Eugene Field was at a dinner in London when the conversation turned to the subject of lynching in the United States.
It was the general opinion that a large percentage of Americans met death at the end of a rope. Finally the hostess turned to Field and asked:
"You, sir, must have often seen these affairs?"
"Yes," replied Field, "hundreds of them."
"Oh, do tell us about a lynching you have seen yourself," broke in half a dozen voices at once.
"Well, the night before I sailed for England," said Field, "I was giving a dinner at a hotel to a party of intimate friends when a colored waiter spilled a plate of soup over the gown of a lady at an adjoining table. The gown was utterly ruined, and the gentlemen of her party at once seized the waiter, tied a rope around his neck, and at a signal from the injured lady swung him into the air."
"Horrible!" said the hostess with a shudder. "And did you actually see this yourself?"
"Well, no," admitted Field apologetically. "Just at that moment I happened to be downstairs killing the chef for putting mustard in the blanc mange."
You can always tell the English,
You can always tell the Dutch,
You can always tell the Yankees—
But you can't tell them much!