me of innocuous desuetude in a bad
state of preservation.

In New Mexico, over 300 years ago, there
were built a number of pereblos or villages
which still stand up, in a measure, though some
of them are in a recumbent position. These
pereblos or villages are formed of three or four
buildings constructed in the retrousse style of
architecture, and made of adobe bricks. These



* BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

bricks are generally of a beautiful, soft, black
and tan color, and at a distance look like the
firs* loaf of bread baked by a young lady who
has been reared in luxury but whose father has
been suddenly called away to Canada. The
adobe brick is said to be so indigestible, in fact,
that I am confident the day is not far distant
when it will be found on every hotel bill of
fare in our broad sin-cursed land.

One of these dwellings was generally about
200 feet long, with no stairways in the in
terior, but movable ladders on the outside
instead. This manner of reaching the upper
floor had its advantages, and yet it was not al
ways convenient. One feature in its favor was
the isolation which a man could pull around
himself by going in at the second-story window
and pulling the ladder up after him, as there was
uo entranoe to the house on the ground floor.
If a man really courted retirement, and wanted
to write a humorous lecture or a $2 homily, he
could insert himself through the second-story
window, pull in the staircase and go to work.
Then no one could disturb him without bribing
a hook and ladder company to come along and
let him in.

Bo* the great drawback was the annoyance



THE AZTEC AT HOME. 49

iiiddent to ascending these ladders at a fete
hour in the night, while under the influence of
Aztec rum, a very seductive yet violently intox
icating beverage, containing about eight parts
cheer to ninety-two parts inebriate.

These residences were hardly gothic in atyle,
being extremely rectangular, with a tendency
toward the more modern dry-goods box. It is
believed by abler men than I am, men who
could believe more in two minutes than I could
believe in a lifetime if I had nothing else to do,
that those houses contained about thirty-eight
apartments on the first floor and nineteen on
the second. These apartments were separated
by some kind of cheap and transitory partition,
which could not stand the climatic changes, and
so has gone to decay ; but these Indians wer*
determined to have their rooms separated in
some way, for they were very polite and deco
rous to a fault. No Aztec gentleman would
emerge from his room until he had completed
his toilet, if it cost him his position.

I once heard of an Aztec who lived away down
in old Mexico somewhere several centuries ago
and who was the pink of politeness. He wore
full-dress winter and summer, the whole year
round, and studied a large work on etiquette



60 BILL NY&S SPARKS.

every evening. At night he would undress

himself by unhooking the german-silver ring

from his nose and hanging it on the back of a

chair.

One night a young man from the capital,
named Ozone, or something like that, a relative
of the Montezumas, came over to stay a week or
two with this Aztec dude. As a good joke he
slipped in and nipped the nose-ring of his friend
just to see if he would so far violate the proprie
ties as to appear at breakfast time without it.

Morning came and the dude awoke to find the
bright rays of a Mexican sun streaming in
through his casement. He rose, and, bathing
himself in a gourd, he looked on the back of the
chair for his clothing, but it was not there. A
cold perspiration broke out all over him. He
called for assistance, but no one came. He
called again and again, louder and still more
loud, but help came not. He went to the case
ment and looked out upon the plaza. The plaza
did not turn away. A Mexican plaza is not easi
ly dashed.

He called till he was hoarse, but all was still
in the house. Hollow echoes alone came back
to him to mock him.

At night, when the rest of the household re-



THE AZTEC AT HOME. 51

turned from a protracted picnic in the distant
hills, young Ozone ascended the ladder which he
carried with him in a shawl-strap, and entering
the room of the Aztec dude gave him the nose
ring with a hearty laugh, but, alas I he was
greeted with the wild, piercing shriek of a ma
niac robbed of his clothing ; the man had suffered
such mental tortures during the long, long day,
that when night came, reason tottered on her
throne. It is said that he never regained his
faculties, but would always greet his visitors
with a wild forty-cent shriek and bury his face
in his hands. His friends tried to get him into
society again, but he could not be prevailed upon
to go. He seemed to be afraid that he would be
shocked in some way, or that some one might
take advantage of him and read an immoral
poem to him.



19 JIN

SHEVILLE, N. C., December 9. There is
no place in the United States, so far as I
know, where the cow is more versatile or
ambidextrous, if I may be allowed the use of a
term that is far above my station in life, than
here in the mountains of North Carolina, where
the obese 'possum and the anonymous distiller
have their homes.

Not only is the Tar-heel cow the author of a
pale but athletic style of butter, but in her lei
sure hours she aids in tilling the perpendicular
farm on the hillside, or draws the products to
market. In this way she contrives to put in her
time to the best advantage, and when she dies,
it casts a gloom over the community in which
he has resided.

The life of a North Carolina cow is indeed
fraught with various changes and saturated with
a zeal which is praiseworthy in the extreme.
From the sunny days when she gambols through
the beautiful valleys, inserting her black, re
trousse and perspiration-dotted nose in to the



lY THE SOUTH. 58

grass from ear to ear, until at life's close,
when every part and portion of her overworked
system is turned into food, raiment or overcoat
buttons, the life of the Tar-heel cow is one of in
tense activity.

Her girlhood is short, and almost before we
have deemed her emancipated from calfhood
herself we find her in the capacity of a mother.
"With the cares of maternity other demands are
quickly made upon her. She is obliged to ostra
cize herself from society, and enter into the pro
saic details of producing small, pallid globules
of butter, the very pallor of which so thoroughly
belies its lusty strength.

The butter she turns out rapidly until it be
gins to be worth something, when she suddenly
suspends publication and begins to haul wood to
market. In this great work she is assisted by
the pearl-gray or ecru colored jackass of the tepid
South. This animal has been referred to in the
newspapers throughout the country, and yet he
never ceases to be an object of the greatest in
terest.

Jackasses in the South are of two kinds, yiz.,
male and female. Much as has been aaid of the
jackass pro and con, I do not remember ever to
hare seen the above statement in print before,



<* BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

and yet it is as trite as it is incontrovertible. In
>he Rocky mountains we call this animal the
burro. There he packs bacon, flour and salt to
the miners. The miners eat the bacon and flour,
and with the salt they are enabled to successfully
salt the mines.

The burro has a low, contralto voice which
ought to have some machine oil on it. The
voice of this animal is not unpleasant if he
would pull some of the pathos out of it and make
it more joyous.

Here the jackass at times becomes a co worker
with the cow in hauling tobacco and other
necessaries of life into town, but he goes no fur
ther in the matter of assistance. He compels
her to tread the cheese press alone and contrib
utes nothing whatever in the way of assistance
for the butter industry.

The North Carolina cow is frequently seen
here driven double or single by means of a
small rope line attached to a tall, emaciated
gentleman, who is generally clothed with the
divine right of suffrage, to which he adds a small
pair of ear-bods during the holidays.

The cow is attached to each shaft and a small
3ingletree, or swingletree, by means of a broad
strap harness. She also wears a breeching, in



IN THE SOUTH. <S

which respect she frequently lias the advantage
of her escort.

I think I hare never witnessed a sadder sight
than that of a new milch cow, torn away from
home and friends and kindred dear, descending
a steep, mountain road at a rapid rate and striv
ing in her poor, weak manner to keep out of the
way of a small Jackson democratic wagon loaded
with a big hogshead full of tobacco. It seems
to me so totally foreign to the nature of the cow
to enter into the tobacco traffic, aline of busines*
for which she can have no sympathy and in
frhich she certainly can feel very little interest.

Tobacco of the very finest kind is produced
here, and is used mainly for smoking purposes
It is the highest-priced tobacco produced in thij
country. A tobacco broker here yesterday show
ed me a large quantity of what he called export
tobacco. It looks very much like other tobacco
while growing.

He says that foreigners use a great deal of
this kind- I am learning all about the *obacca
industry while here, and as fast as I get hold ot
any new facts I will communicate them to the
press. The newspapers of this country have
done much for me, not only by publishing many
pleasant things abou* me, but by refraining



66 BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

from publishing other things about me, and no
I am glad to be able, now and then, to repay this
kindness by furnishing information and facts
for which I have no use myself, but which may
be of incalculable value to the press.

As I write these lines I am informed that the
snow is twenty-six inches deep here and four
feet deep at High Point in this State. People
who did not bring in their pomegranates last
evening are bitterly bewailing their thoughtless
ness to-day.

A great many people come here from various
parts of the world, for the climate. When they
have remained here for one winter, however,
they decide to leave it where it is.

It is said that the climate here is very much
like that of Turin. But I did not intend to go
to Turin even before I heard about that.

Please send my paper to the same address, and
if some one who knows a good remedy for chil
blains will contribute it to the Sabbath GLOBE,
I shall watch for it with great interest.
as here 2 4. BILL

P.S. I should have said relative to the cows
of this State that if the owners would work their
butter more and their cows less, they would confer
a great boon on the consumer of both. B. J^, ,



TO the general public I may say that I violate
no confidence in saying that spring is the
most joyful season of the year. But June is
also a good month. "Well has the poet ejaculated,
" And -what is so rare as a clay in June ? " though
I have seen days in March that were so rare that
they were almost raw. This is not a weather
report, however. I started out to state that
Central Park just now is looking its very best,
and opens up with the prospects of doing a good
business this season. A ride through the Park
just now is a delight to one who loves to com
mune with nature, especially human nature.

The nobility of Kew York now turns out to
get the glorious air and ventilate its crest. I saw
several hundred crests and coats-of-arms the
other day in an hour's time, and it was rather a
poor day, too, for a great many of our bast
people are just changing from their spring to
their light, summer coats-of-arms.
One of the best crests I saw was a nice, large,



68 BILL NY&S SPARKS.

red crest, about the size of an adult rhubarb pie,
with a two-year-old Durham unicorn above it,
bearing in his talons the unique maxim, " Sans
culottes, sans snockemonthegob, sans ery sipelaa
cat"

And how true this is, too, in a great many
cases.

Another very handsome crest on the carriage
of the Van Studentickels consisted of a towel-
rack penchant, with cockroach regardant, hold
ing in his beak a large red tape-worm on which
was inscribed : " Spirituous frumenti, cum homo
to-morrow."

Many of the crests contained terse Latin mot-
toes, taken from the inscriptions on peppermint
conversation candies, and were quite cute. A
coat-of-arms, consisting of a small Limburger
cheese couchant, above which stood a large can
of chloride of potash, on which was Inscribed the
words, " Miss, may I see you home ? " I thought
very taking and just mysterious enough to make
it exciting.

Some day I am going to get myself a crest. I
1m only waiting for something to put it on. It
will consist of a monkey with his eye knocked
out and a bright green parrot with his tail pulled
off, and over this the sample remark : " We have



IN THE PAEK. 89

had a high old time," or words to that etfect.

Not so many equestrians were out M usual on
the day I visited the park, but those who were
out afforded the observer a beautiful view of the
park between their persons and the saddle. The
equestriennes were more numerous, and one or
two especially were as beautiful as anything that
nature ever turned out. One young woman, In
a neat-fitting plug hat, looked to me like a pan.
It has been a good while now since I saw a peri,
but I have always heard them very highly spoken
of, and I hope she will not be offended when she
reads these lines and finds that I regard her ia
that light.

Carriage-horses are dressing about as they did
last season, except that pon-pon tails are more
worn , especially at the end. Keek-yokes aw oul
low this year so as to show the shoulders of the
wearer, and horses in mourning wear their tail*
at half-mast.

The porous plastron is not in faror thii year,
but many horses who interfere are wearing life-
preservers over the fetlock, and sometimes a
small chest-protector of russet leather over the
joint, according to the taste of the wearer.

Polka-dot or half-mourning dogs are much af
fected by people who are beginning to get %fee



ec BILL NYli'S SPARKS.

upper hand of their grief. Much taste is showa
in the selection of dogs for the coming season^
and many owners chain their coachman to the
dog, so that if any one were to come and try to
abduct the dog the coachman could bite him and
drive him away. A good coachman to take care
of a watch-dog is almost invaluable.

A custom of taking the butler along in the seat
with the coachman is growing in favor for two
reasons : First, it shows that you have a butler,
and, second, you know that while he is out with
you he is not putting paste in the place of your
diamonds at home. So I had almost said that it
paste to do this.

The automatic or jointless footman is still
popular, and a young man who has a good turn
ing-lathe leg and an air of impenetrable gloom
can get a job most any time.

Many New York gentlemen who are fond of
driving take their grooms out to Central Park
every afternoon for an airing. This is a wise
provision, for those who have associated much
with grooms will agree with me that a little air-
rug now and then is just what they need.

There ought to be a book of park etiquette
printed soon, however, for the guidance of its
s. In the first place, it should be considered



IN TEE PARS:. ei

for Sk gentleman to hire a coupe by the
hour in order to recover from alcoholic prostra
tion, and then sl&ep up and down the drive with
his feet out the window. It is not respectful,
and besides that the blood is liable to all rush to
his head.

Drunken cab-drive*^ too, should not be per
mitted to drive in the park, for only a little
while ago one of them is said to have fallen from
his high perch and injured Ais crest.

A park policeman should be specially detailed
as a breath tester to stand at each entrance and
smell the breath of all drivers ard other patrons
of the park. Let us enforce the law.

But the most curious feature about the exhibi
tion afternoon spin in the Park is the great prev
alence of mourning symbols. Almost, if not quite,
one-third of the carriages one meets is decorated
with black in every possible way, till sometimes
it looks like a runaway funeral procession.

Why people should come to Central Park to
advertise their woe by means of long black
mourning tassels at their horses' heads and a
draped driver with broad bands of bombazme
concealing the russet tops of his boots, some
times dressed in black throughout, is more than
I can understand.



62 BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

The honest, earnest and genuine affection of a
good woman for a worthy man, alive or dead, is
too sacred to treat lightly and the love that sur
vives the wreck and ruin of gathering years has
inspired more than one man to deeds of daring
whereby he has won everlasting renown, but the
woe that is divided up among the servants and
shared in by the horses is not in good taste, it ia
not in good order and there are flies on it.

It is like saying to the world come and see how
I suffer. It is parading your sore toe in Central
Park, where people with sore toes are not sup
posed to congregate. It is like a widow wailing
her woe through the "Want" column of a
healthy morning paper. It is, in effect, saying
to Christendom, come and hear me snort and see
me paw up the ground in my paroxysms of wild
and uncontrollable anguish. My grief is of such
a penetrating nature and of that searching
variety that it has broken out at the barn, and
even the horses that I bought two weeks after
the funeral, with a part of the life insurance
money, have gone into mourning, and the coach
man who got here day before yesterday from
Liverpool has tied himself up in black bombazine
and takes special delight in advertising our
sorrow.



IN TBS PABK. 68

I do not believe that it will always be papula*
lo wear mourning for our friends unless we feel
a little doubtful about where they went.

Black is offensive to the eye, offensive lo the
nose, and it makes your flesh cr6pe to touch it,
Will the proofreader please deal gently witli the
above joke and I will do as much for him some
time.

Henry Ward Beech er had the right idea of the
way to treat death, and when at last it came hia
turn to die his home and his church both seemed
to say : " The great preacher is gone, but there
is nothing about the change that is sad."

There is something the matter with grief that
works itself up into black rosettes and long black
banners that sweep the ground and shut out the
sky and look like despair and feel like the season-
cracked back of a warty dragon.

But wealth has its little eccentricities and we
must bear with them. But he alone is indeed
rich who is content and who does not look under
the bed every night for an indictment. LooK at
poor old Mr. Sharp, with his stock of Aldermen
depreciating on his hands men for whom he
paid a big price only a few years ago and who
would not attract attention now on a ten-cent
counter, while he don't feel very well himself.



64 BILL Nf&S SPARK&

No, I would not swap places with J. Sharp and
ride through Central Park behind a pair of rip,
snorting horses, with mourning rosettes on their
heads, and feel that I must hurry back to help
select an unprejudiced jury. I would rather
hang on to the brow of a Broadway car tili I got
to Fifty-second street, and then stroll ovar to
the menagerie and feed red pepper to the Sacred
Cow and have a good, plain, quiet time than to
wear fine clothes and be wealthy ai/d hate my
self all the time. I believe that I am happie* in
my untroubled, dreamless sleep on my quiet
couch, which draws a salary during the daytime
as an upright piano ; happier browsing about it
a different restaurant each day, so that tfce
waiters will not get well acquainted with ie
and expect me to give them the money that I am
saving up to go to Europe with ; happier, I say,
to be thus tossed about on the bosom of the great,
heaving human tide than to have forty or fifty
millions of dollars concealed about my person
that I cannot remember how I obtained.

I dislike notoriety, and nothing irritates me
more than the coarse curiosity of people who
ride at night in the elevated trains and peer Idly
into my room as I toil over my sewing or jro
gayly about humming a simple air as I


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