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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 8, 1905)
VOLUME 5, NUMBER Jt
Where Peace Was Proclaimed
For weeks Portsmouth, N. H., has
been in the eyes of all people, for
there gathered the peace commission
ers from Russia and Japan in an ef
fort to put a stop to the war and bring
warring nations once more into the
bonds of friendship.
To thousands of boys old boys and
'joung boys there was something fa
miliar about the telegraphed descrip
tions of historic old Portsmouth. Ev
efy day they recognized some old land
mark, some old scene upon the water
front, some quaint old character
among -its people. It seemed to these
thousands as if they had once lived
or visited in Portsmouth, for memory
was something more tna a dream.
But how many, of them really know
why there were so many familiar
things abQUt the descriptions tele
graphed broadcast over the land by
the correspondents gathered to secure
the';' news? It need no longer remain
a secret The reason for the seem
ing familiarity is not rar to seelc.
rDld you ever read Thomas Bailey
Aldrich's "Story of a Bad Boy?"
Ah! Now you begin to understand!!
Ri vermouth! And with recollections
of Rivermouth come recollections of
the snow fight on Slatter's hill, Gypsy,
the pony, Bailey's battery, the burn
ing of Ezra Wingate's old mail coach,
Tom Bailey's fight with the red-head-J
ed Conway, the cruise of the Dolphin,
old Sailor Ben what a medley of
recollections, to be sure!
The Rivermouth of Aldrich's splen
did "Story of a Bad Bay" is the Ports
mouth made ye't more famous because
It was the scene of the peace confer
ence. And Riv we mean Portsmouth
will be remembered because of the
escapades of Tom Bailey much longer
than it will be because of the peace
'The Story of a Bad Boy" -who
wasn't nearly so baa as he 'might
have been is one of the best boy
stories ever written. No matter how
old a boy you may be. if you have the
least recollection ot your youthful
days you can take down that book and
read it again with a deeper interest
than when you read it twenty, thirty,
forty aye, sixty years ago. The
newspaper correspondents at Ports
mouth have endeavored to describe
the quaint old .city, but not one of
them has succeeded in making his de
scription as interesting as the one in
"The Story of a Bad Bay.' Read it:
"As we drove through the streets
of the quiet old town. I thought
Rivermouth the prettiest place in the
-world: and I think so still. The!
streets are long and wide, shaded by
gigantic American elms, whose droop
ing branches, interlacing here and
there, span the avenues with arches
''graceful enough to be tht handiwork
of fairies. Many of the houses have
'small flower gardens in front gay in
the season with china-asters, and are
substantially built, with massive chim-jiev-stacks
and protruding eaves. A
beautiful fiver goes rippling by the
town, and, after turning and twisting
among a lot of tiny islands, empties
itself into the sea.
The harbor iq so fine that the larg
est ships can sail directly up to the
wharves and drop anchor. Only they
don't. Years ago it was a famous sea
port. Princely fortunes were made in
the West India trade; and in 181?,
when we were at war with Great
Britain, any number or: privateers
upon the merchant vessels of the ene
my. Certain people grew suddenly
and mysteriously rich, and a great
many of the 'first families' of today do
not care to trace their pedigree back
to the time when their grandsires
owned shares in the Matilda Jane,
twenty-four guns. Well, well!
"Few ships go to Rivermouth now.
Commerce drifted into other ports.
The phantom fleet sailed off one day
and never came back again. The
crazy old warehouses are empty; and
barnacles and eel-grass cling to the
piles of the crumbling wharves, where
the sunshine lies lovingly, bringing out
the faint spicy odor that haunts the
place the ghost of tne old dead West
"Rivermouth is a very ancient town.
In my day there existed a traditon
among the boys that it was here Chris
topher Columbus made his first land
ing on this continent. I remember
having the exact spot pointed out to
me by Pepper Whitcomb! One thing is
certain, Captain John Smith, who af
terwards, according to their legend,
married Pocahontas, whereby he got
Powhatan for a father-in-law ex
plored the river in 1614, and was much
charmed by the beauty of Rivermouth,
which was at that time covered with
wild strawberry vines.
"Rivermouth figures prominently in
all the colonial histories. Every other
house in the place has its traditon
more or less grim and entertaining.
If ghosts flourish anywnere, there are
certain streets in Rivermouth that
would be full of them. I don't know
of a town with so many old houses.
Let us linger, for a moment, in front
of the one which the tldest inhabitant
is always sure to point out to the
curious stranger. It is a square wood
en edifice, with a gambrel roof and
deep-set window frames. Over the
windows and doors there used to be
heavy carvings oak leaves and
acorns, and angels' heads with, wintrs
spreading from the ears, oddly jum-
uiea togetner; but these ornaments
and other outward signs of grandeur
have long since disappeared. A pecu
liar interest attaches Itself to thin
house, not because of its age, for It
has not been standing quite a century;
nor on account of its architecture,
which is not striking but because of
the illustrious men who at various
periods have ocupied its spacious
I "In 1770 it was an aristocratic hotel.
au tue ieit siae or tne entrance stood
a high post, from 'which swung the
sign of the Earl of Halifax. The land
lord was a- staunch loyaalist -that is
to say, he believed m the king, and
when the overtaxed colonists deter
mined , to throw off the British yoke
the adherents to the crown held pri
vate meetings in one of the back
rooms of the tavern. This irritated
the rebels; as they were called; and
one night they made an attack on
the Earl of Halifax, tore down the
signuoara, Droite in the window
sashes, and gave the landlord hardly
time to make himself invisible over
the fence in the rear.
"For several months the shattered
tavern remained deserted. At last the
exiled tavern-keeper on promising to
do better was allowed to return a
new sign, bearing the name of Wil
liam Pitt, the friend of America
swung proudly from the door-post and
the patriots were appeased." '
fleet anchored in the harbor at River
mouth in 1782. How Marquis De La
Fayette visited the fleet there, stop
ping' at the William Pitt inn. Here
John Hancock, whose name stands out
on the Declaration or Independence
with startling distinctness, often vis
ited there. Louis Fhillinne and Mr
two brothers, the sons of the Duke of
Orleans, visited Portsmouth while the
fleet was there, stopping at the Wil
liam Pitt. And years afterwards, when
Louis sat upon the throne of France,
he asked an American lady at court
if the old tavern was still standing.
In 1789 George Washington visited
Portsmouth and occupied one of the
chambers in the famous old tavern.
And this is historic old Portsmouth
the scene of the greatest triumph of
peace since the birth of the Ameri
But make believe you are a boy
again and once more read "The Story
of a Bad Boy." One boy whose years
number not less than forty-two has
just finished reading it for perhaps the
one hundredth time, and he felt like
taking off his shoes, whooping in sheer
joy and going racing knee-deep
through the grass towards the river
There is a little incident in Mr. Al
drich's book that is a forceful remind
er of the recent peace commission sit
tings. Conway, a red-headed youth,
was the bully of the school, and he
took especial delight in imposing upon
Binny Wallace, a quiet little fellow
who had not the nerve to defend him
self. Tom Bailey stood for it as long
as he could, and one day, when Con
way had been particularly mean to
wards Binny, Tom took up Binny's
battles and the result was a desperate
fight. Tom won out, but it was at
the price of a badly blackened eye
and a swollen cheek. Mr. Grimshaw,
the good old pedagogue, saw them,
and meted out dire punishment. Con
way lost his recesses for a month, and
Tom had a page added to his Latin
lessons for four recitations. Then
Tom and Conway were required to
shake hands in the presence of the
school and acknowledge their regret
at what had occurred. Mr.Aldrich
says and he is the hero of the story:
"Conway and I approached each
other slowly and cautiously, as if we
were bent upon another hostile colli
sion. We clasped- hands in the tamest
manner imaginable, and Conway mum
bled, Tm sorry I fought with you.'
i tninic you are I replied, dryly,
and I'm sorry I had to thrash you.'
'"You can go to your seats,' said
Mr. Grimshaw, turning his face aside
10 nme a smile.
"I am sure my apology was a very
all the nofir'ft Mmmi -
future ages canTt make u ha
anything else. Wo would rath011 u
through its streets with Tom V?
Pepper Whitcomb, Binny wB?ley'
Phil Adams and Frea KLZal Je'
to sit with Komuralnd WiUe and aa
the eyes of Christendom turn?,? JS
us. And yet, through the mm!!
joys that suround uV when the 0S
town is recalled to memory L
comes one tinge of aadSS, fe
B?nawCf,' brIt-eyed, sunnjSagi
Binny Wallace still lies sleeping b?
ri?mhriveer.rlPPling ter8 f lSe
were fitted out at Rivermouth to prey Mr. Aldrich tells how the French
Now doesn't that little scene re
mind you of Russia and Japan? Rus
sia is sorry she fought with Japan,
and Japan rather thinks she is, too.
And doubtless Japan is sorry the occa
sion arose making it necessary for her
to thraBh Russia.
But read "The Story of a Bad Boy"
again. Engage once more in a snow
fight x3tl Slatter's hill. Load up the
remnants of Bailey's battery and scare
the sleepy inhabitants into hysteria.
Run Ezra's ancient old coach into the
Fourth of July bonfire-once more, and
then dig down into your pockets and
pay foxy old Ezra ten times what his
ramshackle old wagon was worth.
Listen again to the stories of Sailor
Ben, eat your fill of Aunt Abigail's
doughnuts and pies, and above all
bear in mind that Aunt Abigail's six
black silk patches still dangle from
a beam in the garret of the old Nut
ter mansion, awaiting the time when
you and Conway get into another
scrap and you come home with eyes
painted a delicate tinge of blue and
black. ' '
Portsmouth, indeed! We'll call it
Rivermouth to theend of time, and
I'd rather be Old Mother Goose
TMTh0Ln statesman Quite gigantic.
I d rather be that quaint old dear
Than scholar quite pedantic.
I d rather wield the spell she wields
In realms of childish laughter
Than to be placed on kinglv throne
-o.uu ruie oy rorce thereafter.
Richley. "Gee, but this is hot
Scribbler. "I don't think so, I'm
Richley. "Is that possible?"
Scribbler. "Yes; I've just had a
meeting with De Splurge of the None
such Magazine, and tried to submit
some of my stuff."
01 winter is a comin'
F'r I feel it in th air,
An' I'll soonoe payin' tribute
To my ol' friend, Trustee Baer.
F'r he's got me in his clutches
An' he's "bound to squeeze me tight
When I try negotiations
For a ton of anthracie.
"Grabem is suffering from a severe
case of yellow fever."
"Gracious; has the disease appeared
in our midst!"
"Yes, but he's had it for years.
Grabem would rather hear the chink
of gold than the music of the best
"My, how youthful Miss Passe i3
looking this evening."
"Yes; she looks as If she were eligi
ble to membership in the Painters
and Decorators Union.
NOT INTERESTED NOW
"Do you take any interest in rare
hand -beautiful books?"
"No," answered Mr. Cumrox. i
used too. But now if you subscribe
to an expensive publication people
think you did it to keep something out
of print." Washington Star.
GLORY ENOUGH FOR ALL
There is dispute as to whether
John Paul Jones, Commodore Barry
or Esek Hopkins was "the father n
the American navy;" but it doesnt
matter much. They were all oran.
merits to the service and the country
is rich enough to give them all fitting
monuments. Philadelphia Inquirer.
Globetrot I say, old man, I've been
abroad for eight months and I'm rusty
on the styles. Are they wearing tue
same things this summer that tuey
did last? f
Deadbroke I am. Pittsburg Post.
Teaoher Now, Willy, supposing
you accidentally stood on a genue
man's foot, what would you say . ,
Willy I would say, "Beg pardon
"If the gentleman gave yoi i sw
pense for being polite, what nouia
you do'" a
"I would stand on the other ana
say, 'Beg pardon,' "Tit-Bits.
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