More Details Original Title. DC Constance Fairchild 1. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about No Time to Cry , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. Sort order. Oct 06, Paromjit rated it it was amazing Shelves: mystery , netgalley , crime-fiction , thriller. Set in London, it is narrated in the first person and it does not take long before I was completely immersed in and intrigued by Con, she is compelling, independent, feisty and has a determination and audacity she is going to need to survive.
Working undercover to target criminals from an office in a shabby part of James Oswald has branched out into a new series after his wonderful Edinburgh DI McLean books. Working undercover to target criminals from an office in a shabby part of the city, Con's world falls apart when she returns to base only to discover her colleague and friend, DI Peter Copperthwaite, has been tortured and shot dead. Instead of being supported by her police colleagues, Con finds herself suspended and regarded as the prime suspect in the murder. Not a single voice is raised to challenge this narrative from the London Met as Professional Standards are called in.
Con has no time to grieve, finding herself a target as she only just manages to escape being shot herself. Con's background is of privilege and wealth that she has rejected and she has not been in touch with her family for a considerable number of years. She does get back in touch with Aunt Felicity in Newton Harston after life gets too dangerous in London. A childhood acquaintance, Charlotte de Villiers wants Con to find her younger sister, Isobel aka 'Izzy', who has disappeared.
Threats and inducements are made by Roger de Villiers, an influential billionaire to dissuade Con from searching for his daughter, but this just makes Con redouble her efforts to find her. Con finds herself facing danger from every quarter leading to her making her way to Scotland to find some respite and regroup, taking with her the cat that took a bullet for her. As Con wonders why the obvious murder of a freelance journalist is being presented as a suicide, she is aware that she is going to have to be at the top of her game if she is to find Izzy and outwit the powerful and utterly ruthless forces aligned against her.
There are some connections here with the McLean series, such as the appearances of the transgender antiquarian bookseller, Rose, the cat, and the use of supernatural elements. In Con Fairchild, Oswald has created a character that is strong, essentially a loner, with qualities that make her memorable, you want to read more about her.
This novel is well written with its complex plotting, great characters and I have no doubt that Oswald has another winning series on his hands. I found it gripping reading and I am already looking forward to the next in the series with avid anticipation. Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Headline for an ARC. View all 13 comments. Sep 25, Gary rated it really liked it. I have read and enjoyed the popular Inspector McLean series by Oswald so was eagerly waiting to read this one and was not disappointed. He has been executed with a single shot to the head. Someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the faile This is the 1st book in the new series featuring DC Constance Con Fairchild by author James Oswald. Someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the failed operation falls on Constance. Now under suspicion she is cast out and becomes a target herself.
Fairchild is left alone, angry and scared but there no place to hide and 'No Time to cry' This has all the markings of another excellent series, good strong interesting characters, well paced plots and full of suspense. I would like to thank Net Galley and Headline for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. View 1 comment. No Time to Cry by James Oswald. It is on extremely rare occasion that have more than one series by the same author that I become entranced with. This is one of those extremely rare occasions. I started this book with doubts about it matching up to the Tony McLean series.
Put all your doubts aside. This new series does not have to equal that first series as it stands alone. One wrong move and Constance Con goes back to their hide away to find Pete tied to a chair tortured and executed, a gun shot through his forehead. This surveillance takes on a new direction with Pete's murder as Con is soon under scrutiny for this wrecked operation and the murder of her own partner. This is just the beginning of the mystery as we, the reader, are taken into the private life of Constance Fairchild as well as those she's set as her target s. Have no doubt He has made a name for himeself among the greats such as: Robert B.
View all 3 comments. Aug 24, Craig Sisterson rated it it was amazing Shelves: scottish , crime , british. After eight books in his very good Inspector McLean series, Scottish author James Oswald takes crime readers in a new direction, with both a new series character and a new location: London instead of Edinburgh. There's no need for any trepidation from long-time fans, as Oswald demonstrates that he's a quality storyteller regardless of the hero or setting, not just an author wedded to a popular character.
We're dropped right into it straight away, as cop Constance Con, never Connie Fairchild goe After eight books in his very good Inspector McLean series, Scottish author James Oswald takes crime readers in a new direction, with both a new series character and a new location: London instead of Edinburgh.
We're dropped right into it straight away, as cop Constance Con, never Connie Fairchild goes to meet her boss at an office set up for an undercover operation, only to find him executed. Who compromised the operation, and how did their rather routine undercover sting turn so deadly? Whatever the unanswered question, Con is quickly on the outs with her police colleagues who blame her. Unfairly so, it seems - immediately putting readers on-side with the embattled young detective. Isolated and seeming to be set up as the scapegoat, Con has to uncover just what went wrong and who is behind it all, as she deals with the death of her closest friend and confidante in the force.
There is a lot to like about the first in what will purportedly be a new series from Oswald. While the London setting could be Anywhere-City, UK and doesn't have such a strong sense of specific place as his Edinburgh-set novels, the various settings are still well-evoked. We feel the world in which Con operates, the people and places that make up her life. There's a robust tension throughout, a strong narrative drive that pulls readers along and keeps the pages quickly flipping without feeling thin or underdone. From the beginning, you feel you're in the hands of a good storyteller, and readily surrender to the world Oswald has created without ever feeling 'pulled out of the story' by some of the flaws that can mar some other popular authors' work.
She has the prerequisite past demons of so many crime fiction cops, and doesn't get on well with her bosses and colleagues, but still feel fresh rather than cliched or derivative. Much of that may be as much to do with Oswald's storytelling rather than any specific point-to differences in her resume or character. She's courageous, outspoken, and comes from a different background to most of her colleagues. She doesn't need to be a cop as a career, but has a very strong sense of justice that drives her.
She's loyal but not a lapdog, fierce but also flawed and vulnerable at times. Just a very good, layered, character. I look forward to seeing where Oswald takes us next. This is flippin' brilliant! This is a beautifully written, complex and thoroughly rewarding crime novel, which also displays that certain something extra that you'd expect from the author of the fantastic Inspector McLean series.
I suspect I will love this new series every bit as much.
Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights. Jun 29, Thebooktrail rated it really liked it Shelves: books-set-in-london , thriller , police-procedural. I admit to being a bit dubious about reading the new James Oswald - the king of police thrillers with supernatural overtones set in Edinburgh now writing about the undercover police in London? Well have no fear, as he jumps down to the England capital with ease.
His London is a vague one - no real locations to speak off but a nice sense of the city and its chaotic streets, back room offices of the met and the struggles of tailing someone in a crowds of millions. I did like the character of Consta I admit to being a bit dubious about reading the new James Oswald - the king of police thrillers with supernatural overtones set in Edinburgh now writing about the undercover police in London? Put in several tough spots, and tough situations, she plays and fights hard.
This is more of a character driven novel than his other books but the book has plenty of character of its own. Nov 02, Julie Lacey rated it it was amazing. This is a great start to a new series. Con is then approached by an old school friend who asks for her help to find her sister, who seems to h This is a great start to a new series. Con is then approached by an old school friend who asks for her help to find her sister, who seems to have disappeared. Family secrets are also revealed and soon Con is facing a race against time to stay alive.
Thanks to Wildfire and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book. Nov 18, Laura rated it really liked it. Book reviews on www. I haven't read his Inspector McLean series but have heard great things, so I'm glad this lived up to that as such an enjoyable read. Main character Constance DC Fairchild is brilliant - fiesty, inependent but with a sensitive side too, she's a brilliant character to follow and, though she can be sp Book reviews on www.
Main character Constance DC Fairchild is brilliant - fiesty, inependent but with a sensitive side too, she's a brilliant character to follow and, though she can be spiky and angry at times and who could blame her , Constance is likable and smart. She made the novel for me. The plot is interesting and offered up a great mix of characters some far less likable than others! The slightly supernatural element I won't give anything else away was, luckily, very 'slight' so I had no problem with it. I'm not usually a fan of mixing crime with any sort-of-supernatural elements but, as this was only a very small part and the story was so well crafted, I didn't mind it at all.
I raced through this novel in no time and am looking forward to future releases! Oct 17, peggy rated it it was amazing Shelves: netgalley , crime-thriller. I have read quite a few books from this author and I have never been disappointed. I am glad to say that his new release is of the same calibre. This is a real page turner, has complex plotting and honestly just kept me thoroughly entertained. Now I am eagerly awaiting the next in this fantastic new series.
A really really good crime thriller. I would like to thank the autho I have read quite a few books from this author and I have never been disappointed. I would like to thank the author James Oswald, Headline and Net. Aug 31, Ronja rated it liked it. I din't like it to begin with, but am glad I stuck with it. It's one of those that grow on you. The Inspector McLean series is much better, but I think this one has great potential. Apr 17, Todd Simpson rated it it was amazing. Brilliant new series. This story really captured my attention in the first chapter. Con Fairchild is a great character, and she is certainly under pressure from everyone around her.
I also enjoyed how many things were happening throughout the book, and I had no idea how the story was going to finish. Detective Inspector Peter Copperthwaite was on an undercover operation that not many people knew about, and with Con being under suspicion for his death she is going to need to find out who really killed him.
To complicate matters a girl she grew up with, Charlotte DeVilliers has asked Con to help locate her year-old sister Isobel, who has gone missing. If you enjoy murder mysteries, then this story is certainly worth a read. Jul 21, David Gooch rated it really liked it. I have to say that having read the Inspector McLean series I went into this new series with a new lead character with slight trepidation but need not have worried as a good author is always a good author. It follows her story and is read in the first person through her. It starts with her undercover op going awry as her boss on the op is killed and she finds him.
Pulled from the case and now under suspicion o I have to say that having read the Inspector McLean series I went into this new series with a new lead character with slight trepidation but need not have worried as a good author is always a good author. Pulled from the case and now under suspicion of possibly being bent and involved with her bosses death she gets drawn into her friends missing sister case to fill her time. Eventually we all come back to the original op. This is undoubtedly a well written book that has you feeling for some characters and hating others as Oswald makes his characters loom large in front of you.
You follow Con on what is a roller coaster of a ride through her disbelief in being suspended, through helping her friend while trying to pull together in her mind and then actions, that she needs to sort out her bosses death. It is a really good read and keeps you enthralled throughout and in Con Fairchild we now have another great character to read and follow. May 30, Joanna Park rated it it was amazing.
I felt immediately drawn into the story and the action, intrigued as to what happenned. What follows is a very action packed, dark novel which is quite gruesome in places. Oswald definitely knows how to set a scene and the graphic descriptions made the story seem very real. I definitely found myself holding my breath at times and not just because of the fascinating story line but sometimes to try and process what I was reading.
I loved the main character Constant Fairchild who seemed a very capable, strong police officer. I found I really admired the strength and determination she showed trying to find out what happened against all odds. I was on her side the whole way through the book hoping she would be successful and prove her superiors wrong. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Jenni from Wildfire for my copy of this book. Nov 16, Mairead Hearne swirlandthread. Constance Fairchild has worked for over five years in the police department.
Coming from wealth, Constance was private schooled and it was always thought by her father that she would marry within their circle and she would become a good wife. But this was never the life Constance wished for herself. Even her name frustrated her, preferring Con as a more suitable option. When Con joined up with the Met she never looked back. She managed to find an affordable flat in London and set about establishing her career and making a new life for herself.
She achieved a position within the undercover unit, working with her friend and now boss DI Pete Copperthwaite. The pair were working closely together in an attempt to uncover a crime operation. Unexpectedly Con receives an unusual text from Pete and makes her way to the meeting point, only to make an horrendous discovery.
Pete is dead. Pete has been very blatantly singled out and shot in the head, following what appears to be a torturous beating. Con is understandably devastated but, instead of receiving the support of her fellow Met colleagues, there appears to be a finger of blame pointing in her direction. But why??? Con is temporarily suspended, with her badge removed, pending an internal investigation by the Professional Standards committee.
She is left frustrated and angry. Pete was the one person who really understood her and now he is dead. Why was he killed? What did he know? Why is there now a price on her head? Con is a kick-ass, fearless individual. She takes no bull from anyone and has a strength of character that makes her a very dangerous enemy. But as Con peels away the layers, some very frightening truths appear. Con is also approached by an old school acquaintance, Charlotte, a neighbour from her home village.
As Con sets out to search for Izzy it is soon very clear that something rotten is at the core of her disappearance, something that soon gets a little too personal for Con. What is the truth becomes paramount to her search but she is about to expose many individuals who would rather see her dead. No Time to Cry is a fantastic beginning to a new crime fiction series. James Oswald takes the reader on a thrilling journey with a gripping storyline and some frighteningly believable characters.
I did not make it much larger that afternoon, but I trimmed it up around the edges, and got it into some shape, thinking it might do to put a pane of glass into, some day. And on this roll was the noble name of John Smith , to be placed for seven days! I thought the Doctor would relent by Monday morning, so I called on him at his office and said:. We have discovered how you cut the partition-wall when you were in the cellar. What did you do that for? That will be on Saturday. I gave it up for that morning, but promptly returned and renewed my importunities on Wednesday morning.
I was refused, as before, and peremptorily ordered not to solicit a pass again till Saturday. In accordance? Therefore, I concluded to go to the city anyhow. So I slipped out the back way, threw my crutches over the fence, climbed over after them, and, without being observed by the guard, made my way to the street-car that stood awaiting its starting-time, and got aboard of it: thus I clandestinely went into the city.
There, the first thing I did was to call on Doctor Levis, at his residence. This, Doctor Levis,—who, I must say, is a perfect gentleman, and was beloved by all the wounded soldiers under his charge—wrote, signed, and gave to me, without a word of objection; while I poured out the overflowings of my grateful heart in the most profuse thanks, and earnestly begged him, in case he should ever visit Western Pennsylvania, where I then resided, to call on me by all means, assuring him that he would be as welcome as a brother.
Soon after, a dignified gentleman, whom I liked the appearance of,—and I modestly think he liked the looks of me,—got into the car, and occupied a vacant seat directly opposite. He glanced at my crutches, then at the vacant space where my left leg should have been, if I had possessed one, and said:. Just here, reader, before I tell you who this excellent gentleman was, pardon a slight digression.
He is looked upon as public property, and is almost bored to death with questions, by the many curious strangers he meets. No one who has not experienced it, can imagine what a nuisance this quizzing is.
Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Jenni from Wildfire for my copy of this book. When I returned from the state of profound oblivion into which the chloroform had thrown me, I was glad to find that they had not made a mistake, and cut off the wrong limb—as a doctor was once known to do. Sleeping peacefully in a quiet grave, somewhere, with nothing to trouble him, and no one to torment him with questions, he must have been happy compared with the wretched John Smith! Series: Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, 2. Books include religious and psychological themes. I scrambled up into the boat, with some assistance, and the boatman recovered my crutch and cane that were floating on the water. In Con Fairchild, Oswald has created a character that is strong, essentially a loner, with qualities that make her memorable, you want to read more about her.
I no sooner take a seat in a car, restaurant, or lecture-room, than my right-hand or left-hand lady or gentleman commences. I give below an impartial list of the questions they ask, and which I, at first, answered with pride and pleasure; but which, however, after I had answered them a few hundred thousand times, grew rather stale. Here they are: they have been asked me so often, as to become stereotyped upon my heart and brain:.
All these questions, dear public, I have answered thousands of times, and may have to answer thousands of times yet, if my miserable existence is lengthened out for many years. Imagine how it must torment me! The same old questions, to me long since devoid of interest, I must meekly answer, over and again, day by day, week by week, year by year!
But this is not all. After the affable stranger has asked all the ridiculous questions he can think of, he commences, without being solicited for a narrative, and entertains? He, poor fellow, goes the story, was wounded, too: arm or leg nearly torn off, barely hanging by a bit of the hide. Doctors wanted to carve it off. Doctors said they knew best and limb must come off. Hence, limb left on. Yet I had to sit and listen. How interesting!!!
Nor is this all. I occasionally meet with one who, in addition to all this, asks a few questions and makes a few remarks too ridiculous to be believed. Once, a gentleman who had been quizzing me for half-an-hour in a street-car, gravely asked:. I think that, strictly speaking, all that are taken off are unnecessary, for those who lose them manage to live without them. When too late, he perceived how ridiculous the question was; but I gravely replied:.
I went several hundred yards before I missed it; and I then had a deuce of a time getting back to it. Another idiot, one day, after having asked the usual questions and entertained me with the usual incidents, consolingly remarked:. Thus, dear public, am I, John Smith, tormented for having sacrificed a leg for my country. This accursed quizzical disposition on the part of the public has made me feel, at times, that life was actually a burden to me! One day I met an elderly lady in Philadelphia who stopped me on the street, asked a profusion of questions, and wound up by giving me an accurate history of her son.
She said he had gone into the army, had been missing ever since a certain battle, and she feared he was no more. At last, I met her one day, and pretending I did not see her, I was passing by, when I felt her grasp on my elbow, and was obliged to stop. O, how I envied him! Sleeping peacefully in a quiet grave, somewhere, with nothing to trouble him, and no one to torment him with questions, he must have been happy compared with the wretched John Smith! The old lady began again to give me his full history, as she had related it to me many times before, while the cold perspiration started from my frame, and I felt as though death was not two doors from me.
Thus am I bored without mercy. No one spares me, except such as have been in the army themselves. Men, women, children, foreigners, fools and even negroes, subject me to this systematic torture. One day I was walking in front of the Naval Asylum, when two little girls passed me, on their way to school. When they had passed, I heard one of them say:. NOW let me proceed. The gentleman in the Market-street car spared me. The questions he asked were few and to the point. He was an exception. When I replied in the affirmative to his first question, he said.
I returned to Haddington in triumph, and exhibited my pass to the assistant-surgeon who had put me in the guard-house. You should have told me.
I am sorry. Well, go in and out of the hospital whenever you please. It was early, and he had not come in yet. To pass the time, I walked to the corner of Fifth and Chestnut streets, and stood for a moment gazing at the good old clock in the State-house steeple. Streams of people were passing up and down the street; and I had not stood long before a man came up and held out his hand as though, I thought, to shake hands. Supposing him to be some old acquaintance, whose visage had faded from my memory in the course of the sanguinary scenes through which I had lately passed, I was about to seize his hand, and request him to remind me where and when we had last met, when I observed that there was a ten-cent note in the extended hand, and he seemed to be offering that to me, and not the hand.
I stared in astonishment. I was dumb with amazement. Was the man an escaped lunatic? Might he be dangerous, like Thomas of the hospital? I was still lost in wonder. Could it be possible that it was some country gentleman to whom I had lent the sum of ten cents before the war, and that he was so honest and upright as to return it on the first opportunity? No, he must be mistaken. I had never seen him before, certainly. On the contrary, my income is ten thousand dollars a year. I thank you. Since that day, I have ever feared to stop a moment at a street corner, no matter how tired I might be, lest some other unpardonable fool should chance to be near, and bring a burning flush of crimson to my face.
The idea of being suspected of soliciting pecuniary assistance, simply because I stood resting at a corner with a crutch in my hand! It is so revolting to me that I can not look back on that little—extremely little—incident without a shudder. Another reward for serving my country. O, John Smith! John Smith! I saw Mr. I remained in my situation eight months, during which I saw a great many queer things, and got a pretty fair idea of the purity,? I HAD always been of a literary turn; so, while employed in the Arsenal, I concluded to write a book, and give to the world, therein, an account of soldier life, as I had experienced it; and I had very little doubt that eighty or ninety thousand dollars might be made out of it.
I carried out my determination, writing in the evenings, after my daily labors; and when I left the Arsenal, I had completed the manuscript of my work, which, when published, a few months after, constituted a duodecimo volume of over four hundred pages. The first time I visited New York, I went to remain a few weeks as correspondent of a Pennsylvania newspaper. It must be seen to be appreciated; and I concluded to see it the first thing. So I hailed an omnibus that came thundering along, and somewhat astonished the driver by climbing nimbly to the top of it, instead of taking a seat within.
From my lofty perch I had a good view up and down Broadway, as well as on each side. Numberless pedestrians thronged the sidewalks, while vehicles, of all kinds, shapes and sizes, crowded together, rolled along and swayed to and fro in the street like a mighty torrent. We had not proceeded far up Broadway, when cluck! Although I could not see that it was the fault of either driver, they cursed each other in round terms. One driver swore at the other, and the other swore at him; then they swore at each other, in concert, for a quarter of a minute, in the course of which they were very earnest and emphatic in advising each other to emigrate to a certain fabled climate where the mercury in the thermometer seldom falls to the freezing point.
The way these drivers curse each other is frightful. If all the men told to go to that hot climate in the course of a year by Broadway drivers, should go, the place would be crowded to suffocation. The expression I refer to seems to be a favorite one among the drivers of vehicles on Broadway; and I presume, that on that thoroughfare there are more men urged to visit Erebus in one day, then there are warned against it in all the rest of the land in a whole year.
For about two miles up Broadway, the rattle of omnibuses, express-wagons, drays, furniture-cars, buggies, barouches, cabriolets, etc. Every one who has had any experience in the matter, must have observed that a person is more lonely in a crowded city, where he is unacquainted, than in the depths of the forest where no human being is seen. As I had no money to throw away, I stayed at a modest hotel in Park Row, where one could live on less than twenty-five dollars a day.
I shall never forget a brief acquaintance I made there. The first evening I stayed in New York, I was seated in the hotel trying to make up my mind whether to go to the theater or not, when I observed, sitting near me, a sedate gentleman of prepossessing exterior, fifty or sixty years old, and dressed in plain clothes and a broad-brimmed silk hat, of a grave and dignified appearance. I could not help fancying that he was at least an ex-governor, or something of the sort; and I felt somewhat flattered when he moved his chair closer to mine, with the obvious intention of addressing me.
He opened his mouth to speak, and I nerved myself to reply with respectful dignity, when he said, in a low tone:. Having made up my mind to go to the theater and see John E. The dirty, ragged little fellow looked thoughtfully and earnestly up into my face, and replied:. Before leaving New York, which is ironically styled Gotham, from an old English town noted for the stupidity of its citizens, let me say one word about its early history.
New York, the great commercial metropolis of this country, is built on an island fourteen miles long, and from one fourth of a mile to two miles and a half wide, called, originally, Manhattan Island. This island was purchased from the Indians many years ago for twenty-four silver dollars.
Shortly before leaving the city, I was taking my usual stroll, when, turning the corner of Broadway and Fulton street rather abruptly, I accidentally planted my crutch fairly upon the unfortunate toes of an elderly gentleman. He proved to be one of the irascible sort—and no doubt it did hurt like the deuce—and he turned angrily toward me, brandished a cane, and vociferated:. I felt a little riled at first, but seeing that he was an old man, I curbed my fiery passion and calmly replied:.
The habits of the people of all the rest of the United States are very un steady. It was only lent , for I returned it.
I thought that if the vessel would just stop rolling for half-a-minute, I would feel all right again. In a word, I grew dizzy. O, no!
I imagined the heavy cask myself, John Smith, to be rolling and tumbling about loose, and the white lead or putty straining to get out. Take the lower bunk. You will be the only passenger in this room. As I attempted to rise, the ship gave a playful lurch, laid over on her side, then quickly tossed herself upon the other side, and if the mate had not caught me, I should have plunged clear across the cabin and tumbled back again, far more quickly than a man could have walked it. My crutch and cane escaped me, however, striking an opposite stateroom door in less than a second, and throwing themselves savagely about over the cabin floor.
Even now, after the lapse of several years, I shudder to think of it! Supper, dinner, breakfast—all eaten in vain! O, lordy! The ship was tossing about like a man intoxicated, and I, worse still, was tossing about like a man sick drunk; I heard the wind howling, for it was blowing hard, the waves dashing overhead, the ship creaking and groaning; and I groaned, and prayed for land or death! Then I regretted that I had ever been born. I also reproached the fates for having sent me to sea in such stormy weather, and solemnly vowed—and I kept that vow for nearly a year—that, in case I ever reached land, which I now thought rather unlikely , I would never, never, never venture out upon the broad ocean again!
O, O, O, O, Ugh! O, how I wished the ship would stop rolling for just a moment! To gain a slight conception as to how I felt, fancy how a boy would feel, if, when sick on his first cigar, he were not allowed to throw it away, but forced to retain it in his mouth and smoke away! Thus it is with one who is sea-sick.
The only thing I remember of that fearful night, except pure, unbroken, unalloyed misery, is that I asked the captain, as he passed through the cabin, if it was actually storming. He carelessly replied:. The very thought came near bringing on a relapse. I felt somewhat better—in fact, a good deal better than during the terrible night just passed—and I determined to make my way to the deck to view a scene that had never before blessed my eyes.
The wind had abated, but the waves ran high, and the vessel was still rolling considerably. Feeling light-headed and queer, I got out of my berth, grasping something all the time to keep from being spilled out into the cabin, got my crutch, left my state-room, and began to move toward the companion-way. By hugging the wall, grasping state-room door-knobs, and the like, I reached the foot of the staircase without falling, and looking up—the hatch being open—I saw the blue sky staggering about overhead.
Holding firmly to a polished brass railing, I ascended to the deck and took a seat on the companion-hatch. Before me and all around me was the long wished-for sight. Our ship, the dark-green sea, the sun, the clear blue sky and a few wild sea-birds flitting about, were all that the eye could find to rest on. The sea and sky met on all sides, forming a grand and mighty circle around us. On Monday we came in sight of Cape Cod, and I thought we should never get round it. Those who have noticed Cape Cod on the map have no doubt observed that it is shaped like a human foot; and we went gliding along near its sole, traveling from heel to toe.
The fog was so thick for several minutes that objects could not be seen from one end of the vessel to the other. The engine was quickly stopped, and we narrowly escaped a collision with a steamer.
But in the course of ten minutes, the heavy mist swept down the harbor in a body, and left all clear around us; when we were somewhat surprised to find ourselves within one hundred yards of the shore. We floated up to the pier at the foot of State street; the propeller was soon made fast, and I immediately went ashore, in the midst of a soaking rain that seemed to be sent just then for my express benefit.
I got into a carriage—one that had sleigh-runners substituted for wheels—and rode to a good comfortable hotel which the Captain had recommended. It rained till after dark; and, in fact, I retired to my room, went asleep and left it raining. The sleighing usually continues good till spring, and the wheels are removed for a time from all vehicles, and runners are adjusted in their stead. Not even the street-cars or omnibuses are any exceptions: they, too, cease to rattle, roll and rumble over the streets, and go gliding about with so little noise that one gets the queer idea into his head that they are barefooted.
Next morning I discovered that it had cleared off, and that the thermometer had gracefully descended to zero. To be sure, we had a cool night or two, now and then, when it went down to ten or fifteen below; but no one thought much of that. Such is the character of the winter in New England—the good old-fashioned kind that a fellow likes to see.
I glanced over toward Charlestown early on the morning after my arrival, beheld Bunker Hill Monument towering far above the smoke-stacks and steeples in the perspective; and I determined to visit it at once. I accordingly climbed to the top of an omnibus, cold as it was—for I wanted to see all I could—and rode over. Colonel Prescott was sent with a thousand men to throw up earthworks on Mr. The monument is built of granite, is about twenty-five feet square at the base, and about twelve or fifteen at the top; which top is accessible by means of an interior winding stone stairway, dimly lighted with rather small jets of gas that are too few and too far between.
At intervals of about twenty feet there are narrow apertures to let in air; and that cold morning they let in too much. During the previous night, too, the rain had blown in and frozen on the stone steps, so that fully one half of them were perfectly enameled with ice. To ascend these with a crutch under such circumstances was no less than a dangerous undertaking.
If there had not been a small iron railing to cling to, I could never have reached the head of that almost interminable staircase. As it was, I came near falling backward, and only saved myself by clutching this railing. Should one start to fall down these steps, nothing would save him. They wind around and around, with here and there only a narrow landing, not more than twice the width of a stair, and too narrow to arrest the progress of a descending form.
I reached the top pretty tired, after having ascended two hundred and ninety-five icy steps; and from this height of two hundred feet, had a good view of Boston, Charlestown, Roxbury, and the harbor. Finding it rather cold up there—for there were several good sized windows open for the wind to blow in at, and visitors to look out of—I soon made up my mind to descend; in fact the cold was so severe that it had a rather benumbing effect on me; and as my thigh and the calf of my leg fairly ached from my recent exertions, I fully realized the danger of descending, and fancied I would have made a considerable pecuniary sacrifice to be safely at the base of the tall structure.
There was no way to get there, however, but to walk down, if it might be so called, and I began the perilous descent. I was not half way down when my crutch and cane both slipped from an icy step, and I fell. I gripped the cold iron with my right hand, and arrested my crutch with my left; but my cane escaped me, and away it went, tumbling knocking, cracking rattling and clattering, till it reached the bottom.
I fancied it took it something like a minute to make the descent, but the probability is that the time it occupied in the journey was not more than ten seconds. Its last echo had just died away, when I heard the voice of the superintendent calling to me from below; and his voice had a kind of twisty sound by the time it wound its way up to me. I did, however, get along better without it, for I could now grasp the railing all the time with one hand while the other held the crutch.
Well, it is not my intention to write an ordinary book of travels. That has been done too often. While in Boston I had the pleasure of an introduction to Mrs. That amiable old lady is a jovial, round-faced old gentleman of fifty-five or sixty. His name is B. Shillaber, and he is connected with the Boston Gazette. He is a noble-hearted, excellent gentleman; and the people of this country owe him their thanks for the many happy smiles his eccentric and inimitable pen has called out upon their faces. Long life and many happy years to Mrs. I remained in New England during the rest of the winter, and had a pleasant time and many sleigh-rides.
In the city of Portland I hired a horse and sleigh one morning, and resolved to drive a few miles into the country. It was snowing vigorously, but was not very cold; I had a spirited horse before me; a good light sleigh under me; and away I went, bounding over the road, neither knowing nor caring whither I went. By and by, when I had traveled five or six miles, and distanced a number of other travelers, in similar vehicles, on the way, I saw a town just ahead of me.
The snow was still falling so briskly that I was almost in the town before I saw it. In fact, I drove half-a-mile, and still there was no end of houses. By and by I found myself on a street that reminded me forcibly of one I had seen in Portland; and, what made it more remarkable, I observed that it rejoiced in the same name. What a coincidence!
But I marveled more still, as I followed this street a little way and passed an hotel that was the very image of the one I stayed at in Portland—and lo! Was I dreaming? No, not exactly; but I must have been during my drive, for I had wandered around among the country roads in the snow-storm, lost my reckoning, and actually entered Portland again.
In Rutland, a beautiful little city nestling in a kind of basin high up among the Green Mountains of Vermont, I arrived one night at a late hour. Passengers from the earlier trains had taken them all. It was the best I could do, too; so, I was shown to the room. I had a few hundred dollars in my pocket, and, not being perfectly sure that the man in the other bed was a perfect angel, I thought there would be no harm in placing it in the watch-fob of my unimpeachables, and placing the same rolled up in a ball, under my neck.
I did so. We had both taken each other for rogues. Well, that is the right way to view every stranger when you are traveling. Look on every man you meet, and especially if he speaks to you, as a deep-dyed villain, till you have had the most incontrovertible proof that he is not. I made Boston my head-quarters, while visiting different portions of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts; and about the last of February, I departed for Philadelphia. I wanted to go via the Camden and Amboy Railroad, and was told that the boat—for passengers on this road take the boat from New York to South Amboy, a distance of twenty-eight miles—would leave at six in the morning.
That evening, while in the sitting-room of my old hotel, I observed two suspicious-looking fellows eyeing me rather sharply, and I felt that they were entitled to a little watching from me. So, I watched them. When I retired, I locked and bolted my door and even braced it with my crutch. There was no one in the hotel below, when I went down but a sleepy porter, and I was wondering where my suspicious-looking friends?
Pretending not to notice them, I stepped out. It was still far from daylight, and the snow was flying merrily. The wind was howling, and each blaze of gas in the street-lamps was fluttering and struggling as though it might go out at any moment. I wanted to go to Pier No. It was the quietest hour I ever saw in New York.
I had nearly reached Broadway, when I looked back and saw the two dears coming, a square distant. They were passing a lamp-post, and the glimpse I caught of their figures convinced me of their identity. I had just completed my preparations for a defence of my position, when the happy pair came. The light of a street-lamp at the corner shone full upon them, and I must have been blind indeed if I had not recognized them. Their hats were drawn down over their eyes, to shield those organs from the driving snow, and as I was in the shade, they failed to see me, and rushed by.
I was very well satisfied to escape an encounter with them, because I preferred not to shoot them, as I would certainly have found it necessary to do had they seen me. I knew they would soon discover that I had dodged them, and return; so, replacing my revolver, taking my cane, and keeping an eye down Broadway, I glided across the silent thoroughfare, went down Vesey Street to North River, and thence down West Street to Pier No.
I intended to occupy three or four weeks, and made arrangements to act meantime as correspondent for a paper. Nothing unusual happened to me on the way to Baltimore, except that on looking from a car window at Havre de Grace, a small particle of cinder from the engine flew into my eye; which kept it red and inflamed, and furnished me with first-class pain, at intervals, for the ensuing two weeks. Had railroads been in vogue in the days of King John, what a point young Arthur might have made, when remonstrating with Hubert who had been authorized to burn his eyes out with a red-hot poker, and eloquently descanting on the sensitiveness of the eye, by reminding him how it felt even when a cinder from a locomotive got into it.
For example, how would the passage read in this shape? I will not venture to predict what critics will say of the relative merits of the two authors in this case. The trains always stop there a minute or two to allow those who wish to get off. This street runs north and south and of course crosses Baltimore street, the principal business thoroughfare, which runs east and west. The Baltimore-street railway extends down Broadway, and as several cars are always in waiting when trains arrive, many passengers get off the train here, take a street-car, and ride into the heart of the city.
As I jumped from the train, before it had quite stopped, and walked toward the street-car that stood waiting on Broadway, a soldier approached me, and tapping me familiarly on the shoulder, said:. I got into a crowded car and rode to my hotel on West Baltimore street; for the principal street is divided into East and West Baltimore streets by a canal, which it crosses near the center of the city.
Having a week or two before me, with very little to do, I determined to see all the places of interest in the vicinity, for I had, theretofore, neglected to visit them, although I had frequently been in Baltimore. I had never even visited the Washington Monument there. Here let me commend Baltimore for being the only city that has ever erected a monument to the memory of that pure-hearted patriot to whom we are indebted for our liberties and free institutions— George Washington!
The Washington Monument is indeed quite a fine structure. The superintendent, or some one employed for the purpose, accompanies each visitor, who wishes to ascend, carrying a lantern. From the top of this monument, the view of the city is excellent; almost every house in it can be seen. Of course, I visited this monument, but as nothing extraordinary occurred, and especially nothing funny, I will not entertain the reader with a full description of my visit, nor of the monument itself. I was always fond of rowing, and as the weather was mild and pleasant next day, I concluded to go down to the harbor, hire a boat and take a row.
I was told that I could get one at the foot of a little street running obliquely toward the piers from the junction of Broadway and Pratt streets, the latter being the street on which the Philadelphia trains run into the city—and I took a street-car and went down. No further doubts were expressed as to my ability to row, and I got into a fifty-cents-an-hour boat, and rowed out into the harbor.
The weather is uncertain in March. I moved toward the southeast a mile or so, rested awhile near a ship that was lying at anchor, and had a chat with one of the mates. I was beginning to pull away from the ship, when I heard an excited voice toward my right sing out:. Immediately followed a confusion of voices, the ringing of bells, and the shriek of a steam whistle.
I turned in the direction, and was somewhat alarmed to discover that I was about to cross the bow of a propeller, that came dashing along. Had I pulled the oars but once more, nothing would have saved me from being run down. My boat would have been shivered to pieces, I would have been stunned and my chances of being saved from a watery grave would have been as one against a hundred. I fully realized this, and quite satisfied with my row, put back for shore. The wind had increased, and I now noticed, for the first time, that some dark clouds were coming from the west.
I had a good mile to row against the wind, which, as well as the waves, was every moment increasing in violence. I was yet a quarter of a mile from the dock in which the boat belonged, when a regular squall came on. Then I had a time of it. Throwing off my coat and hat, and placing them in the bottom of the boat, I grasped my oars and pulled away with all the strength and energy I possessed. I made rather slow time, and when within one hundred yards of port, perceived that I was just making out to lie still against the wind.
I was nearly exhausted, and felt like throwing down my oars in despair; but seeing what a short distance was yet to be accomplished, I nerved myself for a final effort; and such a battle as I had with the wind and waves no one need want to engage in. After ten minutes of the most strenuous exertion, I arrived in the dock, trembling from exhaustion, perspiring from exercise, and wet all over with spray. I concluded, taking my narrow escape into consideration, that rowing in the harbor was no delightful recreation, and solemnly vowed never again to venture out there in a row-boat.
I kept my word faithfully till next afternoon; when the weather being very delightful, I broke it, went out again, and had a very pleasant row in the same boat. A great many soldiers were there—for it will be recollected that the war was not yet ended—and I found it difficult to secure a comfortable lodging. By paying a few dollars extra, talking politely, and pretending that I was not in the best of health—although I eat an astonishing supper for an invalid—I succeeded in securing a small room to myself, to which I retired immediately after supper; and having carefully fastened the door, I lay down on a clean bed and slept comfortably till the morning.
Not a horse or carriage of any kind was to be had for love or money; and I made up my mind to walk it, although I had never yet walked any such distance on one leg. When a man makes up his mind to do a thing, however, he will do it, if he has firmness, no matter whether he has any limbs or not.
Wishing to start as soon as possible, I thought I would try to face my way over. So, I went to the bridge, bade the sentinel a cheerful good-morning, and was moving on, when he said:. I suppose you got that in the Army? I am going up there to-day to see the old ground. I passed on.
When I reached the middle of the bridge, I could not refrain from stopping to admire the scenery, which had never before appeared so grand to me. All around are tall majestic wood covered hills that gaze down upon the village and bridge with quiet and awful dignity; and the beautiful river, wandering silently about among them, looks as if it would never find its way out.
It was the twenty-fifth of March, the morning was pleasant, the sun was smiling on the heights and glancing down on the little village and the pure river. I thought I had never before seen such a beautiful sight. I passed over the bridge, turned to my left and walked up the tow-path of the canal. The first two or three miles I got over in an hour or so, very smoothly; but after that I felt weary at times, and found it an advantage to rest every mile or two.
Nothing had happened to me during my walk, save that a stray bullet from beyond the river had now and then whistled about my ears. They were no doubt fired at random by some of our pickets there who did not see me. I had now to cross the canal, in order to direct my course toward Sharpsburg. This was no easy matter. There was no bridge or lock near, and no ordinary jumper could clear it at a bound.
I did fancy that I might make it in two jumps, but did not try. It was not full of water, and, seeing no plan but to wade through it, I removed my shoe, and other apparel liable to get saturated in the course of such an enterprise, and stalked in. I did not find it deeper than twenty inches, but its temperature felt very little above thirty-two degrees, Fahrenheit, and it made my foot and the calf of my leg ache clear through by the time I got across. Having passed this obstruction and replaced my shoe, etc. There was an hotel there and having taken dinner, I started for Smoketown, three miles distant, where I had lain in the hospital.
I visited the village—a village consisting of two dwelling-houses and a corn-crib—then returned to the battle-field and spent an hour or two traveling about in search of the spot on which I had received my wound. I failed to find the interesting place, although I had felt confident of being able to walk directly to it in a straight line. It is remarkable what a change takes place in a year or two in the appearance of the ground on which a battle has been fought. Thirty months had now elapsed since the battle of Antietam, and a casual observer would not have noticed any trace of the conflict.
I saw a Mr. I found in this field several bullets, a fragment of shell, and a few canteens, straps, etc. As evening approached and I had walked from eighteen to twenty miles since morning, I started for Keedysville, several miles distant, with the intention of staying there all night. After the amputation of my leg at Antietam, as mentioned in the first chapter, I had lain in a barn near the creek, a week or two; and this evening, after crossing the creek and walking a little way toward Keedysville, I recognized this same barn, although I had never known its precise location: and O, what recollections of misery it brought back to me!
My sufferings in that barn were so terrible, so far exceeding any thing that might merely be termed pain, that, as I look back now, the time spent there seems more like a horrible dream than a reality! While I thus stood, a lady, who had come out of an adjacent house, approached me. Her footsteps as she drew near aroused me from my train of thought. I reached Sharpsburg by dinner-time, and have spent the afternoon in rambling over the battle-field and visiting Smoketown.
You were our guest before, and must be again, now that we are better prepared to accommodate you. No, indeed, you must not pass my house. Come in. Pry is just coming in to supper. Come, no excuses. I did not further decline the proffered hospitality of this excellent lady. I was ushered into the house, and was made no less welcome by Mr.
Pry, his sons and a beautiful and amiable daughter. Never let me forget the Pry family for their cordial welcome and hospitable entertainment! THAT Sunday morning I determined to visit the battle-ground again, and try to find that part of the field on which I had had the honor to be shot; then walk to Hagerstown, a distance of twelve miles.
Having discovered, the previous day, that I was something of a walker, I now thought nothing of going that distance on foot. My excellent friends urged me to stay till Monday morning, but I declined. I have now to record a little incident such as we sometimes read of but seldom gain cognizance of through our own auricular and optic organs. Once, while in the army, I had picked up a small white pebble on the battle-ground of Bull Run, intending to keep it as a relic of that famed field.
I had put it in a port-monnaie, and carried it with me through all my battles. While lying in the barn alluded to, I had lost my port-monnaie, which only contained, besides the pebble, a small bit of white paper on which I had made some notes of marches and their dates; and since then I had scarcely given it a thought.
In fact, it had gone quite out of my mind. Well, on Sunday morning, March twenty-sixth, , before I left Mr. Pry showed me a small fancy basket of curiosities, such as little shells, bullets, and the like, and as she handed it to me to examine, she said:. Our boys were fishing one day, not long ago, and one of them drew up on his hook a port-monnaie—and what a fish he thought he had! I recollect it distinctly now. I picked it up on the battle-field of Bull Run, when visiting the ground one day, before I had ever been in a fight, and carried it with me through all my campaigns, till wounded; and I lost it from my blouse pocket while lying in the barn.
Was there not a piece of paper in the port-monnaie? I am indeed glad to see it again; but if you prefer to keep it, as you have established an undoubted right to it as property, by rescuing it from the depths of the waters, I will cheerfully leave it with you. I am so glad I happened to mention it. If I had read of such an incident I could scarcely have believed it. I thank you a thousand times! To think that, after thirty months, I should recover a little thing like that! To think that it should so happen that I should stop at this house all night and that you should happen to mention it to me just before departing!
It is indeed romantic! Be assured that I am as happy to restore it to you as you are to recover it. I took the pebble, and have it yet in my possession. Any one calling on John Smith at his residence, wherever that is, will have an opportunity of seeing it, and of thus satisfying himself that this story is true. Accompanied by Mr. At last, we succeeded in finding the identical spot of ground on which I had stood when shot, which I recognized by unmistakable landmarks.
Especially did I remember a little ledge of rocks in the midst of a small grove of trees, over which we had climbed in advancing, and where two men had fallen back, shot dead—one at my right hand and the other at my left. I also found and recognized the identical tree against which I had leaned my rifle on finding myself to be too badly wounded to continue firing. There were some graves in the quiet little grove, and on a small head-board I found the name of one of my old regiment. Among some of the sunken graves, were also visible whitened bones that had barely been covered with earth, and were now, after the rains and storms of more than two years, entirely unearthed and exposed to view.
The boys wanted me either to go back to the house or wait there till they should get a team ready to convey me to my destination, but I declined, assuring them that I could walk easily, and would really prefer to do so, as the weather was fine. I made my way to the Hagerstown pike, and had not traveled far, when I fell in with a farmer who was returning from a Sunday-school he had been attending at the little church, and he urged me to go home with him and take dinner. Not wishing to stop so soon, I declined, with thanks. I met with several similar invitations on the pike.
I must say, that the hospitality and kind-heartedness of the people of Maryland cannot be too highly spoken of. They had no fair opportunity to show these good qualities while whole armies were passing through their land, although even then they did all they reasonably could do for us; but let a person travel through the country districts, especially if he be crippled or laboring under any physical disadvantage, and he will meet with kind smiles of welcome from all, regardless of political sentiments. Having traveled four or five miles, I was passing a house where dinner was just ready, when a good-natured old gentleman came out to the gate and said:.
Come in! Come in, take dinner and rest awhile, and I will hitch up to my spring wagon and take you to Hagerstown in less time than it would take you to walk a mile! I could no longer resist, and allowed myself to be smiled and welcomed into the house. The good people therein—an elderly lady and her daughter—were somewhat astonished when I told them of my walk of the previous day.
Surely, there ought to have been some one there—However, people get pretty hard-hearted where soldiers are quartered so long. After a good dinner, which I had the appetite to enjoy, this hospitable gentleman, despite my protestations, hitched up his horse and wagon, and took me to Hagerstown. I offered to pay him, but he regarded that idea as one of the best jokes he had heard lately. I stayed at Hagerstown that night and next morning took an early train for Harrisburg, arriving there about noon. I only spent a couple of hours in Harrisburg, then took a train for Philadelphia, where I arrived that evening, and found my trunk awaiting me.
Merchant, Broadway; Henry S. Camblos, Broker, New street; and E. Jaffray, Merchant, Broadway. I can say no more. Having made arrangements to correspond with a certain well-known journal, I started, about the first of August, on my projected tour, taking passage on the handsome steamer Daniel Drew for Albany. They have on the Hudson river some of the finest boats in the world—low-pressure boats of immense size, that never think of bragging on speed that falls below twenty miles an hour.
Some of them, by straining a muscle or two, have made twenty-five miles an hour, and felt none the worse for it next morning. The sky was bright and clear; and, however hot and close may have been the narrow and crowded streets of New York, the air with us was charming. Most of the passengers sat on the cabin deck, which was protected from the sun by an awning, that hovered over us like the ghost of some broad sail that Old Ocean might have swallowed.
We had not gone far, when a band of musicians from the land of Horace, Virgil, Cicero, Titus, Vespasian and the Cesars, treated us with some melodious strains on the violin, harp, and some other instruments. Although we would have regarded them as a nuisance in front of our doors in the city, we now really appreciated their talent; and when they had played half-an-hour, and one of them came round with an empty hat in his hand, there were but few, if any, who did not acknowledge their approbation by contributions of ten cent notes, or the like.
They had just disappeared, and I was beginning to regard the delightful scenery that began to unfold itself to us along the shores, when a very black African made his appearance on deck, and leaning over a kind of sky-light, called out to some one below in a loud tone:. It was evident that William was also a gentleman from the land where snakes, crocodiles, and savage beasts grow to their full size. By this time the attention of the passengers in the vicinity was attracted, and all eyes were turned upon the darkey.
Some one appeared to seize it from below, and at the same time the voice of Bill said:. The passengers were looking on in astonishment. One passenger, who had been reading, seemed very much annoyed, and at last testily said:. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! All looked up as though expecting to see the shadow of some one there, but only the broad beams of the sun covered the canvas from side to side.
First it appeared on the canvas, then under the deck, next toward the cabin-door, next toward the bow of the boat, and, after apparently making a rapid circle around us, finally subsided in our midst—in fact, in the very mouth of the darkey who stood on deck. Sam passed around his cap for tokens of our appreciation of his powers, and each one—including the irascible passenger—contributed from five to twenty-five cents.
I might give a long, and even interesting, account of my journey up the Hudson; but such is not my intention. There are already numerous books of travel extant, which describe the Hudson as well as it can be described in words. My object is to amuse; and if I relate all the funny things that happened to me, I shall succeed. But I must not pass by without mentioning one or two points on the Hudson.
The Catskill Mountains, viewed from the river, present so lovely a picture that neither pen nor brush can convey any adequate idea of them. No one should live and die without viewing such scenery as this. A few miles above West Point, and on the same shore of the river—the western—rises a mountain peak called the Crow Nest. It is the most difficult thing in the world to step off a boat or train in a strange city, and not fancy that at least half the assembled spectators are looking at you and saying:.
I went up to an hotel, gave my check to the porter and told him to bring my baggage from the boat. I have hitherto forborne to give the names of hotels, because it might look like surreptitious advertising; and John Smith is above that sort of thing. But, it might be urged, why not mention the names of the good hotels, that travelers who read this work may know where to stay when they visit such cities as I mention? I have seen this demonstrated myself, as I may have occasion to mention in the course of this work. I remained at Albany a week, during which time I visited the penitentiary— only as a visitor, remember—and other places of interest.
I also visited Troy, six miles above, on the east side of the river, and some of its manufactories. At a nail and horseshoe factory there I saw the largest wheel in this country. It is a monstrous water-wheel, which runs the machinery of the whole establishment. I was told that its diameter was seventy-four feet. It was in operation while I was there; it revolved rather slowly, and looked like the world turning around on a cloudy day. At Troy I also saw a Trojan horse; though not the one Homer tells about.
Before going westward, I paid a visit to Saratoga Springs, the great fashionable summer resort, which is about thirty miles from Albany. It is there that glittering wealth and giddy fashion congregate during the hot weather, and that merchants from New York and other cities go to gamble away in a week—sometimes in a single night—all they have made in a year. So do poker, roulette, billiards, nine-pins and horse-racing. I stood by a faro-table for an hour, and the amount of cash I saw change hands in that time was something frightful.
Thousands seemed but a trifle at that board. The ace won this time, and the deuce lost. And he lost. He was evidently going into it more extensively. The banker quietly took his hundred dollars, and counted him out some ivory checks used to represent cash in the game. The betting went on. He laid down another five and lost. He laid twenty on and lost. He laid twenty more on and lost. So, he tried betting on two others at once. He laid five on the seven, and thirty on the eight.
The seven won and the eight lost. He won five dollars and lost thirty. But he soon thought he would like to try it again—just once. The ace is unlucky for me. He put it on the seven and lost. If he had put it on the ace that time he would have won. He then used profane language, and spoke very disrespectfully of the cards in general, and of the seven-spot in particular.
Then he left the room. Presently he returned with a roll of bills in his hand—a thousand-dollar one being placed conspicuously on the outside, as a kind of index, to show what was within. He handed a thousand-dollar bill to the banker, and said:. He then laid down five hundred dollars on the ace and lost. He laid five hundred more on it and lost. He took another thousand-dollar bill from the roll, laid it down, and lost. He laid down another, and won. It will be sure to: it has won so little of late. Others followed his example, and two thousand dollars more were laid on the ace.
All who sat at the table now, or stood by, looked for the issue with much interest. The unfortunate man, who had now lost about ten thousand dollars, articulated a number of bad words, and, turning away, left the room with as sad-looking a face as I ever saw under a hat. No one paid any attention to him. The game went on, and he was soon forgotten.
Of course, others were betting, winning and losing all this time, for there were a score around the table, and it would be no exaggeration to say that at least a hundred thousand dollars changed hands while I was standing there. I have merely mentioned this one gentleman in particular, because his case was, perhaps, the saddest of any that came under my notice, and made the greatest impression on my mind.
Win or lose, a gambler will be a gambler.