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The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.) 1896-1905, July 10, 1904, Image 2

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059523/1904-07-10/ed-1/seq-2/

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A RED flag was fluttering over'
the doorway of the old house,
and from the inside came the
sounds of a high, chanting
voice and the rat-a-tat-at of a ham
It was a most unlikely place for a
fairy story, but they grow every
People were crowding in and out,
for the hammer and the voice belong
ed to an auctioneer who was selling
all the things* The old house was
about to be torn down, just as its old
owner had been torn down by desth,
and removed to make room for a new
edifice with all the modern improve
The fat tavern keeper and the vege
table woman and the alderman's wife
were all there, with everybody else,
even those who had not known the
old man at all. There they were,
lingering all his possessions, and ex
amining the bottom of the china for
the potters' marks.
"What a curious old man he was!"
said the alderman's wife to the doc
tor's wife, turning her broad, silk-cov
ered back ostentatiously on the wife
of the pound-keeper, who had obtain
ed his position through her husband,
and was, therefore, an inferior.
"Yes, indeed," said the tavern-keep
er's wife, who allowed no one to turn
the back on her, but joined in every
conversation in order to prove that
her husband was a power in the town;
"yes, indeed, he must have been crazy
t" spend all his time and money col
lecting such a lot of rubbish. He was
certainly.a curious creature!"
The tavern-keeper's wife spoke with
authority, for her husband was not a
curious creature at all. He never
dreamed of collecting anything except
the money due him from his guests,
and he ate three .extremely heavy
meals every day and fell asleep after
each one and snored.
The sale proceeded rapidly; for
although few of the good souls who
were there really knew anything aboujl
the things that the old man had col
lected with so much love, they knew
that he was considered a great author
ity on art. Therefore, they had to
prove that they, too, knew art. by
buying something. So the tavern
keeper's wife and the alderman's wife
bid against each other in competition
for a Chippendale table till both were
red in the face with anger.
Caught in a " Karntchatka "
//1C T OBODY knows what a real
j^kl wind is like," says Karl
X Bogdanowitsch. Professor
of Geology in St. Peters
burg, "unless he has experienced a
"Kamtchatka.' as an easterly gale is
called in the country of that name. We
Dorothy Ficken's Funny People
. \ ■< ■/
Means well, but suffers from the be
lief that all weathers were made es
pecially to bother him, and spends
day and night studying thermometers
and barometers and statistics, in or
der to tell us all about it.
The man who wants to know if
it is hot enough for you is the Chief
Snake of the species. The Weather
blitherer is extremely dangerous to
strange umbrellas, catching them
whenever they are left exposed. He
is immune to sarcasm.
The alderman's wife got it; and she
thought to herself:
"Well, the first thing I will do with
that will be to have it stained a differ
ent color and varnished and ornament
ed, and have those miserable, spindly
legs braced so that they will amount
to something."
The pound-keeper bought a set of
iron fire dogs, because they were so
appropriate for^his business. And the
vegetable woman trotted away with
a terra cotta vase for which no one
bid much because it was evidently
cheap, being entirely without decora
tions. The auctioneer said something
about its being from an Etruscan
grave, but then nobody was listening
to what HE said. So the vegetable
woman got it for forty-eight cents,
and she put it into her shop window,
where it was just the thing to sup
port particularly fine specimens of
artichokes or eggplants.
Before long everything was gone—
the collection of melodeons and
spinets,- and funny little pianos, and
the pottery from all over the beautiful
world, and every scrap and stick of
furniture—everything except a green
cotton umbrella with whalebone ribs.
"This," said the auctioneer laugh
ing, "is really the greatest curiosity
of all. Imagine a genuine umbrella
with whalebone ribs! Such things
are not to be had nowadays. It is a
first-class rarity, and a collector of
antiques would pay a high price for
But the people only laughed and
shouldered each other in their hurry
to get out; and the auctioneer was left
with the umbrella in his hand, and
nobody to purchase. At least, there
was nobody but a little, bent, poorly
dressed old woman, who had sat quiet
and patient without making a bid for
If it had been worth anybody's
while to notice her at all. the observer
would have seen that she kept her eye
fastened orj, the green cotton um
brella, and that her face was full of
anxiety when the auctioneer held it
up at last.
"Well!" said the auctioneer to her,
"you are the only bidder. Come nowj
tell me what you will bid for this
magnificent heirloom, guaranteed a
real antique with actual whalebone
"I have only seventy cents," said
the old woman humbly, "and I will
give it all to you for the umbrella."
"Only seventy cents for a fine green
were caught in one in a mountain pass
above the limit of vegetation. For a
little more than forty-eight hours the
eleven men of our party lay .under the
canvas of t^e fallen tent, ' covered
with .snow. We formed a compact
pile of human bodies, and within a
few hours there was no possibility of
motion, for the masses of snow over
us were so immense that they nearly
crushed us. Every single one of us
would have frozen to death had he
been alone. As it was, we kept each
other warm enough to survive, but
how we managed to escape suffoca
tion is more than I can tell, for after
twelve hours we were all only half
"The only way in which we man
aged to live in the grave of snow
was through the efforts of three of
our native guides, who lay on the
outside of the human pile. They
crawled out when it was . impossible
to breathe any longer, and the bur
row they made in emerging brought
us enough fresh air to enable us to
live. The poor fellows who did this
could not get back into the shelter,
and had to spend twenty-four hours
lying cowering alongside of our
sledge dogs, who lay in a packed mass
of their own under the snow near us.
"When the storm finally ceased,
three of my comrades were uncon
scious and could be revived only with
difficulty. And what a sight met us
when we came out of our white tomb!
"So incredible had been the force
of that wind that the mountains all
around us were black and smooth—
entirely clear of snow, although they
had been covered with it when the
storm began. The wind had swept
it from them like a terrible broom.
All our sleds and dogs $nd tents
had disappeared. High over where
they were buried stretched a vast
smooth Held. It was the snow that
had been on the mountains. We had
to dig down ten feet to reach the
tents. Many of the dogs had been
f --\"our men fell on the snow with
hands and feet, burrowing like mad
men and shouting that our only hope
was to get under way and escape
from the pass before the wind began
to blow again. Like defeated tropps,
they gathered what sleds and equi*
page they could reach, harnessed the
dogs that could Me found in a hurry,
and off we went over the wide deso
lation. On the way we found-many
parts of the pass blocked with snow.
hills that were from 60 to 80 feet high,
all made by the wind during that one
Jm Grien Cotton
cotton umbrella belonging to a past
age of whalebone ribs!" said fl*» auc
tioneer, who was a merry, sbul. "Well,
alas! If it must be, it must. Going—
going—gcfne for seventy cents."
Then the fairy tale began right
away. The moment the little old wo
man took the umbrella into her hands
its magic power exerted itself.
The tavern-keeper, or his wife, or
the fat alderman, or any of the rest
might have carried it forever and a
day, and it would have remained only
a green cotton umbrella-with whale
bone ribs. But it was different with
the little old woman.
To all who saw her limping through
the street, she was only the same
poor old woman whom they had
known for many years.; bin. in reality,
the moment she got fhe green cotton
umbrella with the whalebone ribs she
had been transformed into a beautiful
young girl with violet eyes and a
mouth that a bird would have gone
crazy over, believing it to be a glow
ing cherry.
And somehow the old umbrella, too,
had been changed strangely, although
it had not been altered in any way
that you could point out. It had just
the same shiny aquiline wooden nose,
and the same full-bodied green cotton
coat, and the same uncompromising
whalebone ribs that would not under
any circumstances permit such liber
ties in the way of twisting and fold
ing as are permitted nowadays by the
young dandies of steel.
Yet, somehow, it suddenly looked
strangely stylish and expensive—it
seemed to say that it cost money.
"It was raining,." the green "um
brella said to the old woman as they
walked along the streets together, "it
was raining on the morning when we
first met, but it turned out to be a fine
day. exactly like to-day."
'It is just fifty years ago to-day,"
said the woman. "That is a long
time. Yet I can still remember how
jjfc Pi<§ eon '
//IT 1! I -^
jjgg yIS CBT)
ijiHa.l 111 lil I iff 111"' if- ' *^4 r.j t r\ * MB, „ .
t:|B I ill" - t^j C£w* \. i*j*^ t^w**^ wtf jjy
:1m i I Jjn^H^^^BVTf f f If-1 ■ JSri * rCc !" * " * ' «*£&' ••••"■•••
I H-t-j.iiJiJii7it 'i [11 if 11 " i2£vl3 ' ■ v!4i<""?T**^. ' j^Sr
"'flu ..1 'i 111 11.. U. i H 11, i ' "" ■ V^^l>^*MHk : ". ■ V**^
frightened 1 was when lie stepped to
my side and begged me to accept your
shelter. 1 can almost hear the birds
chirp now from;their shelters under
the dripping hedges and hear the rain
drops patter on you above my head."
"Ah! I was young then," sighed the
old umbrella, "atvd much admired. It
took them longer to make me than Jt
takes?-;t« rhake a whole gross of tne
modern things that get consumption
and heart disease .and break their
ribs as soon as they venture into a
real storm. Do you remember how
well I used to match his yellow trous
ers and his light blue frock coat with
the elegant rolling velvet collar and
the bell-shaped skirts?"
"Yes, indeed! Wasn't he beautiful?"
cried the little old woman. "Do you
recall the day when we opened you,
and set you on the grass to act as a
tent while we had our luncheon out in
the country? He wore the scarf that
I had given him and it suited his
curly hair and brown eyes so well!"
There was powerful magic, indeed,
in the umbrella. It changed even the
streets through which the two went.
Instead of macadamized pavements
and electric lights, and tall, dignified,
responsible buildings, there were
country roads, brown and soft, with
mighty branching trees and green
The carrier pigeon flies as many miles in an hour
as it does in half an hour and 10 more. How long
will it take the piceon to reach its home across the val
• ley, if it has to fly 30 miles?
fields at their ends, and the houses
were full of funny little old-fashioned
eaves and gables, most unbusiness
Arid although the little old woman
finally seemed to go into a dark, ugly,
rear tenement, in reality she entered
a stately gateway and waiked up a
broad gravel walk that went winding
through, a rich velvet lawn on which
a gardener was working, while the
sunlight fell through noble elms that
shaded the walk and made the whole
silent, dreamy place fragrant.
Her patched cotton dress had dis
appeared with her wrinkles and her
lameness. She was dressed all in
white, and as she ran into the sunny
library, her father looked up from his
writing table and smiled at her. He
said: >
"All, puss, why so happy? Is Alfred
coming to take you out? It must be
that or something equally momentous."
And he smiled again and she blush
ed and hid her face on his shoulder
while he stroked her hair.
Even the dim attic with its crook
ed floor and its cracked, distorted win
dow panes was changed. Indeed, it
was not an attic at all, but a most
delightful room, hung with lace cur
tains and fragrant with flowers that
bloomed^ and hung and stood and
nodded in every spot where a flower
could be.
"It is long since T( stood here." said
lie green cotton umbrella. "It was
here that he asked you something,
and you gave him an answer that
seemed to make you both perfectly
foolish with happiness and joy. Do
you remember?'
"Do I remember?" said the old wo
man, who was not old at all any more,
except outwardly. "How could I ever
forget? It was then that he asked me
to marry him."
"I went to many places with you
after that, didn't I?" said the umbrella
proudly. "I was useful and discreet.
So you took me out sketching and pic
nicking and boating, not to mention
the many, many rainy days when I
went with you like a commanding
general as a protector."
"Yes," said she, "and then he went
to the _ wars."
"Ah!" remarked the green cotton
umbrella, sighing till his whalebone
.ribs expanded as if they would burst,
"it was at that time that I went into
exile. For he left me at the house
of his uncle, the art collector, who
was so absent minded that I hardly
ever got a chance to go abroad again;
To Start a" Toadery "
ONE of the most common and
most widely-spread creatures
of the. world is the toad in its
scores of varieties; and, like
the snake, it is the object of a scorn
and hatred that is almost universal.
Yet there is no reptile that is.more
harmless, and, better than that, more
valuable to the world.
Boys ar.e forever starting aquariums
and aviaries and other homes for ani
mals and birds. Must of them require
a great deal of work for their stock
ing, and comparatively few do well
for any length of time, bt-cause they
demand a great deal of intelligent
care. If they will try a "toadery" for
a change, they will be delighted with
the result, and it will remain in perfect
condition as long as they wish, for
the toads will get along with practi
cally no care at all and furnish con
stant amusement.
All that is needed is a wooden re
ceptacle like a tub, deep enough so
that the inmates cannot jump nut of
it. They are wonderful Jumpers, al
though few persons ever ge*t the op
portunity to see them, for they do
their jumping at night, when they
hunt mosquitoes and other insects.
< This receptacle should have about
six inches of clean sand packed well
over the bottom. Here and there
along the sides there must be little
caves of rock, for the toad loves to
hide away in dark places.
Toads do not need water for swim
ming, so no pool need be made for
them, unless it is desired for orna
mental reasons. It adds greatly to the
appearance of a toadery, especially if
a few water plants are placed in it,
or if a rim be made around it of blue
iris or'^ similar flowering growths that
love moisture. ' If no pool is made,
a saucer must be sunk into the sand
and kept filled with water, for. while
the toad is not a swimmer, it needs
moist places.
If a pool be established, the toads
can be raised from the egg. if the
collector will go to a pond and gather
some of the thick, ropy egg masses
that may be found floating near the
margins of almost any small body of
water in the suburbs or the open
country. With reasonable care these
will hatch out nicely in the tub, and
some morning you will find the pool
full of tadpoles. Or the tadpoles them
selves may be collected and trans
ported to the pool in the tub, where
they will become tiny toads within a
few days.
There is no prettier sight than such
for he was as likely as not to walk
out in a rainstorm without even a
hat on, unless his old housekeeper
ran after him with it."
"She is dead, too," said the old wo
man. "They are all dead. It seems
to me as if no life could remain af
ter he died. When they told me that
he had fallen in battle, I put on black
for the first time, and since then I
have had to mourn for so many—my
father and all my brothers and sisters,
and now his uncle. Ah, but you were
fortunate to be quiet and secure in
the house of the old collector: for
misfortune came over us like a wind
and swept away all that we had and
loved. My father's gray -head had to
bend to want and misery before li •
was released. The beautiful house, the
fields where he and I stayed, all went
trom us."
"But f remained," said the green
cotton umbrella proudly.
"Yes, you rema-iiied," said the old
woman. "When I went into the old
house I entered only to look once
more on some of the things that he
and I used to look at together; and I
never hoped to see you. It was for
tunate, indeed, that there were no
other bids for you, for the money
that I paid was all I had in the world.
But it is all right now."
The old woman cl.sped her hands
tenderly around the bald head and
the shiny aquiline nose of the um
brella and closed her eyes.
Immediately the magic of the um
brella made her forget all the sor
rowful years. They were wiped out.
just as you would wipe a sum that
IS all wrong off your slate. Tho
fields spread around her and the
neighbors stood at their gates and
smiled at Alfred and her as they pass
ed down the street, very close to
gether, under the green cotton um
brella. The trees were fresh and
green and'the birds sang. And what
they sang was one song, over and
over again:
"Love, love, love, love!"
That was what they sang, and each
time they sang it, it was more beau
tiful, and each time it was new and
wonderful, as if it had never been
sung before since the world was
"Love, love, tbve, love!"
It was still sounding in the room
when the neighbors opened the door
to see why the old woman had not
been out in so long a time. At least,
it seemed as if it still sounded, for one
of the women said, "Why, it was just
now as if a bird flew out of the win
There she sat —little and bent and
old. in her patched cottoft gown with
the green cotton umbrella with the
whalebone ribs in her hands.
"How very curious," said the neigh
bors, "that she should have died with
an old umbrella in her hands!"
They did not know that it was
a colony of young toads, none larger
than a big fly, and all watching eager
ly with their bright eyes for insects.
The' tiny things will leap high into
the air after a passing bug. and they
are so greedy that it would be quiu
beyond the ability of a human bein^
to keep them supplied with food. S<>
it is necessary to attract . insect.-,
which is done easily by placing syrup
or sugar or similar stuff here and
there in the tub to draw them. The
toads will do the rest.
Dorothy Ficken's Funny People
/i\ J)'^
The Pillspiller.
Gentle but poisonous. Knows how
to cure every ailment, and carries
strange medicines around with him.
Will prescribe for a cold or a broken
neck with equal cheerfulness. Is not
protected by the game laws. Usually
takes tys own medicines, and dies

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