HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 57
sword buckled around his waist. The sword was very long
and kept constantly getting between his legs. The audience
howled when he came on and he, taking it for applause, attempted
to bow his thanks and came near falling down. The
cheers continued, but had no effect on him, for he began his
recitation at once. No one could hear a word he said, but that
made no difference. He spoke for several minutes and then
bowed himself off the stage. The audience was absolutely wild
with delight by now. Then the great actor appeared again and
began another piece. That continued for half an hour, when the
promoter got on the stage and announced that "Senior De
Pbmpeno" would next give an exhibition of living statuary. A
barrel was placed in the center of the stage and the actor was
led forth and mounted it.
He raised his hand for silence and when he could make himself
heard announced that his first production would be "Ajax
Defying the Lightning." With that he threw himself back, elei
vated his fists and shook them at the far gallery. The audience
howled with delight. Then he gave "Faith, Hope and Charity."
It was all ridiculously grand. After four or five renditions he
announced that he would produce his masterpiece, "The Prayer."
With that he threw back his head, raised his arms and began
the most strenuous efforts to run while still on the barrel. The
truth was that when he threw back his head he discovered
seated on a beam just above him an old negro woman armed
with a big tub of water which she was to empty on him at the
close of the performance. His untimely discovery of her plot
unnerved Fanny, for that was her name, and in her haste to
empty the tub she lost her balance and she, tub and all came
crashing down on the actor. It was heart breaking to have so
many things to laugh at at once, and came near choking half
the' audience. Of course, when he tried to run he simply kicked
the ,barrel backward without advancing himself the least bit,
so that when Fanny landed she came down fairly on top of him
and the barrel. Fortunately no one was injured. That was the
greatest show that was ever pulled off in Houston and was
talked about for weeks afterward.
, * *
HOW THE RAILROADS CAME.
HE first spade ever stuck in the earth for the construction
of a railroad in Texas was at Harrisburg away back
yonder, as early as 1840. That was for the construction
of the Harrisburg and Brazos Railroad, a line that was
never built, at least not under that name.
Some grading was done, some ties were placed, but no iron was
ever laid and the enterprise was abandoned soon after it began.
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed July 13, 2014.