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About The Nebraskan. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1892-1899 | View Entire Issue (May 23, 1894)
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LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 1894.
THE STORY OF A CURSE.
1 cannot toll u lle.-r-ftVoife Washlniitmi
"I,"sfild the melancholy looking lunii,
"am the victim of a curse!" These were
the words which startled me as I nwoke
from such n troubled bit of slumber as
one can catch when sprawled out over
the scat of a railroad car, and I fixed my
eyes on the party in the two feats ahead
of mine. When last 1 had observed
them they were enjoying a game of
whist. I had then marked a little, dried
up man, who sat facing in my direction
and on whose countenance was a look of
the most fixed and settled melancholy
of which it is possible to conceive. He
it was who, in a voice so iond as to ren
der his every word distinct above the
rattle and roar of the train, spoke the
words above written. I settled myself
to listen and he went on.
"My father was a retired druggist at
the time of which I speak, and I a boy
about ten years old. As I remember
him he was a tall, portly man, with a
round, red face and white whiskers, with
every appearance . f solid church going
respectability. His days he spent about
town, and his nights in his own apart
ments, to which, on no pretext, was any
one ever admitted, except two or three
other old merchants, retired like him
self. I never was allowed to visit him
in his room, and he raiely came to visit
me. This I attributed to dislike for me.
It was not, alas! until long after that I
found out the awful truth. My father
was a magician!"
At this I could not restrain a start,
whih the Chicago drummer murmured
something about a "fish story," most
irrcleveutly, I thought, but nothing
heeding he with the melancholy face
"Yes, my father was a magician, as
were the other old merchants, his cronies.
And their nights instead of being spent,
as one would think, over a rubber and a
quiet bottle, were devoted to the prac
tice of Ma-k Art, and such diversions as
turning one another into rats, rabbits
and the like."
Here a very audible sniff from the
Chicago drummer caused the melan
choly man to sink sulkily into 1 is cor
ner with a remark to the effect that he
would not expose the sacred words of
truth to the sneers of the unbeliever.
An abject apology from the offending
person restored the peace, and the mel
ancholy man continued.
"Yes, I remember being told long
after, that one night having changed one
of their number into a cinnamon bear,
they were unable, despite their utmost
endeavors, to restore him to propria per
sona, and finally were compelled to turn
him over to the authorities of the city
park, in which he was dully installed,
and became in time a universal favorite.
My father and hs friends visited him
daily to supply him with peanuts,
oranges and cakes, and he is said to
have lived a happy life for years.
'One evening I was surprised beyond
measure by being summoned, for ths
first time in my life, to my father's
apartment. On entering, I found my
father standing in the centre of the
room, holding in his hand a vial con
taining'a fluid of a beautiful ambercolor.
By his side stood a gentleman I had
never seen before. Tins personage was
dressed entirely in black, had a com
plexion remarkably swarthy, wore a
brillnnt black moustache of great
length and curled almost up to his eyes,
which were also coal black and set deep
in under eyebrows most unpleasantly
arched. My father said simply, 'Come
"When I approached the stranger la d
his hand on my head, with the remurk
that I was a nice boy, and he hoped 1
would come and see him some time, ac
companying the remark with a grin that
was truly fiendish.
Without minding this by-play my
father, removing the stopper from the
"Frank, my boy, drink this."
I drank, and us I handed him . the
empty vial 1 said:
"What nice medicine, papa."
"It is not medicine," suid my father,
"but a charm; it conveys, my son, the
greatest blessing on eurth. Truthful
ness, Frank, absolute, undeviating truth
fulness is that blessing. To you alone it
will be granted never to be able to tell
"Scarcely were the words spoken when
the stranger grasped my father's arm,
murmuring something about 'the time
being up,' and hurried him through the
door and out of the house. I never saw
my father again."
"God bless me," ejaculated the drum
mer, "did the Mephistophelean stranger
"I do not know," returned the melan
choly man, "I only know that on the
same day that this happened the pet
cinnamon bear of the city park disap
peared, as did also the two remaining
cronies of my father, and none of them
were ever seen or heard of from that
day to this."
"But have you no theory " the
drummer was beginning, when the mel
ancholy man interrupted:
"I have a theory of my own, but jhall
never divulge it," saying which he re
mained silent for so long a time that the
"Hut about the cure?"
"Oh," resumed the melancholy man,
"I had aim st forgotten it was the in
ability to spak anything but the truth!
Truth, gentlemen, has been the grea'
curse of mv life. Listen :
"IJwill not mention the various calam
ities which attended my boyhood's days;
suffice it to "ay tlmtjfrom sad and bitter,
sometimes awful experience, I became
but too well aware of my strange and
unprecedented truthfulness, my inabil
ity to lie. From that experience I learn
ed to guard myself closely in all that I
said. And yet, alas! my most careful
caution was of no avail. At fifteen, boy
like, I fell in love with a widow, much
my senior, with a large and interesting
family, and, loving her, swore she should
be mine. Forthwith, she lints mine!
"For twelve long and weary years did
Jj-bittw rl w regret my .boyish enthusiasm.
What with a shrcns..i wife, a large and
growing family, and a mother-in-law,
my life was a burden indeed.
Finally, thanks toa kindly providence,
my wife joined the innumerable caravan,
yet, alas, I was not free. I?or once, in a
moment of passionate anger I had ex
claimed to my mother in-law,
"Hag! You will never die!"
She is now 103 years of age, toothless,
deaf, almost blind, and will live until
my death renders my hasty words no
Some time after my wife's death I met
a young and beautiful girl whom 1
learned to love devoutly. God! how I
loved that woman! And my suit pros
pered; she was to be my wife. The
December morning whice was to be our
wedding day, I stood before the glass,
arranging my toilet, when word was
brought me that a man whom I wished
most particularly to avoid, wished to
"But what shall I tell him?" asked
the servant who brought in his card.
"Tell him? Tell him," I exclaimed,
in a moment of unhappy thoughtless
ucss, "that I'm out in the country and
won't be back for a month!"
Gentlemen, in an instant I found my
self alone in the midst of a lonely moor
which was covered with snow and ice.
In stumbling along searching for a high
way or dwelling house I slipped on a bit
of ice, fell, and sprained my ankle
. . ..It was just one month later when I
returned to the home of the woman I
loved! Returned, to be met by an angry
and indignant woman who dismissed me
unheard with words of scorn and con
tumely. From that day to this my life has
been one of disgrace and agony. When
I left, and left forever, the woman I
loved, I left behind me all the better and
nobler part of myself. I plunged into a
career of reckless mid prodigal dissipa
tion, and there wos no depth of shame
to which I did not probe. I sank lower
and lower in the social scale; my old
friends and companions deserted me,
and their places were taken by a multi
tude of parasites of either sex. You may
Je certain that I did not lack for money,
for why should he lack for money who
can coin it by the barrel and by the
mere word of his mouth?
One night, as I sat drinking and ca
rousing in a dive in the city of
I wus startled beyond measure by the
sight of the stranger in whose company
my father had departed many, many
years ago. He was seated at a solitary
table in one corner of the room, regard
ing the assemblage with a d'abolical
leer, when my eyes fell upon him. I
started, rubbed my eyes, pinched my
self to make sure that I was awoke, half
rose from my chair, then sank back into
it faint and trcmbliitR, I knew not why.
There he sat, looking not a year older,
not a bit less swarthy, with the same
look of cruel exultation on his face, the
same light of fiendish cunning shining in
his eyes, which I hal marked when last
I saw him, more than a score of years
before! Almost at the same moment
that I saw him, he saw, and, strange to
say, recognized me. When I saw the
light of recognition In his eyes, I was
stezed with a sudden and violent fury,
and springing up,
"Curse you!" I cried, "curse you! take
My that was the ra)id successive dis
charge of the six chambers of my revol
ver, point blank at his breast, at a dis
tance of less than five paces. To my
terror and dismay he sat calm and smil
ing through the fusiladc. I was myself
"The devil take me if I do not kill
you!" I roared, casting my weapon fiom
me and throwing myself upon him.
"Done!" I heard a mocking and ex
ulting voice exclaim as I crashed through
him against the wall!
On picking myself up and turning
again to the stranger, the chair was em.
pty, he was gone. But a "bouncer" be
longing to the establishment was upon
me, and very soon ejected me, neatly
and expeditiously, into the street.
From that day, gentlemen, I have
never passed a day in peace. I have
searched the world, wandering from
place to place, seeking only rest and
quiet, but it may not be. The single
word "Done!" is ct.e ringiag in my
cars; the malevolent, gloating face of
him who uttered it is ever before my
"And his eyes have all the seeming
of a demon's that is dreaming" dream
ing of I know not what.
And as I grow old, as I feel instinc
tively the clammy fingers of death clos
ing about my throat, I am filled with a
horror and a teiror no man can imagine
hor I did not kill him, and I know but
too well, from a long life time of exper
ience, that my rash and terrible words,
uttered as I sprang at that demon's
throat will too surely come true. And
"Glendale!" here shouted the brake
man, whereupon our strangely gifted
friend rose and said hurriedly:
"Adieu, gentlemen, I get off here.
Hear my last words: truth is a good
SERVANT DUT A BAD MASTER!"
"When he was gone the Chicago drum
mer sat for some minutes in apparently
profound meditation. Finally, slapping
his leg he murmured, "God bless my
soul!" after which he, in common with
the very respectable audience which had
listened to the melancholy man's strange
tale, sank into a fitful slumber for the
rest of the night. As to the melancholy
man, as he himself said of his father, "I
never saw nor heard of hici again."
The University ball team met the
Omaha Y. M. C. A. Saturday afternoon
and after tussling hard were sadly de
feated. A more perfect bust ball day
could not have been chosen. Just a
light breeze was stirring which served
to cool the players and the sympathizers
of the University when some fielder or
base man would make a glorious muff.
The Y. M. C A.'s ability to turn out a
crowd was able to be seen here as the
grand stands were filled to the overflow.
Alumni of the Uni were out as many as
could get oiit and yelling for the boys.
Very noticeable was our base ball friend,
Charlie Stroman, '93. He was right
down on players' bench and as much in
terested us if he were playing, and
through the extreme carelessness of
Robinson of the Y. M. C. A, he was
badly hurt. Robinson started to run to
first and gave his bat a fling, the end of
which struck Stroman above the eye,
cutting an ugly gash.
Kayward'o pitching was good enough
to thoroughly trounce the Omaha's if
he had had any support.
Barnes pitched one inning, succeeding
in fanning out two men in that time.
Hopwell pitched the last two.
The boys went to bat each inning and
nearly alway3 came away in the order of
one, two, three.
Packard's playing deserves comple
ments. His sliding made him three
bases and though few balls came to him
yet his good work saved two runs. Sua
berg made a beautiful catch in right
field. Heald played'splcndidly.
The game led out with the boys at
bat. Hopwell and Hayward were first
victims. Randolph got to first on balls
and out while trying to reach the bag
covered by Ciawford. The religious
friends scored once in this half. Stoney,
aided by Crawford's and Abbott's sacri
fices and by Robinson's hit, moved over
the plate. But Crawford and Robinson
were beautifully nailed. Heald in the
second showed what he could do at the
bat by making a safe hit. The Y. M. C.
A. scored twice when they rwnip in.
No score was made in the third and
home team was laid most horribly low,
and then the Uni made its first score.
Barnes made a hot liner, muffed by
Stoney; went to third on passed ball but
was fired back to second by the umpire,
but made up for it by making a pretty
steal and scored on Hcald's hit to left
McKelvy collided with a fielder while
chasing after Heald's fly and was laid
out for about five minutes.
In their half they scored twice, and
Shaberg brought in a run for U. on
fourth. In the sixth Barnes went to the
box am'd the cheers of the crowd," and
yelling for Pheuominal Barnes was beard
throughout the rest of the game. Four
runs were made by the Christians through
the poor in and out field work.
Hopwell pitched the remainder of the
game. Burr.cs could find no good reason
for not pitching only that he would not.
University made 110 more scores but a
good many blunders. Benedict imagined
that he saw Heald sitting on the fence
fifty yards back and threw his ball ac
cordingly. Raymond tried to catch his
flies on the bounce. In batting, though,
the boys found Robinson's balls with
ease. Hut on the whole the team was
too light for tne Y. M. C. A. foot ball
Here is the record:
Y. M. C. A.
Stoney, ss 4 2 3 0 0 0 11
Crawford, 2 b... 5 2 10 0 4 0 0
Abbott, c 5 1 1 0 0 G 5 1
Robinson, p 5 1 3 0 0 1 1 0
Jeffcris, 1 b 4 1 1 0 0 13 1 0
Jellen, m 5 4 3 0 0 0 0 0
McKelvy, 3 b... 5 3 5 0 0 18 1
Marquette, rf.. 52200000
Lawler, If 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
41 16 19 0 0 27 iG 3
Hopwell, 2 b.... 400004-21
Hayward, p.. ..80200042
Randolph, 3 b.. 8 0000123
Benedict, ss.... 3 0 0 0 0 0 12
Barnes, c, p2b 40000250
Heald, 2 b 4 0 2 0 0 '8 0 0
Packard, in 2 0000110
Shaberg, rf.... 21 0001 20
Raymond, If.. .301 0 0 000
Bells, c 10 10 0 2 0 0
29 2 0 0 0 24 17 fi
SCORK BY INNINGS.
Y. M. C. A.. 1 2 0 2 2 4 4 1 x 10
Uni 00 011000 02
Earned runs: Y. M. C. A., iO. Two
base hits: McKelvey, Abbott, Bills.
Three-bose hits: KcKclvey, 3: Jellen,
Robinson. Double plays: McKelvey
to Jefferis; Packard to Heald. Base on
balls; Off Robinson, 6; off Hopewell, 2.
Hit by pitbher: Hopewell, 1. Struck
out: by Robinson, 5; by Hayward, 1; by
Barnes, 2. Passed balls: by Bills, 2;
by Abbott, 1. Time of game: Two
hours. Umpire; Mr. Fairish.
A match game of base ball came off
Thursday afternoon betwen the Sigma
Chi boys and the Phi Delta Theta. A
large crowd of interested spectators
assembled to witness the game and to
"guy" the playtvs. Jesse Becher was
chosen umpire and the game proceeded,
but on account of the dust storm and
increasing fatigue of the players and
score keeper's fingers only seven innings
were played. The teams lined up as
Hayward catcher. Frank
Westerman, W pitcher Dixon
Elliot; short slop Packard
Westerman, j 1st base Hcbard
Raymond S 2nd base Saxton
Wheeler 3rd base Duff
Jones rt field Daubiravo
Haggard c field Hicks
Westerman, L, .... 1 field Shcpard
Score was 2? to 19 in favor of the Phis.
More intcr-fratcrnity games may be
The Annual Contest of the Delian
Literary Society was held in chapel
Saturday evening. There was little
enthusiasm shown in proportion to that
usually exhibited at University oratorical
contests. The attendance was very
small. The lower portion of the chapel
was only partly filled when President
Miller announced the opening of the
program. After the rendition of a
vocal solo by Miss Davis, the contest
began. Mr. C. J. Countryman was the
first speaker. His subject was "Hawaii."
He began by reviewing the history of
the Hawaiian government, then talked
on the relations existing between that
government and the United States, mak
ing a strong plea for annexation. Mr.
Countryman was at home on the stage,
but his voice lacked the power of the
orator. Mr. Graham's oration, "From
Darkness to Dawn," was a discussion of
the industrial situation. His delivery
was very good. The audience now en
joyed a zither solo by Mrs. J. F. Framp
ton. Mr. G. A. Flippin was the last
speaker and the successful contestant
The subject of his oration was "Time
and Education will Solve the Negro
Question." Mr. Flippin made a strong
plea for thr vgro. He aaid that loo
much is expected of hiw, many think
ing that in the short space of thirty
years he should attain a civilization that
it has taken the white race centuries to
acquire. He said all the ncgros wanted
was to be let alone. He asked for no
new legislation in his favor, but that he
only be permitted to enjoy, without
molestation, the privileges granted him
by the constitution. Mr. Flippin also
showed that the negro had made
remaikable progress both morally and
intellectually since he was granted his
While the markings of the judges
were being obtained the audience was
favored by a vocal duet by Misses Gil
bert and Stevenson. According to the
decision of the judges Mr. Flippin was
awarded first place and Mr. Graham
second. After the decision of the judges
was announced, the friendsof the winner
proceeded to do the tossing act.
The Class of '9(5 held an election of
the editors and managers for the Annual
which they will publish next year. The
election has been hotly contested the
last week. The best of feeling, how
ever, existed between the friends of the
rival candidates. The attendance to the
meeting was unusually large. After the
snowing under of Mr. Leavitt's resolu
tions and points of order, the election of
editors in chief was taken up. Mr. B.
W. Wilson and Mr. N;d Abbott were
chosen. Associate editors were then
discussed with the following result:
Miss Bruner and Miss Home will
represent the Delian Society; Miss
Wheeler and Miss Prey, the Palladians;
Mr. Porter, the Unions; Miss Whiting,
the Kappas; Mr. Pulis, the Sigs; Mr.
Pillsbury, the Phis; and Mr. Adams, the
Betas. Mr. V. R. McLucas and Mr. C.
M. Barr were elected business managers.
Upon motion the elections were made
unanimous. The features of the meet
ing were speeches by Messrs. Leavitt,
McLucao, Barr, Wilson and Abbott, and
the closing address by Mr. Tine. What
can not the University expect from a
corps of editors of this kind, and, as Mr.
Abbott suid, "The Class is to hs con
gratulated upon their choice."
The several companies of the Battalion
arc each of them actively engaged in
preparing to carry off the flag on the
2(3 th inst., when the competition drills
are to take place.
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