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THE OLD SOAK
HAIL AND FAREWELL
BOOKS BY DON MARQUIS
Cruise of the Jasper B.
Danny's Own Story
Dreams and Dust
Herahone and Her Little Group of
Prefaces: Decorations by Tony Sarg
The Old Soae: and Hail and Farewell
THE OLD SOAK
THE OLD SOAK
HAIL AND FAREWELL
GARDEN CITY, N. Y., AND TORONTO
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
t c c
c , c
COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION
INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN
COPYBIQHT I914, I9IS, I916, I918, I919, 1920, BY SUN PRINTING
AND PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION
JUH 22 i32l \^
y\ . A
The author thanks the Publishers
of the New York Sun, in which
the following sketches and verses
originally appeared, for permis-
sion to reissue them in book form.
THE OLD SOAK
Introducing the Old Soak ....
Beginning the Old Soak's History of
the Rum Demon
Liquor and Hennery Simms .
The Old Soak's History; The Bar
room as an Educative Influence .
Look Out for Crime Waves ! . . .
The Barroom and the Arts
An Argument with the Old Woman.
More Evils of Prohibition.
Preparing for Christmas ....
The Old Soak Fears for the Growing
Jabe Potter's Optimism ....
As It Used to Be of a Morning .
Peace and Contentment ....
Unfermented Grape Juice ....
Prohibition and Winter Weather.
The Old Soak Finds a Way . . .
The Barroom's Good Influence .
XIX. A House Divided 67
XX. The Barroom and Manners ... 70
XXI. Sympathy Wanted 73
XXII. Prohibition Is Making a Free Thinker
of the Old Soak 77
HAIL AND FAREWELL
I. A Last Drink 85
II. In the Old Days 87
III. A Dipsey Chantey 88
IV. A Certain Club 91
V. A Temperance Tract 92
VI. A Vision in the Night 95
VII. The Last Case of Gin 96
VIII. Crowned Singers 99
IX. Down in a Wine Vault .... 100
X. Anacreon 103
XI. There Were Giants in the Old Days . 105
XII. In an Old-Time Tavern Booth . . 107
XIIL The Old Brass Railing 108
XIV. Once Youth W^as Mme .... 112
XV. In a Tavern Booth 113
XVI. An Engagement 114
XVII. The Battle of the Keyholes ... 115
XVIIL In a Tavern Booth 118
XIX. Yearnings and Memories . . . . 119
XX. Do You Remember.? ..... 120
XXI. And You May Recall This ... 121
XXII. True, But What of It? . . . . 122
XXIII. A Summer Day Dream .... 123
XXIV. On Swearing Off Again .... 124
XXV. After Several Highballs .... 126
XXVI. Chant Royal of the Dejected Dip-
XXVII. Proverbs XXIII, 29 130
XXVIII. An Object Lesson 132
XXIX. A Kansas Tragedy 135
THE OLD SOAK
HAIL AND FAREWELL
Introducing the Old Soak
/^UR friend, the Old Soak, came in from his home
^^ in Flatbush to see us not long ago, in anything
but a jovial mood.
"I see that some persons think there is still hope
for a liberal interpretation of the law so that beer
and light wines may be sold," said we.
"Hope," said he, moodily, "is a fine thing, but
it don't gurgle none when you pour it out of a bottle.
Hope is all right, and so is Faith . . . but
what I would like to see is a little Charity.
"As far as Hope is concerned, I'd rather have
Despair combined with a case of Bourbon liquor than
all the Hope in the world by itself.
"Hope is what these here fellows has got that
is tryin' to make their own with a tea-kettle
and a piece of hose. That's awful stuff, that is.
There's a friend of mine made some of that stuff
4 THE OLD SOAK
and he was scared of it, and lie thinks before he
drinks any he will try some of it onto a dumb
"But there ain't no dumb beast anywheres handy,
so he feeds some of it to his wife's parrot. That
there parrot was the only parrot I ever knowed
of that wasn't named Polly. It was named Peter,
and was supposed to be a gentleman parrot for the
last eight or ten years. But whether it was or not,
after it drank some of that there home-made hootch
Peter went and laid an egg.
"That there home-made stuff ain't anything to
"It's like amateur theatricals. Amateur theatri-
cals is all right for an occupation for them that^hasn't
got anything to do nor nowhere to go, but they
cause useless agony to an audience. Home-made
booze may be all right to take the grease spots
out of the rugs with, but it ain't for the human
stomach to drink. Home-made booze is either a
farce with no serious kick to it, or else a tragedy
with an unhappy ending. No, sir, as soon as what
is left has been drunk I will kiss good-bye to the
shores of this land of holiness and suffering and
go to some country where the vegetation just
naturally works itself up into liquor in a professional
manner, and end my days in contentment and
"Unless," he continued, with a faint gleam of
INTRODUCING THE OLD SOAK 5
hope, "the smuggling business develops into what it
ought to. And it may. There's some friends of
mine already picked out a likely spot on the shores
of Long Island and dug a hole in the sand that
kegs might wash into if they was throwed from
passing vessels. They've hoisted friendly signals,
but so far nothing has been throwed over-
He had a little of the right sort on his hip, and
after refreshing himself, he announced:
"I'm writing a diary. A diary of the past. A
kind of gol-dinged autobiography of what me and
Old King Booze done before he went into the grave
and took one of my feet with him.
"In just a little while now there won't be any one
in this here broad land of ours, speaking of it geo-
graphically, that knows what an old-fashioned bar-
room was like. They'll meet up with the word,
future generations of posterity will, and wonder and
wonder and wonder just what a saloon could have re-
sembled, and they will cudgel their brains in vain,
as the poet says.
"Often in my own perusal of reading matter I
run onto institutions that I would like to know more
of. But no one ever set down and described 'em
because everyone knowed all about them in the
time when the writing was done. Often I thought
I would 'a' liked to knowed all about them Hanging
Gardens of Babylon, for instance, and who was
6 TEE OLD SOAK
hanged in 'em and what for; but nobody ever de-
scribed 'em, as fur as I know."
"Have you got any of it written?" we asked him.
"Here's the start of it," said he.
We present it just as the Old Soak penned it.
Beginning the Old SoaFs History of the Rum Demon
T WILL hereinunder set down nothing but what
■■- is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
truth, so help me God. Well, in the old days, before
everybody got so gosh-amighty good, barrooms was
so frequent that nobody thought of setting down
their scenery and habits.
Usually you went into it by a pair of swinging
doors that met in the middle and didn't go full length
up, so you could see over the top of the door, and
if any one was to come into one door you didn't
want to have talk with or anything you could see
him and have a chance to gravitate out the door at
the other end of the barroom while he was getting in.
But you couldn't see into the windows of them as a
habitual custom, because who could tell whether a
customer's family was going to pass by and glance
in. Well, in your heart you knew you was doing
nothing to be ashamed of, but all families even in the
good old days contained some prohibition relations.
The Good Book says that flies in the ointment send
forth a smell to heaven. Well, you felt more private
8 THE OLD SOAK
like with the windows fixed thataway. They was
painted, soaped, and some stained glassed.
It had its good sides and it had its bad sides, but
I will say I have been completely out of touch, just
as much as if I was a native of some hot country, with
all kinds of morality and religions of all sorts, ever
since the barrooms was shut up. From childhood's
earliest hours religion has been one of my favourite
studies, and I never let a week pass without I get
down on my knees some time or another and pray
about something any more than I would let a week
pass without I washed all over. It was early recol-
lections of a good woman that kept me religious, and
I hope I do not have to say anything further to this
gang. Well, in spite of my religion I never went to
church none. Because it ain't reasonable to suppose
that a man could keep awake. He thinks, "What
if I should nod," and he does. So that always throv/ed
me back onto the barrooms for my religion.
Well, then, the first thing you know when you
are up by the free lunch counter eating some of that
delicatessen in comes a girl and says to contribute
to the cause. Well, "What cause are you.f^" you
ask her. Well, she says. Salvation Army or the
Volunteers, or what not, and so forth, as the case
may be, or maybe she was boosting for some of these
new religions that gets out a paper and these girls
go around and sell it for ten cents, which they always
set a date for the world coming to an end. Well,
TEE OLD SOAK'S HISTORY 9
then, you got a line on her religion, and you was
ashamed not to give her a quarter, for you had spent
a dollar for drinks already that morning. And then
all through the day there was other religions come in,
one after another, or maybe the same religion over
and over again.
Well, then, you kept in touch with religions and
it made a better man out of you, and along about
evening time when you figured on going home you
felt like it wouldn't be right to tell any pervarications
to your wife about how you come to be so late, so
you just said over the phone: "I am starting right
away. I stopped into Ed's place to play a game
of pool after work and met a fellow I used to know.
I couldn't get away from him and I was too thought-
ful of you to insist for him to come home to dinner
so he insisted I ought to have a drink with him for
old time's sake." And if it hadn't been for being in
contact with different religions all day you would of
lied outright to your wife and felt mean as a dog
about it when she found you out.
Well, then, it needs no further proof that the abol-
ishment of the saloon has taken away the common
people's religions from them, but it is my message to
tell just what the barrooms was like and not to criti-
cize the laws of the land, even when they are dam-
foolish as so many of them are. So I will confine
myself to describing the barroom and the rum demon.
Well, I never saw much rum drunk in the places
10 TEE OLD SOAK
where I hung out. Sometimes some baccardy into a
cocktail, but for my part cocktails always struck me
as wicked. The good book says that the Lord started
the people right but that men had made many ad-
ventures. Well, then, I took mine straight for the
most part, except when I needed some special kind
of a pick-up in the morning.
And the good book says not to tarry long over the
wine cup, and I never done that, neither, except a
little Rhine wine in the summer time, but mostly
took mine straight.
Well, then, to come down to describing these
phantom places over which the raven says nevermore
but the posterity of the future may wish to have
its own say so about. Well, there was a long counter
always kept wiped off, not like these here sticky soda-
water counters which the boys and girls back of
them always look sticky, too, and their sleeves look
sticky and the glasses is sticky, but in a decent bar-
room the coimter was kept swiped off clean and self-
And there was a brass rail with cuspidors near to it,
if you wanted to cuspidate it was handy right there,
and there's no place to hawk and cuspidate in these
here soda-water dives. Not that I ever been in
them much. All that stuff rots the lining of your
stomach. As far as I am concerned, being the pos-
terity of a lot of Scotch ancestors, I never liked soft
stuff in my insides.
TEE OLD SOAK'S HISTORY 11
I never drunk nothing but whiskey for comfort and
pleasure, and I never took no medicine in my life
except calomel, and I always held to the Presbyterian
religion as my favourite religion because those three
things has got some kick when took inside of you.
Well, then, to get down to telling just what these
places was like, it would surprise this generation of
posterity how genteel some of them was. Which I
will come down to in my next chapter. Well, I will
close this chapter.
Liquor and Hennery Simms
T NEVER could see liquor drinking as a bad
-*• habit," said the Old Soak, "though I admit fair
and free it will lead to bad habits if it ain't watched.
"In these here remarks of mine, I aim to tell the
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me Jehor-
sophat, as the good book says.
"One feller I knowed whose liquor drinking led
to bad habits was mjf old friend Hennery Simms.
"Every time Hennery got anyways jingled he
used to fall downstairs, and he fell down so often
that it got to be a habit and you couldn't call it
nothing else. He thought he had to.
"One time late at night I was going over to Brook-
lyn on the subway, and I seen one of these here
LIQUOR AND HENNERY SIMMS 13
escalators with Hennery onto it moving upwards,
only Hennery wasn't riding on his feet, he was riding
on the spine of his back.
"And when he got to the top of the thing and it
skated him out onto the level, what does Hennery
do but pitch himself onto it again, head first, and
again he was carried up.
"After I seen him do that three or four times I
rode up to where Hennery was floundering at and I
ast him what was he doing.
"'I'm falling downstairs,' says Hennery.
"'What you doing that fur.?' I says.
"'I'm drunk, ain't I?' says Hennery. 'You old
fool, you knows I always falls downstairs when I'm
"'How many times you goin' to fall down these
here stairs.?' I ast him.
'"I ain't fell down these here stairs once yet,' says
Hennery, 'though I must of tried to a dozen times.
I been tryin' to fall down these here stairs ever since
dusk set in, but they's something wrong about 'em.
"'If I didn't know I was drunk, I would swear
these here stairs was movin'.'
"'They be movin',' I tells him.
"'You go about your business,' he says, 'and don't
mock a man that's doing the best he can. In course
they ain't movin'.
"'They only looks like they was movin' to me be-
cause I'm drunk. You can't fool me.'
14 TEE OLD SOAK
"And I left him still tryin' to fall down them
stairs, and still bein' carried up again. Which, as I
remarked at first, only goes to show that drink will
lead to habits if it ain't watched, even when it ain't
a habit itself."
*'Do you have any more of your History of the
Rum Demon written?" we asked him.
"Uh-huh," said he, and left us the second install-
The Old Soak's History — The Barroom as an Educa-
TXT'ELL, as I said in my first installment, some
^ '^ of them barrooms was such genteel places
they would surprise you if you had got the idea that
they was all gems of iniquity and wickedness with
the bartenders mostly in clean collars and their hair
slicked, not like so many of these soda-water places,
where the hair is stringy.
Well, this is for future generations of posterity
that will have never saw a saloon, and the whole
truth is to be set down, so help me God, and I will say
that it took a good deal of sweeping sometimes to
keep the floor clean and often the free lunch was ap-
proached with one fork for several people, especially
the beans. Well, it has been three or four years
even before that Eighteenth Commandment passed
since free lunch was what it once was. And some
barrooms was under par. But I am speaking of the
average good class barroom, where you would take
your own children or grandchildren, as the case may
16 TEE OLD SOAK
They was some very kind-hearted places among
them where if a man had spent all his money already
for his own good they would refuse to let him have
anything more to drink until maybe someone set
them up for him.
But to get down to brass tacks and describe what
they looked like more thoroughly I will say they
was always attractive to me with those long expen-
sive mirrors and brass fixtures like a scene of elegance
and grandeur out of the Old Testament where it
tells of Solomon in all his glory. And if a gent would
forget to be genteel after he took too much and his
money was all spent and imbue himself with loud
talk or rough language and maybe want to hit some-
body and there was none of his friends there to take
charge of him often I have seen such thro wed out on
their ear, for the better class places always aimed to be
decent and orderly and never to have an indecent
reputation for loudness and roughhouseness.
Well, I will say I have not kept up with politics
like I used to since the barrooms was vanished. My
eyes ain't what they used to be and the newspapers
are different from each other so who can tell what to
believe, but in the old days you could keep in touch
with politics in the barrooms. It made a better
citizen out of you for every man ought to vote for
what his consciousness tells him is right and to abide
in politics by his consciousness.
Well, closing the barroom has shut off my chance
TEE BARROOM AS AN EDUCATOR 17
to be imbued with political dope and who to bet on
in the next election and I am not so good a citizen
as before the saloons was closed. I would not know
who to bet on in any election but I used to get
straight tips and in that way took an interest in
politics which a man is scarcely to be called an Amer-
ican citizen unless he does.
Well I see everywhere where all the doctors and
science sharks says to keep in touch with outdoor
sports if you want to keep young. I used to know
all about all those outdoor sports and who the Giants
had bought and what they paid for him and who was
the best pitcher and what the dope was on to-
morrow's entries at Havana, but all that is taken
away from me now the saloons is closed and I got no
chance to get into touch with outdoor sports and
I feel it in my health. Some of these days the Pro-
hibition aliments will wake up and see they have
ruined the country but then it will be too late. Tak-
ing the sports away from a nation is not going to
do it any good when the next war comes along if one
Well, I promised I would describe more what they
looked like. I will tackle that in the next chapter, so
I will bring this installment to a close.
Look Out For Crime Waves!
THEY'RE going to take our tobacco next, are
they?" said the Old Soak. "Well, me, I
won't struggle none! I ain't fit to struggle. I'm
licked; my heart's broke. They can come and take
my blood if they want it, and all I'll do is ask 'em
whether they'll have it a drop at a time, or the whole
concerns in a bucket.
"All I say is: Watch out for Crime Waves ! I don't
threaten nobody, I just predict. If you ever waked
up about 1 o'clock in the morning, two or three miles
from a store, and that store likely closed, and no
neighbour near by, and the snow drifting the roads
shut, and wanted a smoke, and there wasn't a single
crumb of tobacco nowheres in the house, you know
what I mean. You go and look for old cigar and
cigarette butts to crumble into your pipe, and there
ain't none. You go through all your clothes for
little mites of tobacco that have maybe jolted into
LOOK OUT FOR CRIME WAVES! 19
your pockets, and there ain't none. Your summer
clothes is packed away into the bottom of a trunk
somewheres, and you wake your wife to find the
key to the trunk, and you get the clothes and there
ain't no tobacco in them pockets, either.
"And then you and your wife has words. And you
sit and suffer and cuss and chew the stem of your
empty pipe. By 3 in the morning there ain't no cus-
tomary crime known you wouldn't commit. By
4 o'clock you begin to think of new crimes, and how
you'd like to commit them and then make up comic
songs about 'em and go and sing them songs at the
funerals of them you've slew.
"Hark to me: If tobacco goes next, there'll be a
crime wave ! Take away a man's booze, and he dies,
or embraces dope or religion, or goes abroad, or
makes it at home, or drinks varnish, or gets philo-
sophical or something. But tobacco ! No, sir ! There
ain't any substitute. Why, the only way they're
getting away with this booze thing now is because
millions and millions of shattered nerves is solacing
and soothing theirselves with tobacco.
"I'm mild, myself. I won't explode. I'm getting
my booze. I know where there's plenty of it. My
heart's broke to see the saloons closed, and I'm licked
by the overwhelming righteous . . . but I won't
suffer any personal for a long time yet. But
there's them that will. And on top of everything
else, tobacco is to go! All right, take it — but I
so TEE OLD SOAK
say solemn and wamingly: Looh Out For Crime
"The godly and the righteous can push us wicked
persons just so far, but worms will turn. Look at the
Garden of Eden! The mammal of iniquity ain*t
never yet been completely abolished. Look at the
history of the world — every once in a while it has
always looked as if the pious and the uplifter was
going to bring in the millennium, with bells on it —
but something has always happened just in time and
the mammal of unrighteousness has come into his
own again. I ain't threatening; I just predict —
Looh Out For Crime Waves!
"As for me, I may never see Satan come back
home. I'm old. I ain't long for this weary land of
purity and this vale of tears and virtue. I'll soon
be in a place where the godly cease from troubling
and the wicked are at rest. But I got children and
grandchildren that'll fight against the millennium
to the last gasp, if I know the breed, and I'm going
to pass on full of hope and trust and calm belief.
"Here," concluded the Old Soak, unscrewing
the top of his pocket flask, "here is to the mammal
He deposited on our desk the next installment of
Continuing the Old SoaFs History — The Barroom
and the Arts
"IXT'ELL, I promised to describe what the saloon
^ ^ that has been banished was like so that future
generations of posterity will know what it was like
they never having seen one. And maybe being
curious, which I would give a good deal to know how
they got all their animals into the ark only nobody
that was on the spot thought to write it down and
figure the room for the stalls and cages and when
it comes to that how did they train animals to talk
in those days like Balaam and his ass, and Moses
knocking the water out of the rocks always inter-
Which I will tell the truth, so help me. It used
to be this way: some had tables and some did not.
But I never was much of a one for tables, for if you
set down your legs don't tell you anything about how
you are standing it till you get up and find you have
went further than you intended, but if you stand up
your legs gives you a warning from time to time you
better not have but one more.
n THE OLD SOAK
Well, I will tell the truth. And one thing is the
treating habit was a great evil. They would come
too fast, and you would take a light drink like Rhine
wine whilst they was coming too fast and that way
use up considerable room that you could of had more
advantage from if you had saved it for something
Well, the good book says to beware of wine and
evil communications corrupts a good many. Well,
what I always wanted was that warm feeling that
started about the equator and spread gentle all over
you till you loved your neighbour as the good book
says and wine never had the eflficiency for me.
Well, I will say even if the treating habit was a
great evil it is an ill wind that blows nobody any
good. Well, I promised to come down to brass tacks
and describe what the old-time barroom looked like.
Some of the old timers had sawdust on the floor,
which I never cared much for that as it never looked
genteel to me and almost anything might be mixed
I will tell the whole truth, so help me. And an-
other kick I got is about business advantages.
Which you used to be lined up by the bar ^ve or six
of you and suppose you was in the real estate business
or something a fellow would say he had an idea that
such and such a section would be going to have a
boom and that started you figuring on it. Well,
I missed a lot of business opportunities like that since
TEE BARROOM AND TEE ARTS 23
the barroom has been vanished. What can a coun-
try expect if it destroys all chances a man has got to
get ahead in business? The next time they ask us
for business as usual to win a war with this country
will find out something about closing up all chances
a man has to get tips on their business chances.
Well, the good book says to laugh and grow fat
and since the barroom has been taken away, what
chance you got to hear any new stories I would like
to know. Well, so help me, I said I would tell the
truth, and the truth is some of them stories was not
fit to offer up along with your prayers, but at the
same time you got acquainted with some right up-
to-date fellows. Well, what I want to know is how
could you blame a country for turning into Bolshe-
visitors if all chance for sociability is shut off by
the government from the plain people.^
Well, the better class of them had pictures on the
walls, and since they been taken away what chance
has a busy man like me got to go to a museum and
see all them works of art hand painted by artists
and looking as shck and shiny as one of these here
circus lithographs. Well, a country wants to look
out what it is doing when it shuts off from the plain
people all the chance to educate itself in the high arts
and hand painting. Some of the frames by them-
selves must of been worth a good deal of money.
The Good Book says you shalt not live by bread
alone and if you ain't got a chance to educate your-
24 TEE OLD SOAK
self in the high arts or nothing after a while this coun-
try will get to the place where all the foreign countries
will laugh at us for we won't know good hand paint-
ing when we see it. Well, they was a story to all them
hand paintings, and often when business was slack
I used to talk with Ed the bartender about them
paintings and what did he suppose they was about.
What chance have I got to go and buy a box to
set in every night at the Metropolitan Opera House
I would like to know and hear singing. Well, the
good book says not to have anything to do with a
man that ain't got any music in his soul and the
right kind of a crowd in the right kind of a bar-
room could all get to singing together and furnish
me with music.
A government that takes away all its music like
that from the plain people had better watch out.
Some of these days there will be another big war and
what will they do without music. I always been fond
of music and there ain't anywhere I can go that it
sounds the same sort of warmed up and friendly
and careless. Let alone taking away my chance to
meet up with different religions taking away my
music has been a big blow to me.
Well, I will tell the truth so help me, it was a nice
place to drop into on a rainy day; you don't want to
be setting dowTi at home on a rainy day, reading your
Bible all the time. But since they been closed I
had to do a lot of reading to get through the day
TEE BARROOM AND THE ARTS 25
somehow and the wife is too busy to talk to me and
the rest of the family is at work or somewheres.
Well, another evil is I been doing too much read-
ing and that will rot out your brains unless of course
it is the good book and you get kind of mixed up with
all them revelations and things. And you get tired
figuring out almanacs and the book with 1,000
drummer's jokes in it don't sound so good in print
as when a fellow tells them to you and I never was
much of a one for novels. \Miat I like is books about
something you could maybe know about yourself
and maybe some of them old-time wonders of the
world with explanations of how they was made.
But nobody that was on the spot took the trouble to
explain a lot of them things which is why I am setting
down w^hat the barroom was like so help me.
Well, in the next chapter I will describe it some
more or future generations will have no notion of
them without the Constitution of the United States
changes its mind and comes to its census again.
An Argument With the Old Woman
^ I ^HE Old Woman and me had quite an argument
-*- last Sunday," said the Old Soak. "It ended up
with her turning a saucepan full of hot peas onto my
bald spot, which ain't no way to treat garden truck,
with the cost of things what they be.
"But I won one of these here moral victories, even
if she did get the best of me and chase me out of the
"It all come about over some pie we had for dinner
on Sunday. It looked like mince pie to me when she
set it on the table, and I says to her why don't she
make some rhubarb pie or apple pie or something,
for this is a hell of a time of year to be having mince
pie. And mince pie ain't no good anyhow unless
you put a shot of brandy or hard cider into it. She
knows I orter be careful what I put into my
stomach, which is all to the bad since I can't get
the right kind of drink any more, and I told her
AN ARGUMENT 27
"*Well, then,' says she, 'this ain't mince pie.
This is raisin pie.'
*** Raisin pie!' I says, and I was shocked and
scandaHzed. * Raisin pie! Good lord, woman, are
you crazy? You don't mean to say you've went
and took hundreds and hundreds of good raisins and
went and wasted them thataway by puttin' 'em in a
pie! It's the most extravagant thing I ever hearn
tell on ! Ain't you got sense enough to know that in
these days raisins ain't something you eat?'
"*Well, what are they, then?' she says.
"* Raisins, I told her, *is something you make
hootch out of, and you know I'm reduced to makin'
my own stuff these days. And yet here you be, put-
tin' at least a quart of good raisins into a gosh-darned
"Well, one word led to another, and, as I said, she
hit me with the peas. But I got away with that pie.
I won the moral victory. I got that pie fermentin'
now, in the bottom of a cask full of grape and berry
juice and other truck I picked up here and there.
No, sir, there ain't goin' to be no raisins wasted
around my house by eatin' of 'em in this here time
The Old Soak was silent a moment, and then he
said: "This here installment of my diary of booze
takes up that very point of quarrellin' with the Old
The Old SoaFs History — More Evils of Prohibition
TXT'ELL, another kick I got on the abvoh'tion of
^ ^ the barroom is the fact that you got to stay
around home so much and that naturally leads to hav-
ing a row with your wife.
When there was barrooms my wife used to jaw
me every time I come home anyways lit up and I
just let her jaw me and there wasn't any row for I
figured better let her get away with it who knows
maybe she thinks she is right about it.
But now I stick around home a good deal of the
time and it leads to words.
Well, she says to me, why don't you go and get a
job of work of some kind.
Well, I tell her, mind your own business I always
been a good pervider ain't I. You have got five or
six children working for you ain't you and a man that
pervides his wife with Rve or six children to work for
her is not going to listen to no back talk.
Well, she says, you ought to be ashamed to loaf
around home all the time.
Well, I says, I'm thinking up a big business deal
MORE EVILS OF PROHIBITION 29
but that's the way with women they never under-
stand they got to keep their mouth shut and give
a man peace and quiet to do his thinking in so he can
make them a good hving all they think about is new-
fangled ways to spend the money after he has slaved
himself half to death making it.
Well, she says, I ain't seen you slaving any lately.
Well, I tells her, I done all my hard slaving when
I was young and I got a little money coming in right
along from them two houses I own, and I ain't going
to work myself into the grave for no extravagant
woman, and me with a heart pappitation you can
hear half a mile on a clear day.
Well, she says, what rent money them two houses
brings in don't any more than pay for the booze you
Well, I says, you Prohibitionists done that to me.
You went and made it plumb impossible to get good
liquor for any reasonable price. That there rent
money used to pay for three times the booze I drink.
Well, she says, you oughta get a job.
If I was to tie myself down to a job, I tells her,
what chance would I have to trade and dicker around
and make little turnovers, let alone thinking up this
big business deal I am working on.
You are a liar, she said, and if I knowed where
your whiskey was hid I'd bust every bottle and what
kind of a business deal are you thinking up.
It is an invention I says to her and you mind your
30 TEE OLD SOAK
own business just because I have stood for you in-
trupting me for forty years is no sign I am going to
stand for it forty years more.
You can quit any time she says and good riddance
the children will keep me and there will be one less
to cook for besides being ashamed of you before all
my own friends and the nice people the children
Well, I said, here I set turning over the leaves of
the Bible and you attack me that way and me trying
to think up a business deal to buy you an auto-
mobile and the pappitation in my heart that bad it
shakes the chair I am setting in and if a man with one
foot in the grave can't get any peace and quiet to
read his Bible in his own home against the time he is
going to cash in then I will say that Prohibition has
brought this country to a pretty pass.
Well, she says, what is that pappitation from but
all the liquor you drunk.
It is from my constitution, I says, as the doctor
will tell you if it hadn't been for a little mite of stimu-
lant now and then I would of cashed in long ago and
you would now have the life insurance money.
Well, she says, what kind of an invention is this
you claim you are thinking up all the time.^^
Yes, I says, I would see myself telling you, wouldn't
I and you blabbing it the next time a lot of them
church women meets at our house and some old
church deacon getting hold of it and getting rich
MORE EVILS OF PROHIBITION 31
off of it and me wandering the streets in destitution
with the rain running down often my beard and the
end of my nose because you and the children cast me
into the street.
Well, she says, where is that thousand dollars that
my uncle Lemuel willed to me and I give it to you for
one of them inventions nearly thirty years ago and
never seen hide nor hair on it since then.
Well, I says, that thousand dollars is gone and it
went the same way as that money I loaned to your
cousin Dan when he failed in business and would of
starved to death him and his family if I hadn't come
across with the cash that is where that thousand
Well, that's the way it goes, until I get tired of
trying to make her see any sense and sneak out to
where my stuff is hid and fill me a pint bottle for
my hip pocket and go and find a friend somewheres.
And in just that way Prohibition is breaking up
millions and millions of homes every day.
Preparing for Christmas
/CHRISTMAS," said the Old Soak, "will soon be
^^ here. But me, I ain't going to look at it. I ain't
got the heart to face it. I'm going to crawl off and
make arrangements to go to sleep on the twenty-
third of December and not wake up until the second
"Them that is in favour of a denaturized Christ-
mas won't be interfered with by me. I got no grudge
against them. But I won't intrude any on them, either.
They can pass through the holidays in an orgy of so-
briety, and I'll be all alone in my own little room, with
my memories and a case of Bourbon to bear me up.
PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS 33
"I never could look on Christmas with the naked
eye. It makes me so darned sad, Christmas does.
There's the kids ... I used to give 'em presents,
and my tendency was to weep as I give them.
*Poor little rascals,' I said to myself, 'they think
life is going to be just one Christmas tree after an-
other, but it ain't.' And then I'd think of all the
Christmases past I had spent with good friends,
and how they was all gone, or on their way. And
I'd think of all the poor folks on Christmas, and how
the efforts made for them at that season was only a
drop in the bucket to what they'd need the year
around. And along about December twenty -third
I always got so downhearted and sentimental and
discouraged about the whole darned universe I
nearly died with melancholy.
"In years past, the remedy was at hand. A few
drinks and I could look even Christmas in the face.
A few more and I'd stand under the mistletoe and
sing, *God rest ye merry, gentlemen.' And by the
night of Christmas day I had kidded myself into
thinking I liked it, and wanted to keep it up for a
"But this Christmas there ain't going to be any
general iniquity used to season the grand rehgious
festival with, except among a few of us Old Soaks
that has it laid away. I ain't got the heart to look
on all the melancholy critters that will be remember-
ing the drinks they had last year. And I ain't going
34 THE OLD SOAK
to trot my own feelings out and make 'em public,
neither. No, sir. Me, I'm going to hibernate like a
bear that goes to sleep with his thumb in his mouth.
Only it won't be a thumb I have in my mouth. My
house will be full of children and grandchildren, and
there will be a passel of my wife's relations that has
always boosted for Prohibition, but any of 'em ain't
going to see the old man. I won't mingle in any of
them debilitated festivities. I ain't any Old Scrooge,
but I respect the memory of the old-time Christmas,
and I'm going to have mine all by myself, the mel-
ancholy part of it that comes first, and the cure for
the melancholy. This country ain't worthy to share
in my kind of a Christmas, and I ain't so much as
going to stick my head out of the window and let
it smell my breath till after the holidays is over. I
got presents for all of 'em, but none of 'em is to be
allowed to open the old man's door and poke any
presents into his room for him. They ain't worthy
to give me presents, the people in general in this
country ain't, and I won't take none from them.
They might 'a' got together and stopped this Pro-
hibition thing before it got such a start, but they
didn't have the gumption. I've seceded, I have.
And if any of my wife's Prohibition relations comes
sniffin' and smellin' around my door, where I've
locked myself in, I'll put a bullet through the door.
You hear me! And I'll know who's sniffin', too, for
I can tell a Prohibitionist sniff as fur as I can hear it.
PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS 35
"I got a bar of my o^ti all fixed up in my bedroom
and there's going to be a hot water kettle near by it
and a bowl of this here Tom and Jerry setting onto it
as big as life.
"And every time I wake up I'll crawl out of bed
and say to myself: 'Better have just one more.'
"*Well, now,' myself will say to me, 'just one! I
really hadn't orter have that one; I've had so many
— but just one goes.'
"And then we'll mix it right solemn and pour in
the hot water, standing there in front of the bar, with
our foot onto the railing, me and myself together, and
myself will say to me:
"*Well, old scout, you better have another afore
you go. It's gettin' right like holiday weather out-
"*I hadn't really orter,' I will say to myself again,
*but it's a long time to next holidays, ain't it, old
scout? And here's all the appurtenances of the season
to you, and may it sing through your digestive orna-
ments like a Christmas carol. Another one, Ed.'
"And then I'll skip around behind the bar and play
I was Ed, the bartender, and say, 'Are they too sweet
for you, sir?'
"And then I'll play I was myself again and say,
*No, they ain't, Ed. They're just right. Ask that
feller down by the end of the bar, Ed, to join us. I
know him, but I forget his name.'
"And then I'll play I was the feller and say I
36 TEE OLD SOAK
hadn't orter have another but I will, for it's always
fair weather when good fellows gets together.
"And then me and myself and that other feller
will have three more, because each one of us wants to
buy one, and then Ed the bartender will say to have
one on the house. And then I'll go to sleep again
and hibernate some more. And don't you call me
out of that there room till along about noon on the
second day of January. I'll be alone in there with
my joy and my grief and all them memories."
Continuing the History — the Old Soak Fears for the
A NOTHER thing wrong with Prohibition that
-*■ ^ will one day make them sorry they passed that
commandment onto the constitution is the way it will
bring liquor in front of the growing children and if
the children learns to drink it too young what will
become of this country I would like to know when
the next war comes along.
I guess they didn't think of that, all these here
wise Johnnies when they passed that law.
When you used to get all you wanted in a bar-
room you went there for it and the children didn't
see you and they couldn't go into them places and
it wasn't sticldng around under the children's noses
at home all the time making them ask Pa what do
you need with so much of that medicine and can I
have some Pa.
But now you have it at home and it is sticking
under their noses all the time and the chances are
millions and millions of children will learn to drink
too soon just because it is sticking under their noses
88 TEE OLD SOAK
all the time and that is what Prohibition is doing for
this country for everyone knows if they drink it too
soon it will stunt their growths.
It is a great responsibihty to bring up children right
and Godfearing and be sure they say their lay me
down to sleep every night like the Good Book says
they should, and what I want to know is why this
government don't help the parents and fathers with
all them responsibilities instead of being a stumbling
block in their way and putting liquor in the home
where the growing children will smell it all the time
and if they smell it they will want some of it.
Of course a young feller has got to learn to drink
some time but there is such a thing as learning too
young and it stunts their growth and the good book
says keep it out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.
Maybe a little beer is all right if a baby is puny
to fatten him up but I never give my children any
hard liquor till they had their growth and I got no
use for a government that turns in and puts liquor
in the home to make drunkards out of the little in-
Maybe if a child has got a cold a little whiskey is
good for him and what is left in the bottom of the
glass when their dad is done with it if they put some
sugar and water in it and play they are like Pa won't
hurt none of them any and will help make them so
they can hold their share when they get growed up,
but that is different from forcing it down their poor
HE FEARS FOR THE CHILDREN 39
little innocent throats all the time and every day,
which is what that Prohibition commandment
I knowed a child once in a fambly where they
thought it was smart to let him have some hard
liquor and he growed up with goggle eyes and all
rickety from it and took to smoking these here cheap
cigarettes and it was a shame as any person with any
heart a tall would have said and does this govern-
ment want the whole future generation of posterity
to grow up goggle eyed and rickety like that by forc-
ing liquor into the home and where will they get
their strong soldiers from in the next war.
I will say they got no conscience to do a thing Hke
that to the whole passel of children waiting to grow
up and go to be soldiers.
It is enough to make any honest man stop and think
and his heart bleed when he thinks of all them mil-
lions and millions of innocent children and the way
they are being ruined with liquor in the home and
maybe helping their daddies make it with yeast and
raisins and things and cornmeal in the cellar.
I teached my boys to drink in the barroom just as
fast as they growed up and teached them to tell good
liquor from bad liquor and not to mix their drinks
and not to go in for fancy drinks and to drink along
with me for a comfort for my old age and a father had
ought to make chums of his boys like that and give
them the right example and they stay close to him and
40 THE OLD SOAK
he knows wliat they are thinking about and can give
them good advice and my boys has been a comfort
My boys is all growed up, but what worries me is
the millions and millions of little children that is going
to learn to drink too young.
Well, in my next chapter I promise to get down to
brass tacks and tell just exactly what those barrooms
was like that has been vanished.
Jahe Potter's Optimism
NO, SIR," said the Old Soak, "I ain't got so
darned much left. It may get me through a
year, and it may run me only about ten months.
"But I don't want so much as I use to, for some
reason. In course, no gentleman of the old school
figgers on less than a quart a day, but there has been
times when I exceeded that there limit. Looking
back on them times, I don't know whether to be glad
or sorry. It's a satisfaction to remember that I had
the liquor, but it's a grief to know I won't never
have that same liquor again.
"But at a quart a day, if I'm careful, and don't
give any parties to new acquaintances that is took
sudden with a love and admiration for me, I'll toddle
along fer ten or twelve months yet. And by that
time, something or other will happen in my favour;
you see if it don't. Either the country will backslide
into iniquity again in spots; or else somebody will
42 TEE OLD SOAK
die and leave me an island down near Cuba; or else
Old Jabe Potter, my friend out on Long Island I told
you of, will get his smuggling works started into oper-
"Fact is. Old Jabe is already set, and his smug-
gling works is ready to operate right now, only there
don't seem to be nothin' to smuggle, Jabe says. He's
got one of these here gasolene boats, and he goes out
and makes signals to the ocean liners to and from
Europe, but they ain't onto Jabe's signals, or some-
thing. I tell him he's got to make arrangements in
advance with some of them transatlantic bartenders,
for they don't know what he's driving at. *Well,'
Jabe says, * you'd think they could tell by my looks
I'm thirsty, wouldn't you.^' Jabe, he's romantic and
optimistic; but them notions of his is all right if they
was only organized."
He paused a while, refreshed himself from his
pocket flask, and then took up another line of en-
"What I would like to know," he said, "is what
mean folks is going to blame their meanness onto,
now that booze is gone. It used to be a good excuse
for a lot of people that wasn't worth nothin', and
knowed it, and acted ornery . . . booze was the
answer, everybody said. If they did anything they
hadn't orter, people said they was all right except
when they had a drink or two, but a drink or two
changed their entire disposition, and the drink orter
J ABE POTTER'S OPTIMISM 43
be blamed, and not them. My own observation
and belief leads me to remark that them kind of
folks was less ornery and mean when they had booze
than when they didn't have it.
"Well, I notice in myself a kind of a habit growing
up to blame everything onto Prohibition, just as
Prohibitionists used to blame everything onto booze.
I want to be fair to the drys, and I will say that
neither Prohibition nor booze has much to do with
making a mean man mean. I want to be fair to the
drys, so as to show them up; they ain't fair to me,
and when I'm fair to them it shows how superior
More of the History — As It Used to Be of a Morning
TT /"ELL, I promised I would tell just what those
^ ^ vanished barrooms was like, and I will tell the
truth, so help me.
One thing that I can't get used to going without is
that long brass railing where you would rest your
feet, and I have got one of them fixed up in my own
bedroom now so when I get tired setting down I can
go and stand up and rest my feet one at a time.
Well, you would come in in the morning and you
would say, Ed, I ain't feeling so good this morning.
I wonder what could the matter be, Ed says,
though he has got a pretty good idea of what it could
be all the time. But he's too kind hearted to let on.
I don't know, you says to Ed, I guess I am smoking
too much lately, \^^len you left here last night, Ed
says, you seemed to be feeling all right, maybe what
you got is a little touch of this here influenza.
It ain't influenza, Ed, you says to him, it is them
heavy cigars we was all smoking in here last night.
I swallered too much of that smoke, Ed, and I got a
headache this morning and my stomach feels kind
''AS IT USED TO BE'' 45
o' like it was a democratic stomach all surrounded
by republican voters, and a lot of that tobacco must
of got into my eyes and I feel so rotten this morning
that when my wife said are you going downtown
without your breakfast I just said to her Hell and
walked out to dodge a row because I could see she was
bad tempered this morning.
What would you say to a little absinthe, says Ed,
sympathetic and helpful, a cocktail or frappy.
No, says you, if you was to say what I used to say,
I leave that there stuff to these here young cigarette-
smoking squirts, which it always tasted like paregoric
Yes, sir, Ed says, it is one of them foreign things,
and how about a milk punch, it is sometimes soothing
when a person has smoked too much.
No, Ed, you says, a milk punch is too much like
vittles and I can't stand the idea of vittles.
Yes, sir, Ed used to say, you are right, sir, how
about a gin fizz. A gin fizz will bring back your
stomach to life right gradual, sir, and not with a
shock like being raised from the dead.
Ed, you says to him, or leastways I always used
to say, a silver fizz is too gentle, and one of them
golden fizzes, with the yellow of an egg in it, has got
the same objections as a milk punch, it is too much
Yes, sir, Ed says, I think you are right about
vittles. I can understand how you feel about not
46 THE OLD SOAK
wanting vittles in the early part of the day. And
that makes you love Ed, for you meet a lot of people
who can't understand that. There ain't no sym-
pathy and understanding left in the world since bar-
tenders was abolished.
How about an old-fashioned whiskey cocktail,
You feel he is getting nearer to it, and you tell him
so, but it don't seem just like the right thing yet.
And then Ed sees you ain't never going to be satis-
fied with nothing till after it is into you and he takes
the matter into his own hands.
I know what is the matter with you, he says, and
what you want, and he mixes you up a whiskey sour
and you get a little cross and say it helped some but
there was too much sugar in it and not to put so
much sugar in the next one.
And by the time you drink the third one, some-
where away down deep inside of you there is a warm
spot wakes up and kind of smiles.
And that is your soul has waked up.
And you sort of wish you hadn't been so mean
with your wife when you left home, and you look
around and see a friend and have one with him and
your soul says to you away down deep inside of you
for all you know about them old Bible stories they
may be true after all and maybe there is a God and
kind of feel glad there may be one, and if your friend
says let's go and have some breakfast you are sur-
''AS IT USED TO BE'' 47
prised to find out you could eat an egg if it ain't too
soft or ain't too done.
Well, I promised, so help me, I would tell the truth
about them barrooms that has perished away, and
the truth I will tell, and the truth with me used to
be that more than likely it wasn't really cigars that
used to get me feeling that way in the mornings, and
I will take up a different part of the subject in my
Peace and Contentment
PROHIBITION," said the Old Soak, "is doing
■*- more harm than you can see with the naked
eye. Formerly when a man called up and told his
wife that he was detained at his office by an unex-
pected caller on business just as he was starting home
his wife knew he had stopped to take three or four
balls with the boys on the corner and thought very
little about it. Now she wonders if that unexpected
caller could have been a lady.
"When a man came home late with the smell of
liquor on his breath he knew he was in bad, but he
knew just how bad in he was. Now everything is
uncertainty and guesswork everywhere, and intel-
lects is cracking under strains on all sides.
"It must 'a' been the same way back in the historic
days of iniquity and antiquity, when the Roman
Empire switched all of a sudden from being heathen
PEACE AND CONTENTMENT 49
to being Christian; everybody had to be good all of
a sudden, and only a few had learnt how; and every-
body that hadn't quite succeeded in turning Christian
went around for a while wondering if everybody
else was as gosh-darned Christian as they let on
to be. I know a lot of people now that says
they're on the wagon, but I'd hate to go so sound
asleep in a street car that I wouldn't wake up if
they tried to pull my flask out of my pocket. I
don't struggle none trying to be good, myself. I'm a
dipsomaniac, and I know it, and I'm contented to be
"Years ago I used to struggle, and think maybe I
would quit drinking some time, and it kept me un-
happy. But as soon as I come right out and ac-
knowledged Booze as my boss and master, and set
him up and crowned him king, a great peace fell onto
me, and I ceased to struggle, and I been happy and
contented and full of love for my fellow men ever
since. There ain't nothing like finding out which
gang you belong to and sticking to your own crowd
consistent. If I had only been brought up to be a
drunkard when I was young I would 'a' settled into it
natural and been saved a lot of worry and struggle
and uncertainty. But there was years when I fit
against it, from time to time, and it kept me un-
settled and discontented, and I wasted a lot of good
time trying to keep sober when I might 'a' been
drunk and cheerful, radiating joy and happiness into
50 THE OLD SOAK
the world and being of some use to my fellow men.
But I s'pose everybody thinks if they had their life to
live over again they'd do different, and the main
thing is to reach peace and contentment toward the
end, as I have reached it."
Continuing the History of the Rum Demon — Unfer-
mented Grape Juice
TTT'ELL, as I said in my last chapter, it is time for
^^ me to get down to brass tacks and describe
just what those barrooms that has been vanished
was like so that future generations of posterity will
know what they missed, and to tell the truth in all
particulars, so help me.
Some of them was that arted up with hand paint-
ings that if you had all them paintings in your home
you would feel proud of yourself, like Solomon in
all his glory, and would feel like you was living in the
midst of a high art museum, and the shining brass
cuspidores to spit in and the brass rail and all them
shiny glasses and bottles and mirrors made up a
scene of grandeur and glory like the good book men-
tions and you would think you was King Faro of
Egypt, if you lived in the midst of all that or Job in
all his riches before the itch broke out on him.
Well, speaking of the Good Book, my wife has al-
ways been more or less of a prohibitionist in order
to show me that she is independent of me, and one
52 TEE OLD SOAK
day one of these here church friends of hers tries to
tell me all the liquor that was drinked in the Bible
wasn't nothing but unfermented grape juice.
Yes, it was, I said, don't you believe it was, like
hell it was. You go and get your testament and
see where King Solomon talks about the stuff that
makes the heart merry and then go and swill yourself
with grape juice and see if you could get the way he
was when he wrote eat, drink, and be merry for to-
morrow ye die. And how about the time them two
women came to him with that one child and both
claimed that it was hern and he says to the officer
on duty, let me see that there sword of yourn for a
minute I'll darned soon see who this kid belongs
to. And verily the oflScer drawed his sword and the
King he heaved it up and was about to cut the kid
in two when one of the women says to stop unhand
him King and not do the rash act it is the other
woman's yew lamb and let her have it, it being her
own all the time and her one yew lamb and her pre-
ferring to see the other woman grab it off than have
half of it.
Well, says the King, half a loaf is better than no
bread, but with infants it is different, take the child,
it is yours woman, and go and sin no more.
Well, now, I ask you, was King Solomon drinking
the unfermented juice of the grape when he got that
there hunch, or was he not.^^ I will say he was not.
Them radical and righteous ideas never come to a
UNFERMENTED GRAPE JUICE 53
man when he is cold sober. He has got to have a
shot of something moving around under his belt
before he gets thataway.
And how about them Bible hangovers, I said to this
here church person. Man and boy I been a student
of the Bible from cover to cover for a good many
years now and I never seen a book with more evi-
dences of hangovers and katzenjammers into it.
How about that there book that says vanity, vanity,
all is vanity. Well, I ask you, did you ever get that
way in the morning after you had spent the night
before drinking the unfermented juice of the grape.
That there Book of Exclusiastics is just one long
howl from the next morning head. Things seem
right, says old Exclusiastic, and they look right; but
if you bite into them they don't taste right, or words
to that effect. And you stick around awhile,
says old man Exclusiastic, and you'll darned soon
see they ain't nothing right nowhere and never will
be again. Moreover, says he, I was wrong when
I used to think things was right; there ain't never
anything anywhere been all right and I was all wrong
when I was a young feller and used to think things
was right and the wrongest thing about the whole
business is the darned fools like I used to be who go
around saying things is all right, and the sum and
substance of everything is vanity, says he, vanity,
vanity, all is vanity.
You could tell some folks that that there old
54 TEE OLD SOAK
Exclusiastic was writing as the result of unfermented
grape juice, but a man with any experience of his
own knows a good deal better and what kind of a
taste was in his mouth. You can't tell an old Bible
reader like me anything about this unfermented
stuff. The trouble with these here church people is
that too many of them ain't never read the Bible,
or if they did read it they read it with the idea that
it was saying something else like they wanted it to
I always stuck to the Bible in spite of the church
folks and I always will for it has got some kick into
it. There is three things in the world I always stick
to, the Bible and hard liquor and calomel, for they has
got the kick to them. You can have all your light
wines and imfermented stuff and all your pretty
new-thought religions and all your new-fangled medi-
cines you want to, but for me I will stick to the Old
Testament and corn whiskey and calomel like my
forefathers done before me. You can't pull any of
that unfermented stuff on me and get away with it.
^TpHE Old Soak came in to see us during the recent
-■- Presidential campaign.
"What I expected has come to pass," he said,
sorrowfully. "This here Cox that everybody hoped
was a Wet Prohibitionist ain't that at all. He ain't
nothin' but a Dry Liquor Man. I been a Republican
ever sense the days of Abraham Lincoln, but I had
an idee this year I was goin' to have fer to leave the
old party flat on account o' rmnours I hearn that this
here Cox was comin' out for Hquor. My conscience
is Republican, but my religion is liquor; an' I would
of voted agin any conscience fer the sake o' my
religion. But I ain't goin' to be compelled fer to
make that sacrifice. I'd ruther vote fer an out-
56 THE OLD SOAK
an '-out Prohibitionist than one of these here fellers
that gits the word passed private to the wets that
they'll be a stick in the lemonade, and gets the word
passed private to the drys that what he means is
nothin' but a stick o' pep 'mint candy. They ain't
no hope fer liquor in public life no more; it has be-
come a question fer the home. As fur es my own
private stock is concerned, it mostly ain't. But
I got a grand idee workin' up. My old woman's
got a niece who's come to live with us, an' I'm tryin'
to marry that there gal to a revenue agent. I see
by the papers they are always trackin' down a couple
thousand gallons somewheres or other, and I don't
hear no glass crashin' nowheres to indicate w^here
them bottles is bein' busted. I wants somebody
in the fambly that will take me along on some of
these here raids I read about."
The History Continued — Prohibition and Winter
TX T'ELL, when I seen all them men shovelling
^ ^ snow and ice in the streets and no place to go
for a drink and maybe one of them spring thaws
coming along soon now which they are always full
of these here la grip germs I says to myself them
Prohibitionists think they have done something
pretty smart but they got another tliink coming to
I never been much of a hand to kick against the
weather. As a fact, I use to like all lands of weather
as it come along.
You went into a place and you said to Ed it looks
like one of them cold rams is going to start up pretty
Yes, sir, Ed says, it is pretty raw. The wind is
ra wring. What will you have.^
Well, I use to say, I was wondering about a little
Scotch with boiling water into it and a lump of butter
and a lump of sugar into it I knowed a fellow used
to treat himself thataway one time.
58 TEE OLD SOAK
No, sir, says Ed, I wouldn't advise anything like
that sir, it will get you sweating inside of you all
around your stomach and lungs and then you will
go out and swallow some cold damp air and take one
of them inside colds, sir, and it may run into new-
monia or this here pellicanitis.
Well, Ed, I don't want to ketch none of them
germs, you would say to him, and how about some
rock and rye.
You better stick to straight rye and leave out the
rock. When you was in here a little bit ago you was
drinking straight rye and you don't want to be mix-
ing them too much, says Ed.
And no sooner said than done.
Or maybe it was summer time and a hot day and
you would say to Ed I wonder how many people
is getting sun struck to-day, Ed.
A good many says Ed they drink too much cold
water and it gets to them.
I am glad I don't have to go out into the awful
heat, you would say.
The main thing is to keep your pores open says
Ed for if you stop the presspiration that means a sun
stroke. The main thing is to encourage the press-
piration to sweat itself out of you.
I think you are right Ed you says and I was won-
dering about some beer.
No, sir, not for you, says Ed, I wouldn't advise
no beer. You put these here temperance drinks like
PROHIBITION AND WINTER 59
beer and sassperiller into your stomach, sir, and it
takes up a lot of room you will wish you had later
in the day. For some people I would say beer
wouldn't do no harm, sir, but I should say, sir, that
it was the wrong thing for you.
One of them long silver fizzes with ice shook up
into it would sound nice to my ears as it went down
my oozlygoozlum you would say to Ed.
Ed he is kind of lazy with the heat and he don't
want to shake it up so he says to you on a hot day
like this you are taking chances with your life every
time you put ice drinks into you and he says what's
the matter with that rye you been drinking all the
early part of the day that is the best thing to keep
the presspiration coming out of your sweat pores.
Well, no sooner said than done.
The number of times them old-fashioned barten-
ders has saved my life summer and winter with good
advice is as too numerous to mention as is the stars
in the sky and their name is legend as the good book
In them days when there was a barroom on every
corner and sometimes four barrooms on every four
corners I never cared about the weather at all for I
knowed no matter what the weather was I could keep
my health safe.
If you was to look out the barroom window and
see a sudden change in the weather you could make a
sudden change and switch to some other kind of drink
60 THE OLD SOAK
and keep yourself protected from them sudden
But in these days when a sudden change in the
weather comes what protection have you got I would
like to know. You are running the risks of them
sudden changes all the time day and night, and no
chance to change your drink to meet them with
for you are lucky if you have one kind of liquor let
alone all the different kinds of ingredients you used
to ornament your digestion with.
Nowadays when the weather ain't just right I
have to stay home in my own room up to the top of
the house where I got that little bar rigged up where
I wait on myself and staying to home all the time
ain't any too good for me.
It don't give me a chance to get any outdoor exer-
cise, staying at home don't and a man needs outdoor
exercise if he is going to keep his health.
That is another thing Prohibition has done to me :
it has took away all my chance for outdoor exercise.
I reckon them Prohibitionists will be satisfied when
they got everybody's health broke down on account
of them sudden changes in the weather and nobody
getting any outdoor exercise any more.
The Old Soak Finds a Way
yes, sir!" said the Old Soak, with a
smile on his face. "I've done found
out the way to beat the game — ! Ask me no questions,
and I'll tell ye no hes as to how I done it.
"Ye see this here bottle, do ye.'^ Kentucky
Bourbon, and nothin' else. Bottled in bond, an'
there's plenty more where that comes from. — ^Ask
me no questions, and I'll enrich ye with no misin-
formations! — Ye see that there little car parked out
there by the curbstone, do ye.^ Well, sir, that there
car is my car, and under the back seat of it is twelve
quarts of this here stuff! — And it ain't home brewed,
62 THE OLD SOAK
neither; it's some of the best liquor you ever thro wed
your Hps over! — How do I do it? — Don't ply me
with no questions, and I won't bring you no false
"Notice these here new clothes of mine? Well, sir,
that there suit's a bargain. — It only cost me two
cases of rye. — I got three new suits like that to home,
an' I'm figgerin' on buying one of these here low neck
an' short sleeve dress suits for to wear to banquets
this winter. — They's a whole passel o' folks would like
to give me banquets this comin' season. — How do I
do it.r^ — ^Ask me no questions, and I'll give you no
"If you was to come out to the house, I'd inter-
duce ye to quite a lot of good liquor. — Can't drink
no more, huh? — ^Ain't ye got a friend ye could bring?
— I'd like to have ye meet my son-in-law.
"Yes, sir; yes, sir! Daughter was married two
months ago. The youngest one. Her and her hus-
band is makin' their home with us temporary. —
I'm tryin' to persuade of 'em to stop to our house
permanent. — Yes, sir, my son-in-law, he is one of
these here revenooers. — Well, so long! — I gotto see
an old friend o' mine that lives up to the Bronx this
afternoon. — He ain't had a real drink fer nigh onto
three months, he tells me. — I'm headin' a rescue
party into them there regions.
"Yes, sir; yes, sir! I ^gger my daughter married
well! — Bring up yer kids in the way they should go
TEE OLD SOAK FINDS A WAY 63
like the Good Book says, and Providence will do
the rest. — Henry, that's my son-in-law, is figgerin'
mebby he can get my son Jim made a revenooer,
too. — ^Ask me no questions, an I'll give away no
The History Continued — the Barroom's Good
A NOTHER thing I miss in regard to all them
-*- ^ vanished barrooms being closed up is kind
feeling about respect to the old especially to parents
and them that has departed.
Where is the younger generations of posterity
going to learn how to be kind hearted about home
and mother now that the barrooms is all closed up
I would like to know?
It used to be that a lot of fellows would get all
tanked up of an afternoon or evening and in the right
sort of a place they would get to singing songs.
All them songs about home and mother and to
treat her right now that her hair had turned gray. I
never was much of a one to sing myself especially
unless I had a few drinks into me.
But whether I helped sing them or not all them
TEE BARROOM'S GOOD INFLUENCE 65
songs would make a better man of me. You stand
up to a bar or sit down at a table and listen to them
songs for two or three hours and if you are any kind
of a man at all you will wish you had always done
the right thing and now that all them songs about
home and mother has been took away from me I
ain't the man I used to be at all.
I feel myself going down hill because my softer
emotions and feelings ain't never stirred up by noth-
ing any more.
Well, this Eighteenth Commandment is going to
make a hard-hearted country out of this here coun-
try. Nobody is never going to think as much of
home and mother as they used to. And I guess them
prohibitionists won't feel so smart when they see all
them old ladies with gray hair flung out onto the
streets in the rainy weather just because nobody
would pay the mortgage off. Lots of times when
I was a young feller after hearing them songs for
awhile I would say to myself I w411 set right down and
write a letter to my mother, I ain't wrote her for
five or six months. And when I got older after she
passed on I used to say to myself some of these days
I will have to make a visit to the old home place and
take a look around there.
But all them softer feelings has been took away
from me now and what I would like to know is how is
the younger generation going to grow up. Hard
hearted, that is how.
66 TEE OLD SOAK
Some of these here fine days I may be cast out into
the street myself with the rain drops dripping down
offen my hat brim into my eyebrows just because
nobody won't pay a mortgage and it has got to be a
I hope none of them there smart alick Prohis will
be flung out onto the street thataway. Because they
got no friends would pay off their mortgages and
they would just naturally be destituted to death.
I ain't hard hearted like they be and I hope that
don't happen to none of them. But if it ever did
they would find out a few things.
In my next chapter I will get down to brass tacks
and give a true description of them barrooms that
has perished off the face of the earth.
A House Divided
npHE Old Soak has been looking rather well
-■- for some time; he seems prosperous and happy,
for the most part, and contented with the quantity
and quality of the hootch he has been gettin'. But
yesterday he dropped in to see us with just the slight-
est shade of gloom on his features. We asked him
"It's that there son of mine," he says. "He's
too young to know enough to let well enough alone,
like the Good Book says to do. They's a lot of these
young fellers you can't learn nothing to.
"This yere son-in-lawr of mine I been tellin' you
about, that is a revenooer, got my son made into a
revenooer, too. And it ain't long before my son gits
jest as good an automobile as the one my son-in-
lawr's been drivin'. And joy out to our house has
been unconcerned, with everyone exceptin' the 01'
Woman, and she's been prayin' agin the rest of the
"But this yere son o' mine, he gets too much
hootch under his belt one day, and he gets into this
68 THE OLD SOAK
yere brand-new automobile of his'n and he starts
onto one of these yere raids. Which would of been
all right, bein' as it's what a revenooer is for, if he
had only used a leetle bit o' jedgment. But the
young has got a lot to learn, and babes and striplings,
the Good Book says, jest naturally has their dam fool
"This yere raid my son goes onto turns out all
wrong. For whilst he is pinchin' who does he pinch
in the gang of wicked sinners but that there son-in-
lawr of mine, the revenooer as got him his job, said
son-in-lawr bein' off duty and pickled hisself at the
*'So this here son-in-lawr of mine, he mighty nigh
loses of his job as a revenooer, bein' took up in one
of the raids he was legally supposed to be startin'
himseK, and they was quite a fuss about it, so I under-
stand, and the thing was finally settled with a com-
promise — it wasn't my son-in-lawr lost his job, but
they compromised it and fired my son out'n his job.
"But now my son, he has went and got sore at my
son-in-lawr, and he says unless he gits his job back
as a revernooer he will tell all he knows.
"So my house is a house that is sided against itself,
like the Good Book says, and every member of the
fambly has took sides one way or the other 'twixt
my son and my son-in-lawr, and the 01' Woman is
agin both on 'em, and agin me, too — a-prayin' an'
a-prayin' an' a-prayin'.
A HOUSE DIVIDED 69
***You went and prayed for years an' years so as
to get prohibish'n,' I tells her; 'an' now you got it —
you got more on it than any woman I knows, for it's
come right into your own home. An' now you got it
you ain't satisfied with it — there you be onto your
marrow bones prayin' agin the revenooers.'
"I s'pose I was too hifalutin' an' ambitious,
wantin' to keep two members of my fambly into the
revenooer job. And as long as my son-in-lawr
stays into office and continues to make his home with
me I won't have no kick comin', but will take my
hootch in thankfulness and humility , like the Good
Book says to do, eatin', drinkin' an' bein' merry.
This yere leetle cloud of gloom what you notice
is due to the 01' Woman's prayers. I cain't help
but feel she is goin' direct agin Scripter and her hus-
band's best intrusts."
Continuing the History of the Rum Demon — the Bar^
room and Manners
A NOTHER thing about those barrooms that has
-^ ^ been vanished forever is the fact that most of
them was right pohte sort of places if a fellow edged
up to the bar and knocked over your glass of whiskey
or something like that he would say, O excuse me
stranger and you would say sure, but look where in
hell you are going to after this.
Sure he would say no offence meant. No offence
taken you would say to him. Have one with me
he would say.
No sooner said than done.
But nowadays all you see and hear is bad manners
and impoliteness with people hustling and bumping
into each other on the subways and stepping on
each other and women and children amongst them
and nobody ever begging anybody's pardon and hard
THE BARROOM AND MANNERS 71
The trouble is everybody is sore and wanting a
drink all the time and there is no place where the
younger generation is going to learn good manners
now that the barrooms is gone. What is the young
fellows just growing up to manhood going to do for
their manners now that the barrooms is closed, is
what I want to know.
It used to be you would get onto a subway train
and there would be two or three women standing up
and you would be setting down and there would be
three or four drinks under your belt and you would
be feeling good and you would say to yourseK am I
a gentleman or ain't I a gentleman.
You're damned right I am a gentleman, you would
say to yourself, here, lady, you set down, and don't
let any of these here bums roust you out of that seat.
If any of these here bums tries to roust you out
of that seat I will put a tin ear onto them.
That's the kind of a gentleman I am, lady, they
would have a hell of a time, lady, getting your seat
away from you with me here.
And she seen you was a gentleman and she smiled
at you and you hung onto a strap and felt good.
But nowadays there ain't no manners, with no
place to get a drink or anything.
You are setting in the subway and a lady comes in
and has nowheres to set, and you say to yourself let
some of these other guys get up and give her a seat.
And you think a while and you say to yourself I'll
7^ THE OLD SOAK
bet she is a Prohibitionist anyhow. Let her stand
up. She has got to learn you can't have any man-
ners with the barrooms all closed and everything.
Well, that's another thing closing the barroom
has done. It has took away all the manners this
town ever had.
In my next chapter I will get down to brass tacks
and tell just what those barrooms was like for the
benefit of future posterity that has never seen one.
\7^ES," said the Old Soak, "I get plenty of hootch
-*- nowadays. My son is back into the revenoo
business, and my son-in-lawr is with it, too. I gets
plenty of whiskey. I've got some into me, and IVe
got some onto my hip, and I know where I'm going
to get some more when that's gone."
And he sighed.
"Why so gloomy, then.^^" we asked. "You
should be radiating a Falstaffian joviality. You
should be as merry as the merry, merry villagers in
an opera on the Duke's birthday. But on the con-
trary, you shake from out your condor wings unutter-
able wo, as E. A. Poe has it. Wherefore.'^"
"I miss," he said, "the next mornin' sympathy
. . . the next mornin' ministration. Any one
can get drunk under the auspices of Prohibition,
but it takes the right kind of barkeep fur to get you
sober agin and make you like it.
"Where is the next morning barkeep .^^ He ain't.
He was wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove like
the Good Book says. He knowed right off what
74 TEE OLD SOAK
ailed you, at 11 o'clock on a cloudy morning, and
what was good for it. A little of this, out of the
long green bottle, and a little of that, and some ice
tinklin' in it, and the white of an egg mebby, and . . .
oh, you know! One of them, and there was salve
onto the sore spot of your soul. Two of them and
you began to forgive yourself. Three of them, and
you could hear about breakfast; you could look an
egg into the eye.
"And he never asked no question about your past,
that barkeep didn't. He didn't need to. He
knowed. He seen last night's history in this morn-
ing's footnote. He was kind. 'Feel a little better
now, sir ? ' he'd ask. ' Two or three of them is enough,
sir, if you ask me. Get your breakfast, now, sir,
and you'll be quite O. K. Yes, sir, I learned to mix
them in New Orleans . . .' You talked to him,
and he let you. He was like a mother's knee to a
three-year-old that's bumped his head, the old-
fashioned barkeep was.
"But now, he ain't. Now, when you get up.
Gloom stands on one side of you and Conscience on
the other, and Remorse is feeding lines of both of 'em.
"'Well,' says Gloom, 'this is a fine, cheerful morn-
ing, this is! This is about as full of sunshine as the
insides of the whale that drank Jonah.'
"*It is,' says Remorse, 'and then some. Con-
science and me feels so bad about it that we're gonna
jump off the dock together.'
SYMPATHY WANTED 75
"*I ain't, neither,' says Conscience. *I'm gonna
save myself for the worst. The worst is yet to come.
And I want to be here when it comes.'
"*I ain't gonna be here when it comes,' says
Gloom. *I'm going over to the Aquarium and rent
myself out for a fish.'
**Just then," went on the Old Soak, "a strange party
sticks his head in at the door and says, 'Never again!'
"*Who be you?' says Gloom. *I'm Repentance,'
says the buttinski, *and I calls on you guys to mend
"And Gloom, he looks at the hard liquor left in
the bottom of the bottle, and at the sky, and at the
door of the closed-up barroom across the street, and
he says, *It can't be done without some uplift. I
need soothing words, and an educated hand.'
"'We got what's coming to us,' says Remorse.
*And there's more of it coming,' says Conscience.
'Better quit!' says Repentance. 'I ain't gonna
quit,' says Gloom, 'without the right kind of a drink
to quit on. I ain't never yet quit without the right
kind of a drink to quit on, and I'm not going to start
any innovations on a rotten day like this.'
"Well," went on the Old Soak, "you sits on the
edge of your bed and you listen to these yere guys
talking, and you think how right all of them is, and
you wonder whether it's any use getting up, and you
think of all the barkeeps you used to know, and after
a while you suck an orange and think of one of them
76 ' THE OLD SOAK
long silver fizzes with frost on the glass and charity
and loving-kindness in its heart, like Ed used to shake
up, — you think of it so hard you well-nigh taste it,
and then the meerage fades away and you ain't
nothin' but a camel in the desert again with a hump-
backed taste in your mouth.
"Yes, sir," said the Old Soak, "I can get all the
booze I want, but I can't get sympathy. What a
man needs in the morning is a kind heart for to com-
fort him, and a strong arm to lean on. Anybody
can give me good advice, but it don't soothe me any;
what I want is a quick friend in a white apron, wise
as a bishop and gentle as a nurse.
"What I want is the Al's and Ed's I used to know.
But they've went. Forever. I won't meet 'em in
Hell, because they're too kind hearted to go there,
and I won't meet 'em in Heaven, because I won't
go there myself.
"I reckon," concluded the Old Soak, "I'll have to
go to England."
The History of the Rum Demon Concluded — Prohibi-
tion Is Making a Free Thinker of the Old Soak
A NOTHER thing that going without barrooms
"^ ^ is doing for this country is it is destroying
It is pretty hard to get along with your wife after
you have been married to her for twenty or thirty
years and kind of settle down and realize you are
going to be married to her as long as she lives for
better or for worse unless something happens which
it seldom does.
Not that you don't kind of like her and you know
she kind of likes you but the thing is that her and you
is apt to treat each other mean now and then because
78 TEE OLD SOAK
you get to thinking what a good time you could
have if you didn't have to turn in so much of your
money to making a home run smooth and you know
even if you do row with each other you will make
up again and you get to kind of looking forward
to the rows because anyhow that is a change.
But sometimes you carry them rows too far and
then you don't know how to get your Home Life
running right again because she is always too stub-
born to give in and you won't be the first one to give
in because you know she is wrong.
But when there was liquor to be had in plenty
it was easier to make up after one of them rows and
Home Life went along smoother.
You would get up in the morning and she would
say to you, would you have a boiled egg for break-
fast or a fried, and you would say hades what an
idea. Can't you never think of anything but eggs
for breakfast. And she would say yesterday I
didn't have eggs and you was sore because you
wanted eggs. You would say just because I wanted
eggs yesterday is that any sign I want them every
day of my life till death do us part. I was only ask-
ing what you wanted she would say.
I will go where I can get what I want, you would
say. I will eat my breakfast at a restaurant this
morning and maybe I can keep them from shoving
eggs in front of me when I don't ask for eggs. The
trouble with your stomach is not what you put into
TEE HISTORY CONCLUDED 79
it in the morning, she would say, but what you put
into it the night before. The trouble with my
stomach, you would say, is that I am worried to
death and worked to death all the time trying to
keep this house running and it gives me the dis-
pepsy. It is the liquor gives you dispepsy she would
If it wasn't for a little stimulant in my stomach,
like the Good Book says, you tell her, my dispepsy
wouldn't let me digest anything at all and I would
starve to death and the mortgage on the house would
be foreclosed and you would go to the old woman's
home. Wliose money pays the interest on that mort-
gage she would say. Whose? you would say. Mine,
she would say. You wouldn't have any money you
tell her, if you paid me back what your relations has
borrowed of me.
Well, one word leads to another, and you go oflF
without any breakfast, for you see her taking the
Bible down to set and read it, and when she sets
and reads the Bible you know she is reading it against
you and it gets you madder and madder.
And in the old days when there was barrooms you
would go into one still feeling mad and say Ed, mix
me one of the old-fashioned whiskey cocktails and
don't put too much orange and that kind of damned
garbage into it, I want the kick.
No sooner said than done.
And after a couple of them you would say, well
80 THE OLD SOAK
after all, the Old Woman means well, I wonder if I
didn't treat her a little mean this morning I orter
call her up on the telephone and give her a jolly.
And then you would think of her relations that
you hate and get mad at her again on account of
always sticking up for them, and say, Ed, that don't
set so well, let's try a whiskey sour.
And you would meet a friend and have another
with him, and pretty soon eat some breakfast and
think how, after all, it was eggs you was eating
for breakfast and they wasn't cooked no ways as
good as the old woman would of poached them
for you on toast if you hadn't been so darned mean
And your friend would say his old woman blowed
him up for coming home piclded.
And you would have another drink and say that
was one thing your old woman never done to you.
My old woman has got some sense, you would say
to him, she knows how a man feels about taking a
drink, and she never blows me up.
And you would set and brag about your old woman
and you had never had a cross word between you
in thirty years. And then he would begin to brag
about his old woman, too.
And pretty soon you would say to yourself you
better go to the phone and call her up. She has her
mean streaks all right, but who knows, she may
have been right this morning after all, and you
TEE HISTORY CONCLUDED 81
take another drink and get her on the telephone, and
give her a chance to say how sorry she was about
the way she treated you that morning and maybe
you go and pay an installment on a new carpet
sweeper for her.
Well, it was that way in the old days. Liquor
kept your Home Life running along o. k. You
would get mad with your wife and then you would
get sorry for her and give her an excuse to make
up with you again.
But now, with no chance to get a drink when I am
away from home if I treat the Old Woman mean in
the morning I don't give her a chance to get on my
good side again. And I can see sometimes that it is
breaking her heart.
That's what prohibition is doing to this country.
It is breaking the women's hearts and it is breaking
up the Home Life on every hand.
What is going to become of a country where all
the Home Life is broke up.'^
And what is going to become of the children if
there ain't any Home Life running along smooth
These Prohibitionists that is so darned smart
never thought of that I guess when they put that
Eighteenth Commandment across onto us.
Whenever I think of all them women's hearts that
is breaking and all that Home Life that is going
plumb to the dogs all on account of the barrooms
82 TEE OLD SOAK
being closed up it well-nigh makes a free thinker
out of me.
I don't claim to be a church man, but I never was
a free thinker before, neither. But all the sorrow
that is going on in the world on account of them
barrooms being closed is making a free thinker of me.
HAIL AND FAREWELL
A LAST DRINK
To George McDaniel
Hail! Barleycorn . . . they said you
weren't Nice !
Salve! You bum, and Vale! Hail! Farewell!
Your feet, the Prohis say, go down to Hell;
You led men into Poker, Fights and Dice,
You filled the world with Murder, Lust and Lice,
You made a Bar Fly of the Howling Swell,
You bought the blood that deep-dyed bandits sell —
You might lead one in time, I fear, to Vice !
86 BAIL AND FAREWELL
Old blear-eyed mutt, beloved and accurst!
Before you go, a song for old sake's sake;
A song memorial to the days and nights
When I companioned with the Dipsas Snake
And bared my throat unto his febrous bites,
Quenching a thirst to gain a greater thirst.
IN THE OLD DAYS
To Paul Thompson
Liquor there is, but, oh ! the Bar is gone !
The long Brass Rail above the Sawdust Floor,
The gay Hot Dog, the gleaming Cuspidore,
The bright, brave Nose that brave, bright lights
The jocund Barkeep, Ed or Al or John,
The ribald jest I loved, the answering roar
That jangled the glasses, shook the swinging door —
Liquor there is, but these delights are done !
In the old days when bubbles winked at me.
In the glad days when I was steeped in Rum,
I played the Prospero to fantasy,
I drank, and bade my Ariel fancies come .
But I have lost my ancient wizardry
And mine old self, my lyric self, is dumb.
A DIPSEY CHANTEY
To Ned Leamy
Ho! Heave the anchor! Heave! Fetch her up!
Twist! with the corJcscrews! Steward, lend a hand!
Let her prance out to sea liJce a frolic-footed pup.
For the ship is full of liquor, and to hell with the land!
Ghosts from the ocean abysses, clambering, clamour-
CHmb to our decks and roar: "Broach us a puncheon
We are scaly with salt and sand; we've had nothing
but water to swallow —
Stave in a hogshead of rum! Let us roll in the
scuppers and wallow!"
A DIPSEY CHANTEY 89
Heh! Splice the main-brace! Ho! She smells the
The skipper walks the bridge with a bottle to his eye;
She rollicks with her boilers full of good Bass Ale —
By the timber peg of Silver, the sea shall not go dry I
We have raxed 'em out of the deep, they follow
through shine and fog.
Phantoms of ancient mariners, lured by the reek
of our grog;
Noah and Hawkins and Kidd, up from the green
And there, in a wine-stained galley, the ghost of
Eric the Red in a whale-boat, and with him, cheek
Silver begging a drain, God bless his wicked soul!
Ho! How she snorts! Hey! Hear her snore!
The wind slaps her nostrils, she hiccoughs for her
Steward, a corkscrew! You poor fish ashore.
By the bones of Reuben Ranzo, you can choke to
With eyes of the darting witch-fire, like mist the
poor ghosts come.
And an anguished wind from the mist bellows and
whines for Rum —
90 HAIL AND FAREWELL
They have been thirsty so long! Let us be good
And open a hundred casks and let 'em wallow and
Quick ! With a corkscrew! Oh, damn the wheel!
The captain's in his bunk, with a bottle to his eye!
The engineer is stoking with Scotch and lemon peel!
By Davy Jones's locker, the sea shall not go dry!
A CERTAIN CLUB
To Winfield Moody
Ah, dead and done! Forever dead and done
The mellow dusks, the friendly dusks and dim,
When Charley shook the cocktails up, or Tim —
Gone are ten thousand gleaming moments, gone
Like fireflies twinkling toward oblivion !
Ah, how the bubbles used to leap and swim.
Breaking in laughter round the goblet's brim,
WTien Walter pulled a cork for us, or John !
I have seen ghosts of men I never knew, —
Great, gracious souls, the golden hearts of earth —
Look from the shadows in those rooms we love,
Living a wistful instant in our mirth;
I have seen Jefferson smile down at Drew,
And Booth pause, musing, on the stair above.
A TEMPERANCE TRACT
To Bob Dean
Cocktails are the little brooms
That whiskey way your will-power!
A dark disease is B right's disease.
And will not yield to pill-power.
Some may upon red rums descant
Who never did decant rums.
But I have eaten bitter bread
Where bitters breed their tantrums.
The fool will give his life to booze,
The wiser man taboos that,
And I'm a sad Budweiser man
Than when I used to ooze that.
I owned a bank, and for a fad
I cultivated two lips;
If I had owned the mint itself
'Twould all have gone for juleps.
A TEMPERANCE TRACT 93
Mumm's extra dry makes some men grow
As dry as any mummy,
But when I'm tight I loosen up —
A punch, and I am chummy.
Except when I swore off in Lent
With borrowers I mingled;
They'd make my pockets cease to clink
Whenever I was jingled.
But though I drank with scarce a check
My drafts saved people trouble,
For I would often pay dubs twice
Because I saw 'em double.
0, cognac is a fearful drink
To brandy man with shame, 0!
He will, that drinks diluted gin.
Die looted of good name, 01
I wined till I began to ail.
And then I whined with aleing,
Until to crown the woes I cite
I found my eyesight failing.
*Sir, fits will come," my doctor warned,
"Surfeits will bloat the mind, sir!"
I laughed and took my glasses off
And said, "I'll go it blind, sir!"
94 HAIL AND FAREWELL
Champagnes and real incider me
Set my high spirits flagon;
Still with gay dogs I played the wag.
Deriding of the wagon.
My tongue was like a cotton bale,
All whitish from the gin, sir —
The doctor said "No tongue can state
The state your tongue is in, sir!"
"With so much rye and corn you cope,
Your crowd are cornucopers —
How can earth be Utopia
When peopled by you topers?"
But still I dodged from fete to fete,
Still followed by my fate, O!
Still floating loans and liquids till
My bank did liquidate, O !
Buns use up dough; what my fun did.
Were it refunded one day.
Would fund the Banks of Newfoundland
And float the Bay of Fundy.
DonH hitch your wagon to a star
Upon the brandy bottle;
If you your neck to nectar ope
Your hope 'twill surely throttle.
A VISION IN THE NIGHT
To Grant Rice
Beyond Arcturus, in a peevish wind,
I met a rumpled devil beating home .
"And whence, poor Fiend," I challenged, "hast
With ragged plumage ravelled out behind
And splintered teeth and lamps all blear and blind?
What Fate hath bent a skillet o'er thy dome?"
He sighed, and in that sigh I read a tome
Of bleeding sorrows and an aching mind.
"Rough Stuff," he moaned, "was what I got for
It was fierce Virtue put me on the bum,
Trampled my slats and wronged my winsome face —
Once I was loved and called the Angel Wine!
Kicked hell ward now, and hurtling out through space,
I am known only as the Demon Rum!"
THE LAST CASE OF GIN
To Loren Palmer
The Tullywub is singing by the Willywinkle's grotto
His passionate devotion, though he knows he hadn't
And she wipes away a teardrop with a Httle furtive
She is fluttered, but she's frightened by his outburst
In their somewhat formal corner of a rather proper
And I can understand 'em, for I've got a crate of gin.
Interpretative theses on the psychochemic state
Induced in the batrachia by fear or love or hate
I find are rather easy since I've opened up the crate.
And I'm gonna be a scientist by morning.
A Willywinkle's seldom a sprightly thing or elfish.
But morally she's rigid as the most exclusive shell-
TEE LAST CASE OF GIN 97
She cans her rash admirer, but she cans him with a
An analytic novel might be reared upon the basis
Of a very earnest study of the looks upon their
And their brave renunciation when they sobbed and
I claim that the transmission of their fortitude and
To succeeding generations will improve the moral
Of the species here considered and their loss result
And I wish I had some Angostura Bitters!
I have a strong impression of the immanence of
In this quite extensive cosmos, from castor beans
And Science and Religion, I will tell the world, are
I should prove it, gentle reader, had we leisure time
I should prove it or expire in the act of hurling
I wonder where the dickens has that silly corkscrew
98 HAIL AND FAREWELL
I find, as I grow older, the pert Subliminal
Keeps butting in to chatter with egoistic gall:
Romance I meditated; this isn't that at all —
But anyhow I have some limes and siphons!
To Charley Bayne
Liquor there is . . . but we knew happier
When jug by jowl in many a tavern booth
We sat and ghmpsed the world's ulterior truth.
And followed life through all its secret ways —
What light flashed up on us in golden rays
Out of the booze, to blend with fire of youth !
Crowned singers, we! although, forsooth.
The Dipsas Snake still rustled in our bays.
Hail, Rum! Sweet Demon of my wastrel years!
Farewell, old mellow Angel, ripe with Vice !
Dreamers and singers, cronies, let us drink
A stirrup-cup of laughter and of tears!
Omar and Falstaff, both are on the blink —
The Bitter People say they are not Nice !
DOWN IN A WINE VAULT
To Harold Gould
Down in a wine vault underneath the city
Two old men were sitting; they were drinking
Torn were their garments, hair and beards were gritty;
One had an overcoat but hardly any shoes.
Overhead the street cars through the streets were
Filled with happy people going home to Christmas;
In the Adirondacks the hunters all were gunning,
Big ships were sailing down by the Isthmus.
In came a Little Tot for to kiss her granny.
Such a little totty she could scarcely tottle,
Saying, "Kiss me. Grandpa! Kiss your little Nanny ! "
But the old man beaned her with a whiskey bottle!
DOWN IN A WINE VAULT 101
Outside the snowflakes began for to flutter,
Far at sea the ships were saihng with the seamen.
Not another word did Angel Nanny utter.
Her grandsire chuckled and pledged the Whiskey
Up spake the second man; he was worn and weary,
Tears washed his face, which otherwise was pasty;
"She loved her parents, who commuted on the Erie;
Brother, I'm afraid you struck a trifle hasty!
*'She came to see you, all her pretty duds on.
Bringing Christmas posies from her mother's
Riding in the tunnel underneath the Hudson;
Brother, was it Rum caused your heart to harden?"
Up spake the first man, "Here I sits a thinking
How the country's drifting to a sad condition;
Here I sits a dreaming, here I sits a drinking,
Here I sits a dreading, dreading prohibition,
"When in comes Nanny, my little daughter's
Me she has been begging ever since October
For to sign the pledge ! It's ended now in slaughter —
I never had the courage when she caught me sober !
102 HAIL AND FAREWELL
"All around the world little tots are begging
Grandpas and daddies for to quit their lushing.
Reformers eggs 'em on. I am tired of egging!
Tired of being cowed, cowering and blushing!
"I struck for freedom! I'm a man of mettle!
Though I never would 'a' done it had I not been
From Athabasca south to Popocatapetl
We must strike for freedom, quit our shrinking!"
Said the second old man, " I beg your pardon !
Brother, please forgive me, my words were hasty!
I get your viewpoint, our hearts must harden!
Try this ale, it is bitter, brown and tasty."
Said the first old man, "Hear me sobbing.
"Poor little Nanny, she's gone to Himmel.
Principle must conquer, though hearts be throbbing!
Just curl your lip around this kimmel!"
Down in a wine vault underneath the city
They sat drinking while the snow was falling,
Wicked old men with scarcely any pity —
The moral of my tale is quite appalling!
To Ned Ranck
In the sunless land where thou art gone.
The shadowy realm of Proserpine,
Hast wine to drink, Anacreon?
Still hast thy lute its laughing tone.
Still do thy nymphs the ivy twine,
In the sunless land where thou art gone?
A Bacchus on a reeling throne,
Thy temples bound with trailing vine.
Hast wine to drink, Anacreon?
From cool deep caves of delved stone,
Do slaves still fetch thee Samian wine.
In the sunless land where thou art gone?
Or is a cup's mere semblance shown,
Then snatched from those parch'd lips of thine ?-
Hast wine to drink, Anacreon?
104 BAIL AND FAREWELL
Like Tantalus dost thou make moan,
Plagued by a mockery malign?
In the sunless land where thou art gone.
Hast wine to drink, Anacreon?
THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE OLD DAYS
To George Van Slyke
Gog was a giant,
Likewise so was Magog; —
Gog says, "It's Christmas,
Please pass the Egg-nog!"
Gurgle ! Gurgle ! Gurgle !
Glug ! Glug ! Glug !
Gog says to Magog,
"It is full of Nutmeg,—
Guzzle! Guzzle! Guzzle!
Glog! Glog! Glog!"
Magog says to Gog,
"Have some Haig and Haig! "
Gargle ! Gargle ! Gargle !
Grog ! Grog ! Grog ! ' '
Gog says to Magog,
"Your eyes are all a-goggle!
You are all agog!"
Magog says to Gog, *
"Your feet wiggle-woggle,
106 BAIL AND FAREWELL
You're gigglish as a gargoyle
And logey as a log!"
Gog says to Magog,
"I'm as gleg as a grig!
Gurgle! Gurgle! Gurgle!
Glug! Glug! Glug!"
Magog says to Gog,
"I'm jolly as a polly —
Wiggle — waggle — wog
That's turning to a froggle,
A friggle — fraggle — frog!
Guggle ! Guggle ! Guggle !
Glog! Glog! Glog!"
And Gog filled his noggin.
And Magog his mug, —
Magog was a giant.
Likewise so was Gog;
On New Year's morning
Both were on their legs.
And sat down to breakfast
And ordered ham and eggs !
IN AN OLD-TIME TAVERN BOOTH
To Ben De Casseres
Drinking, I doze, and see the gods go by;
They wave to me the hand of comradeship,
For I am one with them, and at my lip
The cup of wisdom bubbles ... up the sky
A blur of moondust drifts to dull mine eye,
But through the veil my romping visions slip
To dance among the careless stars, outstrip
The racing planets where they swoop and fly.
And then . . . from somewhere east of Mars
Thin wind whines for a Dime; I drop one in
A sad Salvation Army tambourine
And hear a weary homily on Sin .
"Sister," I say, "you're right, and yet the Truth
Sometimes sits near me in this tavern booth."
THE OLD BRASS RAILING
To Charley StiU
Our minds are schooled to grief and dearth,
Our Hps, too, are aware.
But our feet still seek a railing
When a railing isn't there.
I went into a druggist's shop
To get some stamps and soap, —
My feet rose up in spite of me
And pawed the air with hope.
I know that neither East nor West,
And neither North nor South,
Shall rise a cloud of joy to shed
Its dampness on my drouth, —
I know that neither here nor there,
When winds blow to and fro.
Shall any friendly odours find
The nose they used to know, —
TEE OLD BRASS RAILING 109
No stein shall greet my straining eyes,
No matter how they blink,
Mine ears shall never hear again
The highball glasses clink, —
There is not anywhere a jug
To cuddle with my wrist, —
But my habituated foot
Remains an optimist!
It lifts itself, it curls itself.
It feels the empty air,
It seeks a long brass railing.
And the railing isn't there!
I do not seek for sympathy
For stomach nor for throat,
I never liked my liver much —
'T is such a sulky goat ! —
I do not seek your pity for
My writhen tongue and wried,
I do not ask your tears because
My lips are shrunk and dried, —
But, oh! my foot! My cheated foot!
My foot that lives in hope!
It is a piteous sight to see
It lift itself and grope!
110 BAIL AND FAREWELL
I look at it, I talk to it,
I lesson it and plead,
But with a humble cheerfulness.
That makes my heart to bleed,
It lifts itself, it curls itself,
It searches through the air.
It seeks a long brass railing.
And the railing isn't there!
I carried it to church one day —
O foot so fond and frail!
I had to drag it forth in haste:
It grabbed the chancel rail.
My heart is all resigned and calm,
So, likewise, is my soul.
But my habituated foot
Is quite beyond control !
An escalator on the Ell
Began its upward trip.
My foot reached up and clutched the rail
And crushed it in its grip.
It grabs the headboard of my bed
With such determined clasp
That I'm compelled to scald the thing
To make it loose its grasp.
THE OLD BRASS RAILING 111
Sometimes it leaps to clutch the curb
When I walk down the street —
Oh, how I suffer for the hope
That lives within my feet!
Myself, I can endure the drouth
With stoic calm, and prayer —
But my feet still seek a railing
When a railing isn't there.
ONCE YOUTH WAS MINE
To Frank Stanton
Once the wild raptures and the beating wings ]
Of Song were mine, the sun, the cHmbing flight;
The wind's great fellowship upon the height. . . .
Once Youth was mine, and the young heart that
But now the little things, the trivial things.
Beat down my spirit with their leagued might . . .
Could I, within some friendly Dive to-night.
Meet the Old Gang, 'twould make me young, by
As the mad lark rises, drunk with joy and sun.
When morning bends above the dewy meadow,
And his clear call proclaims: "The day is won!"
Over a hurried rout of driven shadow.
So should I rise and sing, had I a Bun.
O would that we were soused together, Kiddo!
IN A TAVERN BOOTH
To Bob LiUard
Out of my forehead now the long thoughts reach
In level rays that melt the Pleiades,
Which, melting, somehow smell like toasted
I know Life's secret now, but have no speech "
To utter it: indeed, small wish to teach
My truths to trivial planets such as these
Whereon the populations drone like bees
That have no honey -gift, each stinging each .
And yet I will speak, too ! . . . the slow words
With pain out of my deeps of ecstasy,
Burst from my soul as from a beaten drum
In a hoarse pulse of sound . . . But hark to
"Life's secret is that all things cool somewhat
Like golden bucks" . . . but, somehow, that
To Kit Morley
There is a place, not far from Gissing Street,
In Paradise, where one can dream and laugh . . .
You go through Shelley Lane, striking your staff
Upon the cobbles, turn with eager feet
Down Benet Place, and there you are! I'll meet
You, Christopher, and we shall quarrel and quaff
Our pewter tankards full of Shandygaff,
And eat and eat and eat and eat and eat!
And must we die first? Well, it's worth the trouble!
I shall go first, because I'm old and gray,
And permanently I'll reserve a booth —
And when you come, no doubt I'll see you double.
And as you land from Charon's skiff I'll say:
*'Here, kid, taste this! Roll this upon your tooth!"
THE BATTLE OF THE KEYHOLES
To Jimmy Farnsworth
The keyholes to the right of me
Were dancing of a jig,
The keyholes to the left of me
Were merry as a grig,
The ke^^holes right before my face
Were drunk and winked at me.
And I stood there alone — alone! —
They frightened me, they daunted me;
I turned back to the stair.
And faced nine keyholes pale and stern
That lay in ambush there.
Six keyholes on the ceiling sat.
Eight keyholes on the door,
And seven saddened keyholes lay
116 HAIL AND FAREWELL
I crawled through one, I crawled through two,
I crawled through keyholes three —
And then I saw a vistaed mile
Of keyholes waiting me! —
"I will not crawl another yard
Through keyholes, though I die!" —
Oh, when my fighting blood is up
They leapt at me, they flew at me.
They whistled as they came,
They gritted of their gleaming teeth,
They stung and spurted flame;
I put my back against the floor
And fought 'em gallantly —
But what could anybody do
Keyholes at the front of me,
And keyholes on the flank,
And as they rushed at me I smelled
The liquor that they drank;
Keyholes on my spinal cord,
THE BATTLE OF TEE KEYHOLES 117
And keyholes in my hair —
And with a "Heave together, boys!"
It bumped me some, it bent me some.
It broke a nose or two,
And when the milkman came, he said:
"What Kaiser Belgimned you?"
I says to him: "It might have been
The same with you as me
If you like me had had to fight
A gang of keyholes all last night
IN A TAVERN BOOTH
To Sam McCoy
I thought a Sun pursued; through endless space
I fled the following thunder of his feet;
Snorting he came, his breath a withering heat.
Blown soot of cindered comets freakt his face;
My hide caught fire and crackled with the pace,
My burning heart with jets of anguish beat;
Flaming I leapt, in flame leapt on the fleet
And savage star . . . We slashed our fiery trace
Ten constellations broad in screaming red
Across the startled purple of the night;
A word tremendous clove mine ears and head,
A great arm fell and stripped my wings of flight:
"Hey, Mister, pay your check!" a brute voice said.
It was a red-haired barkeep known as Ed.
YEARNINGS AND MEMORIES
To Jimmy Fisher
Liquor there is — but how I miss the Bar!
I miss a certain attitude of mind,
Congenial, which I seek but never find
Except beneath the golden triple star
Which from the brandy bottle shines afar.
I miss a type of jest that was designed
For roaring barrooms warmed with booze, and
Good Gawd! how coarse and low my real tastes are.
I miss an ambling, splay-foot waiter's beak,
Which like some red peninsula of hell
Glowed through the humming barroom's smoky
I miss the lies I used to hear men tell
Over the telephone to waiting wives —
What sweet aromas had these joyous lives!
DO YOU REMEMBER?
To Harry Dixey
Do you remember that first Morning Drink
When Ed would smile and say, "What shall it be? "
"Would you advise a Gin Fizz, Ed, for me?"
"It is too early for a Fizz, I think."
"And would an Absinthe put me on the bhnk,
I wonder, Ed?" — "Absinthe would not agree
This morning, sir." — "Then what's your recipe?"
"A bland Club Cocktail, delicate and pink!"
O kindly Barkeeps that have raised me up
From morning glooms and made me live again.
Where are ye now, and where your wizardry?
As dead as great Ulysses' faithful pup!
As dead as Babylon and James G. Blaine!
As dead as Gyp the Blood and Nineveh!
AND YOU MAY RECALL THIS
To Charley Edson
— "I wanchya meeta 'noF 'noV frierC o' mine!"
— *' Umgladdameecha ! BilVs frien's my frien's, too ! "
— "Thish frien' hesh frien'! I gotto open wine!"
— "You gotto le' me buy thish drink f'r you!"
—"I gotto buy thish drink f'r 'nol' 'noV frien' T'
— "Now, lishen, Jim! You gonna love thish lad!"
— "Billsh friensh is my friensh to th' bitter en'/"
— "Now, lishen, Jim! thish besh frien' ever had!"
Honest, hardworking drunkards! Hour by hour
They toiled on at their chosen task until
They bent beneath the burdens that they bore,
They bent and swayed, sustained but by the power.
Each one, of his Indomitable Will,
Which ever bade him conquer Just One More.
TRUE, BUT WHAT OF IT?
To Gilbert Gabriel
Old Demon Rum, they say you ruined homes.
Bashing the piteous Wife betwixt her eyes.
Stabbing Aunt Tildy with her own hair-combs.
And teaching your young offspring stealth and lies
Angel! they say that one night, lost to grace.
You filched the infant's coral from her crib.
Hocked it, and blew the loot at Leery's Place —
Then strangled Baby Sister in her bib
Because it purchased only sixteen beers!
Demon! they say you used to cut up rough.
Sowing the earth with poverty and tears —
And I believe it readily enough !
I do admit your crimes as charged above.
But, Angel! crime can never kill my love!
A SUMMER DAY DREAM
To Foster Follett
If there were many miles of me
How I would love to trail
My length along the cooling sea
Above the brown sea kale.
Were there five thousand feet of me
Instead of ^ve feet four,
A thousand times as cool I'd be
Swimming from shore to shore.
And when I saw a brewery
Upon some cape or isle
I'd crawl out of the dripping sea
And greet it with a smile.
Then all my lovely coils I'd wrap
Around that brewery,
And when I'd squeezed out every drap
Slide back into the sea.
ON SWEARING OFF AGAIN
To Dan Carey
Barleycorn, my jo John !
They say that we must part!
'Twill mend my stomach, maybe,
But, O! it breaks my heart!
I hoped that we should grow old
Cheek by jowl together.
Boozing by the fireside
Through the wintry weather; —
With white hair and red face.
Full of dreams and liquor,
Watching from an armchair
The firelight flicker; —
ON SWEARING OFF AGAIN 125
But Barleycorn, my jo John,
Fare ye well forever ! —
The preachers have my soul, John,
The doctors have my liver!
And I shall have an old age
Dry and dull as virtue —
But never think, my dear friend,
I'm happy to desert you !
Barleycorn, my jo John!
To think that we should part —
They say 'twill save my eyesight,
But, O; it breaks my heart!
AFTER SEVERAL HIGHBALLS
To Clive Weed /
I saw three roses on the wall,
Three red, red roses on the wall.
Repeated in a pattern :
The first, I Cleopatra call,
The second one's named Sadie Hall,
The third one is a slattern.
Three flowers, all curlycues and swirls.
Each blare-mouthed like a trumpet;
One used to fish for swine with pearls.
The second was the best of girls.
The third one was a strumpet.
Three red-mouthed roses on the wall
As bright and hot as blood;
The first one caused an empire fall.
The second was just Sadie Hall,
The third died in the mud.
CHANT ROYAL OF THE DEJECTED
To Hal Steed
Some fools keep ringing the dumb waiter bell
Just as I finish killing Uncle Ned;
I wonder if they could have heard him yell?
A moment since I cursed at them and said:
"This is a pretty time to bring the ice!"
— Old Uncle Ned ! Two times of late, or thrice,
I've thought of prodding him with something keen.
But always Fate has seemed to intervene;
Last night, for instance, I was in the mood.
But I was far too drunken yestere'en
My way of life can end in nothing good!
At Mrs. Dumple's, last week, when I fell
And spoiled her dinner party I was led
Out to a cab; they saw I was not well
And took me home and tucked me into bed.
I should quit mingling hashish with my rice!
I should give over singing "Three Blind Mice"
128 HAIL AND FAREWELL
At funerals! Why will I make a scene?
Why should I feed my cousins Paris Green?
I am increasingly misunderstood:
W^hen I am tactless, people think 'tis spleen.
My way of life can end in nothing good.
Why should one cry that he is William Tell,
Then flip a pippin from his hostess' head
That none but he can see? Why should one dwell
Upon the failings of the newly wed
At wedding breakfasts? Can I not be Nice?
I am so silly and so full of vice!
Such prestidigitator tricks, I ween.
As finding false teeth in a soup tureen
Are not real humour; they are crass and crude.
And cast suspicion on the host's cuisine:
My way of life can end in nothing good.
My wife and her best friend, a social swell.
Zoo-ward I lured to see the cobras fed; —
"We can't get home," I giggled, "for the El
Is broken, Sarah — let's elope, instead!"
I spoke of all she'd have to sacrifice.
And she seemed yielding to me, once or twice.
Until my wife broke in and said: "Eugene,
Your finger nails are seldom really clean; —
I'd loose poor Sarah's hand, Eugene, I would!"
How weak and stupid I have always been!
My way of life can end in nothing good.
THE DEJECTED DIPSOMANIAC 129
I drink and doze and wake and think of hell,
My eyes are blear from all the tears I shed :
I'm pitiably bald: I'm but a shell!
I sobbed to-day, "I wish that I were dead!"
I wish I could quit drugs and drink and dice.
I wish I had not talked of chicken lice
The Sunday that we entertained the Dean,
Nor shouted to his wife that paraffin
Would make her thin beard grow, nor played the
Was pennies and her face a slot machine:
My way of life can end in nothing good,
— That bell again: A voice: "Is your name Bryce?
These goods is C. O. D. Send down the price!"
"Bryce hves," I yell, "at Number Seventeen!"
Bryce doesn't live there, but I feel so mean
I laugh and lie; my tone is harsh and rude.
— Uncle is gone! I'm phthisical and lean —
My way of life can end in nothing good!
PROVERBS XXIII, 29
To Oliver Herford
From many a classic scroll and tome
In golden texts the warnings shine:
"If you must drink, get soused at home!
Will you get pickled? Then use brine!
Each generation gets a sign,
But each one needs another prod
From scriptures human or divine —
The Wastrel always drops his Wad!
Sleek Athens from the Attic loam
With ill intention coaxed the vine —
Arcadian Simps admired the foam
While hair-oiled City Gents malign
Dropped philters in the neatherd's stein-
Soon Corydon upon the sod
Lay coinless with a cloven chine —
The Wastrel always drops his Wad!
PROVERBS XXIII, 29 131
When Gallic ginks Cook-toured to Rome,
Or roaring Teutons from the Rhine,
The thought would fill some yokel's dome
To dally with the stranger's wine —
Next reel : tough students sprain his spine
And bean him with a curule rod
And roll him down the Palatine:
The Wastrel always drops his Wad!
Raus! Bacchus, with that breath of thine.
And sad eyes like a bilious cod!
Me for the Tracts — I've learned, in fine,
The Wastrel always drops his Wad!
AN OBJECT LESSON
To Bobby Rogers
A young man in a Mu-se-um
Was showing me a mummy
Who lay there patiently, but glum,
A-clasping of his tummy
Cophetua or Kafoozelum,
Or some such regal rummy.
"In youth," says I, "this king was gay.
In spite of Mrs. Grundy;
He burnt the Nile one Saturday .
AN OBJECT LESSON 133
But where was he on Sunday?
I added, in my learned way,
"*Sic transit gloria mundi!'
He conquered princes not a few;
They voted as he bid 'em . . .
From Babylon to Timbuctoo,
From Sheba up to Siddim,
He thought of things he shouldn't do.
And then he went and did 'em!
"He loved to send out royal bids
For high Egyptian jinkses
Where pretty Theban katydids
And little Memphian minxes
Would trot among the pyramids
And tango round the sphinxes . .
'*But now, in his sarcophagus.
How quite deceased we find him.
With sand in his aesophagus
And all his past behind him,
While Time (the anthropophagus !)
Is whetting teeth to grind him.
"Then note, my lad, the end of kings!
Therefore, avoid ambition.
For earthly greatness all has wings .
134 HAIL AND FAREWELL
You stick to your position.
And if men come with crowns and things
To tempt you, go a-fishin'!"
"Was I a Kingly Souse," says he.
Impressed from A to Izzard,
"Would I wind up so leathery
As this departed wizard,
With baldness on the dome of me.
And gravel in my gizzard?"
"You would without a doubt," says I,
"Lose wealth and health and hair, O!
Shaken with sobs he made reply,
"I promise, and I swear, O!
That I will never drink! — and try
And never be a Pharaoh!"
A KANSAS TRAGEDY
To Charley Stansbury
I started from Missouri,
The western part of Missouri,
To ride to Nicodemus,
To Nicodemus, Kansas,
In the western part of Kansas;
Not far from Happy, Kansas,
In Graham County, Kansas .
Across the State of Kansas I started in a flivver . . .
A jolty Httle flivver with a rhythm rather jerky . . .
Irregularly rhythmical, when rhythmical at all . . .
I had to get to Nicodemus
By noon on Saturday to pay the mortgage
On a farm near Nicodemus,
Graham County, Kansas,
Belonging to a sweetheart who would otherwise be
Financially and so could not afford to marry me. . . .
As I entered into Kansas,
And crossed Miami County,
At the town of Ossawatomie
136 HAIL AND FAREWELL
I received a telegraphic message
From my love at Nicodemus . . .
"Hasten with the money," said the telegraphic
"Hasten with the money you are bringing from my
From my Uncle Jethro, in Missouri,
For the man that holds the mortgage,
Banker Jasper Grinder, who holds the fiendish
Has said he will foreclose it
And take away the homestead at noon on Saturday,
Or else I'll have to marry him,
To keep him from foreclosing.
Marry Banker Jasper Grinder to keep him from
foreclosing . . .
I would hate to marry Grinder,
But, on the other hand,
I would hate to lose the whole alfalfa crop . . .
Hasten with the money.
From my Uncle Jethro,
Hasten to your true love, Miss Elvira Simpkins,
At Nicodemus, Kansas."
Three hundred miles away
Was Nicodemus, Kansas,
Nicodemus, Graham County,
Not so far from Happy, Kansas . . ,
Could I do it in a flivver
In ten hours .^^ . . .
^' '< ^^^SSfti^fc
A KANSAS TRAGEDY 137
From Ossawatomie I started with a burst of speed.
That carried me to Quenemo,
To Quenemo, in Osage County, Kansas,
At the rate of forty miles an hour .
At a garage in Quenemo
I paused for gasolene.
At Quenemo, in Osage County, Kansas .
But the man that ran the place
With shrill bucolic snicker
Said: "There ain't no gasolene!
The gasolene in Kansas
Has all been took and contrabanded,
Just one hour ago,
By order of the Governor,
The Governor of Kansas,
On account of military operations" .
No gasolene in Kansas!
And three hundred miles away my love.
My love, Elvira Simpkins,
Was waiting for the money I had got from Uncle
To save the home at Nicodemus
From the clutch of Jasper Grinder!
"I will telegraph the money!" I shouted
With a flash of inspiration .
But the station agent told me,
"There ain't no telegraph nor nothing
Runs into Nicodemus,
138 HAIL AND FAREWELL
To Nicodemus, Kansas. . . .
As fur as I can see in this here book!"
And I looked at the wire from Elvira again
And saw it had been sent from Happy, Kansas,
And all the time the precious
Minutes fluttered by . . .
Banker Jasper Grinder, in Nicodemus, Kansas,
Minute after minute,
Was approaching nearer to the hour of his desire . . .
I could hear him chuckle.
The dry and throaty chuckle that village bankers
In the semi-arid regions .
Another inspiration came to me and I cried;
"I will run my flivver
To Nicodemus, Kansas,
On alcohol, by heck!
I can make the engine in my little flivver
Run to Nicodemus, Kansas,
On alcohol, by Henry!"
But the crowd that gathered around me '
La£Ped and laffed and laffed .
*'They ain't no alcohol in Kansas,"
Said the crowd, between its chortles —
"Kansas is a dry State,
It's prohibition Kansas,
And you'll never get to Nicodemus
Graham County, Kansas,"
Just then the village toper
A KANSAS TRAGEDY 139
A gentle creature and decayed
Thrust into my hand a gallon
Of Stutter's Stomach Bitters,
He handed me four big quarts
Of Stutter's Stomach Bitters,
And I poured 'em in the tank and left the town of
Quenemo, with the engine doing lovely
And the flivver going strong .
And I reached the town of Skiddy,
The town of Skiddy, Kansas, in Morris County,
And I drew up by the drug store and I yelled
For Stutter's Stomach Bitters ...
"I must reach Elvira Simpkins, in Nicodemus,
'Ere the clock strikes 12 .
Give me Bitters, give me Bitters !
Fill the tank with Bitters, for I race to raise the
But the druggist said: "There's been a run on Bitters!
Considerable colic in this watermelon weather! —
How about Stewroona?"
On a gallon of Stewroona I ran from Skiddy, Kansas,
As far as Elmo, Kansas,
And there I laid in nineteen quarts
Of prohibition appetizer called
Doctor Bunkus's Discovery for Kidneys .
Westward, ever westward.
To my love, Elvira Simpkins
140 HAIL AND FAREWELL
At Nicodemus, Kansas,
I ran on Doctor Bunkus, through the dryest belt of
Through the prohibition centre.
Dear Old Doctor Bunkus urged my little flivver;
From Elmo, to Palacky,
Six quarts of Lily Gingham's Discovery
And a dozen more of Bunkus
Took me nearer, nearer, nearer,
To my love, Elvira Simpkins .
From Palacky west to Pfeifer,
Through the town of Fingal,
Then northward to Ogallah,
I ran on Si wash Injun Soorah,
A Remedy for Liver Trouble,
Take a wineglass full before each meal.
Nearer, ever nearer, to my love at Nicodemus . . .
From Ogallah north to Happy,
North to Happy, Kansas, in Graham County,
North and west to Happy, word of glorious omen . . .
And the villagers came down to sniff the glad aroma
Of the flying flivver
As I turned north to Nicodemus .
At thirteen minutes until noon.
Filled once more with Stutter's Stomach Bitters
I raced into the presence of my love, Elvira Simp-
Alas ! Alas ! Alas !
A KANSAS TRAGEDY 141
Elvira did not clasp me in her sturdy Kansas
arms . . .
She sniffed the air and said:
**I never will be wedded
To a man who reeks with liquor!
Give me Uncle Jethro's money !
And don't you leave that drunken flivver on the
streets of Nicodemus . . ."
And she went and married Jasper Grinder after all.
THE COUNTRY UFE PRESS,
GARDEN CITY, N. Y.
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