Du lieber Gott! was so ein Mann
Nicht alles, alles denken kann!
GOETHE: Faust, garden scene
In the summer of 1860, there was sent(1) to the offices of Irwin P. Beadle & Co., 141 William Street, New York, the manuscript of a novel entitled, "Seth Jones; or, The Captives of the Frontier," and offered for publication in Beadle's series of Dime Novels. It was accepted and for it the author received seventy-five dollars. The story was extensively advertised.(2) It boosted the sales of the Dime Novels immensely, but whether from the merits of the story itself or from the system of advertising employed it is impossible to say. It was announced that over 500,000 copies were sold. The young author was Edward S. Ellis, the son of a famous rifle-shot and hunter, Sylvester Ellis, and his wife, Mary (Alberty) Ellis. Edward was born in Geneva, Ashtabula County, Ohio, April II, 1840. When he was six years old, his father removed to New Jersey, and there Edward attended school. At the time "Seth Jones" was written, he was teaching school in Red Bank, New Jersey, and later was a member of the faculty of the State Normal School at Trenton, where he himself had studied. Still later, he was successively a teacher at Raritan, New Jersey, vice-principal of one of the public schools of Paterson, principal of the largest grammar school in Trenton, and city superintendent of schools in the same city. He was also a member of the Board of Education, and in 1887 received the degree of Master of Arts from Princeton College.(3)
† "Seth Jones" was actually not the first Ellis' publications, for he had had poems in Gleason's Pictorial as early as 1857. He also had a novel, "Dick Flinton; or Life on the Border," in the New York Dispatch as a serial, beginning March 5,1859. This novel, with the names of some of the characters changed, reappeared later as "Kent, the Ranger," September I, 1863, as Dime Novels, no. 59. However, it was the success of "Seth Jones" that induced Ellis to continue writing. He had a contract with Beadle & Co. for four novels a year, but nevertheless considered a job in hand worth two in the air, consequently continued teaching until the middle 1880's, after which he devoted all of his time to literature.
When "Seth Jones" was published, Irwin P. Beadle was the head of the Beadle firm, and Ellis, throughout Irwin's publishing career, remained very faithful to him. He continued to write for the original firm, later called Beadle & Co., with one interruption until 1865, although between times he wrote short sketches for various periodicals. Perhaps there was no actual break in his relations with them, although when Irwin Beadle and George Munro started an independent publishing house in 1863 he wrote three stories in November and December, under the pseudonym "Captain Latham C. Carleton" for the Ten Cent Novel series. Perhaps a fourth novel, under the name of "Captain Wheeler," published in February, 1864, was also his.
After Irwin Beadle withdrew from his partnership with Munro, Ellis continued writing for Beadle & Co. until September 26, 1865, when his novel "The Fugitives" was published as Dime Novel No. 85. He definitely broke with the old firm when Irwin, on October 7, 1865, launched his second independent venture with his American Novels. Ellis had faith in Irwin, and in No. I of the American Novels appeared the statement that "Mr. Ellis will hereafter write exclusively for the 'American Novels'," and for the next two years, until December, 1867, that is as long as Irwin remained in the new firm, he wrote for him, either under his own name or under the nom de plume "Seelin Robins." He continued writing for the American Novels for one more year, but from December, 1868, until May, 1874, he again wrote for Beadle & Co., although never under his own name.
Ellis was a very prolific writer, producing at first chiefly fiction. Besides writing for Beadle, he wrote also for the Fireside Companion, Saturday Night, Family Story Paper, New York Weekly, Frank Leslie's Boys' and Girls' Weekly, Golden Days, Golden Argosy, etc. His juvenile stories had an enormous sale, ranking with those of William T. Adams and Horatio Alger. Later he wrote an arithmetic and a physiology, and also some fifty large quarto volumes of history, containing tens of thousands of pages and thousands of illustrations. Some of his miscellaneous books were: "Continental Primary Physiology" (1885), "Eclectic Primary History of the United States" (1885), "Youth's History of the United States," four volumes, 1,516 pages and hundreds of illustrations (1887), "School History of the United States" (1892), "Great Leaders and National Issues" (1896), "History of Our Country" (1896), "People's Standard History of the United States," six volumes (1898), "The Story of South Africa" (1899), "Library of American History" in nine volumes with 1,200 illustrations, "Young People's Imitation of Christ" (1905), "A School History of New Jersey" (1910), "A History of the German People" (in collaboration with Home and Keller), fifteen volumes and some 6,000 pages (1916), "The Story of the Greatest Nations" (in collaboration with Home), ten volumes, and various other books. I regret very much that I did not have a book like Ellis' "Youth's History of the United States" when I was a boy, in place of a history that was simply a mass of names and dates of battles, as are, I am afraid, many of the modern school histories.
The total number of books produced by Ellis is impossible to determine because he wrote not only under his own name but under many pseudonyms, some of them perhaps unknown. Some pseudonyms were chosen by Ellis himself but others, apparently, were names under which some of his stories were reprinted perhaps without his knowledge of the substitution. The Beadle firm published Ellis' stories under his own name as well as under the names(4) Seelin Robins, Captain J. F. C. Adams, Lieutenant J. H. Randolph, E. S. St. Mox —a U. S. Detective, Captain R. M. Hawthorne, Lieutenant Ned Hunter, Charles E. LaSalle, Billex Muller, J. G. Bethune, Frank Faulkner, Captain Latham C. Carleton, Emerson Rodman, Boynton Belknap, M. D., and Captain H. R. Millbank. Ellis did love military titles! The Library of Congress reference card, on the authority of several letters in 1901 from Mr. Ellis himself,(5) gives Lieutenant R. H. Jayne, Col. H. R. Gordon, Seward D. Lisle, J. G. Bethune, Captain R. M. Hawthorne, and Geoffrey Randolph. Lamb(6) mentions Lieut. Jayne and Col. Gordon, and Jayne is also mentioned in a suit by Ellis against Hurst & Co., to restrain them from reprinting under his own name some of his early novels which had originally appeared as by Lieut. R. H. Jayne.(7) Gustav Davidson,(8) gives R. H. Jayne, R. M. Hawthorne, R. H. Gordon, Geoffrey Randolph, Lieut. J. H. Randolph, J. G. Bethune, Seelin Robins, Rollo Robins, Egbert S. Thoman, Oscar A. Gwynne, Oswald A. Gwynne, and Seward D. Lisle (an anagram of Edward S. Ellis). A number of other pseudonyms have been assigned to him but have not been verified.†(9)
Ellis' various pen names for Beadle seem very confusing when they are read in a list of his novels. It is the intermixture of reprints under one name with new publications under another that obscures the sequence, but this becomes clear when the novels are systematically arranged and reprints eliminated.
For the original firm, Irwin P. Beadle & Co., and its immediate successor while Irwin was still with the firm, Ellis wrote only under his own name. His first novel (Dime Novels, no. 8) for them was published October 2, 1860, and his last (Saturday Journal/Star Journal (various title changes)--Dime Novels), September 26, 1865. (As mentioned above, there was a short interruption in November and December, 1863, when he used the name "Latham C. Carleton"(10) for three novels in Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Novels, and possibly the name "Captain Wheeler" for No. 5 of that series in February, 1864.) For Irwin in his second independent publishing venture and for his successor when Irwin retired, Ellis wrote as "Emerson Rodman," November I, 1865 (Starr's American Library, no. 2) and June 21, 1866 (Starr's American Library, no. 14), and under his own name and as "Seelin Robins" from January 3, 1866 (Starr's American Library, no. 5), to September, 1868 (Starr's American Library, no. 46). "Boynton Belknap" appeared September 13, 1866 (Starr's American Library, no. 18), probably to reduce the number of novels by a single author. The one Ellis novel published by Irwin with the name "H. R. Millbank" in the by-line (Starr's American Library, no. 44) was a reprint of an earlier printing in the New York Weekly in 1866. Although the name "Seelin Robins" occurs on reprints bearing the name of Beadle & Co. after Irwin left, it was never used by Ellis for a novel written originally for them, but was used exclusively for publications first issued by Irwin. Ellis also used, for the first time, the name "Lieutenant J. H. Randolph" on Starr's American Library, no. 48, in 1868, the last issue of Irwin's American Novels. He thus used five pen names besides his own in that one short series. He certainly stayed by Irwin during all the publishing ventures, and that makes it all the harder to understand why in later years he gave but little credit to him.
After Ellis' return in 1868 to Erastus Beadle's firm, Beadle & Co., he never used "Seelin Robins," and used his own name but once †but that was on a reprint. The name "J. H. Randolph" was used again, March 9, 1869, in Starr's American Novels, no. 19, but this tale was probably written originally for Irwin's American Novels before Erastus bought the stock of that series from his brother.
Ellis' next pen name was "Billex Muller," used on one novel only, namely Starr's American Library, no. 34and its two reprintings. Then came "Charles E. LaSalle," first used on Dime Novels, no. 198, March I, 1870, and last on Dime Novels, no. 231, June 6, 1871, a total of five novels.
"Captain 'Bruin' Adams" or "J. F. C. Adams" came next and appeared many times. There has been much dispute about the identity of the real author represented. It was first used for a serial in the Saturday Journal, January 28, 1871, and last on Dime Novel No. 308, May 19, 1874. The name apparently made a hit, for "Bruin' Adams" was advertised as being a nephew of James Capen Adams, the grizzly bear hunter, and the pen name "LaSalle" was dropped. During this period the name "Ned Hunter" was used twice. It occurs on Starr's American Library, no. 86 and Starr's American Library, no. 91, both published in 1872, but they bear the Frank Starr & Co. not the Beadle imprint. It is therefore clear why it was used. The name "Edwin Emerson" †possibly also belonged to Ellis. It occurred during the same period in Starr's American Novels, between May 16, 1871, and April 15, 1873.
After the appearance of Dime Novel No. 308, May 19, 1874, Ellis wrote very little for Beadle, although his stories were frequently reprinted. He did, however, †publish "The Settler's Son" in 1882 under his own name for No. 38 of the quarto Boy's Library. Three sporadic pen names, however, occur later. "Frank Faulkner" was used on a serial published in the Banner Weekly, beginning in No. 110, December 20, 1884, and later reprinted in the same paper under Ellis' own name. "Captain R. M. Hawthorne" was used on two stories, both published in 1888; one in Banner Weekly No. 215, the other in Boy's Library (octavo editon), no. 243. Finally, a detective story, which is entirely unlike any other tale by Ellis, appeared under the name "J. G. Bethune" in 1893, as Half-Dime Library, no. 831. While this story does not sound like Ellis, the pen name is authenticated by several letters in the Library of Congress in Ellis' own hand, consequently cannot be disputed.
Mr. Ellis was married twice; first to Anna M. Deane, December 25, 1862, by whom he had one son (Wilmot Edward Ellis, a graduate of West Point and afterwards in the U. S. army) and three daughters. He was divorced June 14, 1887, and was married again November 20, 1900, to Mrs. Clara Spaulding Brown, of Los Angeles. She had been on the staff of Golden Days, of which Ellis was associate editor in 1878-79, and was the author of several books. Ellis edited Public Opinion, a Trenton daily, in 1874-75, and was editor of The Boys' Holiday (afterwards The Holiday) in 1890-91. He lived for some years at West Point while his son was instructor in mathematics there, and later in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. He died while on a vacation trip at Cliff Island, Casco Bay, Maine, June 20, 1916.
REFERENCES: Who's Who, IX, 1916-17; Allibone, Supplement, I; Scribner's Dict. Amer. Biog.. VI, 1931, 102-103; Lamb's Biog. Dict., II, 1900, 640, with portrait; Nat. Cyc. Amer. Biog., XIX, 1926, 204—205, with portrait; Edmund Pearson, Dime Novels, 1929, 33-44, 46; Golden Argosy, October 6, 1888; The Holiday. III, April 25, 1891, 281-82, with portrait; C. M. Harvey, "The Dime Novel in American Lite," Atlantic Monthly, July, 1907; An article by W. E. Hurd in American Boy, April, 1900; New York Times, June 22, 1916; Publishers' Weekly, LXXXIX, p. 1981; Book News (Philadelphia), XX, 1901-1902, 156; Banner Weekly, V, No. 216, January 1, 1887; Ibid., XI, No. 566, September 16, 1893; Philadelphia Press, June 14, 1887 (mentions Ellis' divorce); New York Sun, June 24, 1900; Kunitz and Haycrart, American Authors, 1600-1900, New York, 1938. † Denis R. Rogers, 'The Pseudonyms of Edward S. Ellis,' Dime Novel Round Up, 1954 to 1960, as cited in a preceding footnote
Dime Novels. Nos. 8, 12, 15, 18, 24, 29, 32, 36, 41, 48,
59, 64, 67, 71, 75, 78, 82, 85, 190, 332, 345, 347, 348, 352, 376, 455, 460, 482, 502, 512, 516, 519, 527, 532, 534, 543, 553, 556, 571, 576, 579, 585, 591, 630
Fifteen Cent Novels. Nos. 8, 12, 15, 18
American Library (London). Nos. 1, 3, 7, 9, 13, 16, 18, 20, 25, 33, 35, 40, 46, 50, 54, 58, 74
Dime Biographical Library. Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11
American Library Tales (London). "Seth Jones" and "The Frontier Angel" in Vol. I.
Beadle's American Sixpenny Biographies (London). Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
American Tales, No. 1
Irwin's American Novels. Nos. 5, 6, (14?), 24, 33, 34, (38?), 39, 40, 42, 45, 46
Starr's American Novels. Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 74, 75
Banner Weekly. No. 404
New and Old Friends. Nos. 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15, 3 (n.s.)
Pocket Novels. Nos. 3, 6, 23, 28, 31, 36, 40, 147, 227, 229, 251, 264, 266, 267, 271
Lives of Great Americans. Nos. 6, 7, 9, 10, 12
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 6, 8, 10, 21, 93,132, 254, 271, 1070, 1104, 1123, 1151, 1156
Boy's Library (quarto). Nos. 38, 94, 107
Boy's Library (octavo). Nos. 41, 101, 109, 144, 202, 236, 254, 268, 288, 313
Pocket Library. Nos. 82, 85, 89, 100, 122, 173, 245
Under the pen name "James Fenimore Cooper Adams" or "Captain Bruin Adams" he wrote the following tales:
Dime Novels. Nos. 239, 281, 284, 289, 308, 322, 441, 473, 545
Frank Starr's American Novels. Nos. 109, 110, 139
Saturday Journal. Nos. 46, 52, 82, 121, 295
New and Old Friends. No. 5
Pocket Novels. Nos. 9, 74, 76, 168, 196, 201, 205, 241
Twenty Cent Novels. No. 28
Starr's Ten Cent Pocket Library. No. 5
Dime Library. Nos. 68, 1045
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 34, 46, 54, 56, 60, 70, 81, 85, 247, 251, 257, 288, 1133, 1138, 1140, 1152, 1153, 1154, 1157
Boy's Library (quarto). Nos. 84, 87, 101
Boy's Library (octavo). Nos. 68, 71, 113, 181
Pocket Library. Nos. 17, 27, 38, 40, 44, 54, 65, 95, 234, 263, 407, 483
Under the pen name "Boynton M. Belknap" were published:
Irwin's American Novels. Nos. 18, 47
Starr's American Novels. Nos. 3, 16
Pocket Novels. Nos. 39, 216
Dime Novels. No. 536
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 217
Pocket Library. No. 492
Under the pen name "J. G. Bethune" was published:
Half-Dime Library. No. 831
Under the pen name "Captain Latham C. Carleton" were published:
Irwin P. Beadle's 10¢ Novels. Nos. 1, 2, (3, but see under the name Augustin Daly, who may have written this number)
Under the pen name "Frank Faulkner" was published:
Beadle's Weekly. No. 110
Under the pen name "Capt. R. M. Hawthorne" were published:
Banner Weekly. Nos. 315, 680
Half-Dime Library. No. 1079
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 242
Under the pen name "Lieut. Ned Hunter" were published:
Starr's American Novels. Nos. 86, 91
Pocket Novels. Nos. 33, 95
Dime Novels. No. 581
Under the pen name "Charles E. Lasalle" were published:
Dime Novels. Nos. 198, 207, 214, 224, 231, 434, 472, 522
Saturday Journal. No. 6
Pocket Novels. No. 99
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 50, 52, 1142
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 139
Pocket Library. Nos. 34, 36
Under the pen name "H. R. Millbank" were published:
Irwin's American Novels. No. 44
Starr's American Novels. No. 13
Pocket Novels. No. 755
Under the pen name "Billex Muller" were published:
Starr's American Novels. No. 34
Pocket Novels. No. 56
Dime Novels. No. 623
Under the pen name "Lieut. J. H. Randolph" were published:
Irwin's American Novels. No. 48
Starr's American Novels. Nos. 17, 19
Pocket Novels. Nos. 12, 37
Dime Novels. Nos. 561, 587
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 143
Under the pen name "Emerson Rodman" were published:
Irwin's American Novels. Nos. 2, 14
Starr's American Novels. Nos. 1, 49
Pocket Novels. Nos. 61, 159
Boy's Library (quarto). No. 105
Boy's Library (octavo). Nos. 776, 163
Pocket Library. No. 420
Under the pen name "E. A. St. Mox" were published:
Dime Library. Nos. 471, 491
Under the pen name "Seelin Robins" were published:
Irwin's American Novels. Nos. 23, 27, 31, 36, (38?)
Start's American Novels. Nos. 5, 15, 38, 56, 61, 70
Dime Novels. Nos. 338, 540, 567
Pocket Novels. Nos. 19, 84, 153, 160, 257
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 212
SPECIMENS OF EDWARD S. ELLIS' STYLE
"The Trail Hunters; or, Monowano, the Shawnee Spy." Dime Novel No. 24, Chapter IV, pp. 27-30.
It was the determination of Whitley that the distance of fifteen miles which led over the mountains should be crossed during the night. This was necessary in order to make the surprise of the Nickajack towns complete. They lay upon the opposite side, and unless Monowano should prove treacherous, could as yet have no knowledge of the expedition against them.
The mountains were reached in the early part of the afternoon, when a halt was made to continue until nightfall. The usual sentinel and guards were stationed, when Dingle and Jenkins set out in the woods to ascertain whether any suspicious trails were to be seen in the vicinity. A mile from the camp, Jenkins said:
"I propose, Dingle, that we part and hunt for sign separately. I flatter myself that I won't cross any thing suspicious without observing it, and the chances, you see, are thus doubled for each of us."
"All right," responded Dingle. "You see the captain is very wishful that the Injins shouldn't find out that we're about, and so, I take it, it would be best to spend your time till night in searching the wood."
"My sentiments exactly."
And the two separated. Dingle, we may remark, after several hours' search, discovered nothing upon which he could hang a suspicion, and reported the fact to Whitley upon his return in the evening. Jenkins had a different experience, however.
After parting from Dingle, he spent an hour in wandering aimlessly forward, not heeding or caring where his steps led him, as he well knew he could find his way back to camp again. Suddenly he discovered the print of a footstep upon the leaves before him.
"Hello!" he exclaimed with a start, "there's a sign as sure as the world. Some infarnal Injun is scouting through the woods. Wonder whether it's Monowano? No; the print is too big for him. Some chief, I'll warrant. There's a mighty responsibility resting upon me. Perhaps the success of the Nickajack expedition depends entirely upon my exertions. I must follow up the trail, and either kill or capture the audacious spy."
Ducking his head downward, like a crouching animal, and trailing his rifle, he started upon a half-trot, and a half-walk. He had a keen eye, and followed the trail readily. He was very careful not to disturb it, but to keep to one side. The last wish of Jenkins was to encounter the Indian who, he believed, was thus leading him on. His long companionship with Dingle had given him much skill in tracking a foe; and he felt confident that his ignorance would not bring him into a collision. From the evidence of the different signs, he was satisfied that he was an hour or so only in the rear.
"Whoever he is, he certainly has no suspicion that Peter Jenkins is upon his trail. He appears as though he invited his own destruction. The tracks are hardly large enough to be those of the chief Big Foot, and they slightly incline outward. Ah! I understand it, it's an artifice to deceive us. But Peter Jenkins is too shrewd a person to have the wool pulled over his eyes in that manner. Yes, sir, as Dingle says."
The pursuit was maintained with the persistency of the blood-hound, and soon resulted in another most important discovery, Jenkins came upon a spot where the Indian had encountered another of his tribe. They appeared to have consulted together a few moments and then to have separated and taken different directions. Jenkins halted but a moment, and then resumed his duty, determined to keep the original trail.
Nearly an hour afterward, and to his unbounded amazement, he discovered that he was not following one Indian but two! The tracks were too plain to be mistaken, and he stopped a few minutes to think the matter over.
"Things begin to look dangerous," he muttered. "Here are two prowling savages within a few miles of the camp. They must be reconnoitering in the woods this very minute. I must learn more of this, although it's a terrible risk I run in chasing up two infuriated denizens of the wilderness. Dingle and the boys, from their actions, seem to think I'm afraid to do what they have sometimes done, and I'll show them that I ain't. I might signal for Dingle to come and help me, but then, like as not, he'd have something to say about my being scar't. So, I'll go it alone for a time yet at any rate."
He moved with the greatest caution, as he felt he was gradually gaining upon his enemies. If he should unexpectedly stumble upon them, the consequences, to say the least, would be unpleasant. Moving thus forward, and occasionally communing with himself, he was brought to a stand-still once more, with a "Whew! by thunder!"
The fact was, the leaves before him showed unmistakably the footprints of three savages!
"Matters are getting more serious every minute. There is some deep plot on foot. It may be that a large Indian force is outlying in the woods and meditate an attack this evening. I should like to discover their whereabouts and intentions myself; but it is too prodigious an undertaking, and I must have the co-operation of Dingle."
Placing his fingers in his mouth, he gave a sharp, peculiar whistle, repeating it three times. A moment after, an answer came from toward the mountains, and, leaning against a tree, he awaited the appearance of Dingle.
"What's up?" asked the latter in a whisper, as he emerged to view. Jenkins answered by pointing to the trail before him. The hunter examined it a moment, and then merely said:
"Lead the way and I'll toller."
The two glided forward as noiselessly as serpents. The ground disappeared rapidly beneath them, and Jenkins' heart beat high as he reflected that he was leading the most distinguished scout in their force upon a duty that would reflect the highest credit upon him when its result came to be reported to the captain.
It was nearly sunset, when Jenkins' hair fairly lifted the hat from his head as he saw the footprints before him all at once increase to five. As Dingle said nothing, however, he kept on, determined to maintain the hunt as long as his companion dared follow.
How much longer this remarkable trail-hunt might have continued, it is impossible to tell. Jenkins was electrified by hearing a suppressed chuckling noise behind him. Turning instantly, he saw Dingle leaning against a tree, seeming ready to drop to the earth with the excess of his mirth. A light flashed upon his brain, and he gasped:
"My Heavens! Dingle, don't tell any one of this!"
"Follerin' your own trail!" exclaimed the hunter, suppressing his mirth for the instant.
"The White Buffalo. A Tale of Strange Adventure in the North-West." Half-Dime Library No. 52, pp. 5-6.
It was fully night when they drew rein in the grove and dismounted, scarcely less tired than their wearied horses; and there was an abundance of rich, juicy grass, and cold, sparkling water; so, after they had governed the animals somewhat, as they slaked their thirst, they gave them the free run of the grove, while a fire was kindled in the densest part, and the trapper superintended the preparation of their evening meal, made from the buffalo-meat still in their possession.
They chatted a long while around the camp-fire, during which Waufy stated that they had been very fortunate, in that the afternoon had passed without detecting any sign of an Indian.
"That ain't sayin' there ain't no varmints in the country," he hastened to add; "but it looks powerful strong as though they wa'n't close enough to scare anybody."
As it was a physical impossibility that Waufy should act the part of sentinel for every succeeding night, he concluded to let one of his companions take that duty during the present evening, especially as he had no apprehension of danger.
When he stated his wishes, both instantly volunteered, but he chose Spikes, as the one who most needed initiation into the duties.
"You see you've never done any thing of the kind," he said, by way of apology, "and therefore you'd better begin first."
"You're tremendously mistaken," replied Jabez, "this won't be the first night I've set up and kept watch."
"Ah!" replied the lieutenant, who thought there was something worth hearing behind this, "you've had some experience in this business?"
"I have," was the emphatic response. "I reckon I've set up for over forty nights with Mary Ann Stiggens, one of our neighbor's daughters."
"The entire night?"
"Yes, sir; from seven o'clock in the evening till six o'clock next morning."
"That's courting with a vengeance," laughed Putnam. "I presume you are engaged to be married to this young lady."
"No, by ginger!" was the doleful response.
"How is that?"
Spikes heaved a great sigh, as though reluctant to relate this dismal episode in his life. Finally, he added:
"I suppose I may as well relate it, but you must remember that it is confidential between us, and you mus'n't ever tell anybody. I got along very well with Mary Ann for some time. Her folks were suited and so were mine, and so were we—at least I was, and she seemed to be, till old Speewinks, who kept the tavern, hired a new bar-tender. He had black curly hair, that was frizzled all over his head, and covered with castoroil and cologne till you could smell it across the street. He had a black mustache, too, that was shiny as silk, and curled up at the ends. He wore a ruffled shirt-front with a breast-pin as big as a pan-cake, and a yellow watch-chain that would have done for a yoke of oxen to haul wood with. Then his pants were so tight that he couldn't sit down without sticking his legs out straight.
"He was a stunner, and half the girls in the village were crazy over him, but I wouldn't have cared if he hadn't got after Mary Ann. One Sunday night I was waiting outside the church to take her arm, as usual, when my heart gave a big jump, as I saw her and the bar-tender coming out arm-in-arm; he was gabbling away, with his head leaned over toward her, and she was grinning and listening, as though she was pleased to death.
"Ginger! wasn't I mad! I just stepped up, and crooking my elbow, said:
"'Come, Mary Ann, let's hurry home.' Well, sir, she didn't look at me, only she laughed, and the other girls coming out, snickered; and the two walked right on, and left me there alone.
"I walked home alone that night, and made up my mind that things looked squally. I wasn't ready to give Mary Ann up, fur she was a fine girl, and I didn't know how to head off that bar-tender. I knew I was better looking than he, so I concluded it must be his appearance that did the business; so I heated the poker and frizzled my hair that night, and put tallow and lavender on, and got father's pantaloons on after he went to bed. Father was twice as thin as me, and when I pulled on his trowsers, they were so tight that I couldn't walk until I had stepped round very carefully for awhile; but I thought they would do, and felt quite proud of them, for they were just as tight as the bar-tender's.
"Then I thought, to help matters along, I would step into Speewinks's, get to chatting with the bartender, and try and set him against Mary Ann. He received me very politely, and listened very attentively when I told him I had something important to tell. I said more than I ought to, but I was considerably worked up. I told him Mary Ann had made all kinds of fun of him; when she first saw him, said she wouldn't be seen with him, and was only trifling with him; that she and I were engaged to be married, and I advised him as a friend, that if he wished to save himself from ridicule, he had better withdraw altogether."
"What did he say to that?" asked the lieutenant, as Spikes paused for several moments, as though in doubt whether to proceed or not.
"He didn't say anything at all; he just listened and listened, and when I got through, asked me if I wouldn't take a drink. Now I am a strictly temperance man, but I though†t he felt so bad I wouldn't make him feel worse by refusing, so I swallowed half a tumbler of something that tasted like liquid fire.
"When I started to go, he urged me to take another drink, and I was fool enough to do it. He didn't say any thing, but I noticed a queer grin upon his face, as I started out the door; but I didn't think any thing of that till the next morning, when I thought the whole thing over.
"When I got outside, I found the whisky cocktails, as he called them, had gotten into my head, and I began to feel very queer. I started to go off the porch of the tavern, and I stepped up instead of stepping down, and snapped my head back so that I thought I'd cracked my neck off. This hat—this very one, by ginger, that I've got on now—rolled off in the mud, and when I stooped down to pick it up, I couldn't get hold of it, so I thought I would stoop down again, aim my head straight, and then make a dive, so as to jam my head in, and then, no matter in what way I picked myself up, I would have the hat secure.
"So I took aim, and made a dive forward, just like a bull-frog when he plumps into the brook; but I missed the hat, struck my head on the other side of it, and turned a summerset over on my back before I could stop; but I grabbed the hat, and when I got up I had it sure.
"Well, I started down the road, and I never knew how I got to old Stiggens's. I don't believe there was a bother along the road that I didn't stumble over, and sometimes I got to going forward so fast, the only way to stop was to fetch up against a fence, and that gave me such a lunge in the stomach that it nearly killed me.
"I had an idea that father's pants were badly torn in more than one place, but, when I turned round to see, I couldn't see, and kept on turning round, till I fell down again, just as you have seen a pup do, when he was after a fly that had lit on his tail.
"It was something over an hour after, when I pitched into Stiggens's gate and rapped the big knocker on the door. While I was waiting, I saw such a light in the parlor, and heard such a laughing and fiddling, that I knew there was a party there. I ought to have gone home, but it only fired me up to think that Mary Ann should do such a thing and not ask me.
"So, when their Irish girl opened the door, I just pitched in, without saying a word, and as mad as 'Hello, Pete, before day!' The fiddle was going, and they were all dancing round the room; and by ginger! the first couple I identified was that bar-tender, with his arm round Mary Ann Stiggens's waist, as they whirled by me.
The sight fired me, and balancing myself against the side of the door, till they came by again, I made a dive for them, intending to come between them, just like an ax when it splits the wood; but when I reached them they were not there, and I rolled over on the floor.
"'Ain't he a brute!' 'He ought to be ashamed!' 'Why don't he get his pants mendedl' 'Put him out!' were some of the exclamations I heard around me, and by that time I began to realize that I had made a mistake, and that that call upon Mary Ann, considered as a call, was a failure.
"'Ladies (hie) and gemm'l'm,' I stuttered, bracing myself against the mantlepiece, so as to keep my pantaloons as much as possible out of sight, 'this ain't me (hie), this ain't Jabez Spikes—it's that feller's' (here I pointed at the grinning bar-tender); 'he done it—he give me a cocktail (hie), and it's my 'liberate 'pinion he put liquor in it!'
"Then they began to scream and laugh again, and somebody led me to the door, and helped me out in the road again. The last thing I heard, as I pitched down the road, was that rascally bar-tender calling out, 'Cock-tail!'
"Well, by ginger, next morning, every man and boy in the village yelled 'Cock-tail!' at me, when I showed myself. I thought it would blow over after awhile, but it kept getting worse and worse, until I got mad and left, and here I am.
"Now," added Jabez, a moment later, as he heaved a great sigh, "I want to be revenged on Mary Ann Stiggens and that bar-tender, and the best way I can do it is to catch the great phenomenon, the white buffalo, and take him back hum with me as the proprietor. Ain't it natural that I should feel so?"
All agreed that such a feeling was perfectly natural.
Eventually, Jabez captured the white buffalo, went into the show business with great success, and finally returned to his native town. He found Mary Ann still unmarried and the bar-tender in the state-prison for forgery. Their old love reviving, Mary Ann and Jabez were married. He continued in the show business for a couple of years, until the white buffalo died, then, having made a moderate competence, he returned to the farm with the purpose of remaining there forever after.
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
|1||Edmund Pearson (Dime Novels, 33) said that Ellis brought the manuscript of this story personally to the publishers' office. Ellis (New York Sun, June 24, 1900) himself said he sent it in and waited anxiously to hear whether it was accepted.|
|2||See Part II, supra. Year 1860.|
|3||Newark Evening Journal; reprinted in Banner Weekly, V, No. 216, January 1, 1887.|
|4||For verification of the pen names used for the Beadle publications, see references under the individual names.|
|5||In litteris, Florence S. Hellman, Chief Bibliographer, Library of Congress, May 3, 1941.|
|6||Lamb's Biog. Dict., II, 640.|
|7||Publishers' Weekly. December 31, 1910.|
|8||Gustav Davidson, "Little Known Pseudonyms of 19th Century American Authors," Ibid., June 15, 1940, 2292-95.|
|9||† For a discussion of Ellis' pen names, see Denis R. Rogers in the Dime Novel Round-Up, Nos. 266-67, November and December, 1954; No. 268, January, 1955; No. 315, December, 1958; No. 307, April, 1958; No. 308, May, 1958; No. 318, March, 1959; No. 319, April, 1959; No. 320, May, 1959; No. 330, March, 1960; No. 334, July, 1960;
No. 336, September, 1960.
Rogers also listed for me the following pseudonyms discovered in The Hearthstone, which contains many reprints of Ellis' sketches originally published in Saturday Night: F. G. Harland, A. P. Morton, A. F. Martin, Beverly Brandon, E. L. Burton, Frank Wallace, Mark Middleton, B. M. Neil, Major Henry Boulton, Frank Alden, Frank Felton, Mary Reed, Bert Harris, Paul Linden, Joseph Warren, Guy Herbert, D. L. Reid, John Rogers, and Richard Courtney. "Nick Wilson" was used for the original printing of Irwin P. Beadles American Novels, no. 14 (q.v.).
|10||He also used "Capt. L. C. Carleton" for some of his stories in Golden Days in the 1890's.|