Philander Doesticks.

Doesticks: What He Says



скачать книгу бесплатно

Paid the man with the brass door-plate on him, sixteen dollars and a half for a dirty piece of pasteboard,†Ц hung up my carpet-bag on a hook which immediately broke down, and let the aforesaid bag drop on the bonnet of a populous lady with a pair of twins, whom it completely demolished for the time Ц settled myself in my seat for a comfortable nap Ц was continually roused therefrom by the door-plate man, who seemed to have a mania for inspecting the dirty pasteboard every fifteen minutes Ц got my mouth full of dust and cinders, which I converted into a mortar-bed in my stomach by drinking warm water from the spout of a water-pot (brought round by the boy who expects you to buy his greasy apples and ancient newspapers as a compensation for the temporary dilution) Ц changed cars about twenty times, and had the satisfaction of seeing my trunk pitched about by the vindictive baggagemen at every step, as if they were under obligations to knock it to pieces in the least possible space of time. (When it arrived at the end of my journey the lock was broken, the hinges pulled off, and a large hole punched in the end, so that I found my clean shirts full of gravel, and that a piece of brick which had got in through the place where the lock had been, had been rubbed against a daguerreotype of my lady-love, thereby demolishing her left eye and scratching the top of her head off.) Rode all night; every time I would get into an uncomfortable doze the train would stop, more passengers come in, and I would have to vacate my seat to accommodate some woman with three children and a multitude of bundles (a woman in a railroad car always occupies four times as much room as she pays for, generally turning over the back of the seat next to her, and occupying one place for herself and the other three for her provisions and bandboxes) Ц then finding another place, and getting into an uneasy dream about earthquakes, wash-tubs, bass-drums, and threshing-machines, and waking up with a sudden choke when some unusually large cinder got into my mouth Ц coming to a sudden stop at some side station and finding my anatomical constituents in a most uncomfortable state of paralysis; my arms fast asleep and feeling like frozen sausages; my other extremities ditto, and with no more feeling in them than in a bass-wood log; having a dim consciousness that something was wrong, and endeavoring to navigate by means of the benumbed members before alluded to, and get out doors to see what the matter was, and in the attempt falling over the stove and knocking my teeth out against the coal-hod Ц being called at four o'clock in the morning to assist in the dismal farce of breakfast, and sitting down (with my hat on and my hands dirty in order to be in the fashion) at a long table where the crockery looks as if it had not been washed in a month, and the only visible viands are cold biscuits, hard-boiled eggs, and despairing mutton-chops struggling inextricably in a tallowy ocean Ц where the half-awake waiters bring you apple-pie in place of coffee, and pour the hot water down your back, and spill the sugar in your hair Ц where, in the midst of your second mouthful, you are called upon to suspend operations and pay half a dollar to a man with uncombed hair who gives you wild-cat paper and crossed quarters in exchange for your Yankee gold Ц and where, before the third morsel reaches your expectant lips, the bell rings, the malicious engine gives its vicious shriek, and you are hurried, swindled and starving, into the cars again.

In this delectable manner for two days and nights I was hurried, hustled, and tumbled towards my journey's end Ц reached my destination at last, crossed the North River in one of those ferry-boats which run either end first like a crab, and on my arrival was instantly attacked by a crowd of runners, was forcibly thrust into a hack, the remains of my trunk tossed at my feet, and in obedience to my panting request, I was driven to that hotel, the cognomen whereof is simultaneously suggestive of holy men and of the adversary.

VI
Seeing the Lions Ц Barnum's Museum

As soon as I had become comfortably established as a citizen of New York, and had replaced the straw hat with a green ribbon, which decorated my head at the time of my metropolitan advent, by a shining beaver with white fur on the under side; had run in debt for a new suit of clothes, and sold my trunk to buy a set of gold shirt-studs, I began to assume that knowing air of superiority which ever distinguishes the thorough-bred city man from his country cousins.

I made up my mind to devote the next six months of my valuable time, to seeing the sights, and becoming acquainted with the celebrities of the town.

To this end I proposed to visit the various places of amusement, to go on excursions, join volunteer companies, run to fires, in short, to make myself ever present, wherever there was anything to be seen, to which the verdant eyes of a backwoods Wolverine were unaccustomed.

I addressed myself a speech wherein I remarked, "Phil, you have now been a resident of this city long enough to know something of the localities thereto appertaining Ц know where the City Hall is Ц ditto Hospital. Also where the Astor House is generally located Ц can tell the general direction of Mercer and Bowery streets from the Crystal Palace Ц and can at most times of day point out Trinity Church with a tolerable degree of accuracy.

"But there are, nevertheless, sundry other points of interest, with which you should become familiar, and divers other objects whose names you should remember, that hereafter you may not mistake a Grand Street stage for a perambulating Circus wagon; or again, point out the Wall Street Ferry House to a friend and assure him it is the Hippodrome building, but be able after this to give reliable and correct information on these points to all who ask."

Accordingly, since that time, I have striven hard to acquire such a knowledge of the city that I could find any of the theatres without a Directory, and get home at any time of night without the escort of a Policeman.

Have been to the Battery, for which I paid a shilling to the dilapidated Hibernian who attends the iron portal Ц afterwards visited (by particular desire,) the cocked-hat shaped Sahara known as the "City Hall Square" Ц saw the splendid fountain with its symmetrical basin filled with golden fishes (as I was credibly informed) Ц I could not exactly perceive them myself Ц in the midst of its elegant miniature forest (yet in its infancy) Ц gazed with admiration at the ancient structure denominated the City Hall Ц said to have been built by the ancient Greeks, of which I have not the slightest doubt, as all the avenues leading thereto were thronged with modern Greeks, whose general costume was not so classically correct as I could have wished Ц looked at the glorious fountain which adorns the centre of the spacious lawn Ц admired the magnificent proportions of the vast forest trees which rear their lofty forms therein Ц gazed long and earnestly at the glittering jet (not quite so lofty as I had been led to suppose,) of the magnificent fountain which embellishes the princely grounds Ц then turned to look at a circular edifice, which, I confess, did not strike me as being remarkable for architectural beauty, but which undoubtedly is exceedingly useful Ц then turned to feast my wondering eyes upon the diamond-glittering drops of a fountain near at hand; looked with much approbation upon the wide and spacious avenues, and the clearly gravelled walks, and also at a fountain near by, which I think I have before mentioned; surveyed the other fine buildings near at hand, which adorn and beautify that triangular piece of earth; and ever returned with constantly increasing gratification to view a beautiful lake in the centre thereof, from the midst of which burst forth in aqueous glory the waters of a fountain; soon, convinced that I had seen my money's worth, prepared to leave Ц casting one longing, lingering look behind (as my friend L. E. G. Gray says,) at the glorious old classic ruin, the hall, and the pluvial splendors of the fountain.

Went out, but looking back, perceived that in the splendid park I had just left, there rose in "misty majesty" (vide somebody,) the jet of a fountain. Resolved to return and have another look at the ivied and crumbling ruins, and also to inspect minutely a fountain which I now perceived hard by.

Wishing to be perfectly posted up, I went to the Post office (the Evening Post office), and obtained a paper containing the latest news of the day, and also a list of entertainments for the evening. Desiring to see the Museum, of which I had read, and also to behold Barnum, of whom I had heard some mention, in connection, I think, with one Thomas Thumb, and Joice Heth, an antiquated and venerable lady, colored (who afterwards died), I determined instantly to visit that place of delectation, "perfectly regardless of expense."

Arrived at the door, man demanded a quarter, but, like Byron's Dream, "I had no further change," so was necessitated to get a bill broke; offered him Washtenaw, but that was too effectually broke to suit his purpose. Got in somehow, after a lengthy delay, and some internal profanity.

Soon after my entrance, young man, attired in a dress-coat, a huge standing collar, and a high hat, introduced himself as "A. Damphool, Esq.," gentleman of leisure, and man about town. Having never before had any experience of a class of individuals who compose, I am told, a large proportion of the masculine population of the city, I eagerly embraced the opportunity of making his acquaintance.

He also presented his friend "Mr. Bull Dogge," and we three then proceeded to view the curiosities; we commenced with the double-barreled nigger baby (which Bull Dogge says is an illegitimate devil),†Ц went on to the Rhinoceros (who is always provided with a horn, Barnum's temperance talk to the contrary nevertheless) Ц the Happy Family Ц the two-legged calf, (B. D. says it is not the only one in the city), a red darkey Ц a green Yankee Ц a white Irishman (Damphool says that this latter individual is an impossibility, and could only have originated with Barnum) Ц wax-figure of a tall man in a blue coat, with a star on his breast, (Damphool says it is a policeman, who was found when he was wanted; but Bull Dogge says there was never any such person, and that the whole story is a Gay fable,) found by the programme that it is supposed to represent Louis Napoleon; never knew before that he had one eye black, and one blue (Bull Dogge asserts that the usual custom is to have one eye both black and blue); wax model of the railroad man who swindled the community (now living on his money, and president of the Foreign Mission Society for the suppression of pilfering on the Foo-Foo Islands); wax figure of the abandoned, dissolute, and totally depraved woman, who filched half a loaf of bread to give her hungry children, and who was very properly sent to Blackwell's Island for it Ц also of the City Contractor who did clean the streets Ц (Damphool states that he is residing at Utica).

Saw a great multitude of monkeys, streaked face, white face, black face, hairy face, bald face (Bull Dogge prefers the latter), with a great assortment of tails, differing in length, and varying as to color, long tails, short tails, stump tails, ring tails, wiry tails, curly tails, tails interesting and insinuating, tails indignant and uncompromising, big tails, little tails, bob tails, (Damphool suggests Robert narratives), and no tails (Bull Dogge says that some effeminate descendants of this latter class now promenade Broadway, and he swears that they have greatly degenerated in intelligence); pictures, paddles, pumpkins, carriages, corals, lava, boats, breeches, boa constrictors, shells, oars, snakes, toads, butterflies, lizards, bears, reptiles, reprobates, bugs, bulls, bells, bats, birds, petrifactions, putrefactions, model railroads, model churns, model gridirons, model artists, model babies, cockneys, cockades, cockroaches, cocktails, scalps, Thomashawks, Noah's ark, Paganini's fiddle, Old Grimes's coat, autocrats, autobiographies, autographs, chickens, cheeses, codfish, Shanghais, mud-turtles, alligators, moose, mermaids, hay-scales, scale armor, monsters, curiosities from Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Beaverdam, Chow Sing, Tchinsing, Linsing, Lansing, Sing Sing, cubebs, cart wheels, mummies, heroes, poets, idiots, maniacs, benefactors, malefactors, pumps, porcupines and pill machines, all mingled, mixed, and conglomerated, like a Connecticut chowder, or the Jew soup of the Witches in Macbeth.

Upstairs at last, and into an adolescent theatre, christened a Lecture Room, (Damphool says it is known as the Deacon's Theatre, and that all his pious namesakes attend). Saw the play, laughed, cried, and felt good all over. Much pleased with a bit of fun originating in a jealous fireman, and terminating in a free fight.

Fireman Mose saw Rose, his sweetheart, with Joe, the hackman; got jealous, pitched into him Ц fun Ц thought of Tom Hood, and went off at half-cock Ц thus Ч

Enter Rose with Joe Ц sees Mose Ц Mose beaus Rose; Rose knows those beaux foes Ц Joe's bellicose Ц so's Mose Ц Mose blows Joe's nose Ц Joe's blows pose Mose Ц Rose Oh's Ц Mose hoes Joe's rows Ц Joe's blows chose Mose's nose Ц Mose shows Joe's nose blows Ц Joe's nose grows rose Ц Mose knows Joe's nose shows those blows Ц Joe goes Ц Mose crows.

Joe being whipped, and moreover being the only innocent one in the whole fight, was arrested by the vigilant and efficient police.

Damphool says that Joe treated the Emerald conservators of the public quiet, and is again at large.

Let Mose beware.

VII
Model Boarding Houses

Immediately upon my arrival in the city of Newsboys and Three-cent Stages, I proceeded, as is hereinbefore mentioned, to the white-faced Hotel which is surmounted by the bird called Shanghai, who seems from the top of his lofty perch where he roosts in unreachable security, to crow over neighboring boroughs, and exult in the great glory of the Manhattan Island. It required, however, but a few days to weary of the "constant noise and confusion" of this saintly mansion, and to become sick of the eternal presence of men in white aprons who are everywhere at the same time, and who are, mathematically speaking, a constant quantity.

These waiters are certainly ubiquitous; at the table there is one at each elbow, at night a stranger is escorted to bed by a grand procession, and one pulls off his boots while another unbuttons his shirt-collar, and a third lights the gas and turns down the bed-clothes; a waiter meets you at the door, another takes away your overcoat and gives it to a waiter who presents you with a brass check for it Ц there are waiters in the bar, in the washroom, in the barber-shop, in the cellar, in the reading-room; waiters running races through the halls all night; there is always a snowy neckerchief and an outstretched palm when you leave the premises, and on sunshiny days there is invariably a distant glimpse of a white-jacket on the roof of the house.

As soon after my arrival as I could collect my senses, and knew enough not to take every M. P. for a foreign ambassador, and pull off my hat to the Star, I deemed it advisable to search for lodgings more quiet, and not so expensive.

It took about a fortnight to restore my mind to its accustomed serenity, and then having become, to a certain extent, a fixture in this high old town, it became necessary to search out a fit habitation, wherein I might eat, sleep, change my shirt (Damphool blushes), and attend to the other comforts of the external homo, and the inner individual.

My friend Bull Dogge having deserted his late place of residence, (on account of the perpetual reign of salt mackerel at the breakfast table), we started together on a voyage of discovery. To describe all the dilapidated gentlewomen, whose apartments we inspected Ц all the many inducements which were used to persuade us to take up our quarters in all sorts of musty smelling rooms, and to recount how many promises we made to "call again," would take too much time.

Suffice it to say, that at six o'clock in the evening, wearied out and desperate, we cast anchor in the domicile of an Irish lady with one eye. She assured us that her boarders were all "rispictible, and found their own tibaccy, and that there was divil a bug in the place."

We took adjoining rooms, and resignedly went down to tea.

I noticed that my cup had evidently sustained a compound comminuted fracture, and been patched up with putty (which came off in my tea) Ц that the bread was scant Ц the butter powerful Ц the tea, "on the contrary, quite the reverse," Ц however, although matters looked somewhat discouraging Ц "hoping against hope" Ц we retired to our respective rooms.

Horror of horror!! O! most horrible!!! I was besieged Ц had I been Sebastopol itself I could not have been attacked with more vigor, or by more determined and bloodthirsty enemies.

For two hours I maintained a sanguinary combat with an odoriferous band of determined cannibal insects Ц armed only with a fire-shovel, I gallantly kept up the unequal conflict Ц but the treacherous implement broke at the critical moment; I thought I should be compelled to yield Ц despair filled all my senses Ц my heart failed me Ц my brain grew dizzy with horror Ц hurried thoughts of enemies unpardoned Ц of duties neglected Ц and of errors committed, rushed across my mind Ц a last thought of cherished home and absent friends was in my heart, and with a hasty prayer for mercy and forgiveness, was at the point of yielding, when my frantic eye caught sight of my cast-iron boot-jack. With an exclamation of pious gratitude to heaven, (Bull Dogge says it did not sound so to him), I seized it, and with the desperate strength of a dying man I renewed the battle, and eventually came off victorious and triumphant. Weary with slaughter, I fell exhausted on the bed, and slept till morning; Bull Dogge, who had been engaged in the same delightful occupation, appeared at the breakfast table with one eye black, and his face spotted like a he-tiger. We held a council of war, and resolved instantly to quit the premises of the Emerald Islander, who had agreed to "lodge and eat" us (the she-Cyclops), and who had so nearly fulfilled the latter clause by proxy.

Another search and another home. Here for a week things went on tolerably well; the steak was sometimes capable of mastication, the coffee wasn't always weak, nor the butter always strong; but one day there appeared at breakfast a dish of beef, (Bull Dogge asserts that it was the fossil remains of an omnibus horse) Ц it was not molested; at dinner it made its appearance again, still it was not disturbed; at tea fragments of it were visible, but it yet remained untouched; in the morning a tempting looking stew made its appearance, but, alas! it was only a weak invention of the enemy to conceal the ubiquitous beef; at dinner a meat-pie enshrined a portion of the aforesaid beef; it went away unharmed.

For a week, every day, at every meal, in every subtle form, in some ingenious disguise, still was forced upon our notice this omnipresent beef; it went through more changes than Harlequin in the Pantomime, and like that nimble individual came always out uninjured.

At the end of the second day Bull Dogge grumbled to himself; the third he spoke "out in meeting;" the fourth he growled audibly; the fifth he had an hour's swear to himself in his own room; the sixth, seventh, and eighth, he preserved a dignified silence; but his silence was ominous, on the ninth day we both left.

Our next landlady had a gigantic mouth, but her nose was a magnificent failure. We stayed with her a week, and left because she seemed to be possessed of the idea that one sausage was enough for two men. For a month longer we ran the gauntlet of all the model boarding-houses. We were entrapped by all kinds of alluring promises, and perpetually swindled without any regard to decency; we had a taste of Yankee, French, Dutch, and, I have mentioned it before, (ye gods!), Irish; and we lived four days in an establishment presided over by a red-eyed darkey, with a wife the color of a new saddle.

At last one day in an agony of despair I exclaimed, "Where, O where can humbugged humanity find a decent place to feed?" Echo answered, "In the eating-houses." We resolved to try it, and the result is glorious. We have achieved a victory, sir, an heroic, unexpected victory.

And now farewell, all scrawny landladies, ye snuffy beldames, with your wooden smiles; farewell, ye viviparous bedsteads, ye emaciated feather beds, and ye attenuated bolsters; a long good-bye to scant blankets and mattresses stuffed with shavings; farewell to hirsute butter and to ancient bread; good-bye (I say it with a tear,) ye immortal, everlasting beef; farewell to sloppy coffee and to azure milk (Damphool says, not yet); farewell ye antediluvian pies, and you lilliputian puddings; farewell you two-inch napkins, and ye holy table-cloths; farewell ye empty grates and rusty coal-scuttles; farewell ye cracked mirrors which make a man look like a drunken Satyr; farewell ye respectable chairs with dislocated limbs; farewell ye fractured teacups, ye broken forks, and knives with handsaw edges; farewell, in fact, all ye lodging houses, where you can't have a latch-key, and where you can tell when they get a new hired girl by the color of the hairs in the biscuit.



скачать книгу бесплатно

страницы: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16