Express Man by
In nearly all yarns or plays in which Yankees figure, they are
supposed to be a leetle teu darn'd ceute for almost any body else,
creating a heap of fun, and coming out clean ahead; but that even
Connecticut Yankeesthe cutest and all firedest tight critters
on the face of the yearth, when money or trade's in the
questionare done now and then, upon the most scientific
principles, we are going to prove.
It is generally known, in the newspaper world, that two or three
Eastern men, a few years ago, started a paper in Philadelphia, upon the
penny principle, and have since been rewarded as they deserved. They
were, and are, men of great enterprise and liberality, as far as their
business is concerned, and thereby they got ahead of all competition,
and made their pile. The proprietors were always fly for any
new dodge, by which they could keep the lead of things, and monopolize
the news market. The Telegraph had not turned up in the day of
which we writethe mails, and, now and then, express horse
lines, were the media through which Great Excitements! Alarming
Events!! Great Fires and Awful Calamities!! were come at. One
morning, as one of these gentlemen was sitting in his office, a long,
lank genius, with a visage as hatchet-faced and keen as any Connecticut
Yankee's on record, came in, and inquired of one of the clerks for the
proprietors of that institution. Being pointed out, the thin man made a
lean towards him. After getting close up, and twisting and screwing
around his head to see that nobody was listening or looking, the lean
man sat down very gingerly upon the extreme verge of a chair, and
leaning forward until his razor-made nose almost touched that of the
publisher, in a low, nasal, anxious tone, says he,
Air yeou one of the publishers of this paper?
I am, sir.
Oh, yeou, sir! said the visitor, again looking suspiciously around
and about him.
Did you ever hear tell of the Pigeon Express? he continued.
The Pigeon Express? echoed the publisher.
Ya-a-s. Carrier pigeonsletters to their l-e-g-s and newspapers
under their wingstrained to fly any where you warnt 'em.
Carrier Pigeons, mused the publisherCarrierpigeons trained to
carry billetsbulletins and
Go frum fifty to a hundred miles an hour! chimed in the stranger.
True, so they say, very true, continued the publisher, musingly.
Elegant things for gettin' or sendin' noos head of every body
Precisely: that's a fact, that's a fact, the other responded,
rising from his chair and pacing the floor, as though rather and
decidedly taken by the novelty and feasibility of the operation.
You'd have 'em all, Mister, dead as mutton, by a Pigeon Express.
I like the idea; good, first rate!
Can't be beat, noheow! said the stranger.
But what would it cost?
Two hundred dollars, and a small wagon, to begin on.
A small wagon?
Ya-a-s. Yeou see, Mister, the birds haff to be trained to fly from
one pint to another!
Wa-a-ll, yeou see the birds are put in a box, on the top of the
bildin', for a spell, teu git the hang of things, and so on!
Yes, very well; go on.
Then the birds are put in a cage, the trainer takes 'em into his
wagonten miles at firstthrows 'em up, and the birds go to the
bildin'. Next day fifteen miles, and so forth; yeou see?
Perfectly; I understand; now, where can these birds be had?
Putting his thin lips close to the publisher's opening ears, in a
low, long way, says the stranger
I've got 'em! R-a-l-e Persian birdsbe-e-utis!
You understand training them? says the anxious publisher.
Like a book, the stranger responded.
Where are the birds? the publisher inquired.
I've got 'em down to the tavern, where I'm stoppin'.
Bring them up; let me see them; let me see them!
Certainly, Mister, of course, responded the Pigeon express man,
leaving the presence of the tickled-to-death publisher, who paced his
office as full of effervescence as a jimmyjohn of spruce beer in dog
About this time pigeons were being trained, and in a few cases, now
and then, really did carry messages for lottery ticket venders in
Jersey City, to Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore; but these
exploits rarely paid first cost, and did not amount to much, although
some noise was made about the wonderful performance of certain Carrier
Pigeons. But the paper was to have a new impulseastonish all
creation and the rest of mankind, by Pigeon Express. The publisher's
partner was in New York, fishing for novelties, and he determined to
astonish him, on his return home, by the bird business! A coop
was fixed on the top of the bildin', as the great inventor of the
express had suggested. The wagon was bought, and, with two hundred
dollars in for funds, passed over to the pigeon express man, who, in
the course of a few days, takes the birds into his wagon, to take them
out some few miles, throw them up, and the publisher and a confidential
friend were to be on top of the bildin', looking out for them.
They kept looking!they saw something werry like a whale, but a
good deal like a first-rate bad Sell! The lapse of a few days
was quite sufficient to convince the publisher that he had been taken
in and done forregularly picked up and done for,upon the
most approved and scientific principles. Rather than let the cat out of
the bag, he made up his mind to pocket the shave and keep shady,
not even letting on to his partner, who in the course of the
following week returned from Gotham, evidently feeling as fine as silk,
about something or other.
Well, what's new in New Yorkgot hold of any thing rich? was the
Hi-i-i-sh! close the door! was the reply, indicating something
very important on the tapis.
So; my dear fellow, I've got a concern, now, that will put the
sixpennies to sleep as sound as rocks!
No. What have you started in Gotham?
Exactly. If you don't own up the corn, that the idea is
grandimmenseI'll knock under.
Good! I'm gladparticularly glad you've found something new and
startling, responded the other. Well, what is it?
You don't pretend to say that
Yes, sir, all arrangedluckiest fellows alive, we are
Oh, don't be uneasyI fixed it.
Well, I'm hanged if this isn't rich! muttered his partner,
sticking his digits into his trowserloonsbiting his lips and stamping
Rich! elegant! In two weeks we'll be flying our birds and
Flying! Why, do you
Ha! ha! I knew I'd astonish you; Tom insisted on my keeping
perfectly mum, until things were in regular working order; he
then set the boys to workwe have large cages on top of the
Come up on top of this building, said the partner, solemnly.
There, do you see that bundle of laths and stuff?
Whywhy, you don't pretend to say that
I do exactly; a scamp came along here a week agotalked nothing
but Carrier PigeonsPigeon ExpressesI thought I'd surprise you,
Well, wellgo on.
And by thunder I was green enough to give the fellow $200a horse
Done! done! roared the other, without waiting for further
particulars$200 and a horse and wagonjust what Tom and I gave the
scamp! ha! ha! ha!
Haw! haw! haw! and the publishers roared under the force of the
Whatever became of the pigeon express man is not distinctly known;
but he is supposed to have given up the bird business, and gone into
the manufacture of woolly horses and cod-liver oil.