Edgar Wilson Nye AKA Bill Nye.

Bill Nye's Red Book online

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Chaldean fence.

Such is life. We enter upon it reluctantly; we wade through it
doubtfully, and die at last timidly. How we Americans do blow about what
we can do before breakfast, and, yet, even in our own brief history, how
we have demonstrated what a little thing the common two-legged man is.
He rises up rapidly to acquire much wealth, and if he delays about going
to Canada he goes to Sing Sing, and we forget about him. There are
lots of modern Babylonians in New York City to-day, and if it were my
business I would call their attention to it. The assertion that gold
will procure all things has been so common and so popular that too many
consider first the bank account, and after that honor, home, religion,
humanity and common decency. Even some of the churches have fallen into
the notion that first comes the tall church, then the debt and mortgage,
the ice cream sociable and the kingdom of Heaven. Cash and Christianity
go hand in hand sometimes, but Christianity ought not to confer
respectability on anybody who comes into the church to purchase it.

I often think of the closing appeal of the old preacher, who was more
earnest than refined, perhaps, and in winding up his brief sermon on the
Christian life, said: "A man may lose all his wealth and get poor and
hungry and still recover, he may lose his health and come down dost
to the dark stream and still git well again, but, when he loses his
immortal soul it is good-bye, John."


I dropped in the other day to see New York's great congress of wax
figures and soft statuary carnival. It is quite a success. The first
thing you do on entering is to contribute to the pedestal fund. New York
this spring is mostly a large rectangular box with a hole in the top,
through which the genial public is cordially requested to slide a dollar
to give the goddess of liberty a boom.

I was astonished and appalled at the wealth of apertures in Gotham
through which I was expected to slide a dime to assist some deserving
object. Every little while you run into a free-lunch room where there
is a model ship that will start up and operate if you feed it with a
nickle. I never visited a town that offered so many inducements for
early and judicious investments as New York.

But we were speaking of the wax works. I did not tarry long to notice
the presidents of the United States embalmed in wax, or to listen to the
band of lutists who furnished music in the winter garden. I ascertained
where the chamber of horrors was located, and went there at once. It is
lovely. I have never seen a more successful aggregation of horrors under
one roof and at one price of admission.

If you want to be shocked at cost, or have your pores opened for a
merely nominal price, and see a show that you will never forget as long
as you live, that is the place to find it. I never invested my money so
as to get so large a return for it, because I frequently see the whole
show yet in the middle of the night, and the cold perspiration ripples
down my spinal column just as it did the first time I saw it.

The chamber of horrors certainly furnishes a very durable show. I don't
think I was ever more successfully or economically horrified.

I got quite nervous after a while, standing in the dim religious light
watching the lovely horrors. But it is the saving of money that I
look at most. I have known men to pay out thousands of dollars for a
collection of delirium tremens and new-laid horrors no better than these
that you get on week days for fifty cents and on Sundays for two bits.
Certainly New York is the place where you get your money's worth.

There are horrors there in that crypt that are well worth double the
price of admission. One peculiarity of the chamber of horrors is that
you finally get nervous when anyone touches you, and you immediately
suspect that he is a horror who has come out of his crypt to get a
breath of fresh air and stretch his legs.

That is the reason I shuddered a little when I felt a man's hand in my
pocket. It was so unexpected, and the surroundings were such that I must
have appeared startled. The man was a stranger to me, though I could see
that he was a perfect gentleman. His clothes were superior to mine in
every way, and he had a certain refinement of manners which betrayed his
ill-concealed knickerbocker lineage high.

I said, "Sir, you will find my fine cut tobacco in the other pocket."
This startled him so that he wheeled about and wildly dashed into the
arms of a wax policeman near the door. When he discovered that he was in
the clutches of a suit of second-hand clothes filled with wax, he seemed
to be greatly annoyed and strode rapidly away.

[Illustration: 0387]

I turned to view the chaste and truthful scene where one man had
successfully killed another with a club. I leaned pensively against a
column with my own spinal column, wrapped in thought.

Pretty soon a young gentleman from New Jersey with an Adam's apple on
him like a full-grown yam, and accompanied by a young lady also from the
mosquito jungles of Jersey, touched me on the bosom with his umbrella
and began to explain me to his companion.

"This," said the Adam's apple with the young man attached to it, "is
Jesse James, the great outlaw chief from Missouri. How lifelike he is.
Little would you think, Emeline, that he would as soon disembowel a
bank, kill the entire board of directors of a railroad company and ride
off the rolling stock, as you would wrap yourself around a doughnut. How
tender and kind he looks. He not only looks gentle and peaceful, but he
looks to me as if he wasn't real bright."

[Illustration: 0389]

I then uttered a piercing shriek and the young man from New Jersey went
away. Nothing is so embarrassing to an eminent man as to stand quietly
near and hear people discuss him.

But it is remarkable to see people get fooled at a wax show. Every day
a wax figure is taken for a live man, and live people are mistaken for
wax. I took hold of a waxen hand in one corner of the winter garden to
see if the ring was a real diamond, and it flew up and took me across
the ear in such a life-like manner that my ear is still hot and there is
a roaring in my head that sounds very disagreeable, indeed.


A "Family Physician," published in 1883, says, for the bite of a mad
dog: "Take ashcolored ground liverwort, cleaned, dried, and powdered,
half an ounce; of black pepper, powdered, a quarter of an ounce. Mix
these well together, and divide the powder into four doses, one of which
must be taken every morning, fasting, for four mornings successively
in half an English pint of cow's milk, warm. After these four doses
are taken, the patient must go into the cold bath, or a cold spring or
river, every morning, fasting, for a month. He must be dipped all over,
but not stay in (with his head above water) longer than half a minute if
the water is very cold. After this he must go in three times a week
for a fortnight longer. Fie must be bled before he begins to take the

It is very difficult to know just what is best to do when a person is
bitten by a mad dog, but my own advice would be to kill the dog. After
that feel of the leg where bitten, and ascertain how serious the injury
has been. Then go home and put on another pair of pantaloons, throwing
away those that have been lacerated. Parties having but one pair of
pantaloons will have to sequester themselves or excite remarks. Then
take a cold bath, as suggested above, but do not remain in the bath
(with the head above water) more than half an hour. If the head is under
water, you may remain in the bath until the funeral, if you think best.

When going into the bath it would be well to take something in your
pocket to bite, in case the desire to bite something should overcome
you. Some use a common shingle-nail for this purpose, while others
prefer a personal friend. In any event, do not bite a total stranger on
an empty stomach. It might make you ill.

Never catch a dog by the tail if he has hydrophobia. Although that end
of the dog is considered the most safe, you never know when a mad dog
may reverse himself.

If you meet a mad dog on the street, do not stop and try to quell
him with a glance of the eye. Many have tried to do that, and it took
several days to separate the two and tell which was mad dog and which
was queller.

The real hydrophobia dog generally ignores kindness, and devotes himself
mostly to the introduction of his justly celebrated virus. A good thing
to do on observing the approach of a mad dog is to flee, and remain fled
until he has disappeared.

Hunting mad dogs in a crowded street is great sport. A young man with a
new revolver shooting at a mad dog is a fine sight. He may not kill the
dog, but he might shoot into a covey of little children and possibly get

It would be a good plan to have a balloon inflated and tied in the back
yard during the season in which mad dogs mature, and get into it on the
approach of the infuriated animal (get into the balloon, I mean, not the

This plan would not work well, however, in case a cyclone should come at
the same time. When we consider all the uncertainties of life, and
the danger from hydrophobia, cyclones and breach of premise, it seems
sometimes as though the penitentiary was the only place where a man
could be absolutely free from anxiety.

If you discover that your dog has hydrophobia, it is absolutely foolish
to try to cure him of the disease. The best plan is to trade him off at
once for anything you can get. Do not stop to haggle over the price, but
close him right out below cost.

Do not tie a tin can to the tail of a mad dog. It only irritates him,
and he might resent it before you get the can tied on. A friend of mine,
who was a practical joker, once sought to tie a tin can to the tail of
a mad dog on an empty stomach. His widow still points with pride to the
marks of his teeth on the piano. If mad dogs would confine themselves
exclusively to practical jokers, I would be glad to endow a home for
indigent mad dogs out of my own private funds.

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Online LibraryEdgar Wilson Nye AKA Bill NyeBill Nye's Red Book → online text (page 14 of 14)