Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 9, 1895)
I don't know how it got into print, but it did. It was in the
column of personals, and ran thus:
Those contemplating suicide may learn something to their advan
tage by applyiug to the undersigned, room 42, Jackson building.
The managing editor was very angry that such a notice should
4iavo been passed, but when he cooled off, he concluded an item
might be made of it, and detailed me to hunt up the advertiser.
I found him in his office, seated at a roll top desk. When I told
him I had called to see about that personal he smiled affably. Did
I contemplate suicide?
"No," I said shortly, and then explained that I was a reporter.
"Oh! a reporter; well," said be, "perhaps this will be as good a
good beginning as any other. All J want is an advertisement," and
with that Mr. Sagramond opened a locker and showed me a big pile
of cloth-bound books, one of which he gave me. It was entitled
Then he told me a long story about his reverses; how he was liv
ing with his wife and children in a flat; how he had tried to make a
livelihood by his pen, and how he had failed.
"But there's my book," said he, enthusiastically. "You take it
home and read it. I know you'll say it's the greatest book of the
age of my age. What is it about? Oh! it is about the meaning
of life and the nature of the soul. It solves the myBtery of the
I said it was very important to have that matter cleared up, and if
the book did it the boom will follow without any help from me; but
how about that personal? What did he want with his proposed
suicides, and what advantages had he to offer them?
Then he told me his reverses, serious as they were, had not left him
entirely destitute; he had several thousand dollars at his disposal,
and this money he proposed to put in the hanas of trustees for the
benefit of the families of those who should depart this life under
certain easy conditions of his selection.
"A man comes in, for instance, and tells mo that life has become a
torture because he has lost all his property, can't get employment
and his wife and children are starving. 1 don't iutend to black
guard him for a fool or coward, but I shall say, 'Sir, you are perfect
ly justified; the time has come for you to go. Would it ease your
mind to know that yourfamilyhad a comfortable little sum in bank?'
Of course he says it would ease it materially. Then I tell him my
plan. He is to shoot himself, let us say. Well, he is to do it right
in front of a desk or table with my book open, and some striking
passage underscored, such as The inevitable is not debatable,' or
'There are two ways of acquiring happiness one by getting wealth,
the other by limiting desire.
"When the policeman and reporters come in my book will be
found and mentioned in the papers, and in that way ultimately I
expect to get the public ear."
Of course when I reported the facts my chief told me to pay no
further attention to it I think his idea was that Sir Sagramond
was deranged. I confess it was mine. To be sure I had his book,
and I ought perhaps to have read it, but I didn't, at least not then.
And yet, after all, the man was not deranged. A month or so after
that a poor non-union printer died in a miserable den on the East
side from an overdose of laudanum. It was mentioned in the papers
that on the pallet beside him was an open copy of a book entitled
A few weeks later a traveling salesman was discovered in his room
at a cheap hotel on the Bowery, asphyxiated by gas, and on the
bureau "Bellona's Husband. This time the circumstance was com
mented upon by the press as a singular coincidence.
Next month an elderly man "either fell or threw himself from a
window of an upper story of an office building down town." The
papers stated that he was frightfully mangled, and that nothing of
any value was found upon his person expect "Bellona's Husband."
This set the boom going in earnest Some of the comical papers
that keep witty men on their staffs for such purposes, indulged in
ill timed jests concerning the value of the book; others gave copious
extracts from it, some most in fact in disparagement; but all
helped; all served to boom the book. The leading reviews discussed
it and the sales soon grew to be enormous. Whenever they flagged
a little a corpse was safe to turn to turn up somewhere under con
ditions to help on the sales.
Sir Sagramond is famous enough now. He can name his own
terms with publishers and is made a lion of generally, I have read
"Bellona's Husband" and, while I cannot say truthfully that it has
absolutely solved the mystery of the Ego, still, it is in its way enter
taining. However, don't let me prejudice your opinion. If you are
at all interested you might send to the publishers and get it.
Hu&or Genose in Kate Field's Washington.
DETERMINED ON REFORM.
Warden (to convict). "Your term of imprisonment expires today."
Convict. "I am glad to hear it."
"I hope that from now you will lead an honest, upright life,"
"You bet I will!"
"Are you sure that you will not return to your evil wayp."
"Never again will I be up to anything crooked."
"You can go now."
The released convict hesitates.
"Why don't you go? What are you waiting for?"'
"Ain't you going to give me back my dark lantern and my jimmy
and the rest of my professional implements?" Exchange.
IN HER OWN RIGHT.
Pearl Passe Yes, dear papa is very generous. On my birthday
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Yulle Younger Indeed? That must have been the money
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