OCR Interpretation

Valentine Democrat. (Valentine, Neb.) 1900-1930, September 03, 1903, Image 6

Image and text provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn95069780/1903-09-03/ed-1/seq-6/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

( Edward Charles , i the Wide World. )
With moet cities Ufa begins at the
grooBd. floor ( cellar * , seirers and elec-
trte tube * always vxcepted ) and ends
at the top story , bat hi Paris , while
business is being profitably conducted
in the bright sunshine of the loftiest
ttory , It Is also being as profitably pur
sued in the darkness of the depths be
low , far beneath even the sewers and
the famous Metropolitan Railway of
which the Parisians are so proud. For
Purls is honey-combed with subter
ranean vaults and passages. It is
literally built upon columns and walls ,
and if one fine morning the world
awoke to learn that the bottom had
fallen out of the Gay Capital and it
had crumpled up like a house of cards
it would be no surprising thing to
those familiar with the underground
world of Paris. It would seem
as though the former Inhabitants had
devoted their efforts to hewing out a
place wherein they might seek refuge
in case of dire necessity , for , though
few are aware of the fact , the entire
population of Paris could hide itself
beneath the city.
To build the city we know so well
to-day past generations delved and dug
beneath it for the coveted stone. What
then were quarries have now become
caves , portions of which have been
converted into catacombs and contain
the bones of the dead , while others are
used for the very mundane purpose of
growing mushrooms. The mushroom
is a comestible particularly favored
by the French. Wagon loads from
near and far find their way into the
central markets of the city every day
in the year , and the annual consump
tion by the Parisians of this vegetable
represent a value of over $1,250,000.
Both beneath the city Itself and out
side it , these strange mushroom caves
extend for miles in all directions ; and
in them hundreds of men , who often
never see daylight from morn till eve ,
pass their lives In cultivating the
"I was told that I should find these
"under-boulcrards" of the great city
well worthy of a visit , and I accepted
the offer of an influential friend to ob
tain permission for myself and a photo
grapher to descend into the bowels of
the earth and leant something of the
art of underground mushroom grow
ing. We departed one fine morning ,
the photographer a d I , for Malakoff ,
on the outskirts of Paris. We found
the mushroom farmer on his farm
awaiting us a well-built , bluff , hearty
specimen of French , "fermier , " M.
Burvingt by name. I looked around
for signs of cavea , but failed to find
them , nor did I see any hills in the
neighborhood under which they might
be. In answer to a question I was in
formed that they were just 15 metres
under our feet.
"This shaft leads right into them , "
Said the farmer , indicating a covered
circular hole in the ground I had not
hitherto noticed. He pulled the boards
away , and I looked down , shuddering ,
for I looked only into fathomless dark
ness. How we were to get down puz
zled me ; how the photographic appara
tus was goiicg to fare worried the pho
tographer , and we were both immense
ly relieved to learn that this shaft was
not the entrance , but only the place
where they pitched the manure dowi.
1 still had hopes of gaining entrance-
other than by descending a shaft a
gentle slope or something of that s rt
was what I wanted and 1 felt con
vinced that this would be the case
when our guide said we had lather a
long walk before us. It proved a yo d
thiee-quartcrs of an hour's jourupy ,
over fields and down country lanes ,
ere he stopped suddenly before a sina'l
jquare fence and told us we had reach
ed our destination. And we had been
following the line of one of the underground -
ground passages all the time.
Opening a gate , the farmer revealed
a shaft ; my hopes were scattered to
the winds. I had never done any lad
der-climbing , and I really did not fancy
the feat of "monkeying" down a pole ,
the rungs 01 * which were just shoit iron
bars inserted , none too near one an
other , on either tide , and which sway
ed to and fro like a bough in the wind.
"I can't see the bottom , " said the
pot gnipber , somewhat ruefully.
For my part that did net matter so
much , I was only anxious not to feel
it too suddenly , for there was nothing
to break a drop of 45 feet , unless hit
ting ng'j * - > t the sides as one fell might
bo regaided as breaking it The first
difficulty was to s t the photographic
r.maratus br-lo\v. Cainerastand , and
fit.Ji i. ms wci packed Into a basket ,
v.-hiclj was iKOKfd on to n rope , and
av.iy -i sped , but quick as the rope
"v. n : , ror.g' the hiHids of the "cham-
P the camera-Blind was
was quicker in it * descent. The farmer
uttered a cry of dismay , and the pho
tographer gave'me a look of pain
which clearly Indicated hi * fear that
there would be no photographs taken
that day. After our guide had disap
peared over the ledge and reached the
bottom , the photographer followed him ,
anxious , no doubt , to discover what
was broken. When the primitive lad
der oscillatedx no longer beneath his
weight I went slowly and silently
down , landing safely in about three
inches of mud. I found my colleague
busily engaged in cleaning the broken
"Good thing it wasn't the camera , ' '
he remarked and I agreed.
It had been 120 degrees in the sun up
above , for the day was' particularly
fine. Down here it was cold , damp , dark
and uninviting ; so cold that I shivered
in my shirt-sleeves , for I had left my
coat above ; so damp that I developed
a violent cold next day ; and so black
that out of the circle of light that came
down the shaft one could not have seen
one's hand before one's eyes had it
been held there. Our guide shouted ,
and his voice , being in keeping with his
stature , filled the blackneSvS , rumbling
away down the many arteries leading
from where we were standing and com
ing back again from a dozen different
directions. In answer to his call there
presently danced in the dark void
ahead of us a couple of lights.
They heralded the approach of a
i couple of "champignonnistes , " who ,
j emerging from their habitual gloom ,
disclosed themselves as short , dark in
dividuals , of none too prepossessing ap
pearance , attired , with but scant re
gard for the temperature , in blug cot
ton trousers , blouses , and "sabots. "
Their coats they had discarded. Look
ing at the condition of the ground I
envied them their substantial foot-cov
erings , and the more so when , later ,
I found myself wading through a verit
able morass of slimy sand.
Provided with lights small round
colza-oil lamps fixed on the ends of
sticks and encumbered with the pho
tographic materials , we moved forward
and then the real torture of the ex
perience began.
"Minds your heads , " said the guide.
"Bend your backs ! Prenez garde la ! "
in alarm , as the bewildered photo
grapher was about to dispute the solid
ity of the ceiling above. We bent our
backs , bent ourselves nearly double In
fact , and yet felt our heads scrapIng -
Ing the roof of the passage'and ; bent
and cramped like this we were for two
mortal hours. I said that the place
was cold , damp , black , and uninviting :
let me now add that it was very un
comfortable , for the ceiling above us ,
of solid stone was not more than 3
feet from the floor. If ever there was
a time when I have not been proud of
my height it was during those two aw
ful hours. We formed a weird and
ghostly procession as we moved for
ward through the inky blackness , the
silence broken only by our footsteps as
we splashed along through the puddles ,
the solemn drip , drip of water from the
walls and roof , an exclamation now
and then from myself as I nearly trip
ped over one of the mushroom beds ,
and strange mutterings from the man
who was to work the camera.
The famous mushroom-beds were at
our feet. We were , in fact , Avalkiug in
the narrow space between them a
path perhaps a foot in width. They
ran along the caves in rows , two
against the sides , and a pair down the
centre. They seemed to be banks of
sand some ? 2 feet in height , and inclin
ing up from a 2 feet base to a round
ed top. The soil was clammy and
crumbling to the touch , and inlaid with
round white discs , varying in circum
ference from the dimensions of a quar
ter to a small-sized saucer the pre
cious mushrooms.
"Is there much of this ? " I asked of
the farmer leading us , who seemed pre
pared to walk on for ever.
"Seven or eight kilometres , " he an
swered unconcernedly.
We had arrived at a bend. How long
t had been creeping onwards , bumping
now my head and now an arm , stum
bling , sprawling and saying things , I
know not ; but my back ached fright-
Cully , and I appreciated more than ever
before the comforts of being a short
It seemed we had walked for ages.
"We will take a photograph here , " I
laid , which brought the party to a halt
While the photographer made ready
iiis camera I explanned to our friends
the mystery of the f.ash-lamp , and
when he was quite ready gave them
the signal to put out their lamps. They
did so. The blackness could almost
have been cut with a knife , and the
stillness was so Intense that we could
hear each other's regular breathing.
Terrible thoughts scurried through
my brain. What must It be , I thought
to be lost in such a place without a
light , without food , or to be in there
with an enemy who was familiar with
its ramifications ? It was a place to
lose one's self in , to go mad in , to be
murdered In without the world being a
jot the wiaer. And what was that ?
Something crawling orer my face , here
and there and everywhere ; something
creeping up my arms ; something glid
ing round my neck. Would that lamp
never flash ? It seemed an age , but
was in reality not a second. A blue ,
blinding glare went up , illumining the
pace around with such a light as it
had never seen before , and showing
up plainly the trio of "champlgnon-
nistes" crouched down as they worked ,
and scaring a million flies and spiders
and goodness alone knows what other
insects and vermin. The light died
down and went out , and again the
lamps sprang into life and shed their
flickering , welcome gleams around.
After securing some other pictures
and a very fine accumulation of small
files on our lamps indeed , the oil-wells
were black with them we gladly
sought the upper world again. I .had
no ambition to explore the caves in
their entirety , but only to get my
cramped spine once more into its nor
mal position , to sit down and rest in a
neighboring inn and gather mushroom
knowledge from the lips of the grower
himself. Fifty years before , he told
me , the caves had been open to the
broad light of day. They were the
scene of great activity , resounding con
tinually Avlth the explosions of gun
powder , for there men were quarrying
the stone that helped to build Paris.
Later on they had been abandoned and
covered in , to be finally taken over by
the cultivators of mushrooms. This is
the history of most of the caves which
are now used for this purpose ! not only
in the neighborhood of the capital , but
throughout France.
But all are not of the kind I have
just described , otherwise I should not
have gone myself and prevailed upon
the photographer to accompany me to
the famous caves of Issyles-Molineaux ,
owned by champignonniste Sativageot.
I found them , as I had been told 1
should , to be in decided contrast to
thosepreviously visited ; as large as the
other were small ( ! 'JO feet in height at
least. And there was no ladder to de
scend one walked straight into the tun
nel from the daylight , for it pierced
hill , a chalk hill whence had been quar
ried thousands of tons of chalk of the
quality that makes acquaintance with
the tips of billiard cues. The main tun
nel , cutting clean into the hill for a dis
tance of not less than 250 yards
would have easily admitted a carriage
ami pair , carrying another vehicle on
top. As mushroom caves go it was cer
tainly a handsome one , but just as cold
and damp as any other , with a switch
back sort of road leading from the en
trance to the bottom of the caves.
Here there was space for sir lines of
mushroom beds to wend their Irregular
ways side by side , as will be seen in
our photograph.
There were six of these large galler
ies , from which numerous others ran
off. twisting and winding about to the
length of some seven kilometres. Cut
In the sides of the passages were num
erous little "chapels , " some on a level
with the ground , others high up In the
side of the wall. In all these caves
contained some sixty kilometres of fine
mushroom-beds ; spiders and flies we
found there in their millions , the only
occupants beyond rats and the cats
that are kept there to catch them.
In no case of such dimensions are all
the mushroom beds in the same stage
of advancement at once. While some
thousands of metres are in full bloom ,
others are not so far advanced , and in
some passages the beds are only just
being laid down , while in others the
\vork of clearing out old and useless
beds is being carried on. Why this is
so will be apparent when it is stated
that it would take fifty men employed
in the caves at Moulineaux eight
months to fill them with the 08,000
metres they are capable of accomnio-
Scrupulous cleanliness Is an absolute
sine qua non ere a new bed can be
aid down. The cave must be cleared
) f the old bed entirely ; not a particle
) f it must be left , for with all the
mushroom's aptitude for lightning
growing , it is something of a dandy
n the vegetable world. There are cer-
: ain things it does not like : that it pre-
! ers death to , in fact , and amongst them
nay be mentioned dead rats , old iron ,
ind a parasitical insect with a special
weakness for the nutritious mushroom.
IVhen this insect gets in its deadily
york , the farmer has good reason to
righ. Dead rats are frequently found
n the caves with dead mushrooms all
iround them , for the mushroom ap- .
mrently cannot tolerate dead rats any ,
nore than it can rusty horse-shoes or .
my other rusty pieces of iron. Such
hings spell loss to the "champignon-
liste. "
Now beds are laid down every fiver
> r six months , and as they do not bear
mtll three months have passed , the
larvest need be a rich one , for the
iverage cost of a bed ere it shows
igns of produce is 2V francs per
netre. First the manure has to be
> ecuredf and then , ere it can be used ,
t has to be prepared , the work taking
rom three to six weeks. When ready
t Is carried into the cave or shovelled
lown a shaft , as occasion requires.
The building of the beds is a peculiar
nd laborious process. Sitting astride
he portion of the bed he has first made
he worker gathers armfuls of manure
and presses the materials down to an
even height In front of him. Thus he
is always provided with a seat. Ere
the spawn is sown the temperature of
the beds must have reached about 12
degrees to 14 degrees Fahr. ( No won
der we had been cold In our shirt
sleeves ) The spawn sown , the manure
Is covered with su.nd , and then every
| two or three days the beds must be
liberally watered. At the end of three
months the "buttons" poke their heads
through , then gradually the beds be
come covered with white hoods , which ,
on attaining the required size , are col
lected for market. Unlass , however , a
metre yields four kilos of mushrooms
at the least , the proprietor of the cave
has little occasion to be cheerful , for
its creation and care account for an
outlay of three francs , while the har
vest only fetches a franc per kilo.
Winter is the best season for the
"champignonniste. " Then M. Sauva-
geot told me , he sends to market no
few than one hundred baskets a day ,
which means 1,100 kilos , while during
the other seasons of the year forty
baskets or 440 kil s is the daily output.
In the production of this perennial har
vest thousands of workmen find em
ployment round Paris alone men who
pass their days in damp and darkness
with only spiders and flies to keep
them company , and yet seem to ex
perience no evil effects as the result of
their strange surroundings.
Missouri Animal Shown to Have Manj
Points of Excellence.
In many respects the mule is the
noblest beast that has been placed un
der man's dominion , but unjust ridi
cule for some unaccountable reason
marked the long-suffering brute for its
own and by obscuring his many vir
tues and playing upon his few defects
and idiosyncrasies has compelled him
since the day he was discovered by
Anah in the wilderness to live under
the torture of a false and slanderous
report. At last , however , he is being
restored to his proper position in the
social and economic world.
In truth the mule , if he happens to
be a Missouri product , is a valuable ,
beautiful and lovely beast. For gen
eral all around purposes , in compari
son with the horse , mules are supe
rior. They are easy and cheap to
raise , easy to sell and hard to blem
ish. They go to the market early
and bring bigger profits for the time ,
work and money expended in grow
ing than any other stock. Time nne
hard work have less effect upon them
than upon any other kind of flesh.
Disease rarelj" touches them. Adver
sity and hard knocks make them
stronger and tougher.
A mule does not wither or weaken
with age. The process of years sim
ply turns his coltish frlsk'n $ to con
templative sedateness , his silvery
voice to a raucous roar and his ob
streperous heels to the paths of
peace. His habits , as they ; ire- bet
ter understood , are less feared and
more appreciated. He is tractable ,
gentle , sympathetic and very intelli
gent. When well treated he ioves his
master , as Sancho , the companion of
Don Quixote , and many old negroes in
the South have proved.
He eats little and requuvs no snel-
ter and toils to the bitter end with
out complaint or fatigue. He quickly
understands the whims of his driver
and will go and can be guided without
whip or rein. He Is a dynamo in
hide , an engine on hoof a perfect ma
chine in flesh and blood which rarely
gets out of order or temper. Kansas
CJ'.iy Journal.
Muscle Cornea , Mustache Goes.
Tucked away in an uptown side
street under the shadow of a towering
hotel Is an athletic trainer who gets
from all his clients the liberal sum of
$50 a week to keep them in .good phys
ical condition. They are a credit to
him and look as if his services were
\vorth the money. The } ' grow strong
as a matter of course , the fat are re
duced In bulk and the thin made
plumper. But there is one other pecu
liarity of their training which it not
so much a matter of course. This is
the tendency of all the trainer's cli-
jnts to dispense with their mustaches
ifter they have had a course or two
under him. He Is the determined
jneiny of the mustache. He believes
it insanitary and a survival of those
primitive days In which men's faces
kvere covered with hair.
The trainer talks eloquently of the
mpossibility of keeping a mustache
mtirely clean , especially when a man
smokes. During the few minutes of
Lilly exercise that his system requires
lie trainer talks on many subjects.
35s conversation covers a wide range.
3ut one subject always reappears. He
lever neglects the unhealthfulness of
he mustache. So his patients , if they
ire to be called that , ctfme to have a
: ertain distaste for the mustache ,
> ven if they have worn one for years.
Vhen he sees a sign of weakness the
rainer sticks to the attack. So to-
vard the end of their training period
t generally happens that the mus-
ache disappears. Some patients have
vlthstood the trainer's arguments.
? ut most of them emerge from their
ourse of treatment stronger and with
lewly shaved upper lips that are con-
ciously stiff after years of seclusion
inder the sheltering mustache. New
rork Sun.
Canada's Trade in Cattle.
The increase In Canadian cattle sent
3 Great Britain Is enormous from
0,163 in the first four months of 1902
3 27,300 in the first four months this
When a boy Isn't In mischief , it la
ecause he is being compelled u >
ime to repent.
Jokea and Jokeleta that Are Supposed
to Have Bee a Recently Born Sayincs
aad Doings that Are Old , Curious and
Lanchable-The Week' * Humor.
"I can't * ee what you find in me to
admire , " said the lovelorn youth who
had recently blo-nra himielf for a
$87.60 eagagement ring.
"Why , " gurgled the fluffy-haJrad an
gel 0f his domestic dream a , "tbafs
Just what everybody else says. "
And Immediately the silence beeasne
As Corrected.
Mrs. O'Hoolihan Pfwhat koind av a
Job is yez ould man afther hovin'
now ?
Mrs. McGarigle Job , is it ? Shure
an' it be an illigant sittuaahun as tille-
graph operather he's afther hovin' .
It's trav'lin' about diggin' phost holes
fer th' coonipany he is , d'y moind. "
Sure of His Ground.
Wife of New Minister Now , Davie ,
you'll have to look after the church
better than this or we will have to
think about getting a new beadle.
Davie ( beadle of long standing , se
verely ) Mistress Nichollson , we whiles
change oor minister , but we never
change oor beadle.
He Never Worried.
A lady waited for hours at a wayside
station of the Midland Great Western
Railway. The train came along and
she'got ' in. The hours dragged by , and
at each stoppage .she asked if it was
Sligo. Finally the guard became irri
tated. "Don't worry , madam ; I'll let
you know when we reach Sligo. " "But
I've been nearly all day on my jour
ney. " "Well , madam. I've been on this
railway three years , and I'm not wor
rying. " "Poor man ! " she retorted ,
"you must have started the next sta
tion beyond mine. "
Hi * Plea.
"My plea , " said the young lawyer ,
who had just Avon his first case , "seem
ed to strongly affect the jury. "
"Yes , " replied the judge , "I was
afraid at one time that you would suc
ceed to getting your client cenricted
In spite of his innocence. "
Not So Reckless.
"D * yau take this internally ? " asked
the customer as he put the bottle in
his pocket and took his chaage.
"He ? " said the druggist's new assist
ant. "Great Scott , ne-J I sell it"
Stray Stories.
Aa Accent raodatitvar Stork.
The following erder was received a
few days ago by a Chicago grocery
firm :
"Please ship at once by freight , one
bag salt , fourteen Ib shuger. The stork
brought us a baby last night and box
crackers , also one barrel soap. It
weighed nine Ib.
The Vajrariea of Fashion.
Mrs. Comrnouhen Don't mind her ,
ny dear. Long skirts are doomed. It
ivill soon be our turn.
Circumstantial Evidence. tln
Tommy Was that your mother I n
; aw with you yesterday ? 1
Willie I guess so ; 't anjr rate she's 0a
iie one who carries the key to the jam 0Vi
iloset at our house. Boston Tran Vi
"Did you find the Chinese a rain B
> eople ? "
"Very. To hear a Chines * brag you b
rould almost believe an American iras ir
alking. "
"Well , " said the detectire , "there Is
me thing upon which we may con-
jratulate ourselves in this case.1"
"Why , you haven't even foaad an
mportant clew. "
"That's just it We can rest as
sured that no innocent person te go ei
ng to suffer.-Washington Star. eia :
Not Reassuring.
"Do you know what precaution1 th
proprietor of this hotei has
against fire ? " asked the nerrMM
lady as the bellboy escorted Mr
room on the fifth floor.
"Sure I do , " replied the
youth. "De boss has got de johxt ku
shoor'd fer two times deworth ur it.
See ? "
Mis Preference.
Magistrate It will be either $ lt ec
thirty days , Uncle Rastus. To
have your choice.
Uncle Rastus Ah's moch erbUge , y *
honnah , an' Ah reckon yo * all i4 * *
tah"gib me de money , sah.
Mis Specialty.
Stranger You hare a flat farM
Farmer Right yew air , straager. J
'low as it be one o' the finest i& tiieoi
Stranger What is your best payiaf
crop ?
Farmer Summer boarders. Chicago
Professional Advice.
"Doctor , " said the timid patient ;
"I'm fond of the water , but I don'l
want to risk taking cold. What shall
I do ? "
" " the wise piU
"Take It hot , replied
compiler. "Two dollars , please. "
In the Puppy Class.
He But I am willing to wait if you
will give me some hope.
She Well , suppose 3ou wait nin
days ; perhaps your eyes will be open
'Twtis 1'ver Thus.
"The world is backward about comt
ing forward with its appreciation , "
mused the Irish philosopher.
never think of strewing flowers on
man's grave until after he is dead. "
Hacked to Win.
She ( after the engagement )
were you so nervous when you. pro !
posed ?
He Oh , I was merely acting a part
I didn't want you to know how sure i
was of your answer.
Affluence. /
"Rich ? Why. she never has to think
of the matter of cost at all. "
"No ? "
"Not for a moment. She can afford
to wear what she likes , even though
it is something cheap. "
"Steam , eh ? Isn't it rather noisy ? "
"Oh , no. Except for a slight puffing
when it is climbing a very steep hill
or running over an extraordinarily
large person , quite noiseless , * '
Reduced Rate.
"Mamma , give me a penay ,
tor a glass of leoaonade. "
"But , dear , if it's only a peaay , if
> an't be good. "
"Yes , it is , but they're selUBg W
? heap 'cause a dog fell in it. "
No Reciprocity.
Fairy in the pink shirt waist
jie boasts that you're his best girl !
Sweet young thing in blue ifayb * li
im , but he ain't
my best feller by at
eng shot.
at Last.
He But what reason have you foi
ef using to marry me ?
She Papa objects. He saya yon ara
in actor.
He Give my regards to the old boy ;
ind tell him I'm '
sorry he isn't a news-
> aper critic.
Force of Habit.
The boss plumber had become a mul
l-millionaire and Avas going abroad
or his health. On the voyage over a
chool of whales were sighted and thel
oss plumber was seen to rub his v
lands in ecstasies.
"Why Is he so happy ? " , asked a curi-
us tourist.
"He can't help It , " whispered the
aptain. "He imagines each spout IS
bursted water pipe , to be repaired by ;
im at his old rates , "
From Experience.
"Rudolph , dear , the people next door ,
rish to borrow our lanterns for a lawn !
2te. "
"Don't lend them. "
"But they can't hurt the lanterns. * '
"Oh , you don't know. If you loan
lem the '
they'll want to bor-
> w tables , cloths , knives and dishes ,
'hen as our lawn Is larger than theirs
iey/11 want to borrow that Afterward
iey'11 ask our children to
help out aa
Mrs. Popley-What
you think !
: aby spoke her first word
to-day !
Mr. PoplAy-Well. , ,
. weU And , fc n (
& many years before she'll be hay.
g the last
. , Knoasra Said.
T.T 11 r
Nell-So Jack
asked permission tt
Iss you , eh ?
Bess Yes.
Nell-You refused it , of course ?
Bess Certainly.
Neli-What did he say than ?
Bess-Nothing. Actions speak lond-
: than words and Jack Is aU rieht
3 an actor.

xml | txt