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"WITTIEST I EVER HEARD"?PUBLIC MEN RECALL EFFECTIVE THRUSTS
hKNATOK JOn\ SHAHP WILLIAMS.
BY JOHV KI.FHKTII WATKI.NH.
WHAT Is the wittiest retort or the !
most humorous story you ever I
1 have been asking this fjuestlon
of a list of public men. more or less
noted as wits and humorists. Perhaps
th* idea may stimulate some literary
hack to make a much more complete
compilation of American humor and '
supply a want long felt in these days
when readers are being overfed with
the lurid, the morbid and the tragic.
The memory of practically every mem- !
ber and ex-member of our various
legislative bodies. Federal, Slate and
municipal stores up some samples of i
original repartee which doubtless will
he lost to posterity unless preserved
In printer's Ink.
In Washington the man who doubt
less hos the greatest fund of stories of
brisk repartee In debate on the tloor of
Congress Is Speaker Champ Clark. He
recalls stinging retorts that have ex- '
cited not only uproarious laughter, but
threats of personal encounter
The retort which ho considers as per
haps th'* most effective was made by
Senator James- Hamilton Lewis, when a
member <>f tin- House. Lewis's oppo
nent had been th'- aggressor, and had
been doinc all of the vicious digging
Lewis, as usual, was all suavity.
The Speaker tells the story in this ,
w a y :
"It was one of the finest bits of
Washington, D. C.
repartee T over heard In the House
Lewis and Lemuel E. Quigg. of New
York, were having a cut and thrust
debate on the trusts, Lewis assailing
and Qulgg defending.
"At last QuIrk rr.ade a particularly
vicious lunge at Lewis, to which the
latter, with the grace and politeness
of Lord Chesterfield, replied:
" 'Mr. Speaker, 1 do not wonder that
the gentleman from New York defends
the trusts, for it is written in a very
old Book that:
"'"The ass knoweth his owner and
the ox his master's crib."''
"That ended the debate very sud
Speaker Clark gave me also the fol
lowing sample of repartee, contributed
not as one of the wittiest retortB he
ever heard, but as that precipitating
about the most ridiculous situation he
ever witnessed in a legislative "body:
"Toward the end of his term as
Speaker of the Missouri House of
Representatives Judge J. E. Alexander,
now a member of the national House
of Representatives, was solicited foi
recognition by a large number of
members standing in the aisle in front
of the Speaker's desk. At last the Hon.
James T. Moon, a very brilliant mem
ber from Laclede County, yelled out:
" 'Mr. Speaker, I want to know if you
"Speaker Alexander, a very grave
and dignified gentleman, responded:
" 'It does seem to me that I have seen
that u?ly mug somewhere before.'"
The immortal wit of the late Senator
Jonathan Dollivor is considered bv Sen
ator La I'ollette to be productive of
REPRESENTATIVE SKREXO PAYNE.
the very best repartee heard on the i
tioor of the Senate.
"The quickest flash of wit that I re- j
call." said he, "carao after Senator j
Warren, of Wyoming, had delivered a '
long speech in behalf of protection. All
members of the Senate knew that Sen
ator Warren owned sheep ranches in i
his native State, and his earnest nppeal
had already tickled the fancy of the
"Senator Dolliver followed him and
Irad begun a discussion of the tariff
I changes when Senator Warren, anxious!
| to join In the sentiment, remarked: ?
I " '1 quite agree with the Senator on
? that point. Like himself, I am an
; agriculturalist, and?'
" 'You,' remarked Dolliver, simply,
| 'ate the greatest shepherd since Abra
1 "Even senatorial dignity could not
? withstand this."
Representative Fitzgerald, of New
; York, chairman of the appropriations
i committee of the House, said that one
i of the most effective shafts of repartee
j which he ever heard was hurled some
! years ago by a Southerner, whose name
j lie does not now recall.
"A hot debate was on." said Mr. Fitz
gerald, "and a member of the Republi
can party began by assailing Congress
generally and Democrats in particular
' tor their failure to net on some meas
, ure in whh'h he was interested. As .the
| debate waxed warmer the Republican
member became more and more worked
up over the subject.
"Finally he charged members of Con
gress, generally, with idleness.
" 'I^ook at the farmer!' he shouted
"He produces the food upon which we
live. The honest laborer, toiling home
at eve to his humble supper, furnishes
the motivepowcr for this great civili
zation. The storekeeper furnishes the
storehouse and the weaver the cloth
that goes within tho storehouse All
these do their share. Why should we
in Congress delay? What are we pro
"Instantly the Southerner was on his
feet, courteously requesting recogni
tion. After gaining permission to
speak, he turneil to the excited Repub
lican and said:
"'I will enlighten the gentleman if
he so desires.'
" 'I do.' said the Republican.
" 'Then,' said the Southerner. 'I will
tell the gentleman on the other side
of the chamber that Congress produces
more talk, per capita, than any organi
zation In the world.' "
I'nynr Hrcnlln Reed.
Sercno 13. Payne, rankins? minority
member of the Ways and Means Com
mittee, recalls this as the quickest re
tort he. ever heard in Congress:
"Many years ago Represen ta > ive
Springer, of Illinois, was debating on
the lloor of the House. During the
course of his speech he made several
remarks of a rather "variant nature
without apparently realizing the blun
der that he was making. After he had
talked about ten minutes, Tom Reed
arose and interrupted him.
"'The gentleman from Illinois,' said
Reed, 'lias made three distinct state
ments of a contradictory nature. 1
SENATOR n. M. I.A FOI.KTTE.
] would like to remark that any one of
the three could bo useel to disprove the
"Springer, somewhat taken aback,
thanked Reed, who had sat down. He
delivered rather a flowery effort In
which he expressed his satisfaction at
having been brought to book by Reed.
"Then he concluded:
" 'And 1 will say, Mr. Speaker, in
words that have been used before, I
I would rather be right than be Presi
"Reed did not arise, but smiled sar
"'No danger of your ever being
either,' lie yelled across the aisle.
So I)ocm Penrose.
Senator Boies Penrose, of Pennsyl
vania, who has himself been the hero
of many debates, also regards Tom
Keed as his beau ideal of the man with
j the lightning retort.
j "One of Reed's sharpest shafts was
Hung during the debate on the Wilson
tariff." said Senator Penrose. "The
argument had been bitter and the fieht
against the tnensure had been deter
mined. When tlie bill finally passed
the House a group of Wilson's friends,
among them William Jennings Bryan,
picked him up on their shoulders and
i carried him about the chamber.
"Tom Reed had been watching the
| proceeding in a saturnine sort of way.
! When Wilson and his triumphant
I bearers reached the centre doors of the
chamber. Reed lifted up his raucous
voice and shouted:
" 'You may carry him out now, while
you have the chance. The peopl? of
the United States will carry him out
"And it turned out to he as Reed *
Picked by Humorist William*.
"What clings to my mind as one of
the most amusing incidents ever wit
nessed in debate." said Senator John
Sharp Williams, of .Mississippi, "srew ,
out of not exactly a retort, but a speech
that was delivered by the late Senator
Robert Taylor, of Tennessee. In this
address the Senator, using his pose
of preternatural solemnity, announced
that he had listened in a state border
ing on stupefaction to the splendid
tributes which had been paid to va
rious American industries.
"Then ho turned toward Senator
Heyburn, of Idaho, whose speech in be
half of a duty on cattle and hogs had
been lengthy and earnest.
" 'But chiefly,' said Senator Taylor,
"was I impressed by the orotund sylla
bles which Issued from the esophagus
of the senior Senator from Idaho ns in
accents of Homeric rhythm he poured
forth his defense of the American hog.'
"The picture, coupled with Senator
Heyburn's dignity, was so utterly
ridiculous that it took the. Senate sev
eral minutes fully to recover its grav
| "One of the quickest flashes of re
i partno which I have heard In a long
! time," said Senator William Alden
; Smith, of Michigan, "occurred while
: Senator Penrose, of Pennsylvania, and
| Senator Simmons, of North Carolina,
were recently debating the tariff in a
desultory sort of way.
"Senator Simmons had announced
with great earnestness that he was
going to vote for free lumber.
"Senator Penrose, with a courteous
gesture, congratulated his opponent
; his versatility.
" '1 did not grasp the Senator's re
si:\atoh noisn pexrosb.
mark." said Senator Simmons.
" 'I made the polite observation,' ex
plained Senator Penrose. 'that the
Senator shows all of the earnestness
in his argument for the removal of
the duty on lumber that he showed at
the last session, when he insisted that
the duty on lumber be retained. The
Senator is a man of talent.' "
"I think that the story told by Mr.
Strickland Gillilan at the seventh an
nual dinner of the Indiana Society of
Chicago, is as Rood a ono as I have
ever heard." said Dr. Harvey W. Wiley,
the pure food champion, who is a ra
conteur of note.
"A cockney was chosen for a promi
nent part In one of the historical
pag?ants during the week when Qeoige
last of England was Jumped Into tne
king row. This cockney had beon se
lected.. purely because of his figure,
as the?one to personate one of the
ancient Uoinan invaders of the tripar
tite little island. Vet he was Invested
with a short, sleeveless tunic, thinner
fleshings, tin greaves, ditto helmet san
dals and a large spear. After walking1
the streets of i.ondon some hours thus
clad, this bally blighter was weary
and footsore and ashamed. At last
there came a chance to I'est, while
some hitch in the proceedings was un
hitched. Just at that moment a bitter
wind blew from the channel aftd chilled
his scantily clad form. He stood shiv
ering in his linery when an old lady,
literal minded and deeply interested
In historical pageantry, approached
him and asked:
" 'Are you Appius Claudius?'
"'No, bllmy: I'm un-app' as 'ell!'"
(Copyright, 1!H3, by John Elfreth
BV FI.ORB.VCK FARINOTON KI.YNX.
There is a class of women who will
be the reckoning: when the last argu
ment Is offered that will finally bring
They don't care anything about equal
rights or the vote. Their time is too
much taken up with their own affairs
to waste it asking for either. They are
living their own lives. They are get
ting all the homage they want from
their men folk, and at the same timo
all the success to be had. The world is
beginning to sit up and take notice and
realize that one little effeminate cliije:
ing vine type of woman who is doing
something that counts is worth more
to womanhood and the suffrage cause
than all the 10,000 suffragettes in last
In this day of mud-slliiRinp:. window
smashing sulTratfettes, with Mrs. Pank
hurst raising merry Cain in what was
once "Morris" England, and Mrs. Bel
mont threatening to start a militant
campaign In these peaceful States upon
her return In the fall, if the vote is
not granted in the meantime, it is a
small crumb of comfort to know that
there are women In the world who aro
doing big things, doing them well, In
a modest, quiet, womanly way, who
want or need no quarter from any man,
but who feel that they know how to do
things, and do not need a vote
to convlnoe themselves that they are
quite as capable as men when given
Such a type 1b Mrs. Thornton Lewis,
th* only woman In the country to.#day
who has Riven a series of successful
yearly horse shows, the biggest in the
State of "West Virginia.
Climax of Gny Smiion.
For five years, since, it was inau
gurated by former President Taft, tlie
Greenbrier White Sulphur horse show
has been the annunl feature of the sea
son in the Southern horse show circuit,
the biggest society event in the two
Virginias, and the climax of the gay
summer season at famous old White
Mrs. Lewis was Elizabeth Harrison,
niece of the late President Benjamin
Harrison, and a great granddaugh
ter of the ninth Pioaldent. William
Henry Harrison. She is a worthy
representative of a family that has
given two Presidents and a number
of statesmen to the nation.
Tall, lithe, graceful and very pretty,
much too youthful in appenrance to
convince the stranger that she io the
mother of a debutante daughter and
two grown-up sons; a figure that Is
almost frail, but with the complexion
of a ruddy schoolboy, Mrs. Lewis is
not the "horsey" type of woman ono
would . expect to find in meeting the
one woman in the country who has
successfully run a sories of annual
horse shows. Representative of a new
typo of woman, she is the type that
can successfully and gracefully com
bine business acumen with intenso
Elizabeth Harrison made her bow to
society at the White House in Wash
ington during the Harrison admlnls
StnntflnK in n grove of Mtatrly tree*, n xpni-iouN Colonlnl brick hounc, The .VrndowH hiibb''"'" a comfortable
home, rather than a .show iilaoe.
tration, nnd as a debutante was a belle
and toast. Later a popular society
matron and a successful mother. Idol
ized by her children, she devoted all
her time Jo their rearing and educa
She has not heretofore been "written
up," has never submitted to being in
terviewed and shrinks with abhorrence
from the Idea of seeing: herself in j
print. Yet she has had more than the,
I average man's success in a field here- j
tofore conceded only to the sterner sex. j
I'ulque ri|;urp Amorifi Woincu.
The granddaughter of one President
of the United States and the niece or
, another President, whose mountain
home is a treasure trove of heir
looms an antiques of the Harrisons,
and a museum for the admirer and
lover of old portraits and objects or
historic Interest, Mrs. Lewis is one of
the unique figures in woman's realm.
Five years ago she opened The
Meudows Stock Farm at White Sulphur
Springs, and although the stables and
farm originally started as a personal
fad and hobby, have developed into a
well-paying business proposition, be
cause the minutest detail of the un
dertaking has been looked after by
one whose Interest has sprung from
a love of the work, it Is the horse
show of which Mrs. Lewis is proudest.
A magnificont estate covering an
entire valloy and Including 200 acron,
that nestles between two command
ing mountain range#, tho approach to
"The Meadows" Is one of tho most at
tractive bits of scenery to be found
throughout the AUoghany aootion.
St;triding in n grove of stately trees
is the spacious Colonial brick house.
It suggests a comfortable home father
than a show place. landscape artists
with their formal and other gardens
have never had a chance at tho
gu?unds ?f tho place, which was
built ninety-six years ago. Old-fash
ioned tiower beds arranged with Che
artistic carelessness of the lover of
nature are pretty details as one drives
under the hospitable arch gate ana
up the private roadway that leads
from the miin turnpike, originally tho
old Indian trail that was the thorough
fare through the mountains Unking
east and west.
A broad, comfortable piazza and an
arched door of tho Georgian type is
an effective frame through which ono
catches the first glimpse of the old
Colonial hall with its winding stair.
Ilore are family portraits and minia
ture in their charming original
frames, several pieces of furniture
that are priceless antiques, and on tho
landing at the. head of tho stairway oc
cupying a conspicuous placn of honor
is tho family spinning wheel, brought
over from England several centuries
Tho drawing-room and groat living
room opening off either side of tho
hallway, are treasure storohou6oa of
antiques that would delight a con
nosieur. Tn the dining hall the nyig?(
niloent old mahogany furniture is
well set oft against walls done in Nat
The outhouses, formerly given over
to the slave houso servants, have been
transformed Into bachelor quarters to
accommodate an overflow 'when the
mistress of this unusual establish
ment onten litis house parties.
The Hold and surrounding race
cours" a short distance from the house
are ideal, and no hotter are to be
found In the country, not even ex
cepting the famous Held and course
laid out at Aiken, S. C., by the. late
William Whitney, and which has
been used during tlie past winter by
Larry Wat-rbury. Devcreux Milburn
and otiiei players in thalr preliminary !
practice for the intenutional polo j
Here, when the colts have graduated j
from tlv- Sirs' stages of training In
the smaller paddock, they are tralnea
and raced under the personal super
vision of the owner. The hardiest of
her trainers is frequently compelled to
take his hat off to Mrs. Lewis when
It comes to perseverance, patience and
indomitable will In breaking a hlgh
With no thought of making money,
or of eve:i paying expenses and 110 ad- j
vertislng. every colt bro,] on "The j
Meadows" stock farm has been sought
after to such an extent that with few
exceptions, ail havo been disposed of
as yearlings or two-year-olds. Here
the two famous stallions, Leslie Allen,
a roadster, and the President, a hunter,
are kept, and tho farm Is gaining a
roputn'lon as one of the foremost ?
breede--s of tho type of saddle horse
and roadster that has made the blue
grass section of the Virginias and
Kentucky famous. Mrs. Lewis is fast
becoming a,power to be reckoned with.
A Shetland ponies' stable is maintained
In conn'sititloa with the farm, and has
Out f?r ii Cnntor.
Diamond Slur, n tliroo-jcar-old, li rod and ratacd nt The Mentions.
had a marked degree of success.
IIii.n I'tTMitnal Supervision.
A personal supervision over every
detail of the stables ami farm Is main
tained by the fair owiwr, though site
hns never neon known to discuss the
intimate, details connected with the
management of such an establishment
with any man with the exception ot
Mr. Lewis. He is one of the oittelals
of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway,
with offices in Cincinnati. Ho comes
to the Springs every week-end, and
during bis two-day's stay Roes owr
the entire ground with his wife, l.nter
It :s discussed between th in, and the
following week's work planned.
tJhe is an early riser, her mornings,
four or five hours, are devoted to her
stables and farm. After that Iter day
may include a dozen widely dlvesl
llC'i activities, which display I un
marked versatility. After breakfast
she may spend several hours looking
over the stock In fifteen jr moro pad
docks, give suggestions to the men,
and by 10 A. M? after another's or
dinary day's work, she may start oit
for the hotel, driving a smart trap,
where she joins a thtong for a morn
ing gerjnan and later a dip in the
pool. At 1:30 she Ij presiding at
lui\cheon In h.jr home, and it may be a
family party or one of a dozen or
score ot friend*.
In the afternoon eighteen holes of
Kolf or several seta of tennia may be
ployed or ft flailing party and a pic
nlc tea in the woods may be on tho
: praurram. Or perhaps It la a paper
j eh lae. a hint or a mere Infomml
! horseback tide of anywhere from
' eight to riftoen miles, with tea at one
i of the old farm houses' before return
1 at sunset, Dinner at 'The Meadows*
j is usually followed by a general exd* .
I dus for dancing and supper engage
! nients that keep/ip the Interest until
During th? annual show, which lasts
| three days. .Mrs l^ewls Is a busy wo
i man as tlx leading figure. She p>e
| slil. s as the. gracious hostess of a box
party, which may Include a President
of the United States. Senators, famous
statesm.-n, and a cosmopolitan throne
representing society ? from New Yortt
to far away San Francisco; later i
Is seen in the ring showing oil' %
hunter, driving a tandem, or tooting %
a coaeh. trtvl In1 the evening. If tt IS
tho niuht of the annual hor?e shew N
ball, she Is the star of the dance, aft
the leader of the cotillion.
One who Is t.n thoroughly and
cess fully a society woman and com-"'!
petltor of men in their own Hold,. ?
would bo a great udverttaement
the cause, were ahe a &uttrafett?,
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