True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 111
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 111
about three weeks I had a time of it. Like you, I associate
whiskey with a snake and that fellow on a black horse. I have
never taken a drink since and I never intend to take another."
INTERVIEWING AN OLD-TIMER.
URING some years of active newspaper work, I have had,
of course, some funny experiences, but I had one the
other day that beat anything with which I had ever come
in contact. I wanted some special information and sought one
of my old-time friends to obtain it from him. Before I could
ask a question, he asked me one and that set him going, with
the following result:
He asked me who was the editor of a certain paper published
in Houston, and when I told him, truthfully, that I had never
heard of the paper, he launched out as follows:
"You are like Sarah Bernhardt. When some one asked her
about Mrs. Potter, she said: 'Mrs. Pottair! I don't know there
is an actress by such name as Pottair.' That was her way of
ignoring all competitors. I'll tell you a good story about Sarah.
You know what a great actress she is, but to my mind there
used to be better than she in the French companies in New
Orleans. Ah, those were fine days! I was in the telegraph
business then. There was no Western Union then. It was the
Washington and National, or something of that kind. Old
Thompson was manager and he allowed us to send private messages
as much and as often as we pleased. Old Thompson was
a thoroughbred. He built the lines to Natchez and then he
built the Red River line. Speaking of Red River, reminds me
of a certain class of fools who you hear speaking of the 'Rio
Grande River.' Wouldn't that jar you! They don't know that
'Rio' means river. It's like a fellow I heard talking about having
'the la grippe.' There's another who don't know that 'la'
means 'the' in French. But one thing gets on my nerves more
than anything. That is the new word they have made to fix on
a driver of an automobile-'chauffeur'."
Here I ventured to suggest that it was not a new word, but
an old one, and meant a stoker, fireman, or something like
that, but he would not listen to me, but Went on.
"They don't even know how to pronounce the word. Some
say 'showfer,' some say 'chawfer,' while the proper way to say
it is 'shaw-fer,' sorter lengthening out the 'fer' part. Do you
"I pride myself on my French, for I learned it first from old
Lout du Ples in New Orleans. There was a man for your money.
As polite as a basket of chips, but always looking out for a fight,
and never so happy as when he found one. I saw him clean out
a barroom in New Orleans one night. I say barroom, but the
call them 'coffee houses' over there, but I don't know Why, for
Here’s what’s next.
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/111/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .