“It means the elimination of the dyspeptic and the ’autocrat of the breakfast table,’ who frowns coldly upon the efforts of his young wife in the culinary line and carries off her biscuits to serve as paper weights. The scoffer at occidental table manners will cease to cavil at the genial westerner who eats vegetables with a knife, pie with a spoon, and drinks his coffee from the saucer, a napkin tucked in graceful folds beneath his ample chin.
“The picturesque phraseology of the Bowery-waiter will fade from view when he ceases to hustle ‘stacks of whites,’ ‘plainers,’ and ‘straight-ups’ to waiting customers, or bawl a hoarse-voiced ’draw one,’ to the white-capped cook.
“The grafter will lack his usual excuse for making a ‘touch;’ the after-dinner speech will no more pave the politician’s ways to fame, and the portrait of the baby that thrived on Malter’s Malted Milk, which now embellishes the pages of newspaper and magazine, will become naught but a lingering memory of the past.”
“See those hands?” said the Observer, holding up two “bunches of fives,” whose digits were stained near the ends with some dark brown substance, “that’s pyrogallic acid—and that burn near my thumb was made by Blitz Pulver. It wouldn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to discover that I had the camera craze, would it?
“The other day I went into a photographic supply house to look at some of their cameras and the clerk sold me one of the kind that ’a child can operate.’ He didn’t say where the child was to be found, but I have since concluded that it must be a very remarkable specimen of the infant prodigy, and is probably touring the country as a dime museum attraction on the strength of its wonderful abilities.
[Illustration: Poor B. is kicked by a calf.]
“I took the camera home with me and carefully assimilated the printed instructions which accompanied it, fixed up a dark room in the woodshed and then sauntered proudly back with my machine under my arm to photograph the baby.
“Now, I’ve always prided myself on the genial good nature of my infant. He hardly ever cries or kicks the covers off, or becomes afflicted with colic about 3 A.M. The butcher says he takes after me, though my wife won’t acknowledge this, notwithstanding the fact that the butcher has six of his own and ought to know. Well, the moment I came in, that kid, instead of rolling his eyes and saying, ‘a-goo-goo,’ which means ‘papa,’ as everyone knows, set up a regular Comanche howl and threw his rattle at me. When I took him in my arms and tried to quiet him, he clawed at my eyes, kicked a pocketful of cigars to pieces and bellowed so vociferously that I gave him back to his ma.
“After a while he began to listen to reason and I set up my outfit near the window in order to have a good light. I tore down a blind and ripped a lace curtain clear across in my effort to get two exposures, and, Good Lord! you ought to see those prints.