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The patriot. (Glenmora, La.) 1918-1955, December 20, 1918, Morning, Image 6

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Hero Mine
By R. RAY BAKER
(Copyright, 1918, by McClure Newspaper
Syndicate.)
Verna Pomeroy had a mania for he
roes.
"I will marry the man who goes
through Are, water, blood and iron for
me," was the way she expressed it.
SJany there were who would have been
willing to go through water, provided
It was not too deep; and also through
blood, as long as it was not of their
own or their shedding; but as to fire
and iron—well, the former was a lit
tle too much to expect and the latter
was difficult.
If Verna had waited a few years
she would have experienced no diffi
culty in finding a hero for herself.
They are plentiful nowadays, but they
were scarce when Verna was twenty
one and the "pretty stenog" in Jones
& Jones' real estate office on the fourth
floor of the Ashton building.
Somehow Verna figured that Dan
Williams was destined to be the man.
He was a fireman in the station house
three blocks down the street, and he
clung rather heroically, she thought,
to the red juggernaut that roared and
screeched past the Ashton on an aver
age of at least four times a day. There
was a man who would at least go
through fire, and certainly through
water, and probably meet the other re
quirements. He w'as a strapping
blond young man, with strength rip
pling through every muscle, and he
was very good for a hero worshiper to
look at.
"Some day he'll prove to be my
hero," she had decided on the day
Dan followed his pet maltese cat in
Its wanderings from the station house
across the street to the Pomeroy res
idence, where Verna happened to be
seated on the porch reading "Brave
Men I Have Met."
That's the way they got acquainted,
and since then Dan had wooed Verna
through the fourth floor win chow every
week day and in the parlor of her
home every night when he got time
off.
When the siren of the ladder truck
gave vent to Its mournful shriek
Verna always would look up from her
typewriter and exchange a wave of
the hand with Dan as the red demon
dashed by.
But Dan was not the only one who
wooed Verna through the window.
Ben Vincent rode past the Ashton
building twelve times a day. His pace
was not as swift as his rival's, how
over, because his vehicle was a street
car. When he approached Verna's
window, he always stood on the rear
platform and waved one of his hands
while the other rang up fares.
Verna liked Ben. fully as well as
Dan, but his life was so prosaic it of
fered few heroic possibilities. He had
dark hair and eyes and his face was
attractive, but he failed to come up
to the fireman's shoulder and there
was no noticeable bulge just above
the elbow.
His acquaintance she had formed
when she moved to a residence in the
suburbs and was obliged to use a trol
ley car twice each day.
Ben's dark complexion was another
handicap. Verna had hair that she
liked to hear called "raven locks"
and her eyes were of a similar hue;
and she had read that a person should
marry an opposite.
That's the way things stood when
the rivals met one night a half block
from the Pomeroy home. The conduc
tor had been calling on Verna and the
fireman knew It and waited for him.
They both happened to be off duty,
but Ben had been the first to ask her
for an engagement.
*Tve been waiting for you an hour,"
Dan announced as he stepped out from
the tree against which he had been
leaning. "You've been in Miss Pom
eroy's parlor altogether too long. 1
can't stand for that."
Ben had no relish for a fight—not
with those six feet of muscle—so he
kept his temper In leash.
"Sorry I don't please you," he re
plied with sarcasm-sprinkled coolness.
"I dldn't^now Miss Pomeroy and you
were engfeed."
The fireman knitted his brows into
« savage s«|wl and looked disdainful
ly down at the pebble in his highway
of love.
"Well, we aren't" he declared.
"There is no engagement yet, but there
Is going to be. She wants a man, and
rm It—see? She isn't going to tie
up with a shrimp like you, so you bet
ter make yourself scarce around her.
Tm Just warning you. that's all."
About this time Fate decided to take
a hand in the affair. So a janitor
went to sleep in the basement of the
Ashton building late one afternoon
and a cigarette dropped from his
mouth Into a barrel of excelsior. The
Ashton was a frame relic of past arch
itectural grandeur and the flames ate
Into it as a famished lion eats into a
chunk of red beefsteak.
The janitor awoke, choked with
smoke, and staggered to safety. The
occupants of the building dashed pell
to the street by means of the
nd the meager fire-escape
The elevator boy deserted
and fled with the rest.
Verna's bosses were playing golf
and she was alone in the office clean
a pile of work. She had her
of the qualities that heroes
made of. So she re
and put valuable
while fir* crept up
ItlS
it.
the outside and inside of the building
and smoke seeped through the floors.
"There's lots of time," she told her
self, and kept rummaging for one very
Important document she had been un
able to locate. She finally discovered
it on a file on the junior partner's
desk. Tossing it into the safe, she
slammed the iron door, turned the
knob and hurried into her coat and
hat
As she opened the office door a wave
of heat and smoke rolled in upon her.
She coughed and drew back for a mo
ment, then dashed for the stairway.
But the flames had been there first i
and there was no stairway. By this ;
time she was really excited. She ran J
to the elevator entrance and pushed
frantically and vainly on the bell. Baf
fled, she stood in a daze in the midst
of stifling fumes which were becoming
more dense with every minute that
passed.
"Dan will save me!" she cried, and
she struggled to her feet and ran
back Into the office, throwing open a
window. Indistinctly through the
smoke she made out a crowd as
sembled across the street. Bells were
clanging as fire apparatus darted up
and down the thoroughfare.
"Dan !" she cried, with aH the pow
er of her lungs. Repeatedly she called
the name, while flames stole closer
and closer to the fourth floor.
Presently she heard an answering
shout, and a huge, light-haired fire
man stood out in the center of the
street and waved a hand at her the
same as he had waved it countless
times from his red demon.
He disappeared from her view. The
heat grew more intense and the smoke
got thicker. The flames were having
a feast; they were gorging them
selves.
Suddenly she saw something rising
before her—an extension ladder. It
wabbled and quivered before the win
dow and then slowly the ends settled
against the ledge. She looked down,
and there he was—the man—fighting
his way up, inch by inch, through a
shroud of yellow flames and black
ness.
In a few moments he would be at i
the window and she would be saved.
A dense cloud reached out, envel
oped the ladder and blotted out the
fireman from sight. When it rolled
away there was Dan on the ladder—
faltering. As she watched he shook
his head, pointed at the flames above
him, and slowly began to descend.
Verna fainted.
The next sensation she experienced
was one of being jolted. She opened
her eyes and discovered she was in a
street car which was bumping swiftly
over the rails. She was half reclining
on a seat—and she was the only pas
senger.
There was a step in the aisle and
she saw a bedraggled figure in a blue
uniform standing over her. It was
Ben.
"How'd I get here?" was her first
question after a silent moment of con
templation and wonder.
"I put you there," he responded
simply. "I'm taking you home as fast
as I can. My machine (he laughed
dryly) was stopped by the fire. I saw
you at the window and went after
you, '
She took a long breath of relief or
two to get her lungs full of air or
something. Then she noticed that
about his forehead was a bloody hand
kerchief that his cap could not en
tirely conceal.
"Where'd you get that blood?" she
demanded, shuddering.
He fumbled with his transfer
punch.
"It wasn't much of a hurt," he said,
"although it did bleed a lot. You see,
I was able to reach you by running
the elevator, which I found standing
open. There was a regular blanket of
fire in the shaft, but I guess the soak
ing I got from a hose when I made
the run for the building helped to keep
me from burning up. I got the blood
when I rammed my head into the iron
gate at the fourth landing, thinking it
was open. The blow sort of dazed me,
but I managed to open the gate,
picked you up in the office and beat It
back down the elevator with you. I
bet I made an awful dent In that gate.
My head feels like it had busted right
through the Iron."
Verna reached up and clasped one
of his hands.
Ben," she said, "do you know you
have all the qualities of a regular
hero?" <
Devil's Tower a Landmark.
The Devil's tower is 82 miles by
road from Moorcroft, Wyo. This con
spicuous mass of rock, flung up by
some ancient earth cataclysm, rises
600 feet above a rounded ridge of
sedimentary rocks, which itself rises
600 feet above the Belle Fourche river.
It was useful to the aborigines as a
landmark from which to direct their
courses across the plains. Later on,
the white pioneers of civilization in
their exploration of the gréât North
west also used it as a landmark. Still
later the military wars in the Sioux
aDd Crow Indian country during the
Indian wars of the last century di
rected their marches by the aid of this
ever-present tower; for it is visible in
some directions for nearly a hundred
miles.—Automobile Blue Book.
Chinese Playing Soccer.
During the past few years the Chi
nese have been making tentative ex
periments in the way of playing asso
ciation football, a game which is be
coming popular among the Chinese
workmen in France. It seems that the
Chinese in New York are now run
ning an association team and, like
practical men, have engaged the pres
ent secretary of the United States
Football association as their manager
for next season.—London Held.
*■
a
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T
HE Christmas turkey at Mount
Vernon was a wild bird, and
merely a game dish when Mrs.
Washington, in the early days
before the Revolution—her
husband was then only an
eminent citizen of Virginia—
rolled up her sleeves and
stood to carve it.
In those days it was considered a matter of
course that a lady should know how to carve,
though (as was the case with the mistress of
Mount Vernon) she might not spell correctly.
The accomplishment, like the making of jams and
cider, was appropriate for a housewife.
Christmas at Mount Vernon in those times was
an exceedingly jolly and festive occasion. Wash
ington was the richest man in Virginia, and the
equipments of his household were in many re
spects more luxurious than could be found in the
houses of his well-to-do neighbors. For example,
the guests at this Christmas dinner were provided
with silver forks—a rare luxury at that period,
when gentlemen customarily ate with their
knives, because it was out of the question to lift
peas and many other such edibles to the mouth
with the three-tined steel forks commonly in use.
It is a shock to learn that the father of his
country ate with his knife, yet such is undeniably
the fact. That sage historian, Peter Parley, tells
a story (probably apochryphal) of an occasion
when somebody tried to kill the immortel George
by putting poison on his peas. Shoving his knife
beneath a few of them, and raising them to his
lips, he looked across the table at his enemy, and
said, "Shall I eat of these?" Still holding the
knife suspended, he again transfixed the man
with ills gaze and repented the question. So over
come was the would-be poisoner by Washington's
seeming prescience that he fled from the tabic
and the pèrilous peas remained uneaten.
At that epoch, in Virginia, the men who waited
on the table in most of the country houses wore
plantation garb. At Mount Vernon, however, the
household servitors were attired in a handsome
i and even strikiug livery of scarlet, white and gold,
and the butler was a dream of gorgeousness. One
man for each two guests was the minimum allow
ance. Not only were there viands to be supplied,
but a constant succession of bottles containing
wines of choice vintage for the consumption of
the male guests.
Ladies in those days drank next to nothing at
all. To take more than a sip of wine, for either
maid or matron, would have been regarded as
the height of impropriety. But for the men—all
through this Christmas dinner the bottles were
kept going around. Mr. Bryan Fairfax of Alexan
dria would say to Mr. G. W. Lewis across the
table, "George, a glass of wine with you !" "With
pleasure, Cousin Bryan!" the latter would reply,
as he bowed and drank. Then Mr. Fairfax would
go through the same performance with every man
at the table—and so it went throughout the
repast.
The eatables served at the dinner were nearly
all of them products of the Mount Vernon estate.
From a gastronomic point of view, no region in
the world was richer than that section of old
Virginia. There were canvasback ducks to be
shot on the river in front of the house ; partridges
and venison were plentiful, and the proprietor of
the mansion raised his own beef, pork, and mut
ton. The only vegetables were sweet potatoes,
white potatoes, and beans.
From a latter-day standpoint the repast was
conducted in a peculiar fashion. All the dishes,
including three kinds of meats and several of
game, were put on the table at once. While Mrs.
Washington carved the turkey, the gentlemen who
happened to be opposite the mutton, the venison,
etc., were expected to lend expert assistance in
the dissection of those comestibles. The paddings
were eaten before the withdrawal of the cloth, the
removal of which left bare a shiny expanse of
mahogany, upon which the fruit, nuts, and de
canters were set forth in festive array.
When the cloth had been withdrawn, the host
would lift hts glass, filled with choice Madeira,
and drink the health of his guests. Five minutes
of genera malversation would follow, perhaps,
and then Mrs. Washington would rise, giving the
signal for the departure of the ladles. Every
body would get up ; the ladies would make an elab
orate curtsy to the gentlemen, and the latter
would bow profoundly in response. With the re
tirement of the women the real drinking would
fUfl fVfiyi *f *T*T1 f
*■ ^
* Christmas Afternoon ^
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The afternoon of Christmas day may be rather
a quiet one for the older folks. The gifts have
been unwrapped and arranged and hovered over
from time to time. The usually tidy room looks
like a bazaar for the sale of fancy goods. Per
haps neighbors and other friends may come to
exchange "Merry Christmases!" and to say, "May
I thank you here for your lovely gift?"
Between the dark and the daylight, after the
callers have gone and the children have returned
from their play, comes the peaceful and happy
Christmas evening. The g teat day is dying;
Christmas is nearly over. It will be a whole year
before we shall enjoy Its merriment again or re
member happy Christmas seasons of the past.
We may lose many things—home, friends, health,
money—but memory abides, and no one can take
from us the happiness that has once been ours.
On Christmas night we remember the old days.
We think of those who were once here to share
our joys. "Christmas never »can be the same
again!" many people exclaim when they feel as
if the Joy of life has gone forever. If we all took
that view Christmas itself might die. If depends
upon deep spiritual insight.
Let us, if we can, forget our troubles and even
our sorrows and try to rejoice. If we have chil
dren about us it Is not hard to be merry, but If
we have none of our own there are a great many
who ought to be made glad and may be found
with but little trouble.
A merry Christmas to you all! And I would
add Tiny Tim's words. "God bless us, every one !"
•Dolly Wayne in Philadelphia Public Ledger.
SANTA! DON'T YOU DARE!
We love our daughter dearly.
For her our lives we'd soak.
Bat she wants a ukulele
For Christmas. Holy sjnokef
and
an
and
of
of
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the
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begin, and might be kept up almost indefinitely,
though, for his part, Washington never went be
yond a second glass of wine, and it was his usual
custom to leave the table within a few minutes
after his wife had gone.
Toasts, in those days, were never drunk until
after the ladies had left the table, and no beauty's
health was ever pledged in this fashion while she
was present. But when the men found them
selves alone, it was the proper thing for a young
gentleman to get upon Ills feet—which, it is to
be hoped, were still steady—and to say, "I give
you Betty Lomax, the most beautiful girl in West
moreland county !" Or perhaps it might be Susan
Lee of Rappahannock. Such a toast was custom
arily drunk standing—with all the honors, as the
phrase was.
Indeed, Christmas was a great day of festiv
ity in the Virginia of that epoch. Breakfast was
at eight or nine o'clock, unless it had been de
cided to go a-hunting in the morning—In which
case the meal was eaten by candle-light If there
was a fox-hunt—a sport of which Washington was
very fond—the host wore a brilliant red waist
coat trimmed with gold lace, and the ladies who
rode were beautiful in scarlet habits. On such
occasions Mrs. Washington would go out in her
"chariot and four," keeping as close to the hunt
as the roads would permit Not until 1785 were
the Mount Vernon kennels abolished and the dogs
sold.
Those were days when meals were ample, but
were not multiplied. Eating, when undertaken,
was no mere frivolity, but serious business. This
Christmas dinner was at 3:30 p. m. ; there had
been no lunch, and there was no supper to come.
After dinner there were games—blind man's buff,
hunt the slipper, and the like—with much romping
and more or less kissing. A sprig of mistletoe
was hung up in a convenient place, and if a girl
happened to be kissed under it by a young man
she did not faint or call for help. In fact. It
might be suspected that she did not seriously ob
ject.
Never, nnd nowhere, in this world were there
more capable and expert makers of love than the
young men of Washington's day in old Virginia.
Nobody ever saw jollier fellows than they were.
If they loved fiercely, they proved their sincerity
by marrying early; and, when one of them was
so unfortunate as to lose his wife, he would in
variably marry again. Marriage was considered
just about the most important duty of life, and
the love affairs of the gentlefolk were freely
confided even to the servants. Black Tom knew
that Mars' James was "going after" Miss Saille
Lee, and would talk the matter over with his
young master. And it was the same way with
the girls.
So it may easily be imagined that on a festive
occasion such as this Christmas celebration a
good deal of incidental love-making, some of it
serious enough, was accomplished. But the
Master of the Revels, though he himself had been
sufficiently ardent in his youth, was in later life
no eager sympathizer with such follies.
Though Mr. Washington took no part in the
romps that followed the dinner, he heartily en
joyed the fun. Occasionally he relished a game
of cards, and probably on this Christmas evening
he indulged fn some such amusement, in company
With the older people, while the young folks
scampered and romped. He played for money,
but the stakes were small.
There were two young people at Mount Vernon
in those days—the son and daughter of Mrs.
Washington by her first husband. It is easy to
imagine the part they took in the romps on Christ
mas day. fiohn and Martha, their names were,
but everybody knew them as Jacky and Patsy!
Patsy died in 1773, when just budding into wom
anhood, while her brother married young, and
had four children, two of whom, George and Nel
lie Custis, were adopted by Mr. Washington. To
George he left the famous Arlington estate, oppo
site the city of Washington, which afterwards
fell by inheritance to the wife of Gen. Robert E.
Lee.
. On Christmas eve there was a dance, to which
all the neighbors for many miles around were,
as a matter of course, invited. The party began
before eight, and was over by ten o'clock.
Young ladies' beauty in those times was not
spoiled by late hours. For music there was a
single fiddle, played by an old slave on the place
—a white-haired negro who kept the time and
helped on the tune by pounding on the floor with
his big foot.
All the young ladies wore low-necked dresses,
making a brave display of pretty shoulders, and
the men were in knee-breeches and silk stockings.
Mrs. Washington's gown, cut V-shaped and filled
In with ruching, was of French silk; but the
clothing she ordinarily wore was of domestic
manufacture, being woven at Mount Vernon, where
bo fewer than sixteen negro women were ke
constantly at work In what was called the "spiiK
nlng-house." This industrial annex of the estab
lishment remains to this day, and visitors at
Mount Vernon are taken by the guides to see the
very room in which the spinning-wheels were
operated.
Of course, there was high festival not only for
the master and his guests, but also for "my peo
ple," as Washington was accustomed to call the
negroes on his estate. He would never have
thought of speaking of them as slaves. There
were at that period about one hundred negroes on
the place, and at the Yuletide season they en
joyed exceptional privileges. Good things for
their consumption were distributed with no nig
gard hand by the mistress of the house, a treat
much appreciated being a drink known as "inethig
1er," composed of fermented honey, spices, and
water. Another beverage brewed by Mrs. Wash
ington was a sort of peach brandy sweetened with
honey.
Those were days when a capable housewife was
supposed to know how to compound a variety of
beverages. Beer was brewed at Mount Vernon
under Mrs. Washington's own supervision, and
cider as well, the latter being a drink of which
her hdbband was very fond. He always had it on
the table at dinner, nnd would take it freely in
place of the wines which were more to the taste
of his guests.
By ten o'clock in the evening the festivities of
Christmas day at Mount Vernon were over. Even
had the fashion of the time been otherwise, Mrs.
Washington would scarcely have tolerated late
hours. She always insisted on putting her hus
band to bed early, and he meekly obeyed. Wheth
er it be true or not, as some chroniclers have as
serted, that Mr. Washington was henpecked, it is
certain that he considered it judicious to submit
in most things to his wife's wishes.
The frame for this picture of a Christmas at
Mount Vernon before the Revolution is ready
made ; for, thanks to the efforts of patriotic wom
en, the old mansion stands today almost exactly
as it was when Washington lived there. There
is much of the old furniture, and even a great
deni of the old china and glassware. The house
is a veritable fragment of American history, and,
though more than a century and a quarter has
gone by since the merry Yuletide festival here
described, the imagination readily repeoples the
old place with its throng of guests, eating, drink
ing, dancing, and making love, and hears the jpy
ous laughter of the romping young folks, while
through the crowd moves the stately figure of the
host, who, offering his hand to the prettiest girl
in the room, proceeds to lead her througli the
graceful and decorous steps of a minuet.
'*'***▼! TM'Tl <TVfi T i
l Have You Discovered It? >i
•At 44. Ai i At A a. A> (Ai A a. Ai I Ai A a. Ai (At A a. Ai lAiAil
Merry Christmas, Rodney !" sang out Jerrv as
he dashed out of the alley dragging a handmade
sled. ,
"Merry Christmas nothing!" repHed Rodney
morosely.
"What's the matter with it?" asked Jerrv "I
heard you got a lot of presents."
"I wanted a motorcycle and didn't get it"
growled Rodney. *" '
"If 1 ™.. S ™? y ;, ^ 0d '" sald Jerry sympathetically.
If you get time, come on over and see the tree
we rigged up for the kiddies last night. There
come Jakey McGinnis nnd his twin sister
*r J!' 17 , h » r I Ied ° n down the tfreet, loaded the
footing * ° n h,S Sled and had a «—t time
Jerry had discovered how to niake Christmas a
success. He was the embodiment of the spirit of
Jerry-does he live in your block?-is the kind
of lad who gets so much joy out of iif a 't. » , d
of It spills over and «ands on Then P f! *
wants everybody to be lust nf f ? ,low -
would like to see Rodney get hlsTn! »*. h ° , 1S ' He
would make Kbdney; any happier * 01< JCe lf it
We have a suspicion, however,' that if Ron
had received the motorcycle he wom,i „ ?t * y
found the Joy-trail by riding it ' d 4 have
.hSSLTÄ;:;^' ■» ***
'»■"« iPellM with th, T,u^ G '^!! n '£
It is what we bring to the rtnv tw . G ~ E ~ T -
mas a Joy-time.—Bo y8 * World. * " akes ChriR t
J°Y EVERY DAY.
Why not more davs of invin
With garlands hum, ' 1 R Cttre -
40.1 ««rohere.
4

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