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him began to suspect that his mind was better furnished than his person. Horace always had a way of talking profusely while at work, and that, too, without working with less assiduity. Conversations soon rose about masonry, temperance, politics, religion; and the new journeyman rapidly argued his way to respectful consideration. His talk was ardent, animated, and positive. He was perfectly confident of his opinions, and maintained them with an assurance that in a youth of less understanding and less geniality would have been thought arrogance. His enthusiasm at this time, was Henry Clay; his great subject, masonry. In a short time, to note the language of one his fellow-workmen, he was the lion of the shop.' Yet for all that, the men who admired him most would nave their joke, and during all the time that Horace remained in the office, it was the standing amusement to make nonsensical remarks in order to draw from him one of his shrewd, half-comic, Scotch-Irish retorts. "And we always got it," says one.
The boys of the office were overcome by a process similar to that which frustrated the youth of Poultney. Four or five of them, who knew Horace's practice of returning to the office in the evening and working alone by candle-light, concluded that that would be an excellent time to play a few printing-office tricks upon him. They accordingly lay in ambush one evening, in the dark recesses of the shop, and awaited the appearance of the Ghost. He had no sooner lighted his candle and got at work, than a ball, made of ‘old roller,' whizzed past his ear and knocked over his candle. He set it straight again and went on with his work. Another ball, and another, and another, and finally a volley. One hit his 'stick,' one scattered his type, another broke his bottle, and several struck his head. He bore it till the balls came so fast, that it was impossible for him to work, as all his time was wasted in repairing damages. At length, he turned round and said, without the slightest ill-humor and in a supplicating tone, "Now, boys, don't. I want to work. Please, now, let me alone." The boys came out of their places of concealment into the light of the candle, and troubled him no
Thus, it appears, that every man can best defend himself with the weapon that nature has provided him-whether it be fists or forgiveness. Little Jane Eyre was of opinion, that when anybody
has struck another, he should himself be struck; "very hard," says Jane, "so hard, that he will be afraid ever to strike anybody again." On the contrary, thought Horace Greeley, when any one has wantonly or unjustly struck another, he should be so severely forgiven, and made so thoroughly ashamed of himself, that he will ever after shrink from striking a wanton or an unjust blow. Sound maxims, both; the first, for Jane, the second, for Horace.
His good humor was, in truth, naturally imperturbable. He was soon the recognized OBLIGING MAN of the office; the person relied upon always when help was needed-a most inconvenient kind of reputation. Among mechanics, money is generally abundant enough on Sundays and Mondays; and they spend it freely on those days. Tuesday and Wednesday, they are only in moderate circumstances. The last days of the week are days of pressure and borrowing, when men are in a better condition to be treated than to treat. Horace Greeley was the man who had money always; he was as rich apparently on Saturday afternoon as on Sunday morning, and as willing to lend. In an old memorandum-book belonging to one of his companions in those days, still may be deciphered such entries as these: 'Borrowed of Horace Greeley, 2s.' 'Owe Horace Greeley, 9s. 6d.' 'Owe Horace Greeley, 2s. 6d, for a breastpin.' He never refused to lend his money. To himself, he allowed scarcely anything in the way of luxury or amusement; unless, indeed, an occasional purchase of a small share in a lottery-ticket may be styled a luxury.
Lotteries were lawful in those days, and Chatham-street was where lottery-offices most abounded. It was regarded as a per fectly respectable and legitimate business to keep a lottery-office, and a perfectly proper and moral action to buy a lottery-ticket. The business was conducted openly and fairly, and under official supervision; not as it now is, by secret and irresponsible agents in all parts of the city and country. Whether less money, or more, is lost by lotteries now than formerly, is a question which, it is surprising, no journalist has determined. Whether they cause less or greater demoralization is a question which it were well for moralists to consider.
Of the few incidents which occurred to relieve the monotony of
the printing-office in Chatham street, the one which is most gleefully remembered is the following:
Horace was, of course, subjected to a constant fire of jocular observations upon his dress, and frequently to practical jokes suggested by its deficiencies and redundancies. Men stared at him in the streets, and boys called after him. Still, however, he clung to his linen roundabout, his short trowsers, his cotton shirt, and his dilapidated hat. Still he wore no stockings, and made his wristbands meet with twine. For all jokes upon the subject he had deaf ears; and if any one seriously remonstrated, he would not defend himself by explaining, that all the money he could spare was needed in the wilderness, six hundred miles away, whither he punctually sent it. September passed and October. It began to be cold, but our hero had been toughened by the winters of Vermont, and still he walked about in linen. One evening in November, when business was urgent, and all the men worked till late in the evening, Horace, instead of returning immediately after tea, as his custom was, was absent from the office for two hours. Between eight and nine, when by chance all the men were gathered about the 'composing stone,' upon which a strong light was thrown, a strange figure entered the office, a tall gentleman, dressed in a complete suit of faded broadcloth, and a shabby, over-brushed beaver hat, from beneath which depended long and snowy locks The garments were fashionably cut; the coat was in the style of a swallow's tail; the figure was precisely that of an old gentleman who had seen better days. It advanced from the darker parts of the office, and emerged slowly into the glare around the composing stone. The men looked inquiringly. The figure spread out its hands, looked down at its habiliments with an air of infinite complacency, and said,
Well, boys, and how do you like me now?"
"Why, it's Greeley," screamed one of the men.
It was Greeley, metamorphosed into a decayed gentleman by a second-hand suit of black, bought of a Chatham-street Jew for five dollars.
A shout arose, such as had never before been heard at staid and regular 85 Chatham-street. Cheer upon cheer was given, and meu
laughed till the tears came, the venerable gentleman being as happy as the happiest.
'Greeley, you must treat upon that suit, and no mistake," said
"Oh, of course," said everybody else.
"Come along, boys; I'll treat," was Horace's ready response.
All the company repaired to the old grocery on the corner of Duane-street, and there each individual partook of the beverage that pleased him, the treater indulging in a glass of spruce beer. Posterity may as well know, and take warning from the fact, that this five-dollar suit was a failure. It had been worn thin, and had been washed in blackened water and ironed smooth. A week's wear brought out all its pristine shabbiness, and developed new.
Our hero was not, perhaps, quite so indifferent to his personal appearance as he seemed. One day, when Colonel Porter happened to remark that his hair had once been as white as Horace Greeley's, Horace said with great earnestness, "Was it?"—as though he drew from that fact a hope that his own hair might darken as he grew older. And on another occasion, when he had just returned from a visit to New-Hampshire, he said, “Well, I have been up in the country among my cousins; they are all good-looking young men enough; I don't see why I should be such a curious-looking fellow."
One or two other incidents which occurred at West's are perhaps worth telling; for one well-authenticated fact, though apparently of trifling importance, throws more light upon character than pages of general reminiscence.
It was against the rules of the office for a compositor to enter the press-room, which adjoined the composing-room. Our hero, however, went on one occasion to the forbidden apartment to speak to a friend who worked there upon a hand-press that was exceedingly hard to pull.
Greeley," said one of the men, "you're a pretty stout fellow, but you can't pull back that lever."
"Can't I?" said Horace; "I can."
Try it, then," said the mischief-maker.
The press was arranged in such a manner that the lever offered no resistance whatever, and, consequently, when Horace seized it,
and colected all his strength for a tremendous effort, he fell backwards on the floor with great violence, and brought away a large part of the press with him. There was a thundering noise, and all the house came running to see what was the matter. Horace got up, pale and trembling from the concussion.
"Now, that was too bad," said he.
He stood his ground, however, while the man who had played the trick gave the 'boss' a fictitious explanation of the mishap, without mentioning the name of the apparent offender. When all was quiet again, Horace went privately to the pressman and offered to pay his share of the damage done to the press!
With Mr. West, Horace had little intercourse, and yet they did on several occasions come into collision. Mr. West, like all other bosses and men, had a weakness; it was commas. He loved commas, he was a stickler for commas, he was irritable on the subject of commas, he thought more of commas than any other point of prosody, and above all, he was of opinion that he knew more about commas than Horace Greeley. Horace had, on his part, no objection to commas, but he loved them in moderation, and was determined to keep them in their place. Debates ensued. The journeyman expounded the subject, and at length, after much argument, convinced his employer that a redundancy of commas was possible, and, in short, that he, the journeyman, knew how to preserve the balance of power between the various points, without the assistance or advice of any boss or man in Chatham, or any other street. There was, likewise, a certain professor whose book was printed in the office, and who often came to read the proofs. It chanced that Horace set up a few pages of this book, and took the liberty of altering a few phrases that seemed to him inelegant or incorrect. The professor was indignant, and though he was not so ignorant as not to perceive that his language had been altered for the better, he thought it due to his dignity to apply opprobrious epithets to the impertinent compositor. The compositor argued the matter, but did not appease the great man.
Soon after obtaining work, our friend found a better boarding. house, at least a more convenient one. On the corner of Duanestreet and Chatham there was, at that time, a large building, occupied below as a grocery and bar-room, the upper stories as ae·