From Hell to Breakfast Page: 66
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FROM HELL TO BREAKFAST
And prohibition in the 1850's was no more successful
than in the terrible Twenties. "Our county," said an editor
in 1854, "voted against the license law two to one, but it's
no more trouble to get a brandy toddy or a whiskey cocktail
now than it 'used to was'." Nor was human nature in general
different. One 1840 paper quotes from Major Jack Down-
In the matter of fighting, there is one thing I always keep my eye
on; and that is, to depend less on folks who say they are "ready to
shed the last drop of their blood," than on the folks who are ready
to shed the first drop. Give a man eight dollars a day to make
speeches in Congress, with the right of free postage, and you hear
enough of the "last drop" matters; but when it comes to camp duty,
and raw beef, and stale bread, and bagnet (bayonet) then the "first
drop" folks have to stand the racket at eight dollars a month.
Life was hard during the pioneer days and belly-laughs
had to be different then, for bellies were steel-hooped and
not keg-jellied. People lived close to a soil and to a Nature
that had to perform or else. When such things as a drought
did come-as in 1855--belts were tightened and an editor
The book of Job is in reason, and Jeremiah's Lamentations in-
crease in pathos . . . The man who sells cabbage, sells little heads.
Hens lay bluebird eggs and all the hogs are pigs. Horses have dwin-
dled down to colts and the cattle to calves. The loads of wood headed
to town are crows nests and scarce any person can afford more fire
than a single lucifer match a day. Farmers are going out to sell pop
corn for large Tuscarosa. Whiskey venders deal out pond-water for
rot-gut. Doctors never get a more complicated case than belly ache;
and attorneys think themselves lawful children of Fortune if an
eastern house sends them 6/ cent claims for collection.
And when the drought got worse and the farmer's pigs
got so lean they would crawl through the cracks in the fence,
he stopped that by "tying knots in their tails."
Bolstering up the laughter was the ever-present doggery
or grocery with its plentiful supply of different kinds of
liquors, although, if contemporary evidence can be believed,
it all came from the same barrel. When Uncle Sol had let
the Yankee dentist inveigle him into I aving his teeth pulled,
"I'll sell out, and go to the cross-timbers. I'm tired of set-
Here’s what’s next.
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. From Hell to Breakfast, book, 1944; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67649/m1/74/: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.