"I see that the cause of Education has received the princely gift of
more than fifty millions of dollars," said I.
I was gleaning the stray items from the evening papers while Jeff
Peters packed his briar pipe with plug cut.
"Which same," said Jeff, "calls for a new deck, and a recitation by
the entire class in philanthromathematics."
"Is that an allusion?" I asked.
"It is," said Jeff. "I never told you about the time when me and Andy
Tucker was philanthropists, did I? It was eight years ago in Arizona.
Andy and me was out in the Gila mountains with a two-horse wagon
prospecting for silver. We struck it, and sold out to parties in
Tucson for $25,000. They paid our check at the bank in silver--a
thousand dollars in a sack. We loaded it in our wagon and drove east a
hundred miles before we recovered our presence of intellect. Twenty-
five thousand dollars doesn't sound like so much when you're reading
the annual report of the Pennsylvania Railroad or listening to an
actor talking about his salary; but when you can raise up a wagon
sheet and kick around your bootheel and hear every one of 'em ring
against another it makes you feel like you was a night-and-day bank
with the clock striking twelve.
"The third day out we drove into one of the most specious and tidy
little towns that Nature or Rand and McNally ever turned out. It was
in the foothills, and mitigated with trees and flowers and about 2,000
head of cordial and dilatory inhabitants. The town seemed to be called
Floresville, and Nature had not contaminated it with many railroads,
fleas or Eastern tourists.
"Me and Andy deposited our money to the credit of Peters and Tucker in
the Esperanza Savings Bank, and got rooms at the Skyview Hotel. After
supper we lit up, and sat out on the gallery and smoked. Then was when
the philanthropy idea struck me. I suppose every grafter gets it
"When a man swindles the public out of a certain amount he begins to
get scared and wants to return part of it. And if you'll watch close
and notice the way his charity runs you'll see that he tries to
restore it to the same people he got it from. As a hydrostatical case,
take, let's say, A. A made his millions selling oil to poor students
who sit up nights studying political economy and methods for
regulating the trusts. So, back to the universities and colleges goes
his conscience dollars.
"There's B got his from the common laboring man that works with his
hands and tools. How's he to get some of the remorse fund back into
"'Aha!' says B, 'I'll do it in the name of Education. I've skinned the
laboring man,' says he to himself, 'but, according to the old proverb,
"Charity covers a multitude of skins."'
"So he puts up eighty million dollars' worth of libraries; and the
boys with the dinner pail that builds 'em gets the benefit.
"'Where's the books?' asks the reading public.
"'I dinna ken,' says B. 'I offered ye libraries; and there they are. I
suppose if I'd given ye preferred steel trust stock instead ye'd have
wanted the water in it set out in cut glass decanters. Hoot, for ye!'
"But, as I said, the owning of so much money was beginning to give me
philanthropitis. It was the first time me and Andy had ever made a
pile big enough to make us stop and think how we got it.
"'Andy,' says I, 'we're wealthy--not beyond the dreams of average; but
in our humble way we are comparatively as rich as Greasers. I feel as
if I'd like to do something for as well as to humanity.'
"'I was thinking the same thing, Jeff,' says he. 'We've been gouging
the public for a long time with all kinds of little schemes from
selling self-igniting celluloid collars to flooding Georgia with Hoke
Smith presidential campaign buttons. I'd like, myself, to hedge a bet
or two in the graft game if I could do it without actually banging the
cymbalines in the Salvation Army or teaching a bible class by the
"'What'll we do?' says Andy. 'Give free grub to the poor or send a
couple of thousand to George Cortelyou?'
"'Neither,' says I. 'We've got too much money to be implicated in
plain charity; and we haven't got enough to make restitution. So,
we'll look about for something that's about half way between the two.'
"The next day in walking around Floresville we see on a hill a big red
brick building that appears to be disinhabited. The citizens speak up
and tell us that it was begun for a residence several years before by
a mine owner. After running up the house he finds he only had $2.80
left to furnish it with, so he invests that in whiskey and jumps off
the roof on a spot where he now requiescats in pieces.
"As soon as me and Andy saw that building the same idea struck both of
us. We would fix it up with lights and pen wipers and professors, and
put an iron dog and statues of Hercules and Father John on the lawn,
and start one of the finest free educational institutions in the world
"So we talks it over to the prominent citizens of Floresville, who
falls in fine with the idea. They give a banquet in the engine house
to us, and we make our bow for the first time as benefactors to the
cause of progress and enlightenment. Andy makes an hour-and-a-half
speech on the subject of irrigation in Lower Egypt, and we have a
moral tune on the phonograph and pineapple sherbert.
"Andy and me didn't lose any time in philanthropping. We put every man
in town that could tell a hammer from a step ladder to work on the
building, dividing it up into class rooms and lecture halls. We wire
to Frisco for a car load of desks, footballs, arithmetics, penholders,
dictionaries, chairs for the professors, slates, skeletons, sponges,
twenty-seven cravenetted gowns and caps for the senior class, and an
open order for all the truck that goes with a first-class university.
I took it on myself to put a campus and a curriculum on the list; but
the telegraph operator must have got the words wrong, being an
ignorant man, for when the goods come we found a can of peas and a
curry-comb among 'em.
"While the weekly papers was having chalk-plate cuts of me and Andy we
wired an employment agency in Chicago to express us f.o.b., six
professors immediately--one English literature, one up-to-date dead
languages, one chemistry, one political economy--democrat preferred--
one logic, and one wise to painting, Italian and music, with union
card. The Esperanza bank guaranteed salaries, which was to run between
$800 and $800.50.
"Well, sir, we finally got in shape. Over the front door was carved
the words: 'The World's University; Peters & Tucker, Patrons and
Proprietors. And when September the first got a cross-mark on the
calendar, the come-ons begun to roll in. First the faculty got off the
tri-weekly express from Tucson. They was mostly young, spectacled, and
red-headed, with sentiments divided between ambition and food. Andy
and me got 'em billeted on the Floresvillians and then laid for the
"They came in bunches. We had advertised the University in all the
state papers, and it did us good to see how quick the country
responded. Two hundred and nineteen husky lads aging along from 18 up
to chin whiskers answered the clarion call of free education. They
ripped open that town, sponged the seams, turned it, lined it with new
mohair; and you couldn't have told it from Harvard or Goldfields at
the March term of court.
"They marched up and down the streets waving flags with the World's
University colors--ultra-marine and blue--and they certainly made a
lively place of Floresville. Andy made them a speech from the balcony
of the Skyview Hotel, and the whole town was out celebrating.
"In about two weeks the professors got the students disarmed and
herded into classes. I don't believe there's any pleasure equal to
being a philanthropist. Me and Andy bought high silk hats and
pretended to dodge the two reporters of the Floresville Gazette. The
paper had a man to kodak us whenever we appeared on the street, and
ran our pictures every week over the column headed 'Educational
Notes.' Andy lectured twice a week at the University; and afterward I
would rise and tell a humorous story. Once the Gazette printed my
pictures with Abe Lincoln on one side and Marshall P. Wilder on the
"Andy was as interested in philanthropy as I was. We used to wake up
of nights and tell each other new ideas for booming the University.
"'Andy,' says I to him one day, 'there's something we overlooked. The
boys ought to have dromedaries.'
"'What's that?' Andy asks.
"'Why, something to sleep in, of course,' says I. 'All colleges have
"'Oh, you mean pajamas,' says Andy.
"'I do not,' says I. 'I mean dromedaries.' But I never could make Andy
understand; so we never ordered 'em. Of course, I meant them long
bedrooms in colleges where the scholars sleep in a row.
"Well, sir, the World's University was a success. We had scholars from
five States and territories, and Floresville had a boom. A new
shooting gallery and a pawn shop and two more saloons started; and the
boys got up a college yell that went this way:
"'Raw, raw, raw,
Done, done, done,
Lots of fun,
"The scholars was a fine lot of young men, and me and Andy was as
proud of 'em as if they belonged to our own family.
"But one day about the last of October Andy comes to me and asks if I
have any idea how much money we had left in the bank. I guesses about
sixteen thousand. 'Our balance,' says Andy, 'is $821.62.'
"'What!' says I, with a kind of a yell. 'Do you mean to tell me that
them infernal clod-hopping, dough-headed, pup-faced, goose-brained,
gate-stealing, rabbit-eared sons of horse thieves have soaked us for
"'No less,' says Andy.
"'Then, to Helvetia with philanthropy,' says I.
"'Not necessarily,' says Andy. 'Philanthropy,' says he, 'when run on a
good business basis is one of the best grafts going. I'll look into
the matter and see if it can't be straightened out.'
"The next week I am looking over the payroll of our faculty when I run
across a new name--Professor James Darnley McCorkle, chair of
mathematics; salary $100 per week. I yells so loud that Andy runs in
"'What's this,' says I. 'A professor of mathematics at more than
$5,000 a year? How did this happen? Did he get in through the window
and appoint himself?'
"'I wired to Frisco for him a week ago,' says Andy. 'In ordering the
faculty we seemed to have overlooked the chair of mathematics.'
"'A good thing we did,' says I. 'We can pay his salary two weeks, and
then our philanthropy will look like the ninth hole on the Skibo golf
"'Wait a while,' says Andy, 'and see how things turn out. We have
taken up too noble a cause to draw out now. Besides, the further I
gaze into the retail philanthropy business the better it looks to me.
I never thought about investigating it before. Come to think of it
now,' goes on Andy, 'all the philanthropists I ever knew had plenty of
money. I ought to have looked into that matter long ago, and located
which was the cause and which was the effect.'
"I had confidence in Andy's chicanery in financial affairs, so I left
the whole thing in his hands. The University was flourishing fine, and
me and Andy kept our silk hats shined up, and Floresville kept on
heaping honors on us like we was millionaires instead of almost busted
"The students kept the town lively and prosperous. Some stranger came
to town and started a faro bank over the Red Front livery stable, and
began to amass money in quantities. Me and Andy strolled up one night
and piked a dollar or two for sociability. There were about fifty of
our students there drinking rum punches and shoving high stacks of
blues and reds about the table as the dealer turned the cards up.
"'Why, dang it, Andy,' says I, 'these free-school-hunting, gander-
headed, silk-socked little sons of sap-suckers have got more money
than you and me ever had. Look at the rolls they're pulling out of
their pistol pockets?'
"'Yes,' says Andy, 'a good many of them are sons of wealthy miners and
stockmen. It's very sad to see 'em wasting their opportunities this
"At Christmas all the students went home to spend the holidays. We had
a farewell blowout at the University, and Andy lectured on 'Modern
Music and Prehistoric Literature of the Archipelagos.' Each one of the
faculty answered to toasts, and compared me and Andy to Rockefeller
and the Emperor Marcus Autolycus. I pounded on the table and yelled
for Professor McCorkle; but it seems he wasn't present on the
occasion. I wanted a look at the man that Andy thought could earn $100
a week in philanthropy that was on the point of making an assignment.
"The students all left on the night train; and the town sounded as
quiet as the campus of a correspondence school at midnight. When I
went to the hotel I saw a light in Andy's room, and I opened the door
and walked in.
"There sat Andy and the faro dealer at a table dividing a two-foot
high stack of currency in thousand-dollar packages.
"'Correct,' says Andy. 'Thirty-one thousand apiece. Come in, Jeff,'
says he. 'This is our share of the profits of the first half of the
scholastic term of the World's University, incorporated and
philanthropated. Are you convinced now,' says Andy, 'that philanthropy
when practiced in a business way is an art that blesses him who gives
as well as him who receives?'
"'Great!' says I, feeling fine. 'I'll admit you are the doctor this
"'We'll be leaving on the morning train,' says Andy. 'You'd better get
your collars and cuffs and press clippings together.'
"'Great!' says I. 'I'll be ready. But, Andy,' says I, 'I wish I could
have met that Professor James Darnley McCorkle before we went. I had a
curiosity to know that man.'
"'That'll be easy,' says Andy, turning around to the faro dealer.
"'Jim,' says Andy, 'shake hands with Mr. Peters.'"