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On A Pair Of Leather Suspenders
by [?]

Not long since I paid a visit to New Haven before daylight of a winter morning. I had hoped that my sleeper from Washington might be late and I was encouraged in this by the trainman who said that the dear old thing commonly went through New Haven at breakfast time. But it was barely three o’clock when the porter plucked at me in my upper berth. He intruded, happily, on a dream in which the train came rocking across the comforter.

Three o’clock, if you approach it properly through the evening, is said to have its compensations. There are persons (with a hiccough) who pronounce it the shank of the evening, but as an hour of morning it has few apologists. It is the early bird that catches the worm; but this should merely set one thinking before he thrusts out a foot into the cold morning, whether he may justly consider himself a bird or a worm. If no glad twitter rises to his lips in these early hours, he had best stay unpecked inside his coverlet.

It is hard to realize that other two-legged creatures like myself are habitually awake at this hour. In a wakeful night I may have heard the whistles and the clank of far-off wheels, and I may have known dimly that work goes on; yet for the most part I have fancied that the world, like a river steamboat in a fog, is tied at night to its shore: or if it must go plunging on through space to keep a schedule, that here and there a light merely is set upon a tower to warn the planets.

A locomotive was straining at its buttons, and from the cab a smoky engineer looked down on me. A truck load of boxes rattled down the platform. Crates of affable familiar hens were off upon a journey, bragging of their families. Men with flaring tapers tapped at wheels. The waiting-room, too, kept, as it were, one eye open to the night. The coffee-urn steamed on the lunch counter, and sandwiches sat inside their glass domes and looked darkly on the world.

It was the hour when “the tired burglar seeks his bed.” I had thought of dozing in a hotel chair until breakfast, but presently a flood appeared in the persons of three scrub women. The fountains of the great deep were opened and the waters prevailed.

It still lacked an hour or so of daylight. I remembered that there used to be a humble restaurant and kitchen on wheels–to the vulgar, a dog-wagon–up toward York Street. This wagon, once upon a time, had appeased our appetites when we had been late for chapel and Commons. As an institution it was so trite that once we made of it a fraternity play. I faintly remember a pledge to secrecy–sworn by the moon and the seven wandering stars–but nevertheless I shall divulge the plot. It was a burlesque tragedy in rhyme. Some eighteen years ago, it seems, Brabantio, the noble Venetian Senator, kept this same dog-wagon–he and his beautiful daughter Desdemona. Here came Othello, Iago and Cassio of the famous class of umpty-ump.

The scene of the drama opens with Brabantio flopping his dainties on the iron, chanting to himself a lyric in praise of their tender juices. Presently Othello enters and when Brabantio’s back is turned he makes love to Desdemona–a handsome fellow, this Othello, with the manner of a hero and curled moustachios. Exit Othello to a nine o’clock, Ladd on Confusions. Now the rascal Iago enters–myself! with flowing tie. He hates Othello. He glowers like a villain and soliloquizes:

In order that my vengeance I may plot
Give me a dog, and give it to me hot!

That was the kind of play. Finally, Desdemona is nearly smothered but is returned at last to Othello’s arms. Iago meets his deserts. He is condemned to join [Greek: Delta, Kappa, Epsilon], a rival fraternity. But the warm heart of Desdemona melts and she intercedes to save him from this horrid end. In mercy–behind the scenes–his head is chopped off. Then all of us, heroines and villains, sat to a late hour around the fire and told one another how the real stage thirsted for us. We drank lemonade mostly but we sang of beer–one song about