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I^V THE PARK. 65

the evening meal over my cute little portable oil
stove, and though I have not courted this in
terest on the part of the people, and though I
would prefer to live less in the eye of the public,
I feel that, occupying the position I do, I cannot
expect to wholly consult my own wishes in the
matter, and I am content to live quietly and
enjoy good health rather than wear good clothes
and feel rocky all the time.

I would rather have a healthy alimentary
Than be garnished all over with passementerie.



Ciberiy ^Isgrptegtyg tl?<? World.



y YYHEN Patrick Henry put his old cast-iron
III spectacles on ttte top of his head and
whooped for liberty, he did not know that
ome day we would have more of it than we
knew what to do with. He little dreamed that
the time would come when we would have more
liberty than we could pay for. When Mr. Henry
gawed the air and shouted for liberty or death,
I do not believe that he knew the time would
one day come when Liberty would stand knee
deep in the mud of Bedloe's Island and yearn
for a nolid place to stand upon.

It seems to me that we have too much liberty in
this country in some ways. We have more liberty
than we have money. We guarantee that every
man in America shall fill himself up full of lib
erty at our expense, and the less of an American
he is the more liberty he can have. If he desires
to enjoy himself, all he needs is a slight foreign
Accent and a willingness to mix up with politics



LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING. 67

as soon as he can get his baggage off the steam
er. The more I study American institutions
the more I regret that I was not born a foreign
er, so that I could have something to say about
the management of our great land. If I could
not be a foreigner, I believe I would prefer to
be a Mormon or an Indian not taxed.

I am often led to ask, in the language of the
poet, " Is the Caucasian played out ? " Most
everybody can have a good deal of fun in this
country except the American. He seems to be
so busy paying his taxes all the time that he has
very little time to mingle in the giddy whirl
with the alien. That is the reason that the
alien who rides across the United States on the
" Limited Mail " and writes a book about us be
fore breakfast wonders why we are always in a
hurry. That is the reason we have to throw
our meals into ourselves with a dull thud,
and hardly have time to maintain a warm per
sonal friendship with our families.

We do not care much for wealth, but we must
have freedom, and freedom costs money. We
. have advertised to furnish a bunch of freedom
to every man, woman or child who comes to our
chores, and we are going to deliver the goods
whether we have any left for ourselve* or not



8 BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

What would the great world beyond the seas
say to us if some day the blue-eyed Mormon,
with his heart full of love for our female semi
naries and our old women's homes, should land
upon our coasts and find that we were using
all the liberty ourselves ? What do we want
of liberty anyhow ? What could we do
with it if we had it? It takes a man of lei
sure to enjoy liberty, and we have no leisure
whatever. It is a good thing to keep in the
house "for the use of guests only," but we don't
need it for ourselves.

Therefore, I am in favor of a statue of Liberty
Enlightening the World, because it will show
that we keep it on tap winter and summer. We
want the whole broad world to remember that
when it gets tired of oppression it can come here
to America and oppress us. We are used to it,
and we rather like it. If we don't like it, we
can get on the steamer and go abroad, where we
may visit the effete monarchies and have a high
old time.

The sight of the Goddess of Liberty standing
there in New York harbor night and day, bath
ing her feet in the rippling sea, will be a good
thing. It will be first-rate. It may also be pro
ductive of good in a direction that many have



Li&MMTY ENLIGHI3tlX&, 69

not thought of. As she stands there day after
day, bathing her feet in the broad Atlantic, per
haps some moss-grown Mormon moving toward
the Far West, a confirmed victim of the matri
monial habit, may fix the bright picture in his
so-called mind, and remembering how, on his
arrival in Kew York, he saw Liberty bathing
her feet with impunity, he may be led in after
years to try it on himself.



51?<? Capital.

got off the Pensylvania train yeatcis
day I wentto a barber shop before I did any
thing else. I have a thick, Venetian red,
chinchilla beard, which grows rapidly, and which
gives me a fuzzy appearance every twenty-four
hours, unless I place myself frequently into the
hands of a barber. At first I used to shave myself,
but I cut myself to pieces in such a sickening man
ner, without seeming to impede the growth of
the rich and foxy beard, that until last summer I
gave up being my own barber. At that time I
was presented with a safety razor which the
manufacturer said would not cut my face, be
cause it was impossible for it to cut anything ex
cept the beard. The safety razor resembles in
appearance several other toilet articles, such as
the spoke shave, the road scraper, the canopener,
the lawn mower and the turbine water wheel,
but it does not look like a razor. It also looks
like a carpet sweeper some, and reminds me of
a monkey wrench. It is said that you can shave



HE SEES THE CAPITAL. 71

yourself on a train If you will use this instrument.
I tried it once last winter while going west. In
fact, I took the trip largely to see if one could
shave on board the train safely with this razor.
I had no special trouble. At least I did not cut
off any features that I cared anything about, but
I was disappointed in the results, and also in the
length of time consumed in cleaning the razor
aiter I got through. I was shaving myself only
from Forty-second street to Albany, but it took
me from Albany to Omaha to pull the razor
apart, and to dig out the coagulated lather and
the dear, dear whiskers. I now employ a valet
whose name is Patria McGloria. He irons my
trousers, shaves and dresses me, and mows the
lawn. When I come to Washington, I am too
democratic to travel with a valet, fearing that
it might cost me several thousand votes some
day, and so I leave my maid at home to wash
and dress the salad. In that way he does not
miss me, and I get the credit at Washington of
being a man who spends so much time thinking
of his country's welfare that he doesn't have a
chance to look pretty.

I did not fall into a very gaudy barber shop.
The appointments were like some of the presi
dent's appointments, I thought viz., in poor



72 BILL NY&S SPARKS.

taste, but this is not a political letter. 1 do
not wish to antagonize anybody, especially the
president of the United States. He has always
treated me well.

I will now return to the barber shop. It was
a plain structure, with beautiful sarsaparilla
pictures here and there on the walls and a faint
odor of rancid pomatum and overworked hair
restoratives.

There were three chairs richly upholstered in
two-ply carpeting of some inflammatory hue,
with large vines and the kind of flowers which
grow on carpets but nowhere else. I have seen
blossoms woven into ingrain carpets, varying in
color from a dead black to the color of a hepa-
tized lung, but I have never seen one that re
minded me of anything I ever saw in nature.
The chair I sat in also had springs in it. They
were made of selections from the Washington
monument.

The barber who waited on me asked me if I
wanted a shave. A great many barbers ask me
this during the year. Sometimes they do it from
habit, and sometimes they do it to brighten up
my life and bring a smile to my wan cheek. As
I have no hair, the thinking mind naturally and
by a direct course of reasoning arrives at the



KB SEES THE CAPITAL. 73

conclusion that when I go into a barber snop
and climb into a chair, I do so for the purpose of
getting shaved and not with the idea of having
my fortune told or my deposition taken. Still
barbers continue to ask me this question and
look at each other with ill concealed mirth.

I said yes, I would like a shave unless he pre
ferred to take my temperature, or amuse me by
making a death mask of himself. He then
began to strap a large razor with a double shuffle
movement and to size me up at the same time.

He was a colored man, but he had lived in
Washington a long time and knew a great deal
more than he would if his lot had fallen else
where. He spoke with some feeling and fed me
with about the most unpalatable lather I think
I ever participated in. He also did an odd thing
when he went for the second time over my face.
I never have noticed the custom outside of that
shop. Most barbers, in making the second trip
over a customer's face, moisten one side at a
time with a sponge or the damp hand as they
go along, but in this case a large quantity of
lather was put in my ear and, as he needed it,
he took out what he required from time to time,
using his finger like a paint brush and spreading
on the lather as he went along. So accurately



T4 BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

had he learned to measure the quantity of lather
which an ear will hold that when he got through
with me .and I went away there was not over a
tablespoonful in either ear and possibly not that
much.

While I sat in the chair I heard a man, who
seemed to be in about the third chair from me,
saying that a certain bill numbered so-and-so
had been referred to a certain committee and
would undoubtedly by reported favorably. If
so, it would in its regular order come up for dis
cussion and reach a vote so-and-so. I was
charmed with the man 's knowledge of the con
dition of affairs in both houses and the exact
status of all threatened legislation, because I
always have to stop and think a good while be
fore I can tell whether a bill originates on the
floor of the house or in the rotunda.

I could not see this man, but I judged that he
was a senator or sergeant-at-arms. He talked
for some time about the condition of national
affairs, and finally some one said something
about evolution. I was perfectly wrapped up in
what he was saying and remember distinctly
how he referred to Herbert Spencer's definition
of evolution as a change from indefinite, coher
ent heterogeneity through continuous differ-



HE SUES THE CAPITAL. ?

entiations and integrations.

When I arose from my chair and looked over
that way I saw that the gentleman who had
been talking on the condition of congressional
legislation was a colored hotel porter of Wash
ington, who was getting shaved in the third
chair, and the man who was discussing the
merits of evolution was the colored man who
was shaving him.

Here in Washington the colored man has the
air of one who is holding up -one corner of the
great national structure. Whether he is open
ing your soft boiled eggs for you in the morn
ing, or putting bay rum on your nose, or check
ing your umbrella or brushing you witfe a wilted
whisk broom, his thoughts are mostly upon
national affairs. He is naturally an imitator
wherever he goes, and this old resident of Wash
ington has watched and studied the air and lan
guage of eminent statesmen so carefully that
when he goes forth in the morning with his
whitewashing portfolio on his arm he vralka
unconsciously like Senator Evarts or John James
Ingalls. I saw a colored man taking a perpen
dicular lunch at the depot yesterday, and evi
dently the veteran Georgia senator is his model,
for he cut his custard pie into large rectangular



*6 BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

hunks and pushed it back behind his glottis with
a caseknife, after which he drew in a saucerful
of tea, with a loud and violent ways-and-means
committee report which reminded me of the
noise made by an unwearied cyclone trying to
suck a cistern dry. I think that the colored
man exaggerated the imitation somewhat, but
he was evidently trying to assume the table
manners of Senator Brown of Georgia.

For this reason, if for no other, members of
the cabinet, senators, representatives, judges
and heads of departments cannot be too careful
in their daily walk and conversation. Uncon
sciously they are molding the customs, the man
ners, and the styles of dress which are to become
the customs, the manners, and the dress of a
whole race. If I could to-day take our statesmen
all apart, not so much for the purpose of exam
ining their works, but so that we could be alone
and talk this matter over by ourselves, I would
strive in my poor, weak, faltering way to impress
upon them the awful responsibility which rests
upon them not only as polite and fluent conver
sationalists, classical and courteous debaters?
speaking pieces for the benefit of future conven
tions, of referring to each other as liars, traitors,
thieves, deserters, bummers, beats, and



HE SEES THE CAPITAL. 71

mojal abscesses on the body politic; rehearsing
campaign speeches in congress at an expense of
$20 per day each, and meantime obstructing
wholesome tariff legislation, but as the conser
vators of etiquette, statesmanship, and morality
for a race of people the great resposibility for
whose welfare still rests upon us as a nation.

Only the day before yesterday I saw a thin,
wiry, and colored gentleman pawing around in
an ash barrel for something, and I waited to see
what he was after. He resurrected a sad acd
dejected plug hat, and, though it was not half
so good as the one he wore, he seemed much
pleased with it and put it on. I ventured to ask
him why he had done so without improving his
appearance, and he said that for a long time he
had been looking for a hat which would highten
the resemblance which people had often noticed
ai-d remarked in days gone by, both in person,
eah, and general carriage, walk, and conversa
tion, sah, also in the matter of clear cut and log
ical life sentences, as existing between himself,
sah, and Senator Evarts, sah. He believed that
he had struck it, sah.

As spring warms up the air about Washington
the heating apparatus of the capitol building be
gins to relax its interest, and now you can visit



18 BILL NY&S SPARKS.

most any part of the stately pile without being
pcrnrabled in your own embonpoint. Last win
ter I heard Senator Frye of Maine make his
great tariff speech, and although there was noth
ing about the speech itself which seemed to
evolve much exercise or industry for it was the
same speech in every essential quality that I
have heard every November since I began to take
an interest in politics the perspiration ran down
his face in small washouts and sweatlets and
fell in the arena with a mellow plunk.

I believe this unnatural heat to be the cause
of much ill health among our law-makers, and I
freely admit that the unhealthy surroundings of
Washington and the great contrast between
the hot air of the capitol and the cold air out'
aide have done a great deal towards keeping me
out of the senate. The night air of "Washington
is also filled with malaria and is much worse
than any night air I have ever used before.



}i? 8ee$

IT HAS become such a general practice t
speak disrespectfully of the United State*
Navy that a few days ago I decided to visit
the Brooklyn Navy Yard for the purpose of as
certaining, if possible, how much cauae there
might be for this light and airy manner of treat
ing the navy, and, if necessary, to take immedi
ate steps towards purifying the system.

I found that the matter had been grossly mis
represented, and that our navy, so far as I was
able to discover, is self-sustaining. It has been
thoroughly refitted and refurnished throughout,
and IB as pleasant a navy as one would see in a
day's journey.

I had the pleasure of boarding the man-of-
war Richmond under a flag of truce and the
Atlantic under a suspension of the rules. I
remained some time on board each of these war
ghip, and any man who speaks lightly of the
United States Navy in my presence hereafter
Will receive a stinging rebuke.



80 BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was inaugurated by
the purchase of forty acres of ground in 1801.
It has a pleasant water-front, which is at all
times dotted here and there with new war ves
sels undergoing repairs. Since the original pur
chase others have been made and the land side
of the yard inclosed by means of a large brick
wall, so that in case there should be a local dis
turbance in Brooklyn the rioters could not
break through and bite the navy. In this way
a man on board the Atlanta while at anchor
in Brooklyn is just as safe as he would be at
home.

In order to enter and explore the Navy Yard
it is necessary that one should have a pass.
This is a safeguard, wisely adopted by the Com
mandant, in order to keep out strangers who
might get in under the pretext of wishing to
view the yard and afterwards attack one of the
new vessels.

On the day I visited the Navy Yard just
ahead of me a plain but dignified person in citi
zen's dress passed through the gate. He had
the bearing of an officer, I thought, and kept his
eye on some object about nine and one-fourth
miles ahead as he walked past the guard. He
was told to halt, but, of course, he did cot do so.



HE SEES THE NAV7. 81

V^a ,yas above it. Then the guard overhauled
hiiH and even felt in his pockets for his pass, as
I supposed. Concealed on his person the guard
found four pint bottles filled with the essence
of crime. They poured the poor man's rum on
the grass and then fired him out, accompanied
by a rebuke which will make him more deliber
ate about sitting down for a week or two.

The feeling against arduous spirits in the
United States Navy is certainly on the increase,
and the day is not far distant when alcohol in a
free state will only be used in the arts, sciences,
music, literature and the drama.

The Kichmond is a large but buoyant vessel
painted black. It has a front stairway hanging
over the balcony, and the latch-string to the
front door was hanging cheerily out as we drew
alongside. Iniring an engagement, however, on
the approach of the enemy, the front stairs are
* Miled up and the latch-string is pulled in, while
the commanding officer makes the statement,
"April Fool" through a speaking-trumpet to
the chagrined and infuriated foe.

The Kichmond is a veteran of the late war,
a war which no one ever regretted more than I
did ; not so mucn because of the bloodshed and
desolation it caused at the time, but on account



82 BILL NY&S SPARKS.

of the rude remarks since made to those who
did not believe in the war and whose feelings
have been repeatedly hurt by reference to it
since the war closed.

The guns of the Richmond are muzzle-load
ers, i. e., the load or charge of ammunition is
put into the other or outer end of the gun in
stead of the inner extremity or base of the gun,
as is the case with the breech-loader. The
breech-loader is a great improvement on the
old style gun, making warfare a constant source
of delirious joy now, whereas in former times in
case of a naval combat during a severe storm,
the man who went outside the ship to load the
gun, while it was raining, frequently contracted
pneumonia.

Modern guns are made with breeches, which
may be easily removed during a fight and re
placed when visitors come on board. A sort of
grim humor pervades the above remark.

The Richmond is about to sail away to
China. I do not know why she is going to
China but presume she does not care to be here
during the amenities, antipathies and aspersions
of a Presidential campaign. A man-of-war
would rather make some sacrifices generally
than to get into trouble.



HE SEES TEEN ATT. 88

I must here say that I would rather be captured
by our naval officers than by any other naval of
ficers I have ever seen. The older officers were
calm and self-possessed during my visit on board
both the Eichmond and Atlanta, and the young
fellows are as handsome as a steel engraving.
While gazing on them as they proudly trod the
quarter deck or any other deck that needed it, I
was proud of my sex, and I could not help think
ing that had I been an unprotected but beautiful
girl, hostile to the United States, I could have
picked out five or six young men there to either
of whom I would be glad to talk over the details
of an armistice. I could not help enjoying fully
my hospitable treatment by the officers above
referred to after having been only a little while
before rudely repulsed and most cruelly snubbed
by a haughty young cotton-sock broker in a Nw
York store.

When will people ever learn that the way to
have fun with me is to treat me for the time
being as an equal ?

It was wash-day on board ship, and I could
not help noticing how the tyrant man asserts
himself when he becomes sole boss of the house
hold. The rule on board a man-of-war is th:U
the first man who on wash-day shall suggest a



84 BILL NYE'S SPARKS.

"picked-up dinner" shall be loaded into the
double-barrelled howitzer and shot into the
bosom of Venus.

On the clothes-line I noticed very few frills.
The lingerie on board a war vessel is severe in
outline and almost harsh in detail. Here the
salt breezes search in vain for the singularly
sa wed-off and fluently trimmed toga of our home
life. Here all is changed. From the basement
to the top of the lightning rod, from pit to dome,
as I was about to say, a belligerent ship on wash
day is not gayly caparisoned.

The Atlanta is a fair representative of the
modern war vessel and would be the most ef
fective craft in the world if she could use her
guns. She has all the modern improvements,
hot and cold water, electric lights, handy to
depots and a good view of the ocean, but when
she shoots off her guns they pull out her circles,
abrade her deck, concuss her rotunda, contuse
the main brace and injure people who have
always been friendly to the Government. Her
guns are now being removed and new circles put
in, so that in future she would be enabled to give
less pain to her friends and squirt more gloom
into the ranks of the enemy. She is at present
as useful for purposes of defense as a revolver



HE SEES THE NAVY. 88

in the bottom of a locked-up bureau drawer, the
key of which is in the pocket of your wife's dress
in a dark closet, wherein also the burglar is, for
the nonce, concealed.

Politics has very little to do with the oonduct
of a navy-yard. No one would talk politics with
me. I could not arouse any interest there at all
in the election. Every one seemed delighted
with the present Administration, however. The
navy-yard always feels that way.

In the choky or brig at the guard-house I saw
a sailor locked up who was extremely drunk.

" How did you get it here, my man ? " I asked.

" Through thinfloonce of prominent Democrat,
you damphool. Howje spose ? " he unto me
straightway did reply.

The sailor is sometimes infested with a style
of arid humor which asserts itself in the most
unlooked-for fashion. I laughed heartily at his
odd yet coarse repartee, and went away.

The guard-house contains a choice collection
of manacles, handcuffs, lily irons and other rare
gems. The lily irons are not now in use. They
consist of two iron bands for the wrists, con
nected by means of a flat iron, which can be
opened up to let the wrists into place ; then they
are both locked at one time by means of a wrench



W BILL NY&S SPARKS.

like th one used by a piano-tuner. With a pair
of Illy irons on the wrists and another pair on
the ankles a man locked in the brig and caught
out 2,000 miles at sea in a big gale, with the rud
der knocked off the ship and a large litter of kit
tens In the steam cylinder, would feel almost
helpless.

I had almost forgotten to mention the drug
store on board ship. Each man-of-war has a
small pharmacy on the second floor. It is open
all night, and prescriptions are carefully com
pounded. Pure drugs, paints, oils, varnishes
and putty are to be had there at all times. The
ship's dispensary is not a large room, but two
ordinary men and a truss would not feel crowded
there. The druggists treated me well on board
both ships, and offered me my choice of antisep
tics and anodynes, or anything else I might take
a fancy to. I shall do my trading in that line
hereafter on board ship.

The Atlanta has many very modern improve
ments, and ia said to be a wonderful sailor. She
also has a 1 og. I saw it. It does not look exactly
like what I had, as an old lumberman, imagined
that it would.

It Is a book, with writing in it, about the siz*


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