An American tramp in Scotland - PDF by Ben Goodkind

An American tramp in Scotland by Ben Goodkind 

American tramp in Scotland


The times have been pretty tough of late, neighbour, pretty tough; and no mistake. What's getting into the country, anyway; is it going to the dogs entirely? It looks that way; it looks that way. I have never seen the times the way they are now and may I never see 'em that way again, for it's awful; awful's no name for it. There has been panic on, or, as some folks call it, a financial depression, and it has been playing hades with things in general.

Banks and business houses have been busting up, the work-shops have shut down, railroads and other things haven't been paying divvies, the working-people ain't got no work — tell you what, things are in pretty bad shape. Those who have got a little money laid up are sticking closer to it than fleas to a yaller dog, for they don't know how soon they'll go broke or whether they'll ever be able to earn any more. Instead of living on fizz and red-headed ducks, they have come down to chuck-steak and kidney-stew, and the little poorhouse over the hill is looming up in their visions. Theirs is a bad case — a bad case.

Guess we'll have to pass the hat around for them. The working- folks have been living on wind and scenery mostly, and such chuck as the city authorities hand out to them, and they are the ones who suffer most. Many a one has got so down-hearted that he jumped overboard, and many a one feels like doing it, but he doesn't do it, and why, I don't know. 

We are all living in hopes of something better, and hope that the times will get better soon, for they have been bad so long that some kind of a change must come. We have waited for it for over three years now, and that is a pretty long time to wait when you come to look at it. Three years of misery, of woe, of starvation and of raggedness, is three eternities. What brought on this measly panic, I'd like to know? Some say it was one thing and some say it was another, but most people say politics done it. I guess they're right, too, for it was politics. Politics be darned, say I. What good is it anyway?

Every four years we have to put a lot of chumps in office, and they rob us, and when the four years are up they git fired, and we have to put in a lot of other chumps, and they get worse than the others. The party that is in says the party that is out won't let 'em do what they want, and the party that out says that the party what is in is a set of horse_ thieves, cut-throats and robbers. May the whole crowd of them be blown. Between the two of them, the people are suffering and they don't know what to do. The people are mighty patient though, and stand it all like drum-majors.

 It's a wonder they don't kick and kick hard. Some of the politicians better lookout, though, for when they do kick the fur will fly. Mind now, I'm telling you. 

This, ahem — financial depression, has been having a mighty bad effect on me, I kin tell you. See what it has done for me, will you! It has knocked me out of the house and home, threw me out of a job, and for years I have been a bum, a vagabond — call me anything you like. I have gone hungry and bare, have slept in bams and out-houses, I have been what you might call insection, I have worn a shirt for months — well, let us not go too deep into details. My friends say I won't work. Do you hear that?

Author: Ben Goodkind
 Publication Date:1879 

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