Si Perkins was the last one to get well, and the first time he was able to walk as far as the store he made a little speech. Wanted to know if we were going to let a Connecticut Yankee trifle with our holiest emotions. Thought he ought to be given a chance to crack his blanked New England jokes in Hades. Allowed that the big locust in front of Binder’s store made an ideal spot for a jolly little funeral. Of course Si wasn’t exactly consistent in this, but, as he used to say, it’s the consistent men who keep the devil busy, because no one’s ever really consistent except in his cussedness. It’s been my experience that consistency is simply a steel hoop around a small mind—it keeps it from expanding.
Well, Si hadn’t more than finished before the whole crowd was off whooping down the street toward Binder’s. As soon as they got in range of the house they began shooting at the windows and yelling for him to come out if he was a man, but it appeared that Binder wasn’t a man—leastways, he didn’t come out—and investigation showed that he was streaking it back for Connecticut.
I simply mention this little incident as an example of the fact that popularity is a mighty uncertain critter and a mighty unsafe one to hitch your wagon to. It’ll eat all the oats you bring it, and then kick you as you’re going out of the stall. It’s happened pretty often in my time that I’ve seen a crowd pelt a man with mud, go away, and, returning a few months or a few years later, and finding him still in the same place, throw bouquets at him. But that, mark you, was because first and last he was standing in the right place.
It’s been my experience that there are more cases of hate at first sight than of love at first sight, and that neither of them is of any special consequence. You tend strictly to your job of treating your men square, without slopping over, and when you get into trouble there’ll be a little bunch to line up around you with their horns down to keep the wolves from cutting you out of the herd.
Your affectionate father,
From John Graham, at the Schweitzerkasenhof, Carlsbad, to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards, Chicago. A friend of the young man has just presented a letter of introduction to the old man, and has exchanged a large bunch of stories for a small roll of bills.
CARLSBAD, October 24, 189-.
Dear Pierrepont: Yesterday your old college friend, Clarence, blew in from Monte Carlo, where he had been spending a few days in the interests of science, and presented your letter of introduction. Said he still couldn’t understand just how it happened, because he had figured it out by logarithms and trigonometry and differential calculus and a lot of other high-priced studies that he’d taken away from Harvard, and that it was a cinch on paper. Was so sure that he could have proved his theory right if he’d only had a little more money that it hardly seemed worth while to tell him that the only thing he could really prove with his system was old Professor Darwin’s theory that men and monkeys began life in the same cage. It never struck me before, but I’ll bet the Professor got that idea while he was talking with some of his students.