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THE WAMPUM CLUB

AND (SUB-ROSA)

THE ORPHEUS CLUB.



JAMES BREMNEK.
JERALD KIRKWOOD.
MRS. KIRKWOOD.
ELIZABETH KIRKWOOD.
JACK COATMAN.



WAMPUM CLUB :

JOHN MALTON, (Silver Advocate. )

ARCHIBALD LORENT, (1st Pres't of Club. )

HAARLEM BOYCE.

HAZEL WINDLY, (Re-est. )

BENJAMIN CASTEEL, (R.R. Pres't) et al.



SAM. QUILTY.



ORPHEUS CLUB :

BEVERLY LAKE. JAKE BUDD. JIM BRAKES, et al.
Parson JASPER TODD CLOVIS.



The Orpheus Club present. Night before the regular meeting of fin-
Wampum Club.

SAM. QUILTY. Gentlemen: Der Wampum Club am organized,
and so am der Orpheus Club; and dey pinted me as janitor. We must
look well to der interest of der Wampum Club, for on dis Club we
risk our future. We's meet ebery other Wednesday night to prepare
the rooms for der Wampum Club. We let dem meet der next night.
In der meanwhile we's just entertain ourselves with our music for
der Club and der church. Dis am a good place for der exercise of
our high art. We's won't charge der Club anything. It am a great
Club a powerful Club all gentlemen of high standing, and if we's
keep our eyes and ears open we's learn a thing or two about de great



questions ob de day and der world, and perhaps a few other things.
But be discrete, orderly, polite; but, above all, be discrete. Now, let's
have a little song.

[Song by the Orpheus Club:]

Oh ! it is not while riches and splendor surround us

That friendship and friends can be put to the test;
'Tis but when affliction's cold presence lias found us,

We find the hearts that love us the best;
For friends will fawn at fortune's dawn,

Wliile the breeze and the tide waft us steadily on;
But if sorrows o'ertake us, each false one forsake us

And leaves us to sink, or to struggle alone.

QUILTY. Now let's practice dat good old home song, as we want
to sing it at der church festival next week:

The dearest spot of earth to me is home, sweet home !

The fairy land I long to see is home, sweet home !

There, how charmed the sense of hearing,

There, where love is so endearing !

All the world is not so cheering as home, sweet home !

I've taught my heart the way to prize

My home, sweet home !

I've learnt to look with lover's eyes

On home, sweet home !

There, where vows are truly plighted,

There, where hearts are so united !

All the world besides I've slighted,

For home, sweet home!

MB. BREMNER (seeing the hall lighted, comes in, is much sur-
prised, and says): What's all this? I thought these were the rooms
of the Wampum Club. (Seeing Quilty. ) Sam, what is the meaning
of all this ? This is not the night for the Wampum Club to meet, else
I'm off on my time.

SAM. Q. No, sah; dis am de night befoe de meeting of de Wampum
Club. We's just in here to slick up and prepare de rooms for de meet-
ing to-morrow night; and while's here we's just thought we'd have
a little sing, sah we's folks, you know, like music. No harm done,
I hope, sah. Any special directions, sah ?

BREMNER. Have you mailed all the notices that I let you have
this morning? Did you get those Havana cigars? How about the
heat? It's pretty cold weather now, and I want you to see that the
radiators are good and hot. I want the room in good order, fresh
water in the cooler, and things slicked up generally. We expect
some visitors. Now, don't neglect anything.

SAM. Q. No, Colonel, we won't neglect anything. We's look out
for de Wampum Club ebery time. Dat's why I come 'round dis
evening for, sah.

BREMNER. The air is a little stuffy here now. Come 'round
some time during the day and ventilate get in some fresh air. The
Wampum Club wants good air.



SAM. Q. Yes, sah; we'll 'tend to dat.

BREMNER, going out (to himself). That janitor is a smart gentle-
man of color. Perhaps he thinks he's fooling me, but he is not. He's
just playing sharp. Well, I don't care. He's burning a little gas for
us, but, on the whole, he's a good man and has the dignity of the
Club upon his shoulders.

BEVERLY LAKE. We's got caught dat time can't fool old
Bremner; but he's a good man, and he'll not bloiv on us you see if
he does.

SAM. Q. Don't mind ole Bremner. He's a gentleman every
square inch of him. But, boys, be keerful ! Be on hand to-morrow
night; that is, be near, if not too much in sight. We must keep the
Wampum Club in good order. Now let's go. Good night ! Don't
forget der festival. We's have to play and sing dar and dar may
be some dancing as well as singing.

JAKE BUDD. You ought to have sold the Colonel some tickets.
He'd bought them, I know.

SAM Q. How do you know?

JAKE BUDD. Know? Know by the cut of his jib, as old tar
Slack would say. Just try him. Most men, coming in here to-night,
and catching us all here, would have been as mad as a hornet whose
nest had been disturbed. But you see, he's got some human natur'
in him. He said nothing; but I'll bet he just thought a heap.

SAM. Q. We had better shut-up and go home. Don't forget der
festival, and be on hand to-morrow night and don't forget to be
polite.

SCENE. Wampum Club room. President Lorent in the Chair.

THE PRESIDENT. (Raps for attention. ) Gentlemen of the Wam-
pum Club: Our meetings heretofore have been informal, or provis-
ional in character. To-night we find ourselves fully organized, and
ready for such business as shall from time to time come up before
the Club. We have taken the old .Indian name, of what in their
rude way they established to represent, what we call money. We do
not propose to follow them in the form of money, but simply adopt a
name. In its day wampum stood for good money, and had its value
as such. This Club, we trust, will follow the spirit of the ideal
" Wampum."

We propose to stand for good money. The preacher of old tells us
that "money is the root of all evil." But all depends upon the light
in which we look upon money. The uses to which money may be
put may be good or they may be evil. Money represents concen-
trated labor. It is a form, or agent, by which labor can be converted
into something that can be utilized to produce more and more labor,
like the rain that is stored up in the fountain for future use. If a
man has no better use for the water that is in the fountain than to



build up a dam about it, and thereby to prevent its doing any good
but to its own lands, caring not for the requirements and comforts of
his neighbors, then his acquisition becomes an evil not only to
others but to himself; it becomes an evil, with an enormous root,
that absorbs that which should go towards supplying the roots of
the fields of the world. But all sensible men admit that it is better
for all to enjoy the benefit of the fountain. Indeed, practical, com-
mon-sense teaches us that it is better for all all to profit by the foun-
tain that nature has established in the hills. When money represents
honest labor, and is used to produce more labor, then it is a blessing.
I see that Brother Bremner acts as though he would like to say
something. I have no patent right upon the conversation of this
body; nor do I care to do all the talking, Brother Bremner.

BREMNER. I quite agree with you, Mr. President. Perhaps my
looks may have betrayed me. Your thoughts suggested other thoughts.
I see that there has been some controversy as to what is money.
Money may be anything upon which we may agree; it is an arbitrary
form of a medium for the exchange of commodities, whether in
goods or labor. Its value is relative; it may be one medium to-day,
to-morrow another and another. But the rule governing civilized
countries has been the so-called " precious metals " silver and gold;
and as gold has always been the more precious, that has been in the
lead, and, being in the lead as the most valuable, it has been the
standard.

MALTON. Mr. President, from the tendency of the talk here this
evening there seems to be a spirit to commit the Club to the " single
standard" or "gold standard." I object. Silver and gold the two
should go hand in hand. In the early days of our country there was
not this prejudice against silver. The two stood together in the
past for good they were both standards. Let them so continue in
the present and on in the future !

KIRK WOOD. There is no prejudice against silver any more to-
day than ever.

MALTON. I beg to differ with the gentleman. In the early days
there was no distinction. The rich men of the present have simply
combined against silver. Silver is the poor man's friend. The two
go together, or should. In this great controversy the two are united
in the interest of oppressed humanity,

KIRK WOOD. My friend Malton, it seems to me that the humanity,
as you refer to it, does not come into the argument. There could be
as much oppression in one as in the other, or as much liberty, as you
have a mind to state it. But humanity is interested in, and its inter-
est is the more concerned in, what is the best. There were times
when neither gold nor silver were known in the form of money.
The old Indian had neither; so he used shells, and shells answered
his purpose.



MALTON. I repeat, Mr. President, that the cause of humanity is
interwoven with this problem of money; and silver is just as good for
money as gold. There is, for selfish interests, a combination against
silver. In old Bible times, even silver was as highly regarded as
gold. "So many pieces of silver" "sold for so much silver," not
gold. Paul says, " Silver and gold have I none. * * *" You see
he mentions silver first.

KIRKWOOD. Yes, my friend, he says "Silver and gold." Silver
leads up to the *gold. Gold is the climax; showing you the higher
value of gold.

MALTON. There is where you and I differ.

BREMNER. Suppose we go to the early Persians for an illustra-
tion.

MALTON. Who cares for the old Persians? I never read of any
prejudice that they had against silver. Indeed, they seem to have
had none. Silver was highly regarded in the days of the Persian
Empire.

BREMNER. So is silver highly regarded with us to-day. Fir-
dausi, the poet of his day and his country he was the poet laureat
of his time, the court poet he was to receive one dollar a line for
his poetry, but, from other sources, having enough on which to live,
he was not anxious about his pay, so let the account run on until he
had 60,000 lines. Then he presented his bill, expecting, of course,
to be paid in the higher currency of the country.

MALTON. So they had a higher and a lower currency?

BREMNER. Yes; from the testimony it seems so. He presented
his bill, but the court treasurer was a crafty fellow. He undoubtedly
expected to make a goodly fortune on poor Firdausi, so he paid the
poet all in silver! Firdausi was so indignant that he would not take
the sum offered him in silver. He demanded to be paid in gold. He
had expected to be paid his one dollar per line in the standard value,
or higher value, of gold. He was unable to secure what he regarded
as his just due, so he would take nothing gold or nothing. Not
being able to secure the payment in gold, he indignantly left the
country.

MALTON. A dollar a line for poetry, even in silver, would have
been pretty good pay. I'd like to get such pay.

KIRKWOOD. Could you furnish the poetry ?

MALTON. If I could not do it myself, I could easily hire some
poet. There are lots of these rhymers 'round who would be glad to
get ten cents a line. If this Firdausi got a dollar a line in silver, he
got all that it was worth.

KIRKWOOD. But, Mr. Malton, you seem to forget the contract.
Firdausi was one of the greater poets of the world. Such men are
not even produced in one generation; not more than one is born in
a score of generations. The king had promised to pay him one dollar



a line. Then when it came to settlement they undertook to pay him
really what was no more than half price. Was that fair? Was it
honest? How would you like to have a million-dollar contract with
the Government, and then when the Government came to settle with
you the Secretary of the Treasury attempts to pay you in silver ?

MALTON. I'd take a million dollars in silver every time.

BREMNER. Yes, so would a great many ; but the first thing you'd
do with it would be to convert it into gold.

MALTON. You think so? Why should you say that?

BREMNER. Because that is the way you, as well as others, do.
You would be willing to take the silver, but you would want to dis-
pose of it at gold value. You have a contract. You must pay out
some for labor, and you would find that the laborer would want his
pay in the standard value of the country.

MALTON. Is not silver as good as gold? If not, it should be
dollar for dollar; and we propose to make it such.

KIRKWOOD. Not until you cease producing it, or gold gets more
plentiful.

MALTON, How would a greater supply of gold affect the market
value of silver?

BREMNER. Easy enough. We who demand the gold basis are
not prejudicial against silver. It is simply a question of scarcity or
plenty. Let silver remain as it is just as difficult to produce as
at present having its present value, and let there be discovered a
huge mountain of gold, whereby gold would become as cheap as coal
worth about ten cents a peck, silver holding its present value, as
I have said and how long would it be before gold and silver would
exchange places? In a very short time silver would be the standard
and gold would be relatively where silver is now. Then, I suppose,
you silver men would be as earnestly fighting for gold as you now
fight for silver, and cry out against those who would depreciate gold.
Here is the whole question, as they say, in a nutshell, and you don't
seem to see it.

MALTON. No, we don't see it with your eyes. Silver is just as
good as gold.

KIRKWOOD. How about paper?

MALTON. Paper is all right. We silver men don't depreciate
paper any more than we do silver. Then you gold men are incon-
sistent. Every day you go to market and pay in silver or paper; and
I can also go into the same market and get just as much for a silver
dollar as you get for a gold one; and should I take a gold dollar I
could get no more for it than you with a silver dollar.

BREMNER. We admit that that is, on a small scale.

MALTON. Then why not on a large scale? Your argument don't
hold.



BREMNER. Possibly we may seem a little inconsistent, but
money has an arbitrary value. We must have it for our common
daily expenses as well as for the greater transactions of life; and the
business world, by common consent, accepts the situation in regard
to small things; but let a crisis come, or an attempt to use silver
upon a large scale, and very soon you would find the prices raise, the
same as our paper money in the war. The prices of commodities
went up to double the paper value, but on a gold basis they were not
greatly increased. The paper money was more and more depreci-
ated, so it took more of it to buy a pound of beef, flour or sugar.

MALTON. Was it right to take advantage of our necessities and
raise the price of living?

KIRKWOOD. That is not pertinent to the question, whether
right or not. We know that this has always been one of the results
of war, but it has no weight on our present discussion. In olden
times not so much silver, in proportion, was coined; but even in its
best days it was not the equal of gold, and as we developed more and
more the silver mines of the country, silver becoming exceedingly
plentiful, like all other commodities potatoes, for example the
more bountiful the harvest of potatoes the cheaper they are. As
with potatoes, so with silver; and this the silver men don't seem to
see, or to admit. As coin, you want a piece of silver to represent a
hundred cents, when, as mined ore, or bullion, it is only worth
fifty cents.

MALTON. Don't we do that with copper? Copper is not rela-
tively worth so much as silver, yet every day you use it, cent for
cent, dollar for dollar.

BREMNER. We do use copper, as we use silver, simply on the
basis of common consent, for small purchases.

MALTON. Then you come back to the place from which you
started. A certain metal can be used and coined into money, and,
while all admit that it has not its face value in the stock of which it
formed, you accept it without demurrer.

PRESIDENT KIRKWOOD. Gentlemen, the hour for adjourning is
near at hand. I am glad that this discussion has taken place, but
more highly pleased in that the discussion has been so courteous
the one towards the other. Brother Malton has had the laboring
one for silver, and no one could, I think, have conducted the case
better. But still we agree to disagree. If he can go out on the stump
and poll a greater vote than we, he is content to do it. If his side
carries the day, we shall abide by it, and "wait until the clouds roll
by."

MALTON. Mr. President, I thank you for the compliment; yet I
I don't consider your compliment as wholly personal, but it reaches
the whole Club. We silver men are not as yet convinced.



8

BREMNER. Well, I think one victory for your side will do for
you more than our arguments.

[Voices: "Adjourn! Adjourn!"]

SAM. Q. (moving around among the members). Mr. Bremner,
can't I sell you's a ticket for our church entertainment? Only fifty
cents. We's want to raise funds for a church organ.

[Some are indifferent and some make indifferent remarks.]

ONE. What you want an organ for, when you got such good
banjoes, fiddles, &c. ?

SAM. Q. 'Cause we' s want to be like white folks. You wouldn't
like to see a banjo, fiddle and accordion in a white church, would
you? By the way, ought ter heard der parson's announcement for der
entertainment the other night.

BREMNER. What did he say ?

SAM. Q. He set forth his plea for der organ, and der method
whereby to raise der funds by an entertainment music, dancing,
'freshments, &c. Den he says, "Der first ladies and gentlemen, three
dollars; der second ladies and gentlemen, livo dollars; der ordinary
ladies and gentlemen, one dollar and a half; der rufferty-scuffs, fifty
cents !"

BREMNER. I don't care to go as first, second and third ladies
and gentlemen; but here is five dollars invest it among the ruf-
ferty-scuffs. I am one of that class myself. By the way, Sam, if
you take in much silver, look out. You know it goes in small lots, or
quantities; but in large quantities some of these sharpers may want
to discount for you.

BREMNER (to those near him) continues: I hope all will help
in this scheme to raise money for the organ; for I know that by it
you will raise humanity. Let the church have a good organ for a
year or two, and I'll warrant that it will lift up the church and we
all shall realize the value of our little investment. It will even raise
the value of the land that I have been trying for so many years to
get the city to purchase. That land is cheap now. See how the city
is growing practically all around the land. There is the ideal loca-
tion for a new and commodious railroad station, such as the town
should have and even a city hall.

JACK COATMAN. Mr. Bremner don't let that scheme of his
rest does he? That low ground half swamp great place for such
buildings, as he suggests.

BREMNER. The land is a little rough, I'll admit, but it would
not take much to make it a valuable piece of property. It is a little
low, in places, but a few miles to the south the land is even lower;
and the marsh-land pond, and the bay beyond. And, by the way,
there is a second volume to this scheme that I have not heretofore
mentioned. We are at present an inland town, but with such means



as we ought to be able to raise, and would raise if the moneyed men
of this section would see it, and raise it, and with comparatively
small investment we can, by cutting a way through the breach, or
better, enlarging the breach, and by the use of some riprap, stones,
jetties, we can make Westcadia a seaport town.

[General laughter.]

BREMNER. Gentlemen, laugh. You and I may never see the
day when this shall be accomplished; but now you have the whole of
my scheme, and the contributions to this modest little organ, for this
humble little church, down in that poor neighborhood, will be the en-
tering wedge towards redeeming the land.

[More laughter.]

SCENE at Festival. Singing, and dancing, &c. Spanish Dance.

SAM. Q. (to Jake Budd). Jake, I's want to tell you something.
Dar is no great secret about it still the time has not come to publish
it. But I'se want to tell you but want you to keep it to yourself for
der present. Mr. Bremner gave der society der land for our church;
so we's beholden to him for der land; and he also helped rigid smart
in der building, too, But he don't care to have it published, so we's
won't say anything 'bout it, just now.

PARSON CLOVIS (to his people). Brethren and Sisterin : Glad
to see's you all liar to-night, looking so spanky and so beautifully
attired. I see der organ now, right up in der choir loft, and Madam
Patti am a playing it in der grand old style; and Jakey Budd am
right up thar, behind the organ, furnishing der wind. Before we's
begin, 'spose you give us a verse or so of dat hymn song, "Trust in
God." It makes me think of der ocean, when I was cook 'board der
fishing schooner off der Banks.

[Choir sing:~\

When along the stormy ocean
Rush der winds in wild commotion,

And der heavy billows swell,
Still der eye dat knows no slumber,
Marks der waves and has der number,

He will guard his children well !

He will guard his children well !

Now in dusk and gloom appearing,
Lo! the dreadful ice-mount nearing,

And destruction rules the night;
Still a Father's hand is guiding,
And amid der danger riding

Hail we safe der morning light !

Hail we safe der morning light !



10

When red lightnings thick are falling,
So when cloud to cloud is calling,

With a trumpet toned on high
Though fear our hearts may waver,
In der storm of life still ober

We' ve a Helper strong on high !

We've a Helper strong on high !

PARSON CLOVIS. Now let der first ladies and gentlemen move.
On wid der dance! Let joy be unconfined! Start up your music,
Brother Sam. What fo' you waiting?

SAM. Beverly has got to stop to put a new string on his fiddle.
He just played so hard in dat chorus, "We've a Helper strong on
high," dat he broke down. We've got to wait for him to repair.

[Dance goes on.]

MR. BREMNER looks in on them for a few minutes. (To the Par-
son:) Parson, why don't you dance?

PARSON C. Oh, my dancing days are over. I's used to be right
smart on der dance when I was young like dese boys and gals.

BREMNER. I can't stay long; thought I'd look in and see how
the organ was growing. Send them home early, and don't let them
indulge in too much refreshments.

PARSON C. Thank you, Mr. Bremner, for your attendance, and for
your interest in our organ. We's expect to have it soon now.

BREMNER. Your church is now located on the outskirts, but the
time is coining when you will be right in the center of the city. Then
if you don't care to stay there, you can sell out for a good sum and
build a new church, or perhaps buy one of those fine old churches up
in the Sixth Ward for a low figure by that time they will want to
sell out and move over here.

PARSON C. What a prophet youes am.

[Breinner moving off.]

PARSON C. Must you go? Good-night, and may dat dream dats
in you come true. But I knows if what you say as to this section
comes true, you's have a good investment.

BREMNER. Parson Clovis, I have been working on this problem
for years, trying to get some of our great men to take hold of it; as
old Col. Sellers said, "there's millions in it." But I do not own it, and
have no financial interest in it.

PARSON C. But they don't seem to see it. I, myself, don't see
just how the tide is going to sweep this way; but if it ever does, I
can see that it will be a mighty big wave.

BREMNER. Good-night! We won't let this disturb our slum-
bers. It may not come, but the plan is all worked up, here (touch-
ing his head with his hand).

PARSON C. Bro'r Sam, don't der ladies and gentlemen want to



11

rest a little have some 'freshments sandwiches, cakes, doughnuts,
and some of dat "small beer?"

Mrs. QIJILTY. Sam, dar hab come two large tubs of ice cream
big as barrels and from Hascomb's, too. Did you order it?

SAM Q. No ; but I can easily guess who did.

MRS. QUILT Y. Who?

SAM. Q. Why, no one but Mr. Bremner. He's very quiet about
such matters.

SCENE at Club. Club night. Only a few present. Conversation
informal between members.

MALTON. Well, "we've got you on the hip," you gold men. We
fought the campaign on the issue of free silver and free trade. We
are willing to accept the standard discount; but, if I could have had


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Online LibraryIsaac P. (Isaac Pitman) NoyesThe wampum club and (sub-rosa) The Orpheus club → online text (page 1 of 4)