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Full text of "So this then is the preachment entitled Chicago tongue"

814 

H86SOC 

1913 




TONGUE 

BY 
ELEEPTT HVHHRRk 

(FRH ELBERTV^) 




THE ROY^ROFTER? 

EH5T Hl/RORFl ERIE TOl/hTY n.Y 



HISTORICAL-SONET 



SO THIS THEN IS THE 

PREACHMENT 

ENTITLED 

CHICAGO 
TONGUE 



AS WRITTEN BY 

FRA ELBERTUS 

AND DONE INTO PRINT BY 

THE ROYCROFTERS 

AT THEIR SHOP, WHICH IS IN 

EAST AURORA 

NEW YORK 



Copyright, 1913 
By Elbeti HubbaiJ 




Pallabe of Beab &nocfeerg 

fltj/ vftCichael %Conahan 

( V 

Nemo me impune lacessil: ' 'No one hammers me with impunity. 

Now this was the Chant I heard them rant 

When a sudden coolness slid 
Down Hell's concave, and a solace gave 

To each gentleman on his grid. 
From each sprite in bale came a gruesome wail, 

As the madd'ning chorus spread; 
And they sang a song that was loud and long 

The Ballade of Knockers dead. 

"Oho for the Hand that 's light and bland 

The Hammer to swing, sans fear, 
On the Cerebrum or the Tympanum 

Or the Knot behind the Ear ! 
Not a wound shall tell how the thing befell, 

When the whimpering Soul has fled, 
And the crowner's quest shall guess the rest- 

Here chortled the Knockers dead. 



*T is a delicate joy and a sweet employ 

To rive the Fool from his breath, 
But a finer Art than the Thugs impart 

Was ours, and the Second Death ! 
For the Game we stalked in freedom walked, 

Nor dreamed that his pathway led 
To the coup de grace that leaves no trace 

Hurrah for us Knockers dead ! 

For this is the Work that none may shirk, 

And thus does the sentence run, 
That One shall believe and One deceive 

'Till the human web be spun. 
Yea, a man shall smile, heart-free from guile, 

On him who his life may shed; 
Nor shall he say Nay, though the Slayer slay " 

Applause from the Knockers dead. 



And many 's the Wight on earth tonight 

That sleeps without a fear 
For his Cerebrum or his Tympanum 

Or the Knot behind the Ear. 
But well we know when the mystic blow 

From the Hammer's helve is sped ; 
And the exquisite Jest brings balm and rest 

To the Souls of the Knockers dead. 

"Let the worldling sing of an idle thing, 

The faith of the marriage-tie : 
And the Dotard bland of the gentle hand 

He will clasp till Death come nigh 
But the Kiss that kills and the hand that stills 

The Fool in a sleep of lead, 
Are doing their work sans let or shirk 

Ho! ho!" laughed the Knockers dead. 



"But of all that fall 'neath the silent Mall- 

A number that knows no end 
The spiciest draught our souls have quaffed 

Is the Friend unto his Friend ! 
He leadeth him on till doubt be gone 

And love hath his bosom fed, 
Then he yerketh him here behind the Ear!'* 

Loud yammered the Knockers dead. 

So this was the Chant I heard them rant 

When a sudden coolness slid 
Down Hell's hot spine, like a healing wine 

To each gentleman on his grid. 
And I knew in sooth they had sung the truth, 

Though I shrank from its meaning dread - 
That Knockers are most till they yield the ghost, 

And the rest are Knockers dead ! 



Arise, my God, and strike, for we hold Thee just, 
Strike dead the whole weak race of venomous worms 
That sting each other here in the dust. 

Tennyson. 




ILLIAM T. STEAD once 
wrote some things about 
Chicago. Some of the items 
he penned were not wholly 
complimentary. The intense 
activity of the place, in the 
opinion of Mr. Stead, had 
evolved a certain impatience and often an 
ungenerous quality of mind that revealed 
itself in heresy-trials, divorce-mills, political 
fights where aldermen defied judges, judges 
defied the legislature, and legislators in turn 
challenged the governors. To the English vis- 
itor the newspapers were unnecessarily busy 
with charges, accusations and indictments, 



CHICAGO TONGUE 



and everywhere, even in parlors, scandal, 
defamation and vituperation seemed to 
abound. 

"Chicago averages a murder a day, not 
counting all those who are done to death 
by Chicago Tongue," said Mr. Stead. 
Israel Zangwill, countryman and friend of 
Mr. Stead, visiting Chicago some time after, 
was escorted about the city by a Committee 
to See the Sights. Among other places of 
interest he was taken to the Stockyards, 
where luncheon was served for the party. 
During the meal a Pert Miss, seated next to 
the guest of honor, asked him this question : 
"Mr. Zangwill, how do you like Chicago 
Ham?" 

The Dreamer of the Ghetto raised his sor- 
rowful face and quietly said, "I like it, I like 
it much better than Chicago Tongue!" 

[10] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

A thousand years before Christ, Solomon 
said some wholesome truths about this 
matter of Tongue. It is doubtful whether 
he had any prophetic vision of the Chicago 
article, and really there is no proof that 
Chicago Tongue is any worse than any other 
brand; but let it stand as the type of a Bad 
Thing. 

A tragic, though perhaps not remarkable, 
case of Chicago Tongue came to my atten- 
tion a few years ago 5$ It seems that a 
good-natured and somewhat talkative man 
remarked in a little Bohemian company that 
a certain artist, known to those present, wore 
trousers that bagged beautifully at the knee. 
J A man and a woman in the party, who 
had a well-defined case of artistic jeal- 
ousy toward the voluble man, repeated 
the remark to the artist who was re- 

[in 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

ferred to. The woman repeated the 
remark in the morning, and the little 
artist, of a sensitive and gentle type, with no 
capacity for horseplay, was just a trifle 
nettled. And when the man told him the 
same thing, with varying accent and in- 
flection, in the afternoon, the matter took 
on a rather serious shape. A few days after, 
the artist met the gossipy woman again, and 
he questioned her as to what had been 
said. She repeated the remark about Pants, 
with gesticulations, genuflexions, shrugs and 
curves; and wishing to prove her friendship, 
warned the artist to be on his guard against 
those who were trying to unhorse him. 
The more the artist thought of the matter, 
the more sure he was that this remark 
about his raiment really meant that he was 
a man devoid of taste, lacking in refinement 

[12] 



C H I C A G O T O N CUE 

if not decency, and totally unfit to associate 
with ladies and gentlemen. Each time he 
met his alleged friends they pumped the 
poison into him. The matter preyed upon 
the man's mind until he could neither eat, 
sleep nor work. He sought out his traducer, 
insulted him openly, and got himself well 
chastised. His violence lost him his position, 
and a long season of dissipation and idle- 
ness followed, with golden moments lost 
and lost forever. The last I heard of the man 
and woman who had so unwittingly com- 
bined to work the ruin of their friend, they 
had turned on each other and were rending 
reputations to ragtime. 

tj[ The incident just mentioned sounds like 
an extreme case, but I hardly think it is, for 
the mischief-makers are at work in a similar 
way on every hand. Should the Angel 

[13] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

Gabriel come to me and in a confidential 
undertone declare that a certain man, any 
man or any angel, was a vilifier of truth, a snare 
to the innocent, a pilferer, a sneak, a robber 
of graveyards, I would say: "Gabriel, you 
are troubled with incipient paranoia I do 
not believe a word of what you say. The man 
you mention may not be a saint, but he is 
probably just as good as you or I. In fact, 
1 think he must be very much like you, for 
we are never interested in either a person or 
a thing that does not bear some direct rela- 
tionship to ourselves. Then, Gabriel, do you 
not remember the words of Bishop Begum, 
who said that no man applies an epithet to 
another that can not with equal truth be 
applied to himself?" 

When we remember that hoarse, guttural 
cry of "Away with him away with him!*' 

[H] 



CHICAGO TO N CUE 

and when we recall that some of the best 
and noblest men who have ever lived have 
been reviled and traduced, indicted and ex- 
ecuted, by so-called good men certainly 
men who were sincere how can we open 
our hearts to the tales of discredit told of 
any man? The Billingsgate Calendar has 
been exhausted in attempts to describe 
Walt Whitman, and the lexicon of abuse 
has been used to hammer the heads of such 
men as Richard Wagner, Victor Hugo, 
Count Tolstoy and William Morris. Know- 
ing these things, as every one does, shall we 
imitate folly, accept concrete absurdity for 
our counsel and guide, and take stock in 
Chicago Tongue? 

The entire Salem Witchcraft insanity was 
nothing but a bad case of Chicago Tongue. 
Much of the martyrdom and bloodshed of 

[15] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

the past can be traced directly to the same 
cause * Nations have gone to war because 
some princeling has charged that a King 
stuck his tongue in his cheek and bit his 
thumb when another King was mentioned 
nothing but Chicago Tongue ! 
Do not deceive yourself with the vain 
thought that women hold a monopoly on 
Chicago Tongue men set them a pace in this 
direction that they can never hope to equal. 
The gossip of women is usually of a pattypan 
order, and childishly inconsequential com- 
pared with that of men. 
One peculiarity of Chicago ffongue is that 
when it is passed along from one person to 
another it takes on ptomains. The original 
remark, uttered in a certain circle, may have 
been utterly devoid of poison; but when the 
repetition comes, in a different atmosphere, 

[16] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

to different hearers, told by another man, 
the wit that once disinfected the thing is 
gone, and we have only dead, stale, tainted, 
unprofitable Chicago Tongue. And so you 
see how a person who repeats an unkind 
remark is probably doing a much greater 
mischief than the one who first voiced it. 
The man who repeats the story, and thus 
retails the poison, fails to supply the anti- 
dote. Let his name be anathema. 
The basic principle of Chicago Tongue is 
jealousy. Jealousy is a social cancer, and 
grows by what it feeds upon. And its only 
food is Chicago Tongue the more tainted 
the better. 

I once knew three intelligent men who 
started giving one another small doses of 
Chicago Tongue, just by way of banter. The 
doses were increased, and in a short time all 

[17] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

three began really to believe the stories they 
had been telling about a particular man of 
whom they were all more or less jealous. 
The cancer grew worse the poison was at 
work the trio held meetings behind locked 
doors to devise a way by which they could 
rid themselves of the supposed enemy. As- 
sault and even murder were on their pro- 
posed program. They were wild, mad, stark, 
staring crazy on Chicago Tongue. 
Luckily, a sane man discovered them in 
time, rapped them all vigorously over the 
head, separated them one from the other so 
they could no longer infect one another and 
pool their poison. Had this separation not 
been brought about, they surely would have 
all run down a steep place into the sea and 
been drowned, as was that herd of swine in 
the story, when the devils took the rudder. 

[18] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

CJ If you are a man, beware how you let 
any devil get possession of your thinking 
apparatus. All devils use Chicago Tongue 
as bait. In way of strictest justice, though, it 
must be admitted that the dealers in Chicago 
Tongue are often innocent of wrong intent 
that is, they do not know it is loaded. And 
when the boomerang comes back they are 
so surprised and grieved, and hurt! and they 
lift their hands in innocence and assume the 
pose of martyrdom. 

Every large newspaper-office is the scene of 
a seething discontent. Peace is never de- 
clared war reigns eternally. The public 
probably knows nothing of these plottings, 
counterplottings, curses, revilings, jealousies. 
The trouble is under the surface, just as 
much as are the loves, jealousies and heart- 
aches Below-Stairs. The impassive face of 

[19] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

Jeems, as he stands behind his master's chair, 
tells no tales. 

It is the business of Jeems to see nothing 
and everything to hear nothing and repeat 
nothing. This if he is an artist in his line, for 
woe is Jeems if he brings the troubles of 
Below-Stairs to his master's ears, hoping 
thereby to find favor. For we hate the man 
who brings us trouble. In the olden time the 
messenger who brought tidings of disaster 
paid for his temerity with his head. On the 
other hand, blessed are the feet of him who 
bringeth glad tidings; he shall be rewarded 
with a necklace of gold, and he shall choose 
for his own from the fairest daughters of 
earth. 

fl 1 have spoken of the constant friction, 
faction and fight that exist in every newspa- 
per-office. The truth of this is classic, but the 

[20] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

Underground Fight is everywhere where 
many men are gathered together in a like 
occupation. The Army is a hotbed of gossip. 
The Church is just as bad, and if a history of 
ecclesiastical rancor were written it would 
reveal an inferno of hate. And then the Sons 
of /Esculapius every blessed one of them 
carries two or three hammers in his kipsy, 
this besides the one he has constantly in 
use. In fact, the Sons have formed them- 
selves into one gigantic orchestra, and the 
only piece they play is the Anvil Chorus. 
J Newspaper-offices are mentioned because 
there the pot seems to seethe and boil and 
spit with greatest glee. Hate, jealousy and 
rage continually feed the flame. Possibly the 
reason the fires of strife are never banked in a 
newspaper-office is because the men work 
under an intense nervous pressure. There is 

[21] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

hot haste, and broken hours of rest, and 
always stimulants in way of tobacco, drink 
and drugs. Hence there are sharp answers, 
snubbings, marble faces, icy hands and bit- 
ter hearts; for despondency follows fast 
where good-cheer is reinforced with drink. 
Then beside, three-fourths of the matter 
printed in the average daily paper is a rec- 
ord of strife, and the workers become 
imbued with it. When a young man goes 
into a metropolitan newspaper-office as a 
reporter, he is given a table among forty 
other tables, where men with hats over 
their eyes write in feverish haste. Possibly 
here and there are men sitting in idleness 
with feet on the table. These men have 
done their tasks for the day and are watch- 
ing the clock, waiting for the hour when 
they are allowed to leave. Our new man not 

[22] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

having much to do, gets to talking with one 
of these idlers they go out together to get 
a drink. At the bar are other young men, 
and these are pointed out by the new-found 
friend, and jerky scraps of their history 
given, which seem to cover every crime in 
the calendar, and every phase of iniquity 
that brutish beings could devise. These so- 
called rogues are employees of the same 
concern that employs the Glib Informer. 
The Greenhorn remarks that they do not 
look so bad as that, and then he is reassured 
by facts and dates, and times and places. 
Should the Greenhorn stick to his new 
friend, he is quickly introduced into a clique 
and becomes a part of the hate and jealousy 
and cruel bickering of the place. He is 
pushed this way and that by those with 
stronger minds or more experience takes 

[23] 



part in plottings to oust certain men, not 
fully knowing why, and in a few months 
a year perhaps gets the Blue Envelope 
himself. He does not realize why he should 
be discharged, because he is not aware that 
hate and jealousy have inoculated his mind, 
and these things are beginning to reveal 
themselves in his work. The life of a man in 
any one metropolitan newspaper-office is 
very short. A year, say, is about the limit, 
when out he goes, penniless, to look for 
another job. 

Should any man hold his place for two years 
or more, it is because he has religiously 
avoided mixing in factions; he has lent his 
ear to no plots ; listened to no scandal ; bore no 
bad news; gloried in no man's downfall. 
And when you find a veteran like, say, 
Chester S. Lord of The Sun, you know 

[24] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

him to be a man who is above all idle gos- 
sip, bickering, quibbling and jealousy who 
takes no part in schemes and plots, and 
who will not harken to them in others. The 
man who can not enjoy a good position 
without plotting to dislodge some one else, 
is laying a fuse that will cause himself to be 
lifted into space very shortly. 
A ludicro-tragic feature of Chicago Tongue 
is that those who deal in it most, always are 
full of grievances and wails because, they 
allege, other folks are talking about them. 
Indeed, this is their excuse for the constant 
use of the hammer that some one is 
"knocking on them.'* They mistake the 
sound of their own hammers for that of others. 
Any man who plots another's undoing is 
digging his own grave. Every politician who 
voices innuendoes, and hints of base wrong 

[25] 



C H 1CAGO TONGUE 

about a rival, is blackening his own charac- 
ter. For a time he may seem to succeed, but 
the end is sure it is defeat and death. All 
those plotters of the French Revolution who 
worked the guillotine in double shifts were 
at last dragged to the scaffold and pushed 
under the knife. 

The hate we sow finds lodgment in our 
hearts, and the crop is nettles that Fate un- 
relentingly demands we shall gather. 
They who live by the hammer shall perish 
by the hammer. 

If you work in a department-store, a bank, 
a railroad-office, a factory, I beg of you, on 
your life, do not knock. Speak ill of no one, 
and listen to no idle tales. Whether the bit- 
ter things told are true or not, has no bear- 
ing on the issue. To repeat an unkind truth 
is just as bad as to invent a lie. If some one 

[26] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

has spoken ill of me, do not be so foolish 
as to hope to curry favor by telling me of it. 
The "housecleaning" that occurs in the offices 
of companies and corporations every little 
while comes as a necessity. In a small estab- 
lishment the head of the house can usually 
pooh-pooh the bickering out of the window; 
but in large concerns where many men are 
troubled with lint on the lungs, and every- 
body seems to have forgotten his work, just 
to "chew," then self-protection prompts the 
manager to clean house. It is the only thing 
he can do to preserve the life of the concern 
out go the bacteria. It is said that James 
Gordon Bennett, owner of the New York 
Herald t comes home from Europe, only to 
discharge, peremptorily, every employee in 
his service. At regular intervals the place 
gets honeycombed with plot and counterplot, 

[27] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

hate, jealousy and factional folly, and the 
master, having no time to sift the lies or sit 
in judgment on fishwife gossip, just cleans 
the coop from cellar to cockloft of good and. 
bad alike. 

It is very likely that if Mr. Bennett remained 
in personal charge of his estate he could 
keep the Chicago Tongue in subjection, but 
being away, hate permeates the structure and 
the Augean act is positively necessary. 
I suppose there are institutions where Chi- 
cago Tongue is to a great degree obliterated, 
through the strong personality of the man 
at the helm. I have seen schools where the 
generous spirit of one man filled the whole 
place. But the man who is great enough to 
flavor a newspaper plant with love and pa- 
tience has, I fear, not yet been found. And of 
this never for a moment doubt, that the man 

[28] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

who successfully manages a great railroad, 
bank, factory or other enterprise, is one who 
neither listens to, nor bears tales to any per- 
son of what this one says or does. He treats all 
with courtesy and fairness, and like the great 
and loving Lincoln, when his generals were 
accused, deducts seventy-five per cent from 
every accusation and throws the remainder 
in the wastebasket actions alone count. 
Where many men are employed, there are 
always some who are full of plots and of 
schemes for more pay, shorter hours or favors 
generally. They scheme to have one foreman 
"bounced** in order to have another man, 
who will help their cause, put in charge. 
Should success follow their efforts, and the 
old foreman be replaced, the first move of 
the new man will probably be to discharge 
the conspirators who helped him. 

[29] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

Men who conspire, and plot, and who lend a 
ready ear to the idea of a strike, are marked 
on every time-book for dismissal when the 
hour is ripe. And whenever you find a news- 
paper-man or a printer who spends half of 
his time looking for a job, you can rest assured 
that he is one who carries a large cargo of 
Chicago Tongue. 

You can never stand in with the boss by tell- 
ing him of those who are laggards. The only 
way you can win his favor is by setting the loaf- 
ers a pace. He knows all about the loafers 
God help him ! for if he did not he could 
never successfully manage an institution. 
No man can ever succeed who hopes to get 
a better position by defaming or dragging 
down the reputation of another. There is but 
one way to win, and that is to do your work 
well, and speak ill of no one, not even as a 

[30] 



CHICAGO TONGUE 

matter of truth. Any other course leads to 

fears, tears, woful waste of life-force, and 

oblivion. There is only one way to win the 

favor of good men, and there is only 

one way you can secure the smile of 

God, and that is to do your work 

as well as you can, and 

be kind, and 

BE KIND. 



[31] 



SO HERE ENDETH THE PREACHMENT ENTITLED 
"CHICAGO TONGUE," WRITTEN BY FRA ELBERTUS, 
AND DONE INTO A BOOK BY THE ROYCROFTERS, 
AT THEIR SHOP IN EAST AURORA, NEW YORK 







HERE 



can 



be 



no secret in 
life and mor- 
als, because 
Nature has 
provided that 
every beautiful thought you 
know and every precious 
sentiment you feel shall 
shine out of your face, so 
that all who are great 
enough may see, appreciate, 
know, understand and ap- 
propriate. You keep things 
only by giving them away.