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Hints To The Traveler
by [?]

Once a newspaper man did him a great wrong by saying that “the lecture was decayed, and that the professor would endear himself to every one if some night at his hotel, instead of blowing out the gas and turning off his brains as he usually did, he would just turn off the gas and blow out his brains.” But the professor did not go to the newspaper man’s office and shoot holes in his person. He spoke kindly to him always, and once when the two met in a barber shop, and it was doubtful which was “next,” as they came in from opposite ends of the room, the professor gently yielded the chair to the man who had done him the great wrong, and while the barber was shaving him eleven tons of ceiling peeled off and fell on the editor who had been so cruel and so rude, and when they gathered up the debris, a day or two afterward, it was almost impossible to tell which was ceiling and which was remains.

So it is always best to deal gently with the erring, especially if you think it will be fatal to them.

The reformed lecturer also spoke of a discovery he made, which I had never heard of before. He began, during the closing years of his tour, to notice mysterious marks on his trunk, made with chalk generally, and so, during his leisure hours, he investigated them and their cause and effect. He found that they were the symbols of the Independent Order of Porters and Baggage Bursters. He discovered that it was a species of language by which one porter informed the next, without the expense of telegraphing, what style of man owned the trunk and the prospects for “touching” him, as one might say.

The professor gave me a few of these signs from an old note-book, together with his own interpretation after years of close study. I reproduce them here, because I know they will interest the reader as they did me.

This trunk belongs to a traveling man who weighs 211 pounds. If you have no respect for the blamed old fire-proof safe itself, please respect it for its gentle owner’s sake. He can not bear to have his trunk harshly treated, and he might so far forget himself as to kill you. It is better to be alive and poor than it is to be wealthy and dead. It is better to do a kind act for a fellow-being than it is to leave a desirable widow for some one else to marry.

If you will knock the top off this trunk you will discover the clothing of a mean man. In case you can not knock the lid entirely off, burst it open a little so that the great, restless, seething traveling public can see how many hotel napkins and towels and cakes of soap he has stolen.

This is the trunk of a young girl, and contains the poor but honest garb she wore when she ran away from home. Also the gay clothes she bought after a wicked ambition had poisoned her simple heart. They are the gaudy garments and flashy trappings for which she exchanged her honest laugh and her bright and beautiful youth. Handle gently the poor little trunk, as you would touch her sad little history, for her father is in the second-class coach, weeping softly into his coarse red handkerchief, and she, herself, is going home on the same train in her cheap little coffin in the baggage car to meet her sorrowing mother, who will go up into the garret many rainy afternoons in the days to come, to cry over this poor little trunk and no one will know about it. It will be a secret known only to her sorrowing heart and to God.