THE MINER AT HOME.
Receiving another notice of assessment on my stock in the Aladdin mine
the other day, reminded me that I was still interested in a bottomless
hole that was supposed at one time to yield funds instead of absorbing
them. The Aladdin claim was located in the spring of '76 by a syndicate
of journalists, none of whom had ever been openly accused of wealth. If
we had been, we could have proved an alibi.
We secured a gang of miners to sink on the discovery, consisting of a
Chinaman named How Long. How Long spoke the Chinese language with great
fluency. Being perfectly familiar with that language, and a little musty
in the trans-Missouri English, he would converse with us in his own
language, sometimes by the hour, courteously overlooking the fact that
we did not reply to him in the same tongue. He would converse in this
way till he ran down, generally, and then he would refrain for a while.
Finally, How Long signified that he would like to draw his salary. Of
course he was ignorant of our ways, and as innocent of any knowledge
of the intricate details peculiar to a mining syndicate as the child
unborn. So he had gone to the president of our syndicate and had been
referred to the superintendent, and he had sent How Long to the auditor,
and the auditor had told him to go to the gang boss and get his time,
and then proceed in the proper manner, after which, if his claim turned
out to be all right, we would call a meeting of the syndicate and take
early action in relation to it. By this, the reader will readily see
that, although we were not wealthy, we know how to do business just the
same as though we had been a wealthy corporation.
How Long attended one of our meetings and at the close of the session
made a few remarks. As near as I am able to recall his language, it was
very much as follows:
"China boy no sabbe you dam slyndicate. You allee sam foolee me too
muchee. How Long no chopee big hole in the glound allee day for health.
You Melican boy Laddee silver mine all same funny business. Me no likee
slyndicate. Slyndicate heap gone all same woodbine. You sabbe me? How
Long make em slyndicate pay tention. You April foolee me. You makee me
tlired. You putee me too much on em slate. Slyndicate no good. Allee
time stanemoff China boy. You allee time chin chin. Dlividend allee time
Owing to a strike which then took place in our mine, we found that, in
order to complete our assessment work, we must get in another crew or do
the job ourselves. Owing to scarcity of help and a feeling of antagonism
on the part of the laboring classes toward our giant enterprise, a
feeling of hostility which naturally exists between labor and capital,
we had to go out to the mine ourselves. We had heard of other men who
had shoveled in their own mines and were afterward worth millions of
dollars, so we took some bacon and other delicacies and hied us to the
Buck, our mining expert, went down first. Then he requested us to hoist
him out again. We did so. I have forgotten what his first remark was
when he got out of the bucket, but that don't make any difference, for I
wouldn't care to use it here anyway.
It seems that How Long, owing to his heathenish ignorance of our customs
and the unavoidable delay in adjusting his claim for work, labor and
services, had allowed his temper to get the better of him and he had
planted a colony of American skunks in the shaft of the Aladdin.
That is the reason we left the Aladdin mine and no one jumped it. We had
not done the necessary work in order to hold it, but when we went out
there the following spring we found that no one had jumped it.
Even the rough, coarse miner, far from civilizing influences and beyond
the reach of social advantages recognizes the fact that this little
unostentatious animal plodding along through life in its own modest
way, yet wields a wonderful influence over the destinies of man. So the
Aladdin mine was not disturbed that summer.
We paid How Long, and in the following spring had a flattering offer
for the claim if it assayed as well as we said it would, so Buck, our
expert, went out to the Aladdin with an assayer and the purchaser. The
assay of the Aladdin showed up very rich indeed, far above anything that
I had ever hoped for, and so we made a sale. But we never got the money,
for when the assayer got home he casually assayed his apparatus and
found that his whole outfit had been salted prior to the Aladdin assay.
I do not think our expert, Buck, would salt an assayer's kit, but he was
charged with it at this time, and he said he would rather lose his
trade than have trouble over it. He would rather suffer wrong than to do
wrong, he said, and so the Aladdin came back on our hands.
It is not a very good mine if a man wants it as a source of revenue, but
it makes a mighty good well. The water is cold and clear as crystal. If
it stood in Boston, instead of out there in northern Colorado, where you
can't get at it more than three months in the year, it would be worth
$150. The great fault of the Aladdin mine is its poverty as a mine, and
its isolation as a well.
AN OPERATIC ENTERTAINMENT.
Last week we went up to the Coliseum, at Minneapolis, to hear Theodore
Thomas' orchestra, the Wagner trio and Christine Nilsson. The Coliseum
is a large rink just out of Minneapolis, on the road between that city
and St. Paul. It can seat 4,000 people comfortably, but the management
like to wedge 4,500 people in there on a warm day, and then watch the
perspiration trickle out through the clapboards on the outside. On the
closing afternoon, during the matinee performance, the building was
struck by lightning and a hole knocked out of the Corinthian duplex that
surmounts the oblique portcullis on the off side. The reader will see at
once the location of the bolt.
The lightning struck the flag-staff, ran down the leg of a man who was
repairing the electric light, took a chew of his tobacco, turned his
boot wrong side out and induced him to change his sock, toyed with a
chilblain, wrenched out a soft corn and roguishly put it in his
ear, then ran down the electric light wire, a part of it filling an
engagement in the Coliseum and the balance following the wire to the
depot, where it made double-pointed toothpicks of a pole fifty feet
high. All this was done very briefly. Those who have seen lightning toy
with a cottonwood tree, know that this fluid makes a specialty of it at
once and in a brief manner. The lightning in this case, broke the glass
in the skylight and deposited the broken fragments on a half dozen
parquette chairs, that were empty because the speculators who owned them
couldn't get but $50 apiece, and were waiting for a man to mortgage his
residence and sell a team. He couldn't make the transfer in time for
the matinee, so the seats were vacant when the lightning struck. The
immediate and previous fluid then shot athwart the auditorium in the
direction of the platform, where it nearly frightened to death a
large chorus of children. Women fainted, ticket speculators fell $2 on
desirable seats, and strong men coughed up a clove. The scene beggared
description. I intended to have said that before, but forgot it.
Theodore Thomas drew in a full breath, and Christine Nilsson drew her
salary. Two thousand strong men thought of their wasted lives, and two
thousand women felt for their back hair to see if it was still there. I
say therefore, without successful contradiction, that the scene beggared
In the evening several people sang, "The Creation." Nilsson was Gabriel.
Gabriel has a beautiful voice cut low in the neck, and sings like a
joyous bobolink in the dew-saturated mead. How's that? Nilsson is proud
and haughty in her demeanor, and I had a good notion to send a note up
to her, stating that she needn't feel so lofty, and if she could sit up
in the peanut gallery where I was and look at herself, with her dress
kind of sawed off at the top, she would not be so vain. She wore a
diamond necklace and silk skirt. The skirt was cut princesse, I think,
to harmonize with her salary. As an old neighbor of mine said when
he painted the top board of his fence green, he wanted it "to kind of
corroborate with his blinds." He's the same man who went to Washington
about the time of the Guiteau trial, and said he was present at the
"post mortise" examination. But the funniest thing of all, he said, was
to see Dr. Mary Walker riding one of these "philosophers" around on the
But I am wandering. We were speaking of the Festival. Theodore Thomas is
certainly a great leader. What a pity he is out of politics. He pounded
the air all up fine there, Thursday. I think he has 25 small-size
fiddles, 10 medium-size, and 5 of those big, fat ones that a bald-headed
man generally annoys. Then there were a lot of wind instruments, drums,
et cetera. There were 600 performers on the stage, counting the chorus,
with 4,500 people in the house and 8,000 outside yelling at the ticket
office - also at the top of their voices - and swearing because they
couldn't mortgage their immortal souls and hear Nilsson's coin silver
notes. It was frightful. The building settled twelve inches in those
two hours and a half, the electric lights went out nine times for
refreshments, and, on the whole, the entertainment was a grand success.
The first time the lights adjourned, an usher came in on the stage
through a side entrance with a kerosene lamp. I guess he would have
stood there and held it for Nilsson to sing by, if 4,500 people hadn't
with one voice laughed him out into the starless night. You might as
well have tried to light benighted Africa with a white bean. I shall
never forget how proud and buoyant he looked as he sailed in with that
kerosene lamp with a solid chimney on it, and how hurt and grieved
he seemed when he took it and groped his way out while the Coliseum
trembled with ill-concealed merriment. I use the term "ill-concealed
merriment" with permission of the proprietors, for this season only.
DOGS AND DOG DAYS.
I take occasion at this time to ask the American people as one man,
what are we to do to prevent, the spread of the most insidious and
disagreeable disease known as hydrophobia? When a fellow-being has to be
smothered, as was the case the other day right here in our fair land, a
land where tyrant foot hath never trod nor bigot forged a chain, we look
anxiously into each other's faces and inquire, what shall we do?
Shall we go to France at a great expense and fill our systems full of
dog virus and then return to our glorious land, where we may fork over
that virus to posterity and thus mix up French hydrophobia with the
navy-blue blood of free-born American citizens?
I wot not.
If I knew that would be my last wot I would not change it. That is just
wot it would be.
What shall we do to avoid getting impregnated with the American dog and
then saturating our systems with the alien dog of Paris?
It is a serious matter, and if we do not want to play the Desdemona act
we must take some timely precautions. What must those precautions be?
Did it ever occur to the average thinking mind that we might squeeze
along for weeks without a dog? Whole families have existed for years
after being deprived of dogs. Look at the wealthy of our land. They go
on comfortably through life and die at last with the unanimous consent
of their heirs dogless.
Then why cannot the poor gradually taper oft on dogs? They ought not to
stop all of a sudden, but they could leave off a dog at a time until at
last they overcame the pernicious habit.
I saw a man in St. Paul last week who was once poor, and so owned seven
variegated dogs. He was confirmed in that habit. But he summoned all his
will-power at last and said he would shake off these dogs and become a
man. He did so, and today he owns a city lot in St. Paul, and seems to
be the picture of health.
The trouble about maintaining a dog is that he may go on for years in a
quiet, gentlemanly way, winning the regard of all who know him, and then
all of a sudden he may hydrophobe in the most violent manner. Not only
that, but he may do so while we have company. He may also bite our twins
or the twins of our warmest friends. He may bite us now and we may laugh
at it, but in five years from now, while we are delivering a humorous
lecture, we may burst forth into the audience and bite a beautiful young
lady in the parquet or on the ear.
It is a solemn thing to think of, fellow-citizens, and I appeal to
those who may read this, as a man who may not live to see a satisfactory
political reform - I appeal to you to refrain from the dog. He is purely
ornamental. We may love a good dog, but we ought to love our children
more. It would be a very, very noble and expensive dog that I would
agree to feed with my only son.
I know that we gradually become attached to a good dog, but some day he
may become attached to us, and what can be sadder than the sight of
a leading citizen drawing a reluctant mad dog down the street by main
strength and the seat of his pantaloons? (I mean his own, not the dog's
pants. This joke will appear in book form in April. The book will be
very readable, and there will be another joke in it also, eod tf.)
I have said a good deal about the dog, pro and con, and I am not a rabid
dog abolitionist, for no one loves to have his clear-cut features licked
by the warm, wet tongue of a noble dog any more than I do, but rather
than see hydrophobia become a national characteristic or a leading
industry here, I would forego the dog.
Perhaps all men are that way, however. When they get a little forehanded
they forget that they were once poor, and owned dogs. If so, I do not
wish to be unfair. I want to be just, and I believe I am. Let us yield
up our dogs and tack the affection that we would otherwise bestow on
them on some human being. I have tried it and it works well. There are
thousands of people in the world, of both sexes, who are pining and
starving for the love and money that we daily shower on the dog.
If the dog would be kind enough to refrain from introducing his justly
celebrated virus into the person of those only who kiss him on the cold,
moist nose, it would be all right; but when a dog goes mad he is very
impulsive, and he may bestow himself on an obscure man. So I feel a
little nervous myself.
Probably few people have been more successful in the discovering line
than Christopher Columbus. Living as he did in a day when a great many
things were still in an undiscovered state, the horizon was filled with
golden opportunities for a man possessed of Mr. C.'s pluck and ambition.
His life at first was filled with rebuffs and disappointments, but at
last he grew to be a man of importance in his own profession, and the
people who wanted anything discovered would always bring it to him
rather than take it elsewhere.
And yet the life of Columbus was a stormy one. Though he discovered a
continent wherein a millionaire attracts no attention, he himself was
Though he rescued from barbarism a broad and beautiful land in whose
metropolis the theft of less than half a million of dollars is regarded
as petty larceny, Chris himself often went to bed hungry. Is it not
singular that the gray-eyed and gentle Columbus should have added a
hemisphere to the history of our globe, a hemisphere, too, where pie
is a common thing, not only on Sunday, but throughout the week, and yet
that he should have gone down to his grave pieless!
Such is the history of progress in all ages and in all lines of thought
and investigation. Such is the meagre reward of the pioneer in new
fields of action.
I presume that America today has a larger pie area than any other
land in which the Cockney English language is spoken. Right here where
millions of native born Americans dwell, many of whom are ashamed of the
fact that they were born here and which shame is entirely mutual between
the Goddess of Liberty and themselves, we have a style of pie that no
other land can boast of.
From the bleak and acid dried apple pie of Maine to the irrigated
mince pie of the blue Pacific, all along down the long line of igneous,
volcanic and stratified pie, America, the land of the freedom bird with
the high instep to his nose, leads the world.
Other lands may point with undissembled pride to their polygamy and
their cholera, but we reck not. Our polygamy here is still in its
infancy and our leprosy has had the disadvantage of a cold, backward
spring, but look at our pie.
Throughout a long and disastrous war, sometimes referred to as a
fraticidal war, during which this fair land was drenched in blood, and
also during which aforesaid war numerous frightful blunders were
made which are fast coming to the surface - through the courtesy of
participants in said war who have patiently waited for those who
blundered to die off, and now admit that said participants who are dead
did blunder exceedingly throughout all this long and deadly struggle for
the supremacy of liberty and right - as I was about to say when my mind
began to wobble, the American pie has shown forth resplendent in the
full glare of a noonday sun or beneath the pale-green of the electric
light, and she stands forth proudly today with her undying loyalty to
dyspepsia untrammeled and her deep and deadly gastric antipathy still
fiercely burning in her breast.
That is the proud history of American pie. Powers, principalities,
kingdoms and handmade dynasties may crumble, but the republican form of
pie does not crumble. Tyranny may totter on its throne, but the American
pie does not totter. Not a tot. No foreign threat has ever been able
to make our common chicken pie quail. I do not say this because it is
smart; I simply say it to fill up.
But would it not do Columbus good to come among us today and look
over our free institutions? Would it not please him to ride over this
continent which has been rescued by his presence of mind from the
thraldom of barbarism and forked over to the genial and refining
influences of prohibition and pie?
America fills no mean niche in the great history of nations, and if you
listen carefully for a few moments you will hear some American, with his
mouth full of pie, make that remark. The American is always frank and
perfectly free to state that no other country can approach this one. We
allow no little two-for-a-quarter monarchy to excel us in the size of
our failures or in the calm and self-poised deliberation with which
we erect a monument to-the glory of a worthy citizen who is dead, and
therefore politically useless.
The careless student of the career of Columbus will find much in these
lines that he has not yet seen. He will realize when he comes to read
this little sketch the pains and the trouble and the research necessary
before such an article on the life and work of Columbus could be
written, and he will thank me for it; but it not for that that I have
done it. It is a pleasure for me to hunt up and arrange historical and
biographical data in a pleasing form for the student and savant. I am
only too glad to please and gratify the student and the savant. I was
that way myself once and I know how to sympathize with them.
P. S. - I neglected to state that Columbus was a married man. Still, he
did not murmur or repine.
ACCEPTING THE LARAMIE POSTOFFICE.
Office of Daily Boomerang,
Laramie City, Wy., Aug. 9, 1882.
My Dear General. - I have received by telegraph the news of my nomination
by the President and my confirmation by the Senate, as postmaster at
Laramie, and wish to extend my thanks for the same.
I have ordered an entirely new set of boxes and postoffice outfit,
including new corrugated cuspidors for the lady clerks.
I look upon the appointment, myself, as a great triumph of eternal
truth over error and wrong. It is one of the epochs, I may say, in the
Nation's onward march toward political purity and perfection. I do not
know when I have noticed any stride in the affairs of state, which so
thoroughly impressed me with its wisdom.
Now that we are co-workers in the same department, I trust that you
will not feel shy or backward in consulting me at any time relative to
matters concerning postoffice affairs. Be perfectly frank with me, and
feel perfectly free to just bring anything of that kind right to me.
Do not feel reluctant because I may at times appear haughty and
indifferent, cold or reserved. Perhaps you do not think I know the
difference between a general delivery window and a three-m quad, but
that is a mistake.
My general information is far beyond my years.
With profoundest regard, and a hearty endorsement of the policy of the
President and the Senate, whatever it may be,
I remain, sincerely yours.
Bill Nye, P. M.
Gen. Frank Hatton, Washington, D, C,
A JOURNALISTIC TENDERFOOT.
Most everyone who has tried the publication of a newspaper will call to
mind as he reads this item, a similar experience, though, perhaps, not
so pronounced and protuberant.
Early one summer morning a gawky young tenderfoot, both as to the West
and the details of journalism, came into the office and asked me for a
job as correspondent to write up the mines in North Park. He wore his
hair longish and tried to make it curl. The result was a greasy coat
collar and the general tout ensemble of the genus "smart Aleck." He had
also clothed himself in the extravagant clothes of the dime novel scout
and beautiful girl-rescuer of the Indian country. He had been driven
west by a wild desire to hunt the flagrant Sioux warrior, and do a
general Wild Bill business; hoping, no doubt, before the season closed,
to rescue enough beautiful captive maidens to get up a young Vassar
College in Wyoming or Montana.
I told him that we did not care for a mining-correspondent who did not
know a piece of blossom rock from a geranium. I knew it took a man
a good many years to gain knowledge enough to know where to sink a
prospect shaft even, and as to passing opinions on a vein, it would seem
almost wicked and sacrilegious to send a man out there among those old
grizzly miners who had spent their lives in bitter experience, unless
the young man could readily distinguish the points of difference between
a chunk of free milling quartz and a fragment of bologna sausage.
He still thought he could write us letters that would do the paper some
eternal good, and though I told him, as he wrung my hand and left, to
refrain from writing or doing any work for us, he wrote a letter before
he had reached the home station on the stage road, or at least sent us
a long letter from there. It might have been written before he started,
The letter was of the "we-have-went" and "I-have-never-saw" variety, and
he spelt curiosity "qrossity." He worked hard to get the word into his
alleged letter, and then assassinated it.
Well, we paid no attention whatever to the letter, but meantime he got
into the mines, and the way he dead-headed feed and sour mash, on the
strength of his relations with the press, made the older miners weep.
Buck Bramel got a little worried and wrote to me about it. He said that
our soft-eyed mining savant was getting us a good many subscribers,
and writing up every little gopher hole in North Park, and living on
Cincinnati quail, as we miners call bacon; but he said that none of
these fine, blooming letters, regarding the assays on "The Weasel
Asleep," "The Pauper's Dream," "The Mary Ellen" and "The Over Draft,"
ever seemed to crop out in the paper.
Why was it?
I wrote back that the white-eyed pelican from the buckwheat-enamelled
plains of Arkansas had not remitted, was not employed by us, and that
I would write and publish a little card of introduction for the bilious
litterateur that would make people take in their domestic animals, and
lock up their front fences and garden fountains..
In the meantime they sent him up the gulch to find some "float." He had
wandered away from camp thirty miles before he remembered that he
didn't know what float looked like. Then he thought he would go back and
inquire. He got lost while in a dark brown study and drifted into the
bosom of the unknowable. He didn't miss the trail until a perpendicular
wall of the Rocky Mountains, about 900 feet high, rose up and hit him
athwart the nose.
He communed with nature and the coyotes one night and had a pretty tough