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Then over all, that he might be

Equipped from top to toe,
His long red cloak, well brushed and neat,

He manfully did throw.

Vol. 18—4 49


Now see him mounted once again

Upon his nimble steed,
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,

With caution and good heed.

But finding soon a smoother road

Beneath his well-shod feet.
The snorting beast began to trot,

Which galled him in his seat.

So, "Fair and softly," John he cried.

But John he cried in vain ;
That trot became a gallop soon,

In spite of curb and rein.

So stooping down, as needs he must

Who cannot sit upright,
He grasped the mane with both his hands,

And eke with all his might.

His horse, who never in that sort

Had handled been before,
What thing upon his back had got

Did wonder more and more.

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought ;

Away went hat and wig;
He little dreamt, when he set out.

Of running such a rig.

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,

Like streamer long and gay,
Till loop and button failing both,

At last it flew away.



Then might all people well discern

The bottles he had slung;
A bottle swinging at each side,

As hath been said or sung.

The dogs did bark, the children screamed,

Up flew the windows all ;
And every soul cried out, "Well done !"

As loud as he could bawl.

Away went Gilpin — who but he?

His fame soon spread around,
"He carries weight ! he rides a race !

'Tis for a thousand pound !"

And still as fast as he drew near,

'Twas wonderful to view
How in a trice the turnpike men

Their gates wide open threw.

And now, as he went bowing down

His reeking head full low,
The bottles twain behind his back

Were shattered at a blow.

Down ran the wine into the road,

Most piteous to be seen,
Which made his horse's flanks to smoke

As they had basted been.

But still he seemed to carry weight,
With leathern girdle braced ;

For all might see the bottle necks
Still dangling at his waist.




Thus all through merry Islington j

These gambols he did play, \

Until he came unto the wash '' j

Of Edmonton so gay ; ' >

i I

And there he threw the wash about • ' {

On both sides of the way, , ]

Just like unto a trundling mop, , i

Or a wild goose at play. i

At Edmonton his loving wife

From the balcony spied

Her tender husband, wondering much

To see how he did ride. 1

"Stop, stop, John Gilpin ! — Here's the house" —

They all aloud did cry ;

"The dinner waits, and we are tired" ; :

Said Gilpin, "So am I !" •

But yet his horse was not a whit

Inclined to tarry there ; [

For why? his owner had a house i

Full ten miles off, at Ware. ;

So like an arrow swift he flew, 1

Shot by an archer strong;

So did he fly — which brings me to !

The middle of my song. •

Away went Gilpin, out of breath,

And sore against his will.

Till, at his friend the Calender's,

His horse at last stood still.



The Calender, amazed to see

His neighbor in such trim.
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,

And thus accosted him :

"What news? what news? your tidings tell;

Tell me you must and shall —
Say, why bare-headed you are come,

Or why you come at all ?"

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,

And loved a timely joke;
And thus unto the Calender,

In merry guise, he spoke :

"I came because your horse would come ;

And, if I well forebode,
My hat and wig will soon be here,

They are upon the road."

The Calender, right glad to find

His friend in merry pin,
Returned him not a single word.

But to the house went in ;

Whence straight he came, with hat and wig,

A wig that flowed behind ;
A hat not much the worse for wear.

Each comely in its kind.

He held them up, and in his turn

Thus showed his ready wit ;
"My head is twice as big as yours.

They therefore needs must fit.



"But let me scrape the dust away
That hangs upon your face ;

And stop and eat, for well you may
Be in a hungry case."

Said John, "It is my wedding-day,
And all the world would stare,

If wife should dine at Edmonton,
Anl I should dine at Ware."

So, turning to his horse, he said,

"I am in haste to dine;
'Twas for your pleasure you came here,

You shall go back for mine."

Ah, luckless speech, and bootless boast !

For which he paid full dear;
For, while he spake, a braying ass

Did sing most loud and clear;

Whereat his horse did snort, as he

Had heard a lion roar,
And galloped off with all his might,

As he had done before.

Away went Gilpin, and away
Went Gilpin's hat and wig;

He lost them sooner than at first.
For why? — they were too big.

Now Mrs. Gilpin when she saw

Her husband posting down
Into the country far away,

She pulled out half-a-crown;



And thus unto the youth she said,

That drove them to the Bell,
"This shall be yours, when you bring back

My husband safe and well."

The youth did ride, and soon did meet

John coming back amain ;
Whom in a trice he tried to stop,

By catching at his rein ;

But not performing what he meant.

And gladly would have done,
The frighted steed he frighted more,

And made him faster run.

Away went Gilpin, and away

Went postboy at his heels.
The postboy's horse right glad to miss

The rumbling of the wheels.

Six gentlemen upon the road

Thus seeing Gilpin fly.
With postboy scampering in the rear.

They raised a hue and cry:

"Stop thief! — stop thief! — a highwayman!"

Not one of them was mute ;
And all and each that passed that way

Did join in the pursuit.

And now the turnpike gates again

Flew open in short space :
The toll-men thinking, as before.

That Gilpin rode a race.



And so he did, and won it too,

For he got first to town :
Nor stopped till where he had got up

He did again get down.

Now let us sing, long live the king.

And Gilpin, long live he ;
And, when he next doth ride abroad,

May I be there to see.



By J. W. DcForest

Tl CERTAIN fallen angel (politeness toward his
•'I numerous and influential friends forbids me
to mention his name abruptly) lately entered into the
body of Mr. Ananias Pullwool, of Washington, D. C.

As the said body was a capacious one, having
been greatly enlarged circumferentially since it ac-
quired its full longitude, there was accommodation
in it for both the soul of Pullwool himself (it was a
very little one) and for his distinguished visitant.
Indeed, there was so much room in it that they
never crowded each other, and Pullwool hardly knew,
if he even so much as mistrusted, that there was
a chap in with him. But other people must have been
aware of this double tenantry, or at least must have
been shrewdly suspicious of it, for it soon became quite
common to hear fellows say, ''Pullwool has got the
Devil in him."

There was, indeed, a remarkable change — a change
not so much moral as physical and mental — in this
gentleman's ways of deporting and behaving himself.
From being loggy in movement and slow, if not ab-
solutely dull, in mind, he became wonderfully agile and
energetic. He had been a lobbyist, and he remained a
lobbyist still, but such a different one, so much more
vigorous, eager, clever and impudent, that his best



friends (if he could be said to have any friends)
scarcely knew him for the same Pullwool. His fat
fingers were in the buttonholes of Congressmen from
the time when they put those buttonholes on in the
morning to the time when they took them off at night. ,
He seemed to be at one and the same moment treating !
some honorable member in the barroom of the Ar-
lington and running another honorable member to
cover in the committee-rooms of the Capitol. He log-
rolled bills which nobody else believed could be log-
rolled, and he pocketed fees which absolutely and
point-blank refused to go into other people's pockets.
During this short period of his life he was the most
successful and famous lobbyist in Washington, and
the most sought after by the most rascally and des-
perate claimants of unlawful millions.

But, like many another man who has the Devil
in him, Mr. Pullwool ran his luck until he ran himself
into trouble. An investigating committee pounced j
upon him; he was put in confinement for refusing {
to answer questions; his filchings were held up to the
execration of the envious both by virtuous members
and a virtuous press; and when he at last got out of
durance he found it good to quit the District of Co-
lumbia for a season. Thus it happened that Mr. Pull-
wool and his eminent lodger took the cars and went to
and fro upon the earth seeking what they might de-

In the course of their travels they arrived in a little
State, which may have been Rhode Island, or may
have been Connecticut, or may have been one of the
Pleiades, but which, at all events, had two capitals.
Without regard to Morse's Gazetteer, or to whatever
other Gazetteer may now be in currency, we shall
affirm that one of these capitals was called Slowburg
and the other Fastburg. For some hundreds of years



(let us say five hundred, in order to be sure and get it
high enough) Slowburg and Fastburg had shared be-
tween them, turn and turn about, year on and year off,
all the gubernatorial and legislative pomps and emolu-
ments that the said State had to bestow. On the ist
of April of every odd year the governor, preceded by
citizen soldiers, straddling or curvetting through the
mud — the governor, followed by twenty barouches full
of eminent citizens, who were not known to be eminent
at any other time, but who made a rush for a ride
on this occasion as certain old ladies do at funerals —
the governor, taking off his hat to pavements full of
citizens of all ages, sizes and colors, who did not pre-
tend to be eminent — the governor, catching a fresh cold
at every corner, and wishing the whole thing were
passing at the equator, — the governor triumphantly
entered Slowburg, — observe, Slowburg, — read his al-
ways long message there, and convened the legislature
there. On the ist of April of every even year the
same governor, or a better one who had succeeded
him, went through the same ceremonies in Fastburg.
Each of these capitals boasted, or rather blushed over,
a shabby old barn of a State House, and each of them
maintained a company of foot-guards and ditto of
horse-guards, the latter very loose in their saddles. In
each the hotels and boarding-houses had a full year
and a lean year, according as the legislature sat in the
one or in the other. In each there was a loud call for
fresh shad and stewed oysters, or a comparatively
feeble call for fresh shad and stewed oysters, under
the same biennial conditions.

Such was the oscillation of grandeur and power be-
tween the two cities. It was an old-time arrangement,
and like many other old-fashioned things, as, for in-
stance, wood fires in open fireplaces, it had not only its
substantial merits, but its superficial inconveniences.



Every year certain ancient officials were obliged to
pack up hundreds of public documents and expedite
them from Fastburg to Slowburg, or from Slowburg
back to Fastburg. Every year there was an expense
of a few dollars on this account, which the State treas-
urer figured up with agonies of terror, and which the
opposition roared at as if the administration could
have helped it. The State-Houses were two mere de-
formities of patched plaster and leprous wnitewash;
they were such shapeless, graceless, dilapidated wig-
wams that no sensitive patriot could look at them
without wanting to fly to the uttermost parts of the
earth; and yet it was not possible to build new ones,
and hardly possible to obtain appropriations enough
to shingle out the weather; for Fastburg would vote no
money to adorn Slowburg, and Slowburg was equally
niggardly toward Fastburg. The same jealousy pro-
duced the same frugality in the management of other
public institutions, so that the patients of the lunatic
asylum were not much better lodged and fed than the
average sane citizen, and the gallows-birds in the
State's prison were brought down to a temperance
which caused admirers of that species of fowl to
tremble with indignation. In short, the two capitals
were as much at odds as the two poles of a magnet, and
the results of this repulsion were not all of them worthy
of hysterical admiration.

But disadvantages seesawed with disadvantages. In
this double-ender of a State political jobbery was at
fault, because it had no headquarters. It could not
get together a ring; it could not raise a corps of lob-
byists. Such few axe-grinders as there were had to
dodge back and forth between the Fastburg grindstone
and the Slowburg grindstone, without ever fairly get-
ting their tools sharpened. Legislature here and legis-
lature there; it was like guessing at a pea between two


■ ^•rjro'Buviw


thimbles; you could hardly put your finger on the right
one. Then what one capital favored the other dis-
favored; and between them appropriations were kicked
and hustled under the table; the grandest of railroad
schemes shrunk into waste-paper baskets; in short, the
public treasury was next door to the unapproachable.
Such, indeed, was the desperate condition of lobbyists
in this State that, had it contained a single philan-
thropist of the advanced radical stripe, he would surely
have brought in a bill for their relief and encourage-

Into the midst of this happily divided community
dropped Mr. Ananias Pullwool with the Devil in him.
It remains to be seen whether this pair could figure
up anything worth pocketing out of the problem of
two capitals.

It was one of the even years, and the legislature met
in Fastburg, and the little city was brimful. Mr. Pull-
wool with difficulty found a place for himself without
causing the population to slop over. Of course, he
went to a hotel, for he needed to make as many ac-
quaintances as possible, and he knew that a bar was a
perfect hot-house for ripening such friends as he cared
for. He took the best room he could get ; and as soon
as chance favored he took a better one, with parlor at-
tached; and on the sideboard in the parlor he always
had cigars and decanters. The result was that
in a week or so he was on jovial terms with
several senators, numerous members of the lower
house, and all the members of the "third house."
But lobbying did not work in Fastburg as Mr. Pull-
wool had found it to work in other capitals. He ex-
hibited the most dazzling double-edged axes, but no-
body would grind them; he pointed out the most at-
tractive and convenient of logs for rolling, but nobody
would put a lever to them.



"What the doose does this mean?" he at last in-
quired of Mr. Josiah Dicker, a member who had
smoked dozens of his cigars and drunk quarts out of
his decanters. "I don't understand this little old legis-
lature at all, Mr. Dicker. Nobody wants to make any
money; at least, nobody has the spirit to try to make
any. And yet the State is full; never been bled a drop;
full as a tick. What does it mean?"

Mr. Dicker looked disconsolate. Perhaps it may
be worth a moment's time to explain that he could
not well look otherwise. Broken in fortune and
broken in health, he was a failure and knew it. His
large forehead showed power, and he was, in fact, a
lawyer of some ability; and still he could not support
his family, could not keep a mold of mortgages from
creeping all over his house-lot, and had so many cred-
itors that he could not walk the streets comfortably.
The trouble lay in hard drinking, with its resultant
waste of time, infidelity to trust, and impatience of ap-
plication. Thin, haggard, duskily pallid, deeply
wrinkled at forty, his black eyes watery and set in
baggy circles of a dull brown, his lean, dark hands
shaky and dirty, his linen wrinkled and buttonless,
his clothing frayed and unbrushed, he was an imper-
sonation of failure. He had gone into the legislature
with a desperate hope of somehow finding money in
it, and as yet he had discovered nothing more than his
beggarly three dollars a day, and he felt himself more
than ever a failure. No wonder that he wore an air of
profound depression, approaching to absolute
wretchedness and threatening suicide.

He looked the more cast down by contrast with the
successful Mr. Pullwool, gaudily alight with satin
and jewelry, and shining with deceit. Pullwool, by
the way, although a dandy (that is, such a dandy as
one sees in gambling-saloons and behind liquor bars),



was far from being a thing of beauty. He was so ob-
noxiously gross and shapeless, that it seemed as if he
did it on purpose and to be irritating. His fat head
was big enough to make a dwarf of, hunchback and all.
His mottled cheeks were vast and pendulous to that
degree that they inspired the imaginative beholder with
terror, as reminding him of avalanches and landslides
which might slip their hold at the slightest shock and
plunge downward in a path of destruction. One pufTy
eyelid dropped in a sinister way; obviously that was the
eye that the Devil had selected for his own; he kept it
well curtained for purposes of concealment. Looking
out of this peep-hole, the Satanic badger could see a
short, thick nose, and by leaning forward a little he
could get a glimpse of a broad chin of several stories.
Another unpleasing feature was a full set of false teeth,
which grinned in a ravenous fashion that was truly dis-
quieting, as if they were capable of devouring the
whole internal revenue. Finally, this continent of
physiognomy was diversified by a gigantic hairy wart,
which sprouted defiantly from the temple nearest the
game eye, as though Lucifer had accidentally poked one
of his horns through. Mr. Dicker, who was a sensi-
tive, squeamish man (as drunkards sometimes are,
through bad digestion and shaky nerves), could hardly
endure the sight of this wart, and always wanted to ask
Pullwool why he didn't cut it off.

"What's the meaning of it all?" persisted the Wash-
ington wire-puller, surveying the Fastburg wire-puller
with bland superiority, much as the city mouse may
have surveyed the country mouse.

"Two capitals," responded Dicker, withdrawing his
nervous glance from the wart, and locking his hands
over one knee to quiet their trembling.

Mr. Pullwool, having the Old Harry in him, and
being consequently full of all malice and subtlety, per-

Vol. 18—5 65


ceived at once the full scope and force of the explana-

"I see," he said, dropping gently back into his arm-
chair, with the plethoric, soft movement of a subsiding
pillow. The puckers of his cumbrous eyelids drew a
little closer together; his bilious eyes peered out cau-
tiously between them, like sallow assassins watching
through curtained windows; for a minute or so he kept
up what might without hyperbole be called a devil of
a thinking.

"I've got it," he broke out at last. "Dicker, I want
you to bring in a bill to make Fastburg the only capi-

"What is the use?" asked the legislator, looking
more disconsolate, more hopeless than ever. "Slow-
burg will oppose it and beat it."

"Never you mind," persisted Mr. Pullwool. "You
bring in your little bill and stand up for it like a man.
There's money in it. You don't see it? Well, I do;
I'm used to seeing money in things; and in this case I
see it plain. As sure as whiskey is whiskey, there's
money in it."

Mr. Pullwool's usually dull and, so to speak, ex-
tinct countenance was fairly alight and aflame with
exultation. It was almost a wonder that his tallowy
person did not gutter beneath the blaze, like an over-
fat candle under the flaring of a wick too large for it.

"Well, I'll bring in the bill," agreed Mr. Dicker,
catching the enthusiasm of his counselor and shaking
off his lethargy. He perceived a dim promise of fees,
and at the sight his load of despondency dropped away
from him, as Christian's burden loosened in presence
of the cross. He looked a little like the confident, res-
olute Tom Dicker who twenty years before had
graduated from college the brightest, bravest, most



eloquent fellow in his class, and the one who seemed
to have before him the finest future.
'"Snacks!" said Mr. Pullwool.

At this brazen word Mr. Dicker's countenance
fell again; he was ashamed to talk so frankly about
plundering his fellow-citizens; "a little grain of con-
science turned him sour."

"I will take pay for whatever I can do as a lawyer,"
he stammered.

"Get out!" laughed the Satanic one. "You just take
all there is a-going! You need it bad enough. I know
when a man's hard up. I know the signs. I've been
as bad off as you; had to look all ways for five dollars;
had to play second fiddle and say thanky. But what I
offer you ain't a second fiddle. It's as good a chance
as my own. Even divides. One-half to you and one-
half to me. You know the people and I know the
ropes. It's a fair bargain. What do you say?"

Mr. Dicker thought of his decayed practice and his
unpaid bills; and flipping overboard his little grain of
conscience he said, "Snacks."

"All right," grinned Pullwool, his teeth gleaming
alarmingly. "Word of a gentleman," he added, ex-
tending his pulpy hand, loaded with ostentatious rings,
and grasping Dicker's recoiling fingers. "Harness up
your little bill as quickly as you can, and drive it like
Jehu. Fastburg to be the only capital. Slowburg no
claims at all, historical, geographical, or economic.
The old arrangement a humbug; as inconvenient as a
fifth wheel of a coach; costs the State thousands of
greenbacks every year. Figure it all up statistically
and dab it over with your shiniest rhetoric and make a
big thing of it every way. That's what you've got to
do; that's your little biz. I'll tend to the rest."

"I don't quite see where the money is to come from,"
observed Mr. Dicker.



"Leave that to me," said the veteran of the lobbies;
"my name is Piillwool, and I know how to pull the
wool over men's eyes, and then I know how to get at
their britches-pockets. You bring in your bill and
make your speech. Will you do it?"

"Yes," answered Dicker, bolting all scruples in
another half tumbler of brandy.

He kept his word. As promptly as parliamentary
forms and mysteries would allow, there was a bill un-
der the astonished noses of honorable lawgivers remov-
ing the seat of legislation from Slowburg and centering
it in Fastburg. This bill Mr. Thomas Dicker sup-
ported with that fluency and fiery enthusiasm of
oratory which had for a time enabled him to show
as the foremost man of his State. Great was the ex-
citement, great the rejoicing and anger. The press of
Fastburg sent forth shrieks of exultation, and the press
of Slowburg responded with growlings of disgust. The
two capitals and the two geographical sections which
they represented were ready to fire Parrott guns at
each other, without regard to life and property in the
adjoining regions of the earth. If there was a citi-
zen of the little Commonwealth who did not hear of
this bill and did not talk of it, it was because that citi-
zen was as deaf as a post and as dumb as an oyster.
Ordinary political distinctions were forgotten, and the
old party-whips could not manage their very wheel-
horses, who went snorting and kicking over the
traces in all directions. In short, both in the legisla-
ture and out of it, nothing was thought of but the
question of the removal of the capital.

Among the loudest of the agitators was Mr. Pull-
wool; not that he cared one straw whether the capital
went to Fastburg, or to Slowburg, or to Ballyhack ; but
for the money which he thought he saw in the agitation
he did care mightly, and to get that money he labored



with a zeal that was not of this world alone. At the
table of his hotel, and in the barroom of the same in-
stitution, and in the lobbies of the legislative hall, and
in editorial sanctums and barbers' shops, and all other
nooks of gossip, he trumpeted the claims of Fastburg
as if that little city were the New Jerusalem, and de-
served to be the metropolis of the sidereal universe.
All sorts of trickeries, too; he sent spurious telegrams
and got fictitious items into the newspapers; he lied
through every medium known to the highest civiliza-

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Online LibraryUnknownClassic tales by famous authors (Volume 18) → online text (page 4 of 20)