Read CHAPTER EIGHTEEN of Watch Yourself Go By , free online book, by Al G Field, on ReadCentral.com.

Thank God for the man who is cheerful,
In spite of life’s troubles, I say;
Who sings of a brighter tomorrow
Because of the clouds today.

Then came a letter whatever you may be, your parents were probably more so about the same age; but the world is wiser now than then, the boy world at least. The writer had heard of Alfred and his wonderful talents; he was organizing a minstrel show and would like to negotiate with him. The new organization would be one of the most complete in the country; it would be an honor to anyone to be connected with it. Benedict would head the company.

Duprez and Benedict’s was one of the leading minstrel companies of the period. How was Alfred to know the Benedict who was to head the new show was not Lew Benedict?

Alfred engaged with the Great Benedict Minstrels. Rehearsals were called for 10 a. m. daily, but were generally called off until 3 p. m., by which time the principals were in such a jolly mood they did not require rehearsals; they felt funny enough to entertain royalty.

The manager, or more properly, the angel, for angel he was, seemed more desirous of making a reputation in bar rooms than with his show.

Alfred learned the minstrels were being organized to invade the oil regions where money grew on derricks. After subduing the oil territory the angel was supposed to become so favorably impressed with the possibilities of the enterprise, augmenting the company, he would treat the larger cities to a sight of the mighty monarch of the minstrel world.

Doctor McClintock and wife lived near Rouseville, Pa. Childless, they adopted a boy, John W. Steele. Prior to the discovery of coal oil, the worn out fields of that locality were valueless. Now broad acres were as valuable as the diamond fields of South Africa. Never in the wildest days of the gold excitement in California was money more rapidly accumulated or squandered than in the oil regions of Pennsylvania.

Johnny Steele fell heir to all the lands of Dr. McClintock. Wealth rolled in upon him; he entered upon a career of extravagance. He spent thousands of dollars daily, he literally cast money to the winds. His notoriety spread to the furthermost limits of the country; the daily papers, the weeklies, the monthlies printed exaggerated accounts of his profligacy.

Skiff and Gaylord’s Minstrels crossed the path of “Coal Oil Johnny,” as Steele had been dubbed. Lew Gaylord made a great ado over the spendthrift. Steele accompanied the minstrels for a few days; their pathway was one wide streak of hilarity. When hotel men complained of the boisterous behavior of Steele the coal oil spendthrift bought the hotel for their stay.

“Coal Oil Johnny” was the sensation of the day. He bought the minstrel boys hats, coats, shoes, trunks and that most coveted minstrel decoration, a diamond.

The minstrels flourished for a few months. The public rebuked the unenviable notoriety of “Coal Oil Johnny.” The minstrels steadily declined. “Coal Oil Johnny” went down with them. His money gone, he was made treasurer of the troupe his prodigality had ruined. When the ending came there was none so poor as he. Hotels where he had spent thousands, refused him even a night’s lodging. He went back to the farm; the acres he had cultivated were covered with oil derricks; the friends he knew had departed; he was almost a stranger save for the notoriety he had acquired. Unabashed he seemed to take a pride in the spendthrift race he had run. He drove a baggage wagon; afterwards he became the baggage master at the depot in Rouseville.

There never was a full rehearsal of the minstrels ere they embarked for Parker’s Landing on the good boat “Jim Rees.” There was no railroad to the oil regions from Pittsburgh in those days. The Allegheny River was navigable to Venango, opposite the present Oil City.

Two members of the minstrels, song and dance men, took a dislike to Alfred. Others soon became intimate with him, they enjoyed his humorous narratives, particularly his experiences with Node Beckley and the panorama. The two members mentioned exhausted the new boy’s patience and he invited both to fistic combat. His challenges were laughed at; the jibes and jokes became more and more insulting.

Jealousy, that canker that eats and festers at the hearts of actors as it does at those of no other humans, was the motive for their actions.

Alfred had introduced a bit of acrobatic comedy in the closing farce that was the laughing hit of the minstrels. Owing to the lack of acts, the stage manager ordered Alfred to put on a single turn. This act preceded the turn of the song and dance men. The singing of Alfred took with the oil men greatly. The two who followed were not even fair singers, their efforts fell flat; they had the stage manager change them on the bill. The change put them just before Alfred. When advised of the change he reminded the stage manager that he went on only for accommodation in the olio and flatly refused to follow the song and dance men. The angel ordered the two song and dance men on in their usual position, following Alfred. Alfred rehearsed a dance secretly. He finished his singing turn with this dance, introducing all his known acrobatic stunts. This rough dance simply set the oil men wild and the two worthies fell flatter at every performance.

No philanthropist of the “Coal Oil Johnny” sort had discovered the minstrels as yet, but the path of their travels was one of nightly carousals. The two dancers were assisting the manager-angel in scattering the money that came in. The people were hungry for amusements; hence the tour thus far had been one of profit.

The manager and his companions never went to bed when there was another place to go. It was one of the pass-times of the two dancers to enter Alfred’s room noiselessly, pull him violently out of bed and steal out in the darkness. In one of their playful moods they carried Alfred’s wearing apparel to another part of the hotel.

Alfred warned the stage manager that he intended to resent this treatment. However, there was no cessation to the indignities the two put upon the young minstrel.

But like all so-called ladders, they could not stand the gaff. After a particularly keen onslaught upon Alfred with their tongues, in which several of his weaknesses were commented upon, Alfred got back at them: “I don’t have to cater to the manager to hold my job; I’m drawing my wages on my work, not on my cheek,” was Alfred’s retort.

At Titusville, a banquet was tendered the minstrels by the landlord of the hotel.

Many speeches were delivered, good, bad and very bad all predicting the perpetual success of the minstrel enterprise. There was a lull in the gaiety. The toastmaster announced as there was no prepared program all would be expected to say something. He thereupon introduced one of Alfred’s tormentors.

The fellow arose, cleared his throat and made a laborious attempt to speak a few intelligible words, concluding with an indelicate story. The landlord tiptoed across the room closing the door that none might overhear. With a maudlin leer he followed the landlord with his eyes, as he shouted: “Thanks, Landy, this ain’t a ladies’ story.” As he sat down there was neither laughter nor applause.

The toastmaster called upon Alfred. He was overcome with bashfulness and did not arise until several urged him to say something. “Get up, get up,” urged the two men opposite. Alfred arose, so confused he could not articulate. A voice shouted: “Tell them about the panorama.”

Alfred began Palmer’s lecture. It had no application to the occasion, but few understood it, there was an oppressive silence. Alfred had no idea of when to cease talking, and would probably have given the whole lecture, had not Bill Young, a musician, one who took a very great interest in him, seized him by the arm, shaking him forcibly: “Here, here; you forgot the song, you promised to sing for us.” Bill continued: “Gentlemen: Alfred will now give you a correct imitation of an old maid singing ‘Barbara Allen.’”

He gave the imitation so cleverly that the guests applauded again and again. As he ended the song, his eyes closed, imitating the old maid, something soft and mushy struck him on the breast of his white shirt. The juice spattered into his face and over those near him.

A glance at the mushy mess, Alfred’s eyes fell on the two men opposite him. One was looking apologetically at the gentleman next Alfred who was wiping his face with his napkin; the other laughing tantalizingly.

Retaliation was speedy. It was not two seconds after the decayed tomato landed on Alfred until a large platter of soft salad of some sort, a sugar bowl and several smaller dishes were landing just where aimed.

One of Alfred’s tormentors lay upon the floor, his face and vest literally covered with salad and other cold lunch. The other was making for the door, dodging plates and cups that flew perilously near his head.

Alfred, being the swifter, soon overtook the fleeing man. There was a short struggle, and Alfred’s well directed blows took all the fight out of him; he begged for mercy.

The landlord led Alfred to the parlor, commanding him to keep quiet and not cause further disturbance.

Alfred remained in the parlor for what seemed to him a long time. Finally, the landlord returned to advise the man struck with the salad plate was pretty badly cut and they thought best to get a doctor. He further stated the other one had complained to the police.

“The coward,” sneered the landlord, “I wish we had let you give it to him; he would have had something to complain of. However, the chief is a good friend of mine and I think I can fix it so you will not be locked up.”

Alfred’s first thought was, what will the folks at home say should he be thrown into jail?

The chief of police and members of the company and others crowded into the parlor. The chief, one of those officials who felt his importance greatly, assumed to try the case then and there.

“Have you had any fights before?”

“Yes, sir, thousands of them,” answered Alfred. He was under the impression the question covered his entire life. Everybody in the room laughed.

“No, I had reference to a fight with the parties whom you assaulted here tonight,” continued the officer.

Alfred was just a little ashamed of the admission and entered into an explanation: “I never tried to fight them before, though they have done everything they could to worry me. Ever since I joined the show it has been one insult after another. I could scarcely keep my hands off them only I was afeared they would double team on me. I’d had it out long ago but for that,” and as Alfred talked he warmed up.

“Hold on,” the chief interrupted, “do not incriminate yourself. Did either of these men ever offer you violence?”

“No, they was afraid to, they’re both cowards. I will fight it out with either of them right now.” Alfred was angry; the old Brownsville way of settling such disputes was all he thought of.

The chief remarked to those near him: “I feel sorry for this boy, owing to the fact that they have tormented him;” he turned to Alfred, “I do not feel sorry for them nor wish to protect them, yet that is no legal excuse for your assault upon them.”

Someone came forward with this proposition, that inasmuch as they all belonged to one family, that they shake hands all around, call everything square and go on about their business.

“Well, if the party will withdraw the charge of felonious assault it’s all right with me. I don’t get nothing out of it nohow,” was the police officer’s reply.

“Get them together,” was the suggestion made by several. Alfred interfered by saying: “I’m willing to get together or do anything that’s fair but I’m not going to travel with this gang of rowdies another day.”

The chief nudged him to cease and whispered: “Then they’ll put you in jail.”

“Well, I’ll put them in jail, too,” retorted Alfred.

“What charges will you prefer against them; you stated you had never had trouble with them before?”

“But look what they have done to me,” persisted Alfred. “They have plagued me until I couldn’t have a minute’s peace of mind, and then they hit me with a rotten tomattus as big as a gourd, why ?”

The chief here interrupted Alfred to inform him that in law a rotten tomato was not considered a dangerous weapon.

“Well, if anybody would hit you with a rotten tomattus, I know what you’d do; you’d shoot ’em, that’s what you’d do.”

“Why, there was no tomattuses on the table; I can prove it by the landlord.”

“Them fellers went to the slop barrel and fished it out; didn’t I smell old sour swill on it. Why the smell of that tomattus would made a dog sick.”

Whether it was Alfred’s anger, emphasized by his smacking his hands together, his hurried speech, or the description of the condition of the tomato, the laughter that convulsed all seemed to make him more indignant.

With heightened voice and more forcible gestures he continued: “If I do live in a little town, I’ve been away from home before, and I won’t let no son-of-a-gun ride over me even if he is as big as the side of a house. I’ve got a home; I’ve got good people; I can go to them and I won’t travel another day with a pack of drunken rowdies. You can do with me as you please. You say there’s no law agin heavin’ rotten tomattuses at a person in a banquet. What kind of law have you got in Titusville? If anybody would hit another with a tomattus at the dinner table in Brownsville they’d beat hell out of him quicker’n you could say ’Jack Robinson.’”

The remainder of Alfred’s forcible, if not eloquent, speech was drowned by laughter. Half a dozen present volunteered to go his bail.

Numerous attempts were made in the early Sunday morning to influence Alfred to continue his travels with the troupe. To all arguments he gave the same answer: “No; I’ll not travel further with a lot of drunken rowdies.”

With all sorts of promises, a raise of salary, promotion, and other alluring inducements, they failed to move Alfred. Finally as do all cajolers, the manager endeavored to threaten the boy into following his wishes. But with no better results.

“I would walk home before I would travel another day with you,” was the parting shot as the manager left the room, swearing he would have Alfred in jail and keep him there.

The injured man swore out a warrant for Alfred. Captain Ham came forward promptly and signed the bail bond.

The Captain was to open a summer garden or park a few days later. As Alfred had no previous acquaintance with the gentleman, he has often thought the deep interest evinced by the genial Captain was influenced by the two weeks’ engagement offered and accepted by Alfred to appear in the park.

In so far as the writer’s knowledge goes, this summer park in Titusville was the first of it’s kind in this country. Titusville is renowned. Rockefeller’s career began there. Titusville was the birthplace of the summer park and the Standard Oil Company.

The minstrels left Titusville with diminished forces; four remained behind. After a few nights more of feverish hilarity the company disbanded without money or friends.

Thus early in life the fact was impressed upon Alfred that the drunkard is an annoyance to sociability; without judgment, without civility, the drunkard is an object to be avoided in every walk of life. The drunkard is a detriment in business; a disgrace to his friends; the shame and sorrow of his wife and children. He is shunned by even those who profit by his excesses.

At a banquet in Chicago last year Alfred was confused by someone shouting: “Al, tell them about your panorama experience; there won’t be any tomatoes thrown.”

He could not get his mind off the interruption. As the guests were departing a gentleman passed his card; the name was not familiar. Alfred was passing on when the gentleman said: “Al, don’t you remember me? We attended a banquet thirty-nine years ago. You were served with tomatoes; I got a dose of salad or some such stuff. I didn’t mind the salad but the plate kind of jarred me.”

Here he pushed back a lock of red hair streaked with gray, exhibiting a small scar high up on the temple. Alfred recognized him. To relieve the situation Alfred inquired as to the whereabouts of Dick, the other song and dance man. “Oh, he is, or was, working in a saw-mill in Williamsport. I haven’t seen him in thirty years. Al, I didn’t throw that tomato. Come over to the store, I want to talk to you.”

Fort Duquesne, afterward Pittsburgh, was builded at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers where they form the Ohio, called by the villagers the “Point” a natural site for a beautiful village such as Fort Duquesne was at the time we write of. It was indeed a sight on which the eye might gaze enraptured, with ever changing beauties to charm it. The high hills on every side cast their shades over the peaceful village for, notwithstanding the prefix “Fort”, there was no semblance of soldiery, cannon or war, about the peaceful place.

The hills of smiling green rising abruptly in places, gently at others, towering above the rivers, seemed to look down upon the village and its peoples. The hills crowned with lofty trees and climbing vines, the trees swaying in the breezes seemed to be bowing approval at the tranquil scene below.

The locust, the sumac, the oak, the walnut, the dogwood, the haw, the red berries, glowing in the eyes of the boys of the village, and as impelling to them as the red lights that later glowed on the Anheuser Busch plants in the city that supplanted the village of Fort Duquesne.

Brownsville was one long symphony of content and happiness. The prosperity of its people excited the envy of those of Fort Duquesne. It was argued by the discontented of Fort Duquesne that the changing of the name of “Red Stone Old Fort” to Brownsville was that which brought Brownsville renown and riches.

Therefore, certain ones of Fort Duquesne called a public meeting to be held at the “Point” where the matter of changing the name of Fort Duquesne was discussed. Those who had emigrated from Washington County insisted the name should be Brownstown, hoping thereby to profit from the confusion that would arise as between that name and Brownsville. They argued that when the traders from Shousetown, Sewickley and Smith’s Ferry, came up the river to barter they would be confused by the similarity of the names and ascend the river no further, thus the trade of Brownsville would be diverted.

Others argued that the name be changed to “Three Rivers;” still others insisted if change there must be, it be to Fort Pitt. Others wanted a burg made out of the old Fort. There was a compromise and the name “Pittsburgh” adopted. Immediately there was an influx of settlers, particularly from Somerset and Butler Counties. The town profited greatly by the change of names; there were many who could neither spell nor pronounce “Duquesne;” but now that it was made easier to explain where you lived, the town thrived.

Pittsburgh, with an “h”, became noted. In Fort Duquesne the people had been content to live as they began; but the interlopers from Braddocks Field, Greene County, and Holidaysburg changed conditions. The luxuriant cabbage gardens gave way to boiler yards; the little brick houses were supplanted by glass houses, still houses and other manufacturing establishments, the mark of that van of commercial greatness that has made Pittsburgh famous.

That part of the town formerly given over to agricultural pursuits, namely the river banks, was now paved with cobble stones and termed “wharves,” thus providing a vantageous place for the citizens to congregate when they had a boat race over the lower course. Occasionally a raft from Salamanca would be moored on the Allegheny wharf and shingles unloaded in piles for the children to play ketch around in the twilight.

On the Monongahela side where the boats came from and departed for Brownsville, there was always more activity.

Many of Fort Duquesne’s best citizens seceded. The volunteer firemen remained faithful to the old Fort. They went into business on Smithfield Street and are known to this day as the Duquesne Fire Company. It was through those who seceded that the outlying boroughs of Birmingham, Brownstown, and Ormsby, were created on the south side, while those on the north-west side christened their settlement “Allegheny,” thus destroying its future. As the river of that name that runs away from itself when it rains and drys up when it is clear, is so uncertain, the name Allegheny does not appeal to the masses. Had Allegheny taken the name of “Pittsburgh,” the courthouse and all other public buildings would be located on the north side, a natural site for a populous city. As it is, Pittsburghers are compelled to live in Irwin, Latrobe, Cassopolis and Kittanning, to make room for their public buildings.

In the early days of the “Smoky City,” for such had become its nickname, the residents were wont to sit for hours and gaze at the sun and sky; this pleasure is denied residents in modern Pittsburgh. The only knowledge they have that there are sun, moon and stars, is that which Professor John Brashears (from Brownsville) supplies with his astronomical instruments. Hurrah for Brownsville!

In those good old days there was no caste or class. On a Saturday afternoon the entire populace would gather at Scotch Hill Market and on Fifth Avenue at night.

Andy Carnegie knew every man who worked for him by his first name and could be seen daily at the Bull’s Head Tavern where the men always stopped to open their pay envelopes.

The leaders of society were consistent. There were two balls each winter and one picnic in summer. City Hall and Glenwood Grove were the scenes of those gayeties.

Harry Alden, Mayor Blackmore, Chris Ihmsen, Tom Hughes, Major Maltby, N. P. Sawyer, John O’Brien, Jimmy Hammill, Harry Williams, Major Bunnell, John W. Pittock, Bill Ramsey and Dan O’Neil were the social, political and business leaders of Pittsburgh in those days. No social function, no political scheme, no public celebration from a wedding to a boat race was successful without their active co-operation.

Ben Trimble, Harry Williams, Matt Canning and Major Bunnell controlled all the theatres. Jake Fedder was the toll-taker at the Smithfield Street bridge, a position second in importance only to that of mayor.

Those were happy days for Pittsburgh. Everybody had a skiff and fishing was good anywhere. The suckers were all salmon in the river and you did not have to go to lock number one to catch white or yellow perch. A twine line could be bought at any grocery store. Sporting goods emporiums had not taken over the fish hook industry.

Happy would Pittsburgh have been could it always have existed as in those golden days. But communities, like humans, grow out of their simplicity, encouraged or subdued by the successes or failures of life.

Alfred was in Pittsburgh again among friends whom he loved. Johnny Hart had graduated from second cook on the tow boat Red Fox to stock comedian at Trimble’s Variety Theater. Harry Williams was the stage manager. There was a place made for Alfred on almost every bill.

The Levantine Brothers, Fred Proctor, of Keith & Proctor, Harrigan & Hart, Delehanty & Hengler, Joe Murphy, Johnson & Powers, and all the famous artists of that time appeared at this house.

Alfred impersonated a wide range of characters while in this theatre. Harry Williams, the stage manager, was an ideal “Mose” in the play of that name. (It was the Saturday night bill for weeks.) Alfred made a big hit as the newsboy, sharing honors with the star. He added new business to the part weekly and was retained several weeks for the one performance on Saturday night.

Alfred was engaged by Matt Canning, the manager of the Pittsburgh Opera House. In those days all first class theatres employed a stock company; the stars traveled alone, or at least with only a stage manager. The manuscript of their plays, the scene and property plots were sent in advance. The company studied their parts until the arrival of the star when a grand rehearsal was gone through with. This was a strenuous day’s work, particularly if the star was a stickler.

Booth, Barrett, McCullough, Edwin Adams, Joe Jefferson, Jane Coombs and many other noted stars appeared at the Pittsburgh Opera House and Alfred had the honor of supporting all of them, by assisting in moving bureaus, dressing cases, center tables, cooking stoves, bedsteads, bar fixtures and other properties required in the plays, up and down stairs. However, parts, and minor roles, were entrusted to Alfred. If the stock system had continued it would be greatly to the advantage of the dramatic stage of today. It made the actor, it proved the actor. He remained in the ranks alone on his ability, impersonating many characters in one season. His art broadened.

Actors do not compare with those of the olden days. This is true. We may have a few actors as able as any that ever lived but the dramatic profession in general has deteriorated since the combination system superceded the stock company.

The stage has advanced in the authorship of plays and their production, not in their rendition. The actors of today are not the students or workers as were those of the earlier days, neither have they the opportunities.

Alfred was entrusted with many roles not congenial to him; in those he generally failed. In a society drama, appearing in evening dress, a turn-down collar, a large red and white flowing tie, a huge minstrel watch chain attached to his vest, he was reprimanded by Jane Coombs, the star, in the presence of the company.

Another time he led a Roman mob costumed as a Quaker. John McCullough laughed over this afterwards, but at the time, what he said cannot be printed. When Joseph Jefferson appeared as Rip Van Winkle, in addition to impersonating one of the villagers, Alfred was entrusted with the task of securing children to take part in the play. The stage manager advised the bashful children to make merry with Rip; that he was very fond of children and would enjoy their familiarity. Whether it was the shaggy beard or the assumed intoxication of Rip, a child refused to clamber up on Rip’s back. The stage was waiting; that the scene should not be marred, seventeen year old Alfred attempted to perch himself on Rip’s back. It was not the Jefferson of later days but the Jefferson of middle manhood. Alfred was dropped to the floor amid laughter that the scene never evoked previously. Instead of the great actor being peeved, he kindly inquired of Alfred if the fall had hurt him. As a matter of fact Alfred purposely made the fall awkward.

Dick Cannon had a number of young friends Billy Conard, Clarke Winnett, Charley Smith, Billy Kane and Alfred. Dick had a large luxuriously furnished room in the hotel. One evening each week he set apart to entertain his young friends. To pass the time away Dick introduced a game he had played a few times while tending lock at Rice’s Landing. It was a Greene County game, new to Fort Duquesne but universally popular in Pittsburgh since. The game was known as “Draw Poker” in Greene County.

After several lessons, in which Dick’s courtesy and unusual interest in his young friends was evidenced at the end of every deal, as Dick raked in the pot with the air and manner of a learned professor of a college, he explained to each player who had lost and his lecture always embraced the entire class, for when the pot justified it, they all lost just how they should have played their hand to win. “It’s just as important to learn how to lay ’em down as it is to play ’em up,” was his advice.

Alfred had failed, notwithstanding Dick’s teachings, to learn even the rudiments of the game, so he sought the dictionary. He had become convinced that a person to be proficient should, as Dick advised in one of his lectures, not only study the game but human nature as well. Therefore, Alfred decided to start right. He found the word “draw” signified “to drag, to entice, to delineate, to take out, to inhale, to extend.” The word “poker” signified any frightful object, a “spook.”

The echoes of Gideon’s words were daily percolating through Alfred’s gray matter: “Don’t know enough to quit the game when you got velvet in front of you.”

When questioned as to the cause of his absence from the weekly séance, Alfred replied that, as he understood it, the object of Dick was to teach and enlighten each in the class, and that he had thoroughly mastered the mysteries of the game and he felt it was imposing on Dick to take up his valuable time and devour his delicacies longer; Dick should get a new class. “I’m graduated,” concluded Alfred.

Alfred’s connection with the drama was both pleasant and profitable. The probabilities are that if a certain production had realized the hopes of its authors, he would have continued in the dramatic line. It was the beginning of that evolution of the stage that culminated in the ascendency, for a time, of the melodrama.

A serial story under the title of “From Ocean to Ocean,” then running in Street & Smith’s New York Weekly, was dramatized for J. Newton Gotthold and in so far as the writer is informed it was Bartley Campbell’s first play. The play bore the title of “Through Fire.” It was a stirring drama, and both actor and author had high hopes of its success.

J. K. Emmett, recruited from the minstrel ranks, had made himself immensely popular, and wealth was rolling in on him. His vehicle “Fritz” was a flimsy frame on which was hung Emmett’s specialties.

Byron’s phenomenal success in “Across the Continent” was achieved only through his artistic ability. It was argued that J. Newton Gotthold, a sterling actor, with a sterling play, was sure to attain success. Alfred was engaged for the spring trial of the play; also the following season.

The opening occurred in Youngstown, a western city, so looked upon by Pittsburghers in those days. After two nights in the west there would be a week or two weeks in Pittsburgh.

Alfred, in addition to doubling the character of a young snob, afterwards a quick gun-man, also led the Indians’ attack on the wagon train.

A number of supes were employed in Youngstown, husky young rolling mill men of muscle and grit. Alfred, at the head of his Indian braves, attacked the wagon train of emigrants; instead of the supes falling back, as rehearsed, then charging forward, led by the star, they pitched into Alfred and his Indians at the first rush. Alfred to save the scene, fought valiantly to stem the tide of strength and sturdy determination. But the supe pale-faces were too muscular for the copper tinted braves whom Alfred led. In fact, at the first onslaught of the whites the Indians, with the exception of one or two, fled and left Alfred to battle alone.

Alfred was overpowered, completely vanquished a blow between the eyes laid him low. The Youngstown supes not only wiped up the stage with him but they wiped their feet on him. The gallery howled, the down-stairs applauded, the company laughed. The curtain fell amid loud applause.

Alfred was anxious to continue the conflict after the curtain dropped; the supes were agreeable. But the stage manager, the stars and others of the company interfered. The matter was amicably adjusted.

Alfred, although badly maimed, played his parts during the week’s run in Pittsburgh, although the war club he carried was not the imitation one he wielded in Youngstown. However, there was no recurrence of the Youngstown scene.

The play did not meet with success. After the Pittsburgh engagement it was carefully laid away and thus Alfred was preserved to minstrelsy.

It is a curious fact that the only play Bartley Campbell ever wrote, a play with the theme of which he was not in sympathy, written for commercial purposes only, has lived longer and earned more money than his most meritorious creations. We refer to “The White Slave.” Who is not familiar with those thrilling lines:

“Rags are royal raiment
When worn for virtue’s sake.”

Bartley Campbell was a self made man from laboring in a brick-yard to journalism, then a dramatist. He was a noble boy, a manly man. He toiled patiently all the days of his only too brief life for those he loved.

It was in the early days of the beginning of that race for wealth that has made Pittsburgh both famous and infamous. Jared M. Brush had been elected mayor; Hostetter Stomach Bitters had become famous in all dry sections of the country; Jimmy Hammill had won the single sculling championship of the world; the Red Lion Hotel had painted the lion out and painted St. Clair Hotel in gilt letters to attract trade from Sewickley, which community, so near the Economites, had imbibed a sort of religious fervor exhibited outwardly only. It was argued by the proprietor that when the residents of Sewickley drove by on their way to market to dispose of their garden truck, butter and eggs, they would be attracted by the word “Saint.” The St. Nicholas Hotel on Grant Street always boarded the court jurors. The St. Charles on Wood Street had the patronage of the Democrats of Fayette County. Brownsville people always stopped at the Monongahela House.

The bleating sheep, the frolicking calves, the cackling hens, that had been heard on the verdant ridges of Pennsylvania Road, had been crowded to the rural district known later as East Liberty and Walls.

The log houses had given away to brick and frame dwellings owned by those who occupied them. Doctor Spencer had opened a dental emporium on Penn Street near the old ferry, then known as Hand Street, now Ninth.

Business was so good Joe Zimmerman had to paint his name upside down on his store front near the union depot. The fact that this cigar store was always crowded suggested the idea of another railroad for Pittsburgh. At first it was contemplated building the road along the south or west bank of the Monongahela, extending the road to, or beyond Brownsville.

Bill Brown then resided on Braddocks field, although he has repeatedly and earnestly protested to the writer that he was not at home when Braddock fell and did not hear of it for some time afterwards. Therefore, it is hoped those who are not acquainted with Bill will not connect him in any way with anything that happened to Braddock the general, not the village.

When Bill learned of the projected railroad he interested a number of capitalists who owned coal land and town lots in Braddock. Hence, the new road was built on Bill’s side of the river. First, it was completed to McKeesport. The opposition steamboat lines plying the river, (the boats being much fleeter than the railroad), controlled the passenger traffic.

When the projectors of the new railroad had this fact forced upon them they abandoned the plan of building the road further up the Monongahela than McKeesport. Surveying a route along the Youghiogheny River and thence to Connellsville they announced that they would eventually build to Uniontown and down Redstone Creek to Brownsville thus entering Brownsville by the back door, as it were.

However, this change of route did not work as the railroad people hoped for. The railroad carried a few passengers for Layton’s Station, West Newton and several settlements between McKeesport and Connellsville. All travelers to McKeesport still patronized the boats, even those for West Newton and Layton Station traveled on the boats to McKeesport, and awaited the train to continue their journey.

The railroad people, dispirited and almost bankrupt, appealed to Brown and his friends who had held out such glowing inducements to them to build the road on their side of the river. An investigation of conditions was ordered and Bill, with his usual good luck and influence, appointed chairman of the investigating committee, with powers to expend whatever amount was necessary to the investigation.

Bill made one trip on the railroad to Connellsville. Thereafter, he spent the greater part of the beautiful autumn traveling up and down the Monongahela, even as far up the river as Geneva, although the scope of the investigation was to extend only as far as McKeesport.

The palatial side-wheel steamers were always crowded to the guards with travelers. Many slept on cots in the cabins but Bill had the bridal chamber. The mirrored bars employed a double shift of irrigators. They were never closed except when the boats were moored at Pittsburgh, and then Bill could always get in the back way. The food was bountiful; stewed chicken for breakfast, turkey for dinner, fried chicken for supper, and at night a poker game in the barber shop.

Again and again the railroad people requested a report from Bill but he was busy investigating as to why the steam cars were running with empty seats.

Finally notices were mailed to the railroad people, the superintendents who were also the section foremen, that the chairman of the committee was ready to report. They were requested to meet at Dimling’s where Bill often assembled himself.

Brown arose to read his elaborate report. He began by making a short explanatory speech mostly devoted to the immense amount of labor entailed upon him in the investigation. He thanked the railroad people for the confidence they had placed in him. He deplored his lack of ability and knowledge. In fact, in his talk he expressed such a contemptuous opinion of himself that those present (country folks), from Hazelwood and Port Perry were wrothy that they had entrusted Bill with the mission and money to complete the investigation. They were ignorant of the fact that the speech was one he had delivered to the members of another body yearly when elected to the office of treasurer.

Bill then read his report. It dealt with the crowned heads of Europe, the free traders of Pennsylvania, the populists of Kansas and Nebraska, the government of Ancient Greece and the wars of the Romans. Of course this had nothing to do with the subject under investigation but it served to rattle and confuse those to whom the report was read and impress them with the wide scope of the investigation.

The report referred in scathing terms to the unparalleled audacity of the officers of the rival lines of steamers, more particularly the new, or People’s Line. That line had only two boats, the “Elector” and “Chieftain,” while the mail line had the “Fayette,” “Gallatin,” “Franklin,” “Jefferson,” “Elisha Bennett,” and other boats.

Bill, like everybody on the inside, felt that the mail line would soon absorb its rival and it was politic to be “in” with the stronger corporation.

The report demanded that the runners for the boats be restrained from soliciting passengers; that the steamboats be restrained from departing on the scheduled time of the railroads. Thus, if the West Newton and Layton Station passengers could not make connections at McKeesport, that is, if the trains arrived prior to the boats, travellers would be compelled to patronize the railroad.

He also compared the officers of the steamboat lines to the Gauls who devastated Rome, the vandals who had over-run the fairest plains of Europe. That part of the report ended with: “God forbid we live longer under these conditions.”

Having thus artfully worked up the feelings of those present, Bill gazed over the assemblage with the air of a man who has gotten that which he went after, and continued to read:

“After diligent research, entailing much traveling, including many trips up and down the river at great expense including shoe-shining, your committee has succeeded in evolving a plan whereby the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad may be able to control the passenger traffic on its lines. And it is to be hoped that all concerned will take the proper view of the matter and concur in the recommendations of the committee: First, that all trains on the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad (excepting when otherwise so ordered), be and are hereby ordered equipped with an extra car, divided into three compartments, namely, dining room, bar-room, and another room.”

The chairman explained that the words “excepting when otherwise so ordered” were inserted as a precautionary measure. “It might happen at times that two cars, of the kind the committee recommended, might be required.”

After concluding his report the chairman carefully folded the paper, placing it in his hat. Casting his eyes over the meeting he silently waited for some one to say something to Dimling.

After the meeting adjourned, one man ventured to remark that Bill had gone about the investigation like a colt approaching a brass band, prancing and dancing, wrong end foremost.

Many were the written protests sent Bill. All these he ignored. He not only refused to reply to them, but to emphasize his contempt, used them for an unseemly purpose.