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Lewis, Charles Bertrand ("M. Quad").

CHARLES B. LEWIS (M. QUAD) (1842-1924)

A merry man
Within the limit of becoming mirth.
Love's Labour Lost, Act II, scene 1

Charles Bertrand Lewis, better known to a former generation by his pseudonym, "M. Quad," than by his own name, was born in Liverpool, Ohio, February 15, 1842. He was a graduate of the Michigan Agricultural College at Lansing, Michigan, and afterwards learned typesetting and printing in the office of the Lansing Journal. He served as a private during the Civil War in the Sixth Michigan Volunteer Cavalry. The regiment was not mustered out in 1865, but was transferred for nearly a year to Utah where it fought at least one serious Indian battle. It was finally disbanded in February, 1866, and Lewis, now a lieutenant, returned to his trade in Michigan. Later he was chosen local editor of the Maysville (Ky.) Bulletin, but while en route down the Mississippi River the boiler of the steamer on which he was traveling exploded, killing nearly fifty persons and injuring many more. Among the latter was Mr. Lewis who was blown ashore and was picked up for dead. He recovered after some six weeks in a hospital, but having lost his new job by the delay, returned to Michigan where he began work on the Jacksonian, in Pontiac. An article on "How it Feels to be Blown Up" was copied by newspapers throughout the United States and established his fame as a humorist. This led to his engagement by other papers and at one time he was contributing to twenty-one news- and story-papers, including Ballou's Monthly Magazine. He later was on the staff of the Detroit Free Press, and having obtained a verdict of $10,000 from the steamboat company, bought an interest in that paper and contributed regularly to it, not only a column of humor, but more serious articles as well. "The Lime Kiln Club," "The Arizona Kicker," "Mr. and Mrs. Bowser," and "Carl Dunder" were the titles of some of his weekly articles. He wrote several plays and a number of books; also a few dime novels, although he made fun of them in some of his newspaper sketches. Beginning late in 1874, he wrote numerous shorts for the Saturday Journal, and also had serials in the New York Weekly, Munro's Girls and Boys of America, and Fireside Companion. In 1891 he went to New York and wrote a daily humorous column for the World at a salary of $10,000 a year. He was badly crippled by rheumatism during the last twelve years of his life, but continued writing until his death, August 21, 1924, at the age of 82.

REFERENCES: Nat. Cyc. Amer. Biog., VI, 1929, 30, with portrait; Scribner's Dic. Amer. Biog., XI, 1933, 207-208; Lamb's Biog. Dict., V, 1903, 49; Who's Who, Vol. I to XI; Literary Digest, LXXIV, July 29, 1922, 42, with a recent portrait; Publishers' Weekly, CVI, 1924, 658; New York Times, August 23, 1924; New York World, August 23, 1924; Detroit Free Press, August 23, 1924; Thos. E. Hill, Album of Biography and Art, Chicago. 1890, 23031, with portrait; a letter from Lewis to Beadle and Adams, dated November 30, 1874, now in the possession of Franklin J. Meine, and another to the same firm, dated October 27, 1880, in my possession; both relating to his stories for Beadle.

Saturday Journal. No. 180
Beadle's Weekly. No. 17
Banner Weekly. Nos. 696, 709
Twenty Cent Novels. No. 15
Boy's Library
(octavo). No. 292

The following article by "M. Quad," written for the Detroit Free Press about 1889, is given here in preference to an excerpt from a novel published by Beadle since it is pertinent to the "nickel novels," and is typical of Lewis' humor.

Come, my son, it is time you were getting ready for a spring campaign against the Indians and grizzlies. You have been reading "Daring Dan," "Ike, the Indian Slayer," "Gus, the Grizzly-Killer," and other exciting and truthful stories intended to make a boy dissatisfied with hundrum life, and your mind is made up to go West.

You must have an outfit. This can be got while waiting for spring to open. One reason why so many boy-hunters make a failure is because they economize too much in the outfit. Don't be stingy in buying guns. It will be all the better if you have a Spencer carbine and a double-barrelled shotgun to go with your Winchester. Suppose you came suddenly upon a band of 18 Apache warriors. You could kill only 16 of them with your Winchester and two would be left to ride off and alarm the tribe. By having some extra guns along you are sure of the whole crowd, and the tribe won't get onto you.

And don't scrimp on bowie-knives. It would be an almost fatal mistake to start out with only two. Buy four, at least. They are for use at close quarters with grizzlies. Of course one bowie is enough to kill one bear with, but you may be attacked by four bears at once, and four knives would then be in demand. If you get but three bowies, make up the deficiency with a Spanish stiletto or a Moorish dagger. It will come in handy, not only in a close fight, but to pick your teeth with at the campfire.

As for dress, get the fringed buckskin, a coon-skin cap and regular moccasins. Such things as shirts, collars, cuffs or handkerchiefs would be only waste luggage. If you should appear in Miles City with a collar on it would give you away at once. Nobody would suspect that you were the young terror from the East who was aching for a chance to tie a knot in a grizzly bear's tail.

You should take at least 200 †rounds of munition. You may be corralled somewhere in the Rocky mountains by 400 fierce and determined Indians, and you don't want to lose your scalp for the want of a few extra cartridges. All the provisions needed is a sack of jerked buffalo meat. It doesn't make the least bit of difference whether the buffalo was jerked off his feet over a precipice, or head-over heels. If the meat is a little flyblown it will add to your dignity as a hunter. You can chew plug tobacco or not, just as you feel about it, but it would be wisest to do so. All the champion terrors chew large quantities, and the juice comes handy to spit into a rattlesnake's eyes.

I wouldn't take a horse if I were you. He would be a great deal of trouble to take care of, and most of your hunting will be in a rough country. The true terror has always gone a-foot, and always will. Anybody on horseback can make up faces at a grizzly, and gallop off out of reach.

One great mistake which the average boy makes is in planning to accomplish too much the first season. Most of them figure on wiping out about 1000 Indians and twice that number of bears. Keep your estimates down to a reasonable figure. You feel ambitious and enthusiastic, of course, but there is a limit to what a boy can do. Set your figures at about 400 Indians and 300 grizzlies. This will be almost two per day the year around, and will keep you from spoiling.

I should scalp every Indian I shot. It not only looks more business-like to do so, but that's what you've got a scalping-knife for, and if you can get about 200 scalp-locks you can make the nicest door-mat you ever saw. It doesn't hurt a dead Indian a bit to scalp him, and if you don't take it, it will go to waste. It would be well to have a six-mule team follow you at the distance of a mile or so to pick up and care for the rifles, knives, bows and arrows and war-clubs of the slain Indians. These can be run East by car lots and sold at auction, and the profits will buy all your ammunition. Don't exterminate any particular tribe of red men, but kill off about one-fourth of seven or eight different tribes. This will extend your reputation as a terror.

As to the best way of killing an Indian I shall not pretend to advise. Some boys prefer to shoot him and others believe in sticking him with a knife. If you can catch him in a deep gorge you might drop a big bowlder down on his head. Another way is to catch him by the feet with a lasso, and drag him over the earth until his spinal column is worn down to a toothpick. In any event, the fun will be all on your side.

It's a little different with a grizzly bear. He won't be quite so terror-stricken over your sudden appearance, being built on a different plan. You expect some show of resistance, however, that you may have opportunity to show your pluck. Some of these pale-faced, weak-kneed boys hold a grizzly off at long range and fill him up with bullets, but you will never see their woodcuts in a dime novel. The true Terror will wind his Mexican serape around his left arm, hold it out for the bear to chew on, and, while the beast is busy getting a meal, put the bowie-knife into him to the heart. You will be a trifle nervous with your first bear, but after that it will be as easy as climbing a fence. The claws should be separated from the skin and sold in a different lot. The latest quotation on bears' claws is $16 per bushel, and if you can't average more than two bushels per day you will still make a good thing of it.

† Correction made as per Volume 3.


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