The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 43 - 47


a marvelous inscription marks the grave of this memorable man, who attempted at the cost of his own life to take the weapons out of the hands of southern slavers. He took in many slaves, who had run from their masters, and he cared for them at his large estate in the Adirondacks. On the 24th of August we guests took an excursion in order to visit the historic spot and to experience something new. An aged woman by the name of Nash, who died five years ago and who in her day was an exceptional hunter, often shot deer with John Brown in the vicinity. This Mrs. Nash was an unfortunate drunkard much to the regret of her husband. Her husband did everything possible to break her of her drinking habit. He came up with the idea of securing the whiskey barrels under a high roofbeam so that she couldn't get to them. But what did she do? She took her flintlock and shot a hole into the barrel, put a wash basin underneath and behold, soon after she laid in the corner with a cannon full. Indeed young people, boys and especially girls should take warning from this and let is serve as an


example never to touch a drop of strong drink before it is too late.

The great iron chancellor Bismark has said: "The man, who has never had many needs, is fortunate." One time I visited a Christian millionaire on Delaware Ave., who was an intimate friend of mine. He went to much trouble to show me his new, beautiful and grand palace which cost him over $80,000.00. As he was showing me his home I began to feel myself cooking and I made the appropriate, socially acceptable remarks. "Say Charlie," the millionaire said to me, "I have a very fine lot near the Bishop on this street, which I will sell you cheap." To this I answered, "I thank you very much for the offer, but I would rather live in my simple house on Oak St., where I can play first fiddle instead of being here on the West Side where I could hardly play third or fouth fiddle. But listen, Mr. Holland, in one respect I have the advantage over you in your marvelous house and perhaps you haven't considered this." "And what is this advantage?" the millionaire asked. I responded "When the Lord calls you back to the heavenly home and


Peter opens the gates of heaven to you and says 'Come in and be heartily welcomed,' you will hesitate a moment, look around and say, 'Peter is this the best you have up here?' Peter will ask, 'Yes, beloved soul, is this not good enough for you,' and perhaps you will respond, 'Yes, of course beloved Peter. Please excuse me. It's just that I left a beautiful, indeed a magnificent house on Delaware Ave. and it would be my wish if possible to return to it down below.' Whereas I on the other hand, if I am very lucky for I bear the good hope within my heart, to land at the gates of heaven, and Peter says to me, 'Here is your home,' I am inclined to say, "What, Peter, is that not a mistake; a poor sinful earthworm should live forever in such a magnificent palace. No, St. Peter, I do not wish to return to my old-fashioned house on Oak St.'" This conversation with the millionaire awoke in him new thoughts and notions about eternity. Oh, how poor a man is as long as he is not rich in God. How happy and blessed is a man, who can declare with the poet, "I wouldn't trade the dear grace of God for a thousand worlds."


15. A Flee Theatre at the end of March 1908 in the oldest city, St. Augustin, Florida

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A German professor from Hannover extended an invitation to all guests of the city to visit, indeed not to miss, his very rare presentation of three hundred intelligent and trained flees. At first we thought this was just a German fairytale. We were assured by fellow travelers that they had never seen anything like it in their entire lives and the advertisements were quite true.

First through a magnifying glass we saw about twenty flees taking part in the demonstration. They were tethered with very fine neck chains and dressed in very nice little silk costumes cut in the Parisian fashion in colors of red, yellow and white. It seems quite supernaturals as the little creatures appeared in red costumes with little pants and hats.

The professor held a brief talk with the assembled gentlemen and ladies and especially the children. "Now let us begin."

He took one of the flees out of the tiny box


with a pair of tweezers and said to it, "Now Christbinus, perform well for these gentlemen and ladies." Immediately it laid on its back and with its feet cast a ball up into the air, then it did this again since the first time it didn't manage to kick the ball into the little box the way it was supposed to. "Now, now, Christbinus. What's wrong with you today? Come on, kick it again." The flee tried again and this time it succeeded. "That was wonderful," said the professor and he added, "Bravo, bravo!"

Then the professor told another flee to come out and he said, "Antonius, come. We must mow the grass before it gets too high and you have to work too hard and sweat a lot." The flee went over to the little golden lawn mower and the sight was remarkable. "Now you should have some fun together. Behold, gentlemen and ladies, how beautifully they dance," said the professor to the flees. The professor turned around and began to play a graphaphon. Immediately the eighteen to twenty selected flees began to dance a rhythmic waltz. The act was highly enjoyable for


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Text provided by Lockwood Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, BX8080.B65

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks