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Three Open Letters
by [?]

What do you think of Browning? I should like to converse with you on the subject before the fight, and get your soul’s best sentiments on his style of intangible thought wave.

I will meet you at Havre or Calais, and agree with you how hard we shall hit each other. I saw, at a low variety show the other day, two pleasing comedians who welted each other over the stomach with canes, and also pounded each other on the head with sufficient force to explode percussion caps on the top of the skull, and yet without injury. Do you not think that a prize-fight could be thus provided for? I will see these men, if you say so, and learn their methods.

Remember, it is not the punishment of a prize-fight for which I yearn, but the effulgent glory of meeting you in the ring, and having the cables and the press associate my budding name with that of a man who has done so much to make men better–a man whose name will go down to posterity as that of one who sought to ameliorate and mellow and desiccate his fellow-men.

I will now challenge you once more, with great respect, and beg leave to remain, yours very truly,


Hon. Ferdinand de Lesseps, Paris, France:

DEAR SIR–I have some shares in the canal which you have been working on, and I am compelled to hypothecate them this summer, in order to paint my house. You have great faith in the future of the enterprise, and so I will give you the first chance on this stock of mine. You have suffered so much in order to do this work that I want to see the stock get into your hands. You deserve it. You shall have it. Ferdie, if you will send me a post-office money order by return mail, covering the par value of five hundred shares, I will lose the premium, because I am a little pressed for money. The painters will be through next week, and will want their pay.

As I say, I want to see you own the canal, for in fancy I can see you as you toiled down there in the hot sun, floating your wheelbarrow and your bonds down the valley with your perspiration. I can see you in the morning, with hot, red hands and a tin dinner pail, going to your toil, a large red cotton handkerchief sticking out of your hip pocket.

So I have decided that you ought to have control, if possible, of this great water front; besides, you have a larger family than I have to support. When I heard that you were the father of fifteen little children, and that you were in the sere and yellow leaf, I said to myself, a man with that many little mouths to feed, at the age of eighty, shall have the first crack at my stock. And so, if you will send the face value as soon as possible, I will say bong jaw, messue.

Yours truly,


To the Seven Haired Sisters, ‘Steenth Street, New York:

MESDAMES, MAMSELLES AND FELLOW-CITIZENS–I write these few lines to say that I am well and hope this will find you all enjoying the same great blessing. How pleasant it is for sisters to dwell together in unity and beloved by mankind. You must indeed have a good time standing in the window day after day, pulling your long hair through your fingers with pride. When I first saw you all thus engaged, for the benefit of the public, I thought it was a candy pull.

I now write to say that the hair promoter which you sold me at the time is not up to its work. It was a year ago that I bought it, and I think that in a year something ought to show. It is a great nuisance for a public man who is liable to come home late at night to have to top-dress his head before he can retire. Your directions involve great care and trouble to a man in my position, and still I have tried faithfully to follow them. What is the result? Nothing but disappointment, and not so very much of that.