“Up the street they skips; me after ’em, soon’s I could, safe. Round the corner they goes. Me, too. And then they sasshays into a joolry shop. Here I thought I’d stay outside.
“My friend, after some talk, passes a big nugget over the counter. The joolryman he bores into it with a file and hands it back. You never see a face more contemshus than his’n. Then some kind of argyment broke out, arms a-wavin’; windin’ up by the joolryman raspin’ pretty near every nugget in the heap. Each pass his face got more contemshus yet. Finally he swept the whole business back in the bag, throws it at ’em and intimates they can leave at any time.
“They left. I never heard such language in my life! It ortn’t be allowed in a large city. Why, that friend of mine, he heaved the bag of nuggets in the gutter and he raised up his hands, and just as sure as I sit here tellin’ you about it, friends and brothers, he made a Fourth-of-July speech five minutes long, and never repeated himself once! I wouldn’t go near him, feelin’ in his excited state of mind it might lead to trouble. The little old man at last dragged him away.
“I picked up them poor mishandled treasures in the gutter, for old acquaintance sake. And surmisin’ it probably wouldn’t hardly be worth my while to wait till I got to the hotel to sample my prize-package, I opened her on the spot.
“Well, there’s no use in talkin’. Them fellers were a pair of scoundrels. Instead of anything that looked or smelt or sounded like money in that parcel, was nothin’ but a lot of newspapers cut into strips, with a note on top of ’em bearin’ these insultin’ words:
“‘There’s a sucker born every minute.’
“Then I counted up on my fingers fourteen drinks and one five-dollar dinner, and says I to myself:
“‘Ya-a-as,’ says I, ‘I don’t reckon but what that’s true.’”
ST. NICHOLAS SCRAGGS
“I have read some’ers,” said Mr. Scraggs, “that some man whose name was a durned sight more important to him than it is to me, for I’ve plumb forgot it, said that he never begun nothin’ unless he could see the end of it.”
“His wife’s family must have owned real estate,” suggested Red Saunders.
“He didn’t specify which end,” excused Mr. Scraggs. “Maybe ’twas the front end he meant; then the proverb ’ud read that he never begun anythin’ unless he could see the commencement of it; which is a wise and thoughtful statement, because had it been otherwise, and therefore essentially different, why, how could he?”
“Of course not,” assented Red.
“I s’pose,” said the visitor, “that you mean what you say and understand what you mean, but d——d if I do. Is there any right or left bower in this game?”