The old friends had had three days together.
"You have a pretty place here, John," remarked the guest on the morning of his departure. "But it looks a bit bare yet."
"Oh, that's because the trees are so young," answered the host comfortably. "I hope they'll have grown to a good size before you come again."
A youngster of three was enjoying a story his mother was reading aloud to him when a caller came. In a few minutes his mother was called to the telephone. The boy turned to the caller and said "Now you beat it home." Ollie James, the famous Kentucky Congressman and raconteur, hails from a little town in the western part of the state, but his patriotism is state-wide, and when Louisville made a bid for the last Democratic national convention she had no more enthusiastic supporter than James. A Denver supporter was protesting.
"Why, you know, Colonel," said he, "Louisville couldn't take care of the crowds. Even by putting cots in the halls, parlors, and the dining-rooms of the hotels there wouldn't be beds enough."
"Beds!" echoed the genial Congressman, "why, sir, Louisville would make her visitors have such a thundering good time that no gentleman would think of going to bed!"
The good wife apologized to her unexpected guests for serving the apple pie without cheese. The little boy of the family slipped quietly away from the table for a moment, and returned with a cube of cheese, which he laid on the guest's plate. The visitor smiled in recognition of the lad's thoughtfulness, popped the cheese into his mouth, and then remarked:
"You must have sharper eyes than your mother, sonny. Where did you find it?"
The boy replied with a flush of pride:
"In the rat-trap."
At the conclusion of the war in 1814, three hundred British sailors, who had been prisoners, were assembled on the coast of Britanny to embark for England. Being severally billetted on the inhabitants for some days before they embarked, one of them requested permission to see the superintendant, Monsieur Kearnie, which being granted, the British tar thus addressed him: "An please your honour, I don't come to trouble you with any bother about ourselves: we are all as well treated as Christians can be; but there is one thing that makes my food sit heavy on my stomach, and that of my two messmates." "What is it, my brave fellow?" replied the superintendent;—"the persons on whom you are quartered don't grudge it you?" "No, your honour;—if they did, that would not vex us." "What, then, do you complain of?" "Only this, your honour—that the poor folk cheerfully lay their scanty allowance before us for our mess, and we have just found out that they have hardly touched a mouthful themselves, or their six babes, for the last two days; and this we take to be a greater hardship than any we found in prison." M. Kearnie told them that from this hardship they should all be relieved. He instantly ordered the billets to be withdrawn, and rewarded all parties for their kindness, so compassionately exercised and interchanged.
Henry Wardlaw, Archbishop of St. Andrew's, at the beginning of the fifteenth century was a prelate of such unbounded liberality, that the masters of his household, apprehensive that his revenues might be exhausted by the expense of entertaining the great numbers who resorted to his palace, solicited him to make out a list of persons to whom the hospitality of his board might be confined. "Well," said the archbishop to his secretary, "take a pen and begin. First put down Fife and Angus"—two large counties, containing several hundred thousands of people. His servants hearing this, retired abashed; "for," says the historian, "they said he would have no man refused that came to his house."
Dr. Johnson, in his tour through North Wales, passed two days at the seat of Colonel Middleton, of Gwynnagag. While he remained there, the gardener found a hare amidst some potatoe plants, and brought it to his master, then engaged in conversation with the doctor. An order was given to carry it to the cook. As soon as Johnson heard this sentence, he begged to have the animal placed in his arms, which was no sooner done, than approaching the open window, he restored the hare to her liberty, shouting after her to accelerate her speed. "What have you done, doctor?" cried the colonel. "Why you have robbed my table of a delicacy—perhaps deprived us of a dinner." "So much the better, sir," replied the humane champion of a condemned hare; "for if your table is to be supplied at the expense of the laws of hospitality, I envy not the appetite of him who eats it. This, sir, is not a hare taken in war, but one which had voluntarily placed itself under your protection; and savage indeed must be that man who does not make his hearth an asylum for the confiding stranger."
While Park was waiting on the banks of the Niger for a passage, the king of the country was informed that a white man intended to visit him. On this intelligence, a messenger was instantly dispatched to tell the stranger that his majesty could not possibly admit him to his presence till he understood the cause of his arrival, and also to warn him not to cross the river without the royal permission. The message was accordingly delivered by one of the chief natives, who advised Mr. Park to seek a lodging in an adjacent village, and promised to give him some requisite instructions in the morning. Mr. Park immediately complied with this counsel; but on entering the village he had the mortification to find every door closed against him. He was, therefore, obliged to remain all the day without food, beneath the shade of a tree. About sunset, as he was turning his horse loose to graze, and expected to pass the night in this lonely situation, a woman returning from her employment in the fields stopped to gaze at him, and observing his dejected looks, enquired from what cause they proceeded? Mr. P. endeavoured, as well as he could, to make known his destitute situation. The woman immediately took up his saddle and bridle, and desired him to follow her to her residence, where, after lighting a lamp, she presented him with some broiled fish, spread a mat for him to lie upon, and gave him permission to continue under her roof till morning. Having performed this humane action, she summoned her female companions to their spinning, which occupied the chief part of the night, while their labour was beguiled by a variety of songs—one of which was observed by Mr. Park to be an extemporaneous effusion, created by his own adventure. The air was remarkably sweet and plaintive, and the words were literally the following:—
"The winds roared, and the rain fell.
The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree.
He has no mother to bring him milk, no wife to grind him corn.
Let us pity the white man: no mother has he to bring him milk, no wife to grind his corn."