Skip to main content

Full text of "The Old Soak ; and, Hail and farewell"

See other formats


"n'.:^ 






% 







^'^o,*«'???f:»'<v" "-^.-'-r.^i'V* \.**^"^-\<^ 




L ' » 







> V 

0* ^ ^o. %~!rr.^ 








V. •"•■.<!' 



t • o. 





^* ;klCi"= \./ :W&'^ %/ .'^^'^'' *--^^' 





# 1 1 








'^>. ^4 o* 



THE OLD SOAK 

AND 
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 
Serious Thinkers 

Prefaces: Decorations by Tony Sarg 
The Old Soae: and Hail and Farewell 



^siAA .^'SP^ 




\ ' 



THE OLD SOAK 



xMt^^^^HtAMrl- 



/ 



THE OLD SOAK 

AND 
HAIL AND FAREWELL 

BY 
DON MARQUIS 




^^^>^. 



LINE DRAWINGS 

BY 

STERLING PATTERSON 



GARDEN CITY, N. Y., AND TORONTO 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 
1921 



Sc*<iM. Z^ 



f^^T^ 






c c 
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 \^ 
©t!.A617420 ' 



y\ . A 



ACKNOWLEDGMENT 

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. 





CONTENTS 






THE OLD SOAK 




CHAPTER 




PAGE 


I. 


Introducing the Old Soak .... 


3 


II. 


Beginning the Old Soak's History of 




the Rum Demon 


7 


III. 


Liquor and Hennery Simms . 


n 


IV. 


The Old Soak's History; The Bar 


- 




room as an Educative Influence . 


15 


V. 


Look Out for Crime Waves ! . . . 


18 


VI. 


The Barroom and the Arts 


21 


VII. 


An Argument with the Old Woman. 


26 


VIII. 


More Evils of Prohibition. 


28 


IX. 


Preparing for Christmas .... 


32 


X. 


The Old Soak Fears for the Growing 


r 




Children 


37 


XI. 


Jabe Potter's Optimism .... 


41 


XII. 


As It Used to Be of a Morning . 


44 


XIII. 


Peace and Contentment .... 


48 


XIV. 


Unfermented Grape Juice .... 


51 


XV. 


Political Talk 


55 


XVI. 


Prohibition and Winter Weather. 


51 


XVII. 


The Old Soak Finds a Way . . . 


61 


XVIII. 


The Barroom's Good Influence . 


64 



Vll 



viii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

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 



CONTENTS 



IX 



CHAPTEB PAGS 

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- 
somaniac 127 

XXVII. Proverbs XXIII, 29 130 

XXVIII. An Object Lesson 132 

XXIX. A Kansas Tragedy 135 



THE OLD SOAK 

AND 
HAIL AND FAREWELL 




Chapter One 

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 

3 



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 
beast. 

"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 
trifle with. 

"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 
iniquity. 

"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- 
board." 

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. 



Chapter Two 
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 

7 



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- 
respectable. 

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. 




Chapter Three 



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 

12 



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 
drunk.' 

"'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- 
ment. - 



Chapter Four 

The Old Soak's History — The Barroom as an Educa- 
tive Influence 

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 
be. 

15 



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 
does. 

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. 




Chapter Five 
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 

18 



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 
Waves I 

"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 
of unrighteousness!" 

He deposited on our desk the next installment of 
his History. 



Chapter Six 

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- 
ested me. 

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. 

21 



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 
important. 

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 
into it. 

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. 




Chapter Seven 
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 
house. 

"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 
so. 

26 



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 
pie!' 

"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 
of need!" 

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 
Woman." 



Chapter Eight 

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 

28 



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 
drink. 

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 
know. 

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 
dollars is. 

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. 




Chapter Nine 
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 
of January. 

"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. 

32 



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 
week. 

"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- 
side.' 

"*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." 



Chapter Ten 

Continuing the History — the Old Soak Fears for the 
Growing Children 

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 

37 



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- 
nocent children. 

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 
amounts to. 

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 
to me. 

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. 




Chapter Eleven 
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 

41 



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- 
ation. 

"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- 
quiry. 

"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 
I be." 



Chapter Twelve 
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 

44 



''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 
to me. 

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 
like vittles. 

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, 
says Ed. 

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 
next chapter. 




Chapter Thirteen 
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 

48 



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 
that way. 

"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." 



Chapter Fourteen 

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 

61 



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 
say. 

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. 




Chapter Fifteen 
Political Talk 

^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- 

65 



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." 



Chapter Sixteen 

The History Continued — Prohibition and Winter 

Weather 

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 
them. 

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 
soon, Ed. 

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. 

57 



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 
says. 

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 
changes. 

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. 




Chapter Seventeen 
The Old Soak Finds a Way 



^^ES, sir; 
^ happy 



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, 

61 



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 
witnesses ! 

"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 
back talk! 

"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 
fambly secrets!" 



r-)2? &'*^ 




Chapter Eighteen 

The History Continued — the Barroom's Good 

Influence 

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 

64 



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 
hard-hearted country. 

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. 



Chapter Nineteen 
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 
about it. 

"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 
fambly. 

"But this yere son o' mine, he gets too much 
hootch under his belt one day, and he gets into this 

67 



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 
streaks. 

"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 
time. 

*'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." 




Chapter Twenty 

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 
feelings everywhere. 

70 



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. 



Chapter Twenty-One 
Sympathy Wanted 

\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 

73 



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 
your ways!' 

"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." 




Chapter Twenty-Two 

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 
Home Life. 

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 

77 



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 
say. 

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 
to her. 

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 
any more.'^ 

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 




yy^ 



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 ! 

85 



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. 



n 

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 

shone on, 
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. 



87 




Ill 

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- 
ing, come; 

CHmb to our decks and roar: "Broach us a puncheon 
of rum! 

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!" 

88 



A DIPSEY CHANTEY 89 

Heh! Splice the main-brace! Ho! She smells the 
gale! 

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 

abysses, 
And there, in a wine-stained galley, the ghost of 

great Ulysses! 
Eric the Red in a whale-boat, and with him, cheek 

by jowl. 
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 
breath ! 
Steward, a corkscrew! You poor fish ashore. 

By the bones of Reuben Ranzo, you can choke to 
death ! 

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 

fellows still, 
And open a hundred casks and let 'em wallow and 

swill ! 

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! 



IV 
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. 



91 



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. 

92 



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. 



VI 
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 

thou come 
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 

mine! 
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!" 



95 



VII 
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 

ought to. 
And she wipes away a teardrop with a Httle furtive 

fin; 
She is fluttered, but she's frightened by his outburst 

of emotion 
In their somewhat formal corner of a rather proper 

ocean — 
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- 
fish; 

96 



TEE LAST CASE OF GIN 97 

She cans her rash admirer, but she cans him with a 

sigh! 
An analytic novel might be reared upon the basis 
Of a very earnest study of the looks upon their 

faces 

And their brave renunciation when they sobbed and 
said good-by. 

I claim that the transmission of their fortitude and 

pain 
To succeeding generations will improve the moral 

strain 
Of the species here considered and their loss result 

in gain; 
And I wish I had some Angostura Bitters! 

I have a strong impression of the immanence of 
morals 

In this quite extensive cosmos, from castor beans 

to corals, 
And Science and Religion, I will tell the world, are 

one; 
I should prove it, gentle reader, had we leisure time 

before us, 
I should prove it or expire in the act of hurling 

Taurus — 
I wonder where the dickens has that silly corkscrew 

gone? 



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! 



VIII 
CROWNED SINGERS 

To Charley Bayne 

Liquor there is . . . but we knew happier 

days! 
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 ! 



99 




IX 
DOWN IN A WINE VAULT 

To Harold Gould 

Down in a wine vault underneath the city 

Two old men were sitting; they were drinking 
booze. 

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 
running 

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! 

100 



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 
Demon ! 



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 
garden. 

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 
daughter; 

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 
drinking — 
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! 



X 

ANACREON 

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? 

103 



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? 



XI 

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, 
105 



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 ! 



XII 

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 

a keen 
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." 



107 



XIII 
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, — 

108 



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. 



•'^ 



XIV 

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 

sings ! 
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 

jings! 

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! 



n2 



XV 

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 

cheese . 
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 

come 
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 

me! 
"Life's secret is that all things cool somewhat 
Like golden bucks" . . . but, somehow, that 

seems rot. 



113 



XVI 
AN ENGAGEMENT 

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!" 



114 



XVTI 
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! — 

With one 

small 

key. 

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 

Hiccoughing 

on the 

floor. 

115 



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 

A Turk 

am 
I! 



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 

\^'ith one 

small 

key? 



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!" 
They rolled 

me down 

the stair. 

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 

With one 

small 

key!" 



XVIII 
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. 



118 



XIX 
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 

kind — 
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 

reek — 
I miss the lies I used to hear men tell 
Over the telephone to waiting wives — 
What sweet aromas had these joyous lives! 



119 



XX 

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! 



120 



XXI 
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. 



121 



XXII 

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! 



122 



XXIII 
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. 



123 




XXIV 
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; — 
124 



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! 



XXV 
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. 



126 



XXVI 

CHANT ROYAL OF THE DEJECTED 
DIPSOMANIAC 

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" 

127 



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 

food 
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! 



XXVII 
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! 

130 



J5 



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! 







XXVIII 
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 . 

132 



AN OBJECT LESSON 133 



But where was he on Sunday? 
I added, in my learned way, 
"*Sic transit gloria mundi!' 



>j 



cc 



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!" 



»> 



XXIX 
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 

rooned 
Financially and so could not afford to marry me. . . . 
As I entered into Kansas, 
And crossed Miami County, 
At the town of Ossawatomie 

135 



136 HAIL AND FAREWELL 

I received a telegraphic message 

From my love at Nicodemus . . . 

"Hasten with the money," said the telegraphic 

message, 
"Hasten with the money you are bringing from my 

Uncle. 
From my Uncle Jethro, in Missouri, 
For the man that holds the mortgage, 
Banker Jasper Grinder, who holds the fiendish 

mortgage. 
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, 

Leastways, commandeered, 

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 

Jethro 
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 

chuckle 
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, 

Kansas, 
And I drew up by the drug store and I yelled 
For Stutter's Stomach Bitters ... 
"I must reach Elvira Simpkins, in Nicodemus, 

Kansas, 
'Ere the clock strikes 12 . 
Give me Bitters, give me Bitters ! 
Fill the tank with Bitters, for I race to raise the 

mortgage . 
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 
Kansas, 

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, 
Kansas, 

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- 
kins . 

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 END 




THE COUNTRY UFE PRESS, 
GARDEN CITY, N. Y. 



^M SO 



^ 













9 « fl 













• ^4 Qa. »• 'a 









>°V -J 



^. " O « V .-^ 











^0" ^•l^l^'*. '^^ V* »i'^»* 'c» 



















* ^^^ ^^. 



' A^^^^. ' 














bV 









^*- *^ ** ♦: 











A 







^oV" 



'^bV^ 







(^/ V^ ^^ ' 










' ■'' ~ -ill . < 



■■'■!,. 'J J. '.! 






:rv.v.^^:.. 









.'■, • ■■■' ■ '■*- \'<'\■'l^^. 'ftis-,,rt'^ 






'' ' //' ■ I 
' ■ '1.'.' ■ ■.,, *(■• 



'v: ','<■•;' 






\"'"""<'\]\''^>"''"'M 



■Vfit:i;(''>- 



'V'h 



m