“His worst crack, though, was when a man of great local prominence, who stood high with the people, died and it fell to G.’s lot to describe the funeral ceremonies and eulogize the deceased. G.’s mother-in-law had just arrived and the poor fellow was so badly rattled that he got hold of the ‘bull-dog’ instead of the brier and made the Hon. G. out the grandest rascal who had ever preyed upon the vitals of a law-abiding community. The only thing that saved his neck this time was the fact that it all turned out to be true and his paper got the credit of a ‘scoop.’ After that he had a little case made to hold all four of his pipes, with a strap to go around his neck—and I guess he sleeps with it now.
“They say that Guttenberg conceived the notion of the printing press while taking an after-dinner smoke; that Stephenson’s ideas of steam locomotion came to him through the curling wreaths of his favorite Virginia; and that Morse figured out the telegraph with a pipe in his mouth. I never could corroborate these statements, though I don’t doubt them a bit. But, be that as it may, the man, woman or child who tries to deprive us of the solace and inspiration of tobacco, is like the goat that tried to butt a train off the track. He is not only trifling with one of the greatest factors in civilization, but he is toying with a lost cause.”
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[Illustration: “No other man gets half the flattering attention given the condemned.”]
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“No, I don’t believe in capital punishment,” said the Observer, as he rose from the barber’s chair and adjusted his collar before the glass. “It’s less expensive for the government than to board a man for life, and it satisfies the popular idea of justice, but I doubt very much its efficiency in the suppression of crime.
“Take the average murderer, for instance. He seems to look forward to his execution with happy anticipation. He may have been a hopeless dyspeptic who killed his wife in an agony of indigestion, following a repast of hot biscuits and flannel cakes, such as ’mother used to make,’ but as the hour of death approaches, he regains his appetite, and, just before the solemn moment, partakes of a hearty breakfast. His whole life may have been a record of flagrant cowardice, yet he walks steadily to the scaffold and dies ‘like a man’; he may have been illiterate to a degree, yet in the very shadow of the gallows he writes a statement for publication the depth and power of which astonishes the world. From the sentence to the finish, the murderer’s life is one bed of roses. Every pretty girl who visits the prison brings him flowers and sweets, and begs eagerly for his autograph; great authors write books about him; great lawyers draw up petitions from notable men and women asking for his pardon, and the governor’s secretary works night and day, declining their requests, writing special permits and “standing off” tearful relatives, friends and sweethearts, who spring up as if by magic to plead his cause.