MIRACLE MAN—and OTHERS
An Anecdotal Tour of Most of the Globe, with COL. GEO. H. HAM
THE day of miracles is not past. Ever since Christ raised the dead, healed His suffering suppliants, gave voice to the dumb, sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf; ever since He turned water into wine at the marriage feast at Cana and fed the multitude with five loaves of bread and two small fishes, down through the long ages, miracles have been wrought. There were many sincere believers in them, but there were more scoffers and doubters. As it was then, so it is with the world to-day. Time was, especially in recent years, that many non-Catholics sincerely believed that these alleged miracles existed merely in the untutored minds of the superstitious followers of the Roman Catholic Church.
A Man Who Mastered Self
ALFRED BESSETTE was born at St. Grégoire d’lber• ville, P.Q., on August 9th, 1845, and in his early youth was known always as “a good, quiet boy.” He was a most dutiful son, a regular attendant at religious exercises, and in every way was looked upon as an exemplary youth. After the death of his mother, he entered, in 1870, the Congregation of the Holy Cross, a famous teaching order of the Catholic Church: was assigned to, and faithfully performed for upwards of forty years, the duties of a porter, messenger, etc., at the Côté des Neiges Boys’ College, located on the outskirts of the city of Montreal. He had not the advantage of an education that is given freely to the youths of to-day, but he possessed other marvellous qualities that have brought him prominently before the world. He is still of a modest, retiring disposition, a recluse who knows the full meaning of scanty fare—dry bread and water with sometimes a little fruit—and a hard pallette. But the long years of fasting and praying, and dealing continuously with the most distressing cases of disease, accident and trouble, have not given him a gloomy disposition. He looks upon earthly things with bright eyes, is light-hearted, jovial at times, and hugely appreciates a good joke. His position is no sinecure, for at the shrine he is kept busy from early morning till late into the night listening to the sad tales poured out by the sick and the maimed and the blind. So heavy has the work become that in addition to Brother André, six priests as secretaries
But the wonderful works of divine healers of the Protestant faith—notably Rev. Mr. Hickson, an Anglican, and Mrs. McPherson of another Protestant denomination, in different places in Canada and the United States— have largely dispelled that idea, and thousands upon thousands of intellectual people of different nationalities and of different creeds are to-day firmly convinced that the healer has an almost supernatural Divine power which is exercised for the benefit of suffering humanity.
Shrines throughout the world have existed for centuries, and some of them gained a world-wide reputation for the remarkable cures and conversions that have been claimed for them. Of these, perhaps Lourdes in France and Sainte Anne de Beaupré, near the City of Quebec, have acquired the greatest fame. It is not of these, however, that I am writing, but of the unpretentious little shrine of St. Joseph on Mount Royal at Montreal where the priest is Brother André, the Miracle Man, whose great work relieving the suffering of their ills for many years has been testified to by hundreds upon hundreds of people who have been restored to health and happiness by his intercession and prayers. He is a remarkable man, with no pretensions whatever of being other than the humble instrument of a higher power through which he is permitted to do good to his fellow-men.
and five brothers are constantly engaged in receiving and acknowledging the never-ending stream of letters from all over the civilized world, imploring temporal and spiritual assistance. Sometimes as many as four hundred communications a day have been received. These requests are read to Brother André and are also repeated at the daily services in the church where the congregation unite in prayers for all those imploring aid.
Youth With Strange Power AS ALFRED BESSETTE (who had taken in religion the name of Brother André) grew up, he displayed a mysterious power that was soon heralded around the countryside. Amongst his earliest miracles was that of healing several victims of smallpox during the epidemic forty-seven years ago. Another is mentioned as having occurred over thirty years ago, when a young student was badly injured in a game of ball. Before medical assistance could be secured Brother André successfully applied ‘‘first aid to the injured” and when the doctor arrived the patient was again playing ball. Other cures of a minor nature were effected by him, and these gave him a local notoriety. The first major miracle that brought him wider fame occurred in 1910, when Mr. Martin Hannon, a C.l’.R. employee at Quebec, who was the victim of a serious accident two years previously by which his legs and feet were terribly crushed through heavy marble blocks falling upon them, visited him. Hannon had been unable to walk without crutches, and on crutches he went to Brother
André, who rubbed his mangled limbs with holy oil and prayed over him, and then told him to throw his crutches away, for he was cured. Hannon dispensed with his crutches and walked then and since without even the use of a cane. The following day he visited La Patrie office, told of his miraculous cure, and Brother André’s reputation as a Miracle Man spread afar. I could not tell you of the multitudes that have sought Brother André’s intercession and prayers, comparatively few unavailingly, but I have seen two instances myself, in each of which what appeared to be serious cases were restored to health. One, a young lady from Plattsburg, N.Y., who had walked on crutches for seventeen years, after a visit to Brother André, handed her crutches to her maid and walked unassisted several yards to her automobile. Another was a young lady from near Tupper Lake, N.Y., who was cured of paralysis and who told me in the Windsor St. station how, after seeing Brother André, she was able for the first time in several years, to use her limbs freely. But a still greater miracle, to my lay mind, was one of more recent date, and word of it came from London, England, in a letter from an old friend who is the wife of an Irish nobleman, once a member of the British House of Commons, and who, while visiting Montreal last autumn, accompanied me to the shrine, and carried away with her oils and images of St. Joseph and other souvenirs. But here is her letter referring to the miracle:
“I have a little story you may like to tell Brother André. When I came home in November, I found a letter from a young friend I had not seen since he was in a perambulator. It was to ask my prayers for his mother who was dying, from the effects of an accident. Her foot caught as she was going down a very steep flight of stairs to the Underground Railway, at Baker street, and she fell the whole length Of it, hitting her head and one of her knees very badly. When she was conscious she was taken home, and for three or four days declared she was only severely bruised and shaken. Then suddenly she went clean out of her senses and knew no one and raved about people dead long ago, and she called for me in my maiden name, as I used to know her when I was a girl. It was that that put it into her son’s head to write to me that she was not supposed to live very long and the doctors had very little hope of her. I was told she was in a mental hospital, and that she did not know her son when he went to see her. I asked permission to go there, and was given leave. They told me she could utter nothing but gibberish, and was very weak. When I came to her bedside, I would not have recognized her, but I looked straight into her eyes and told her I was ‘Alice.’ Then she caught my hand and held it convulsively, and her poor tongue and lips were uttering an incomprehensible jumble over and over again. At last I hit upon it; she was repeating over and over again a prayer in Polish her mother had taught her as a child. I recognized two of (he words (her mother tvas a Pole, a Princess). ... I told the nurse she was saying a prayer in Polish and she was not able to say anything else. Í sat by her for some time, and as her memory of years ago seemed to be the only workable part in her brain, I asked her in French was she suffering pain? And at once she responded and said 'No, not at all,’ and then went off in the ejaculatory prayer. The nurse moved off, and I moved my hand into my pocket and brought out Frère Aiidré’s little bottle of blessed oil, and I made the sign of the Cross with a little of the oil on her, and St. Joseph’s medal in my hand. And I just asked if there was any merit in Frère André’s prayers that this poor woman might be restored to health for her only son’s sake.
I came away. The nurse thought it a bad case. I went to Ireland for three weeks, and on my return sent a ’phone message to the son, fearing he would tell me his mother was dead. But to my joy he said she had completely recovered, and was now at a rest home to get up her strength. Tell Brother André that. You must also tell him to pray for peace in Ireland.”
All Faiths Among Patrons
YOU would be surprised if I were to tell you that, in proportion to the number that have applied, probably more Protestants than Roman Catholics have successfully procured aid at this now well-known shrine. And yet it
From the primitive little Oratory of St. Joseph, on the western slope of Mount Royal, there has grown a crypt of large dimensions, in which divine service is daily held, and in the magnificent stained glass windows, the statuary, and the other handsome offerings are evidences of the deep and fervent gratitude of those who have been made whole. Overshadowing this is shortly to be erected an imposing massive structure which is to be dedicated as a Basilica in honor of St. Joseph, the holy Patriarch of Nazareth, and which is to be one of the world’s grandest and most magnificent edifices, and to which immense pilgrimages of the maimed and the halt and the sick and the distressed and heavy-burdened will hopefully come for spiritual comfort and bodily relief.
And all this magnificent grandeur of marble and gold and silver and precious stones, picturesquely environed by all the wealth of the scenic splendor of the historic mountainside, springs from the unfathomable work of the poor little habitant lad whose whole simple life has been devoted to humbly and faithfully following in the footsteps of the Master.
On the Operating Table
EVER been a patient in a hospital? No? Well, I’ve been in them six times—and not always a patient. Sometimes I was an impatient. For a person really ill or injured the hospital is the proper place. My first experience in one was at the Montreal Western Hospital in 1905. I had just arrived from the Pacific Coast by way of St. Paul and Toronto, suffering most intense pain, but utterly oblivious of the cause of the trouble. At Glenwood Lake in Dakota we—I was with a party of United States newspaper men from Washington, D.C.—stopped for a sail on that beautiful water. The craft was a gasoline motor and the boat round and about the engine was saturated with gasoline. The combined captain, pilot and crew was an inveterate cigarette fiend, and the way he lit his “coffin nails” and unconcernedly threw the still-burning matches on the deck was a holy fright. I said to Jerry Jermayne, of the Seattle Times, who sat beside me, as I pointed to the overcast sky, “I wonder, Jerry, what’s beyond those clouds?” “Why do you ask?” he inquired. Racked with pain my rejoinder came, “Well, if that fellow keeps on throwing those lighted matches on this tinder wood, we’ll be going up there—if we don’t go the other way!”
But nothing happened, and after a couple of days and nights of agonizing pain, we reached Toronto, where goodby and God-speed were wished to our American friends. Next morning I was home and still unaware of what painfully ailed me. I sent for Dr. England, who hurriedly called in consultation Dr. Jim Bell, as good an authority on the human anatomy as ever lived. Naturally, I watched their faces as they returned from the consultation after having examined me, and I saw from their drawn facial expression that trouble loomed ahead. They told me I had appendicitis and that an operation to remove the appendix was absolutely and immediately necessary.
My father had died of appendicitis— only it wasn’t known by that name then, but as inflammation of the bowels and my eldest son, Van, succumbed to an operation, and I said to myself,
“Three times and out.” But out loud I mentioned to the doctors: “Well, if you have to take out my appendix, go on and do your worst, but for goodness sake, leave me my preface and table of contents.”
Shortly after the operation, which was a serious one, was performed. I will never forget the awful darkness that over shadowed me as the opiate took effect. My last thought was: “This is eternity.” When I recovered from the effects of the narcotic, I found myself in a darkened room and wondered where 1 was and what it was all about. The kindly-featured nurse quickly discovered that my consciousness had returned, and came to my bedside, and then I remembered everything. “But why this dark room. It was early morning when they operated on me, but now it can’t be night.”
“No, it isn’t,” she seriously responded, “but we were afraid of the shock you might get.”
“Why, what shock?”
“Well, there was a big fire just across the street and we were afraid if you awoke, and saw the flames, you might think that the operation hadn’t been successful.”
That shows you what it is to have a reputation.
A Really “Substantial” Breakfast
TWO years later I was in the hospital again for an operation for hernia, and an incision was made in the same place as the previous one. The morning of the operation, I arose early and hobbled down stairs for a bath, to do which I had to pass the bedroom door of the matron— the sister of a high-titled Canadian now in London. You know, or perhaps you don’t know, that just previous to an operation, the patient is given no more food than would keep a sparrow from starving. But, like a son of Belial, I rapped thunderingly at the matron’s door, and she hopped out of bed and rushed to answer the apparently important summons. When she saw me she anxiously wanted to know what was the matter.
“The matter—well, I want to tell you that you keep a mighty punk boarding-house. My breakfast—”
“W’hat,” she exclaimed in holy horror, “did they give you a breakfast this morning?”
“Of course they did.”
“And what did they give you?”
“Oh, I said nonchalantly, “I had a shave, and a bath, a glass of water, and a copy of this morning’sGazeiie.”
When next the matron saw me I was languidly smoking a cigarette and dangling my legs on the operating table. And the look she gave me was as sharp as the doctor’s knife. In a week’s time, I was taken home in an ambulance and several cart drivers, out of morbid curiosity, jumped off their vehicles and on to mine, but when the third one impudently glared at me, I yelled out “smallpox” and, they all instantly skedaddled. One fellow, thank goodness, bruised his epidermis.
An Afternoon of Gloom
THE next time the hospital wards housed me was out in Vancouver, where I had acquired a pretty badly smashed knee while witnessing a lacrosse match at New Westminster where that club played the Shamrocks of Montreal. Thanksgiving Day came round about a week after, and it was a dour, gloomy day, and my game leg ached worse than ever. After a very light lunch, Denah O’Connor, my pretty Irish nurse, quietly informed me that I was to have no evening meal. I thought that dreary afternoon would never come to an end, and conjured up all sorts of things. Would they cut off my leg above the knee, or below the thigh, and would not it be better and save a lot of bother if they knifed me around the neck. Fivethirty came—six o’clock—six-thirty—seven and no visible signs of even tea and toast. I was sure then what was coming and when I heard a bustling outside I said to myself, “There come my executioners, and they’re bringing the undertakers with them just to save time.” * * * * These asterisks, kind reader, represent my unprintable thoughts. And then the door opened and in came two Japanese boys with a huge hamper sent to me by the people of the Vancouver hotel. The hamper contained everything from soup to nuts, and there was enough to feed a dozen people. The nurses and some other patients were called in, the banqueting board was spread, the aching
THERE are two short stories in the February 15 issue of MACLEAN’S in which readers of Canada’s National Magazine ivill be particularly interested. Each story is written by a young Canadian, back from overseas, who will make his mark in vigorous fiction.
You will know Leslie Gordon Barnard—he wrote “First Row, Orchestra,” and other graphic stories of Canadian city life. He lives and writes in Montreal, and don’t miss his “THE QUEER TOFF IN No. IS," lohich will appear February 15. It’s a human story of a blind man who almost “pegged out,” until a wonderful love drew him back from things ethereal.
There’s another story, too, which will show every guiding nde has its exception. Most editors have decided the public won’t read stories with any war atmosphere. But, when you read “THE CROSS IN THE SKY,” by R. T. M. Scott, you’ll realize that here’s a psychic story, simply, forcefully told, that’s really worth reading. This is Mr. Scott’s first piece of fiction in MACLEAN’Sbut there’ll be more.
pains thoughtfully diminished, and we had a whale of a time. I was out of the hospital three days later.
Down in Pictou, Nova Scotia, I was laid up with a very serious attack of rheumatism, and my attending physician was Dr. McMillan, a brother of Duncan McMillan, then
M.P. for Middlesex, Ontario, whom I knew very well. After the third daily visit, the doctor came two or three times a day, and I anxiously asked him one day if I was so seriously ill that such frequent visits were necessary. “Not at all, old man, not at all. But I like to hear you talk of the doings at Ottawa and of my brother Duncan. You’ll be out in a couple of days.”
Thus doubt and uncertainty and anxiety were quickly dispelled.
Galled Me the “Queen of the May”
OUT in the Winnipeg hospital, where I had an attack of pneumonia for a change, another patient was enjoying the weird pleasures that only delirium tremens can furnish the devotees of Bacchus. He would insist on visiting me, and quickly ascertaining that the arm of a big chair was loose, always grabbed it, and the way he slashed it around was a caution. I had plenty of exercise dodging that chair-arm without leaving my bed. Of course, he wouldn’t have hit me for the world, but people with the D. T.’s have a largely distorted vision, and I didn’t know exactly at what juncture he would mistake my pillow for a whale or myself for a fiery dragon. He compromised when the matron came in¿ and led him out by the ear, notwithstanding his incessant pleading that he owned the hospital, and that I was to be the Queen of the May. So you see, even illness has its compensating advantages.
Of course other accidents happened to me and there was no hospital to give treatment. A broken foot in a football game, a broken finger at cricket, and a couple of broken ribs in a bath-tub were amongst them. The latter occurred on a fine Sunday morning when I was getting ready to go to the train to meet Miss Agnes Laut, the well-known Canadian writer, who was then living in New York. A piece of soap—now I know why so many hate soap-and kerflump I went against the porcelain side of the tub. It pained a good deal, but I didn’t know the full meaning of my mishap until evening when the doctor came and telling me I had two broken ribs, proceeded to put that part of my body in plaster. . Just then I remembered an appointment made with Brent Macnab for next day, and sent a note that I had been laid up with a couple of broken ribs and informing him that: “While it’s not as bad a smash as that of the Ville Marie bank, I was in plaster and never felt so stuck up in my life.”
Down in Washington
WASHINGTON, the capital of the great United States, is one of the finest cities in the Union. It is well laid out, has fine residential and business sections, and the Capitol itself occupies a commanding position. The city is the great political centre of the Republic and a swell social centre as well. It is a pleasant place to visit, especially if one has lots of friends like I have—the boys of the press gallery and some who are just ordinary, and a few who are not ordinary statesmen. Before the Civil war, it was an almost entirely southern city—but of course it is not now.
Under the big dome of the Capitol is a rotunda on whose walls are pictured historic scenes. One is of Pocahontas, where one of the figures has six fingers on the one hand, and in another work of art two girls are painted, and I’ll be hanged if one of them hasn’t got three arms—one hanging by her side and another around her companion’s waist and— the third around that young lady’s neck. Suppose the artist didn’t like the lay of the second arm and after painting the third forgot to remove the other. The artist’s error has never been corrected.
The dinners of the Gridiron Club at Washington were swell affairs, and the press men had as their guests some of the biggest men in the land. One time I was present. It was during the scandal when prominent people for obvious reasons were accused of paying big money to have their portraits published in the New York Town Topics. Elihu Root, perhaps the brainiest man in the United States political life of the time, but whose cast of countenance was the reverse of jovial, began a speech this way: “At the last Cabinet council. (President Roosevelt quickly looked at him in surprise at his publicly mentioning the doings of a cabinet in privatesession) when you, Mr. President, and we considered (the President very uneasily twisted and turned in his chair)' that is, we were considering the advisability (Mr. President looked daggers at him for daring to publicly repeat what was always considered confidential, but Mr. Root went unconcernedly on) theadvisability of getting—of getting our pictures in Tonm Topics—”
The rest of the sentence was lost in the wild hilarious . shouts that filled the room.
William H. Taft, afterwards President Taft, and a man, of great humor, spoke at another gathering. He was then a member of the Roosevelt cabinet—and he claimed that his “rotundity of person was looming larger in the public eye than the President’s teeth.” And Teddy did have prominent molars.
I heard Mr. Harriman, the widely known railway magnate, try to make a speech, and, after a minute or so, get entirely lost, stick his hands in his pockets, and aimlessly wander around, vainly endeavoring to say something or other, which he couldn’t remember. He was a man of brains, but not of gab. Then Pierpont Morgan, able as he was, couldn’t make an after-dinner speech, for while he was long on money, he was short on language. But everybody was vociferously applauded all the same.
Case of “Much Wants More” r~\URING the Spanish-American war there was great excitement in Boston and all along the coast of the New England states. A cruiser which had patrolled the coast was suddenly ordered elsewhere and the New Englanders, fearing a hostile visit from the enemy, deluged Washington with telegrams and letters and delegations demanding protection at once. I happened to be in Washington at the time, and was accompanying Eddie Hood, of the Associated Press, in his daily round of the Government offices. We dropped into the office of Mr. John Hay,
Secretary of State, and there met his assistant, Mr. John Bassett Moore, who afterwards succeeded Mr. Hay. He looks like an Englishman, but isn’t one. After a short stay we were about to leave when Mr. Moore asked us to wait a minute, and disappeared into an adjoining room. On returning, a minute or so later, he asked me if I would like to meet Mr. Hay, and immediately ushered me into his presence. Mr. Hay had a keen piercing eye, and he looked at me searchingly. Then he said, “Mr.
Ham, you are from Canada.
Would you do me a favor?” Of course I would if I could. “Well,” he went on, “the people of Boston and New England are deluging me with all sorts of messages and delegations are demanding that a cruiser that patrolled their coast line, which we had to send elsewhere, should be replaced at once.
That is impossible, but I want to assure them that they will be protected from any Spanish fleet. Could you get me a daily message from Halifax reporting the approach of any Spanish men-of-war?”
I told him I would try, and he gave me the address to which the messages were to be sent. I looked it up and it was the residence of Mr. Wilkie, the head of the U.S. secret service—although his was not the name given. I went to Halifax, and saw Charlie Philps, the local C.P.R. representative, who arranged with the look-out men at the signal station to keep him informed. Every morning a wire was sent: “All’s well.” On the first of every month, a man came into my office and handed me an envelope in which was $100 in brand new U.S. currency which had never before been used. There was no name, but I had a number, which identified me at Washington. This money was forwarded to Halifax to be divided between the four signal men. All went smoothly until all danger of an attack was past, when I was notified that there was no further necessity for the messages. When I conveyed this intelligence to the look-out men, instead of thanks for putting what is called “velvet” in their pockets, I received a letter abusing me like a pickpocket for not continuing the service. Oh, well—perhaps I may get a war medal or some other decoration from Washington some of these days, but I am not banking on it.
At the old Willard Hotel, Jimmy Anderson, the colored porter, put one over me. My room was chilly, and Jimmy came daily and lighted a fire. He told me a sad, sad tale about his wife and children having in the far past been
stolen by the Georgia men (men from Georgia) and his life had been one of long suffering sorrow and lonesomeness ever since. The tears trickled down his wrinkled cheeks and he appealed to me so pitifully that I gave him a couple of dollars and temporarily soothed his saddened heart. In about a year I was again at the old Willard, and roomed on the same floor. Meeting the motherly housekeeper one morning, I asked her as to the whereabouts of Jimmy. She enquired if I wanted to see him, to which I replied in the affirmative. The tale Jimmy told me of his kidnapped family had scarcely been commenced, when she laughingly interrupted by saying, “And he told you that terrible story of his wife and children being stolen? Why, the old rascal is over at Atlantic City now with his wife and eleven youngsters, all fat and hearty.” Whereat we both laughed and my deep interest in Jimmy and his woes took a decided slump.
One day Ned Farrer and I were wandering around Chevy Chase, just outside the city, when we casually ran across a fine old type of a Southern gentleman. Entering into conversation he told us we were on historic ground; it. was here a group of Confederate soldiers during the Civil War gathered, coming by way of Georgetown, with the avowed purpose of making a quick dash on the White House, kidnapping President Lincoln, and hurriedly carrying him away. That night was a misty one, and the scouts sent out mistook the haycocks, which were in plenty, for the tents of the northern soldiers. Imagining that their venture could not be successfully carried out, they quickly re-
treated, and sadly said our new-found friend: "Idon’t understand how we ever made such an awful blunder.”
He had been one of the foiled Southern troops and a Colonel at that.
Some Anecdotes A WARM personal friend, who has been reading these reminiscences, very kindly writes me his appreciation of them, and adds a few incidents which he thinks I had forgotten. Here they are in all their glory and exaggeration. He says:
“I ran across an American mining man, Col. Jack Ormsby, in Toronto, who told me a typical ‘George Ham Story.’ It appears that the two colonels were traveling together from New York to Washington. Never having met up before, they introduced each other in Western fashion. And after having said: ‘Well, what do you say if we have another one?’ which they had, the American colonel loosened up and explained that he had just come from Arizona to report to J. Pierpont Morgan on a mining proposition, (this was in 1905) and the ‘Old Man’ was so pleased that when his report was handed Mr. Morgan, and passed, Mr. Morgan presented the Colonel (not George) with a cheque for $15,000, the larger portion of which was given as a bonus.
“ T showed Mr. Ham the cheque,’ said Colonel Jack, ‘and he asked me if he might tear a small piece off the corner, and when I enquired “what for?” he said : “Well, if that whole bit of paper is worth $15,000, a small piece of it must surely be worth a few thousands—and I need the money.” ’ “TheAmerican colone who told me this story added: ‘Nowthatstruek me as a funny thing: but not any funnier than the mild and innocent expression on Mr. Ham’s face when he made the droll remark’.” And another one:
“Here is something which you have probably forgotten. Robert Lincoln O’Brien, of the Boston Herald, is responsible for it. You were ‘meeting’ Theodore Roosevelt in the White House, the morning after the Gridiron Club dinner, back in 1904, I think. ‘Teddy’ was then President, and was in a very talkative mood, standing outside his office in the ante-room addressing his remarks especially to you. stating that when he got clear of his present ‘job,’ he intended to take a trip through Canada.
“ T hope you do,’ said G. H. H. cordially, ‘there’s only one man in the world who would be better or more cordially received than you, Mr. President—and that’s King Edward.’ Whereat President Roosevelt smilingly showed his teeth, ‘seeing as how’ he generally knew a good thing when he heard it.”
And still another:
“Sam Blythe—he of Saturday Keening Post fame will vouch for this one. Mr. Ham, under his chaperonage was being escorted through the different eongressiona members’ rooms (States headquarters) in the Capitol at Washington. There was ‘apple-jack’ in the ‘Jersey room; ‘moonshine’ in the Tennessee teepee; peach brandy and honey in the Delaware ‘hang-out.’ and ‘Bourbon’ in the Blue Grass state apartments.
“ ‘How many States are there in this blooming Union of yours anyway, Sam?’ asked G. H. H. anxiously.
Continued on page 54
Continued from page 23
“Some one said, ‘Not more than fifty.’ “G. H. H. looked relieved: ‘Oh, is that all—lead me to it.’
“Afterwards there was a steamed clam luncheon at Shoemaker’s; and Samuel said that George put them all to bed.” Guess that’s all right—but even Ananias would exaggerate.
Larry Wilson’s Candidature
AWAY back in the early ’90’s I was • stationed at Moncton, in New Brunswick, and just then a very important event happened. It was the campaign for the election of president of the Commercial Traveller’s Association of Canada. I knew a whole lot of the boys, and that fact led Sam B. Townsend, now one of Montreal’s capitalists, but then a traveling ambassador of commerce for Larry Wilson —everyone knows Larry, one of our biggest liquor merchants in America—to write me to secure my influence on Larry’s behalf. I was half dead with rheumatism, and so had plenty of time to attend to Sam’s request. But I had been absent
from Montreal for a couple of years, and, not being closely in touch with current affairs, naturally sought for information. This was done in the following letter to Mr. Townsend:
Moncton, Nov. 19, 1892.
My dear Captain:—Yours of the 17th received this morning and found me full of rheumatism and sobriety, but in all other respects, like our friend Mr. O’Reilly who keeps the hotel, doing “quite well.” I am not pledged to support anybody (except my family) and am willing to endorse Larry Wilson’s candidature— or his note—if I can conscientiously do so. Let me say first, however, that the fact that he is a particular friend of yours will not seriously militate against him—with yours truly at any rate. I suppose he can’t help it, you know; and men in his line of business must associate with all sorts of people—but let that pass. Before I could give my entire adhesion to Mr. Wilson’s candidature, however,
I must perfectly understand the platform on which he seeks election. Does he believe in protection or closer trade relations with Terra del Fuega and Tatamagouche? Is he Protestant or an American? What are his views on the constitutionality of the Manitoba School Act and the Westminster Confession of Faith?
Is he a staunch Scott Act man, or does he believe in five cent beer? Does he favor the absorption of the Intercolonial by the C.P.R. or is he a Home Ruler? What position does he take in Newfoundland’s entrance into the Union, and should he come would he put up at hotel or stay at home? Is he married, or does he sing in the choir and have more fun? Does he belong to the Loyal Orange Association, and what are his terms to customers who are morally good but financially bankrupt? What does he think of Windsor Junction as a commercial metropolis? and does he look upon the wine when it is red, white and blue? Is he a Christian or a Grit? Does he travel on a pass or on his shape? Does he enjoy a University education and what is his attitude towards God-fearing hired girls? Can he drink gracefully out of a jug and who does he think should succeed Tennyson as Poet Laureate? Can he skate or does he just let her slide?
Is he a friend of the honest son of toil, and what does he think of Willliam’s Pink Pills. Does he shave himself, and can he repeat the Ten Commandments in the United States language? How is he on the goose, and does he pay by cheque or I.O.U.? Which does he believe to be greater —Columbus’ discovery of America or Skoda’s Discovery of Wolfville, N.S.? Will he make affidavit that Jimmy McShane is a bigger man than Gladstone? Does he eat his hash with his knife or use Paine’s Celery Com\ pound? Would he prefer the rheumatism to poker dice? What are his politics and how much are they worth? Does he belong to the Church of England or sleep in the store? And between you and me, what are Mr. Wilson’s private views on the advisability of putting a case of Gold Lack where it will do the most good? These few questions satisfactorily answered will secure both my moral and immoral support. By the by, what office is he running for?”
Mr. Townsend, unfortunately—for me— read this aloud in a tobacco store one evening. Henry Dalby, then a writer on the Montreal Star, entered the store to purchase some cigars, and getting an earful of the contents, grabbed the letter, and, to my consternation, it appeared in the paper the next evening just as I arrived in town and met the President of the Canadian Pacific Railway, who evidently had enjoyed the effusion. The next time Larry Wilson ran for president, his opponent was Mr. David Watson, and when Henry Dalby wrote me a note asking who would be elected, I sagaciously replied: “W—son.”
A GREAT many Canadians flock to T* Florida during the winter months— thousands of them—and St. Petersburg on the western coast is a favorite resort. They are greatly in evidence everywhere, and last January, on a very warm day, I strolled over to the City Park, which was thronged with merry-makers. The band was playing popular airs, and many Canadians were indulging in dominoes, checkers, euchre, and other old-fashioned card games, and for the first time since boyhood days I saw quite a number pitching quoits with horse-shoes. I took a hand in the game, and nearly hit the man that beat the big drum, goodness knows how many yards away.
It was a grand day. The Canadians are there during the winter in such strong force that they have a club room for themselves, and on the door was a card which read: “Canadian Club,” and beneath it, “7:30”—signifying that a club meeting was to be held that evening at that hour. Mike Heenan, the Michigan Central Railway detective of Detroit, who is well-known through Western Ontario, and who was visiting St. Petersburg, didn’t read it exactly in that light.
“Holy Smoke,” he ■ said, “Canadian Club—7:30. Minny’sthtí bottle I’ve bought for a dollar-tin, aye arçJ for ninety cents.”
And then everybody smiled.