Monday, 21 May 2012
Youths Companion Misc
Here are a few pages from The Youth’s Companion magazine, they are collected together and relate to Verrill only because they mention the man and his work. They are from a variety of issues.
The Youth's Companion; Jul 26, 1923; 97, 30; pg. 452. Researched by Pat Pflieger, digitized by Doug Frizzle, May 2012.
The Boss Elephant
ELEPHANTS in Asia are easily trained; a trick or a certain kind of work soon becomes habitual with them. In fact, says Mr. Charles Mayer in Trapping Wild Animals in Malay Jungles, they can form habits more rapidly than any other animals I have ever seen.
In Burma there are large lumber mills, and elephants are used for rolling the logs into position for the saws. Pushing with their heads, they run the logs up two inclined skids to the platform; two elephants do the pushing, and a third elephant acts as boss. The boss need not be an especially intelligent animal; he is taught simply that the log must go up the skids in a certain way, and that he must keep the two pushers even. In his trunk he carries a few links of anchor chain, which he uses as a whip if one elephant falls behind. When the log is on the platform the pushers turn and plod back for another. The boss elephant is quite unimpressed with his authority, and the other elephants show no resentment when he swings the chain on them.
When the whistle blows they all know that it is time to stop work and eat. It makes no difference whether they have a log within a fraction of an inch of the platform; the boss drops his anchor chain and gets out of the way, and the pushers step to one side and let the log crash. Then without the least expression of interest they turn toward the stalls. Because they obey signals so mechanically the engineer steps out when feeding time comes and looks up and down the runway to see whether an elephant crew has a log on the skids. If so he waits until it reaches the platform before he pulls the whistle cord.
The Wrong Outfit
SOME years ago a well-known physician of Tulsa, Oklahoma, observed three unusually forlorn, ragged little darkies standing on a corner of the main street. They were dressed in almost any kind of covering that could be either buttoned or tied on, so that more than one glance was necessary before anyone could determine just what garments they actually were wearing. The sight touched the physician, and he took them into a men's clothing store near by and had them fitted out with new suits.
The two older ones showed their appreciation by broad smiles, but the smallest wept bitterly throughout the whole proceeding and refused to be comforted with the new coat, the new shirt and the new trousers. Questioning only increased the child's agitation, and at last the physician turned in desperation to one of the older boys and said, "What's the matter with him? What's his name?"
"Please, sir," the brother replied with a grin, "his name is Alice."
A Mystery Even to Sam
THE natives of the Bahamas are expert sailors. Somehow without a compass and in all kinds of weather they are able to guide their boats intelligently over the pathless ocean. How they do it is a mystery even to themselves. In his recent book, In the Wake of the Buccaneers, Mr. A. Hyatt Verrill says that he tried to learn from Sam, his colored steersman, why he was so confident of reaching the tiny island of St. Croix after a voyage of one hundred miles over a deserted sea.
"Why, chief," replied the native, "Ah don't need to know where we is for to get where we's goin'."
"Well, how on earth do you do it, Sam?"
"Ah can't say," was the reply. "Ah jus' knows where 'bouts th' lan' is, an' Ah steers for he."
He Needed Another Year
"POSITION wanted" ran an advertisement in a Shanghai newspaper. "A young Chinese with four years' experience in English seeks place as a junior clerk. Salary no objection." As a matter of fact, it usually isn't.
The Youth's Companion; Oct 11, 1923; 97, 41; pg. 616. Researched by Pat Pflieger, digitized by Doug Frizzle, May 2012.
Uncle Joe’s Good Bargain
THAT veteran Congressman "Uncle Joe" Cannon is a picturesque figure round whom good stories naturally cluster. Whether they are all true we do not know, but so long as they are good Mr. Cannon does not trouble to deny them. The Argonaut recently printed this one:
Uncle Joe, although one of the most generous of men, is sparing in his personal expenses and particularly begrudges excessive payments for clothing. He wore one overcoat for several years, but his daughter finally persuaded him to buy a new one. He went to a clothier's and selected a coat, but upon being told the price, which was eighty-five dollars, refused to take it.
Highly indignant, he reported the outrageous affair to his daughter, who told him that she was sure he could get a good coat for thirty dollars. Thereupon she negotiated with the shop to give him the coat he liked, charge him thirty dollars, and let her pay the difference.
Several days later Uncle Joe, very well satisfied, was sporting his new coat in the Capitol, when a friend and fellow member accosted him.
"Hello, Uncle Joe, got a new coat?"
"What did you give for it?"
"Thirty dollars, and that was enough tool"
The friend whistled. "I'll give you fifty for it right now."
"You're on," said Uncle Joe, and he gleefully removed his eighty-five-dollar coat and took the fifty dollars.
A Chagrined Sea Fighter
OUTSIDE the harbor of Charlotte Amalie, on the coast of St. Thomas Island, a huge rock looms out of the sea. Sail Rock it is called, and it bears a startling resemblance to a ship. As I gazed upon it, says Mr. A. Hyatt Verrill in his book In the Wake of the Buccaneers, I could not blame the bellicose captain of a French frigate who a century and more ago sighted the rock one night and, mistaking it for a privateer, ran close and hailed it
No response came back. Again he hailed, and as still no response came he blazed a broadside at the shadowy mass. Back came the echoing thunder of the cannonade, and the rebounding shot, falling on the frigate's deck, convinced the Frenchman that the privateer was returning his fire.
For hours the battle raged; the French gunners poured broadside after broadside at the massive cliff. Not until day dawned did the deluded commander of the frigate discover his mistake. Then, crestfallen and mortified, he crept away, leaving Sail Rock unscathed and triumphant.
He Had Already Stolen Her Heart
ELLEN, the cook, says the Argonaut, was of a suspicious nature. She distrusted mankind in general and banks in particular: she never banked her frugal savings. Part of her wages were hoarded in a stocking in some obscure corner of her room. Ellen's "gentleman friend" was the neighboring butcher, and as the friendship had proved enduring her mistress was not astonished when the girl announced her pending marriage.
"And I want to ask you, mum," said Ellen, "what's the best way to put my money in the bank?"
Her mistress regarded her in astonishment, "Why, Ellen, I thought you didn't believe in banks!"
"No more I do, mum," replied the girl, "but since I'm going to be married next week I kinder feel the money would be safer in the bank than in the house with a strange man about."
The Youth's Companion; Jan 31, 1924; 98, 5; pg. 82. Researched by Pat Pflieger, digitized by Doug Frizzle, May 2012.
The Businesslike Pirate
STRANGE as it may seem, life and accident insurance began with the early buccaneers. Cruises, says Mr. A. Hyatt Verrill in ‘In the Wake of the Buccaneers’, were planned and carried out on a legitimate and open basis. An expedition against the active enemies of the country was advertised; a competent crew was obtained; articles were drawn up and signed; and finally the ship sailed away with the national ensign fluttering where in later days the Jolly Roger was to be.
When a pirating company was assembled it was first of all settled by vote what the captain was to receive for his services or for the use of his ship,—for very often the skipper was merely the owner of the vessel and was no navigator,— then what were to be the salaries of the other men such as the carpenter, the steward, the gunners and the surgeon. Then it was agreed that the provisions and liquors should be paid for; recompense was given to the individuals who had secured them. Finally came the matter of insurance, and a very complete schedule was drawn up with exact provisions for payment for nearly every form of injury or wound. The rates varied somewhat according to the danger of the undertaking, but as a rule they were about six hundred pieces of eight for the loss of a right arm; five hundred for a left arm; five hundred for a right leg; four hundred for a left leg; one hundred for an eye; one hundred for a finger; and one thousand for total disability or death.
In every case slaves might be taken in lieu of cash; the value of slaves, either white or black, male or female, was fixed at one hundred pieces of eight each. It was also provided that after the payment of all the aforesaid "salaries," refunds and compensations the rest of the loot should be equally divided among the survivors of the expedition—with the exception of the captain and other officers. It was the custom for the captain to receive five or six shares to each share of the men.
The Youth's Companion; Nov 13,1924; 98, 46; pg. 757. Researched by Pat Pflieger, digitized by Doug Frizzle, May 2012.
The Symbolic Ice Skates
A CURIOUS sight it was, an old pair of rusty skates hanging outside a shop on a tropical island in the West Indies! I wondered, says Mr. A. Hyatt Verrill in his book In the Wake of the Buccaneers, whom the proprietor expected to sell them to, so I entered and inquired. Imagine my astonishment when the shop-keeper solemnly informed me that they had been there for years, and that no one knew exactly what they were used for. "But," he added, "I am aware that they are significant of the holiday season, and so I hang them outside regularly each year as an indication to passers-by that my Christmas stock of merchandise is on sale."
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- As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.