UNCLE JOE AND AUNT MELINDA
The opinion prevails all through the truly rural districts that the big cities are for the most part given over to Confidence Men.
And the strange part is that the opinion is correct.
But it should not be assumed that all the people in, say, Buffalo, are moral derelicts—there are many visitors there, most of the time, from other sections.
And while at all times one should exercise caution, yet to assume that the party who is “fresh” is intent on high crimes and misdemeanors may be a rather hasty and unjust generalization.
For instance, there are Uncle Joe and Aunt Melinda, who live eight miles back from East Aurora, at Wales Hollow. They had been married for forty-seven years, and had never taken a wedding-journey. They decided to go to Buffalo and spend two days at a hotel regardless of expense.
Much had been told them about the Confidence Men who hang around the railroad-station, and they were prepared.
They arrived at East Aurora, where they were to take the train, an hour ahead of time. The Jerkwater came in and they were duly seated, when all at once Uncle Joe rushed for the door, jumped off and made for the waiting-room looking for his carpetbag. It was on the train all right, but he just forgot, and feeling sure he had left it in the station made the grand skirmish as aforesaid.
The result was that the train went off and left your Uncle Joseph.
Aunt Melinda was much exercised, but the train-hands pacified her by assurances that her husband would follow on the next train, and she should simply wait for him in the depot at Buffalo.
Now the Flyer was right behind the Jerkwater, and Uncle Joe took the Flyer and got to Buffalo first. When the Jerkwater came in, Uncle Joe was on the platform waiting for Aunt Melinda.
As she disembarked he approached her.
She shied and passed on.
He persisted in his attentions.
Then it was that she shook her umbrella at him and bade him hike. The eternally feminine in her nature prompted self-preservation. She banked on her reason—woman’s reason—not her intuition. She had started first—her husband could only come on a later train.
“Go ’way and leave me alone,” she shouted in shrill falsetto. “You have got yourself up to look like my Joe—and that idiotic grin on your homely face is just like my Joe, but no city sharper can fool me, and if you don’t go right along I’ll call for the perlice!”
She called for the police, and Uncle Joe had to show a strawberry-mark to prove his identity, before he received recognition.
To be your brother’s
keeper is beautiful if you do
not cease to be his friend.