The Saloon

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Scarcely a man is now alive who has bellied up to the mahogany in an old-fashioned saloon and said to Mike or Otto, “the usual.”

For more than fifty years over half of the states have been without saloons. Indeed, half of the total area of the United States was legally dried up as long as seventy years ago. Since lew women, other than painted Jezebels, ever saw the inside of a pre-World War I saloon, only a handful of grizzled male survivors remain who can remember the gilt beer sign at the corner, the swinging door, the mouth-watering free lunch, the technique for picking up a dime from a wet bar, and the sheer intellectual pleasure of discussing with Gus the barman the progress of union labor, the statistics of baseball, the infinite variety of woman, President Taft’s definition of whiskey, or the finer points of the Shakespeare-Bacon controversy.

In the complex set of circumstances that produced constitutional Prohibition, the saloon died; indeed it went beyond mere death. Its traditions and legends died with it. For the idea of the saloon became so closely associated with evil, the very word so soiled and damaged, that after Repeal new and mellifluous euphemisms had to be invented to describe any premises devoted to the vending of alcoholic solace. But the modern cocktail lounge, done up in red leather and chromium and fluorescent lighting, is not recognizable as the plain man’s club, refuge, or palladium of liberty. There are strangers present. They scent ihe air with Nuit de Noäl. “Gone forever,” Don Marquis, creator of “The Old Soak,” mourned of the barroom as his generation knew it, and soon alter he died.

Perhaps only now, with lime running on and passion spent, it is possible to stroll back to the brass rail and recall without rancor the manners and protocol, the character and atmosphere of the American bar. Like that of most human institutions, the story of the saloon is not all black, or all white, but a nocturne in gray, the color range taking in the dives and joints of the Barbary Coast and all the skid rows, but including too the quiet neighborhood bierstube of Milwaukee or St. Louis, which had a European flavor and entertained poppa, mamma, and the kids, with even a high chair for Junior.

In colonial America the inn, or “ordinary,” dispensed malt liquors, wine, and spirits, all regarded as “the good creatures of God,” under the vigilant eye of a circumspect Ganymede who had been carefully chosen for his post by the justices of the county court or, in New England, by the board of selectmen, “as a Person of sober Life and Conversation” and therefore fit “to keep a House of Entertainment.” The system of control was strict and even paternalistic. Hours, prices, such matters as gambling, cockfighting, and loud singing, were all the subject of legislation. Details were spelled out minutely. The objective was public order, but the licensing system was quite innocent of any abstract theory of social control. The ordinary was a forum and a community center, a place for genial selfexpression, and, for the traveller, a home away from home.

From the colonial inn the hotel and the saloon emerged and went their separate ways. Successive waves of Irish and German immigration brought to our shores a population of accustomed drinkers, untouched by lhe moral arguments of native preachers and reformers. The newcomers expanded the liquor industry and staffed the bars with the full-moustached barkeeps who pulled the faucets and filled the schooners.

“The names over the saloons, beer gardens and low groggeries are mostly foreign,” wrote Daniel Dorchester, D.D., in the 1880’s, as he made his survey, The Liquor Problem in All Ages; but such indigenous names as “The Fred” and “Ed & Frank’s” and “The Democratic Headquarters of ihe Eighieentli Ward” scarcely support such an unqualified generalization. A vein of American nativism undoubtedly colored and stimulated the temperance movement. The saloon men were at least nominal members of the Roman Catholic Church. The political alignment is expressed in a remark made in 1860: “I never said all Democrats were saloonkeepers. What I said was all saloonkeepers are Democrats.”

In a dimly lighted interior, the bar of the nineteenth-century saloon ran lengthwise along the left side as one entered. It, too, was dark, heavily handcarved, often a very pretty article in the Eastlake style. The floor was covered with sawdust to absorb the drip. In the big places there was a kind of folklore about having “the longest bar in the world.” For instance, in Erickson’s saloon in Portland, Oregon, the bar measured 684 linear feet in the days of its glory, and there was a ladies’ orchestra, prudently surrounded by an electrically charged railing. In the average saloon the furnishings were not elaborate. If the license fee was low, there were more comforts, because competition was keener. If the license fee was stiff, the premises had a plainer, even an ascetic character, because there were fewer publicans vis-à-vis the thirsty customers. A onearmed bandit stood in a corner, guaranteed to pay a gratifying percentage to the house, or perhaps the “John L. Sullivan Athletic Punching Machine.” “How Hard,” it asked, “Can You Hit the Great John L.?”

The bartender was an essential feature of saloon IiIe. He was a craftsman, philosopher, encyclopaedia of sporting information, a belles-lettrist, and a great humanitarian, always ready to throw out the lifeline. The barmen slicked down their hair, displayed an expanse of gold watch chain, and wore a lodge emblem on a jacket of white, or once white, duck. Jn the Irish places, a slighting reference to the Black and Tan would usually produce a drink on the house.

It was a matter of professional pride with the barmen in a fancy saloon to be able to run up on order some one hundred and filly cocktails, rickeys, fizzes, cobblers, punches, and divers “cups.” But the staples were beer and red liquor. Mostly the job consisted of turning the beer tap or slamming down the bottle of whiskey and an empty glass with a chaser. If a rube came in, the man on watch might set out what was called the “cops’ bottle”; this would be the cheapest cut stud in the house.

A gentleman poured his own, about an ounce and a half. It was unwritten etiquette that the dram never approached the rim. It it did, the bartender threw ihe patron a hard look, or a gentle but tired inquiry, “Will you need a towel, too?” (The implication was that the customer was evidently preparing to take a bath in his bourbon.) In general, the duties involved in barkeeping were to see that the walking board behind the bar was always dry, use a chamois on the woodwork, shine the brass, keep the cash straight, relieve the opposite watch promptly, and say to argumentative patrons, “Yes, sir, ain’t it th’ truth?” Professionally, the prudent barkeep avoided all clashes over religion or any suggestion of associating himself with proposals involving, say, the hanging, after torture, of congressmen and the burning of Washington. But here’s a curious thing. A cupbearer in a saloon in Memphis or East St. Louis might not have the literary polish of his colleagues in South Boston or New York’s old Ninth Ward, but he invariably took Shakespeare’s side in any display of Shakespearean-Baconian scholarship. This should be investigated by the professorate. The only clue which can be suggested here is that Shakespeare was known to be a good customer of the Mermaid Tavern. The drinking habits of Bacon remain obscure.

A good bartender did not drink while on duty. If urged, he would say, “But I will take a mild cigar.” This ultra-Colorado is known in saloon history as “the saloon cigar.” At the end of the day, it went back into the box it came from, and the barman took credit for it on the cash register. If pushed hard to take something by a very special crony, the bartender would draw a “snit” of beer in a private glass he kept on the work board under the bar. It was about the size of an eye cup. The knowledgeable barman filled it with loam and could put down a hundred if necessary and still not know that he had received a message.

Behind the bar was the back-bar mirror, decorated with mottoes, some serious, such as “Don’t Ask For Credit”; some in lighter vein: “If you spit on the door at home, spit on the floor here. We want you to feel at home.” Bartenders often bought up temperance pledge cards at an agreed price of from five to ten free drinks and displayed them as trophies. The central section of the back bar was a kind of high altar of shining glassware. Out on the flanks lay a bung-starter, assorted lemons, bottles of muscatel, port, catawba, and that sovereign remedy, rock and rye. No one called for these articles, but they were mentioned in the retail license—“wines and liquors”—and, as George Ade has said, they gave an air of aristocracy to a business venture “terribly short on social standing.”

Various snappy placards decorated the walls, e.g.: “Jf Drinking Interferes With Your Business, Cut Out the Business.” Harry Hill, who ran a quiet place in West Houston Street in New York City, stated his rules of conduct in elegant verse: “Il you wish to here remain/ Do not talk loudly or profane.” A sign in a Helena, Montana, saloon admonished the customers: “Don’t forget to write to dear old Mother. She is thinking of you. We furnish paper and envelopes free, and have the best whiskey in town.”

Colorful advertisements supplied by brewers and distillers lent a touch of vivacity to the scene. Some were quite elaborate, such as the lithograph of Cassily Adams’ Custer’s Last Fight (see illustration), which was handed out for years by the Anheuser-Busch people, or genre situations in which a somewhat overweight siren shaped like a bass viol by some accident or inadvertence displayed an expanse of leg to public view. Outright indecent pictures were not common, but the patrons’ artistic sensibilities were frequently stimulated by examples of easel art that combined the spicy with the allegedly classical, such as Venus in the Bath , or Diana Surprised .

When Edward S. Stokes emerged in 1877 from Sing Sing, where he had been sent for killing Jim Fisk for love of Josie Mansfield, he bought a controlling interest in the Hoffman House at Broadway and 25111 Street in New York and purchased the famous twelve-foothigh nude painting Nymphs and Satyr , by Adolphe William Bouguereau. The picture was installed in the Hoffman House on the wall opposite the famous square bar (see illustration), and there it remained until Stokes’ death in 1901. Democratic politicians gathered beneath this moving scene. John W. Gates, U. S. Grant, and William Randolph Hearst often dropped in; also William F. (“Buffalo Bill”) Cody, no enemy to the red essence, who in accepting an invitation to Iibate invariably replied, “Sir, you speak the language of my tribe.” His favorite drink was called a Stone Fence and consisted—steady, reader—of a shot of rye in a glass of sweet cider, with lemon peel. A picturesque habitué was Congressman John Mills Allien of Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi, who called for “Ole Green Rivah,” and referred to himself as “Private John Allen” because he found the South so overrun with colonels that he concluded he was the only private in the armies of the Confederate States of America who had survived the war.

Carry Nation, at her hatchet-wielding “spilling parties,” gave special attention to ripping apart the luscious barroom nudes who had been caught by the artist entering or leaving their ablutions. These pictures were known, collectively, by their familiars as “Saturday Nights.” In his novel, Jeremy Bell , Clyde Brion Davis has two village boys, making their first venture into a saloon, gaze with astonishment at such a vision in pink and white. One asks the other if he has ever seen anything like that before.

“Nope,” was the reply, “not since I was weaned.”

The old Waldorf-Astoria bar hung a salon-size copy of Paolo Veronese’s Marriage at Cana for those in whom a chalice of good old prewar stuff inspired a taste for the classics, with some religious overtones. In sharp contrast, the Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio was garnished with a collection of antlers, steer horns, rattlesnake skins, and a parrot in a cage near the entrance, which announced to all comers, until finally shot for blasphemy, “ Ora pro nobis —gad-damn it!”

New Orleans claims the honor of having invented the saloon free lunch. There has been much nostalgic and ethnocentric writing in praise of the largesse of the free lunch provided in one city or another. Certainly the old Waldorf-Astoria bar was a place of gastronomic magnificence. Yet a man who bought two schooners at the bar in any good place in Milwaukee could make out very well on the soup, bologna, onions, pickles, Sardellen , wurst, and rye bread. The free lunch was not a gesture of pure philanthropy, nor was it always elegant. The whole set-out—soiled table cloth, the bowl of baked beans, the forks standing in the glass of water as a gesture toward sanitation, the peppery hot franks, were there because salty food provoked thirst. There was a code about the free lunch. The lunchers were supposed to give the house some trade first. In the cheap joints where the waiters wore tattoos and could bend a horseshoe with their bare hands, it was dangerous for a ringer to sidle up to the crackers and cheese without doing his devoirs across the way first.

The preferred spirits were rye whiskey in the eastern parts of the United States and bourbon in the South and West. Cocktails were drunk sparingly. Many had a temporary vogue, based on some topical interest. The theatre, of course, inspired the Merry Widow. McKinley’s Delight pleased the G.O.P. September Morn was a Clover Club in which Bacardi replaced the gin. The Cornell complimented an institution of learning located on the shores of Cayuga’s waters. The Old-fashioned was introduced to the East by Colonel James E. Pepper, who knew it at the Pendennis Club in Louisville. A succulent confection of the 1890’s was the Baby Titty—equal parts of anisette, crème yvette , whipped cream, topped with a red cherry.

But the serious drinker, the man of wide experience who naturally headed left as he entered a new saloon, scorned the novelties. “The veterans,” says James Leslie Marshall in his unique monograph, Swinging Doors , “stuck to straight Bourbon and rye,” both of which were believed effective in warding off effeminacy. In the sawdust spots, for instance Tom Moran’s on Randolph Street in Chicago, those who had the temerity to call for a Gin Daisy were simply requested to leave the premises quietly.

It should not be supposed that the saloon atmosphere was given over wholly to the concerns of dullwitted lowbrows. There was, of course, lavatory humor and the series about the Travelling Salesman and the Farmer’s Daughter. In general, things were called by their right, or at least their vernacular, names. But often thought soared, and sentiment was unabashed. Traditions were honored, holidays observed, the dead eulogized. The mantle of charity was draped. Plans for the social betterment of man were warmly approved, providing they did not involve sumptuary legislation.

Treating was an important feature of barroom camaraderie—especially because saloon etiquette required all who were gentlemen to buy a round in turn until everyone was in orbit. The practice was disapproved of by Governor Winthrop, legislated against in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639, dialectically destroyed to the author’s satisfaction in 1687 when Increase Mather published his A Testimony Against several Prophane and Superstitious Customs Now Practised by some in New-England (London, 1687). But intractable revellers persisted in raising the glass or scuttle to Liberty, to the Grand Old Flag, or, jocularly, to the Hardware Trade—“Although they profess honesty, they sell iron and steel for a living.”

Sometimes there was lawing about the issue of treating. In City of Tacoma v. Keisel , appellant argued in vain that treating is an act of hospitality which has always been exercised by a free people. The supreme court of Washington rejected the argument, ruling that regulation of all aspects of alcoholic consumption comes under the police power and violates no inherent right of United States citizens. However, men persisted to the end in quaffing one more round when Junior made a grade of one hundred in geography, or when Myrtle graduated from high school. If a patron lingered too long, he could ease his sense of guilt by suggesting one last tribute, in absentia , “To the wife, the best little housekeeper in the world.”

Robert Burns was the favorite barroom poet—“A man’s a man for a’ that.” In the “Mike” bars, the lineup liked to hear the recitation of “Shamus O’Brien” and were always ready to raise a cheer for free Ireland. Lucille Kohler, in Bock Beer Days in St. Louis , has left a delightful memoir of the German saloon as she recounts how bock-beer time came one Easter in her childhood at Herman Klein’s very proper and behaglich—cosy—stube . On Easter Monday, after the girls brought home the foaming bucket of suds from Herr Klein’s, they went to a play, an event even more exciting than a concert at Liederkranz Hall. The play was about Little Eva, which was very educational; and it had much to do with the Civil War, which Lucille and her sister knew had been won for the North by brave General Carl Schurz.

The choral work encountered in the old-time saloon usually emphasized a repertoire of songs about mother—“Just a little band from my dear old mother’s hand”; or weepers about poor working girls being tempted and falling (or not falling): “Just tell them that you saw me/ And they will know the rest.”

The barroom choristers also belted out the antisongs with gusto, like “The Drunkard’s Doom” and “Oh, Mr. Bartender, Has Father Been Here?” Or, in San Francisco, it was “What Was Your Name in the States?” Sometimes, when he wasn’t splashing out the drinks, the barkeep down by the beer cooler joined in, helping to bring out the color harmony and the dynamics of the ballad, hitting the minor notes hard and holding the high ones.

The social services rendered by the saloon have been overlaid with later and more somber memories and a thick layer of hostile propaganda, but these doors swung for all. At the bar all men were equal. From the Old Ship Saloon in Eastport, Maine, to the Fountain in San Francisco, men in work clothes, with dinner pails on their arms and mourning bands under their fingernails, could meet with their peers, to joke, talk, and think without inhibitions. There was a place on ioth Street in New York which maintained letter boxes where good customers could receive mail. In El Paso, civic meetings were held in “Uncle Ben” Dowell’s saloon: he was the mayor. The Wells Fargo in Junction City, Kansas, kept files of New York, Chicago, and St. Louis newspapers. Before legitimate employment agencies existed, the saloon was a labor exchange, the place to go to look for work. In Butte, Montana, when Molly Demurska, queen of the underworld, took the town marshal to have and to hold, the knot was tied in the Clipper Shades Saloon, after which the happy pair were drawn through the streets on the town fire engine.

In many saloons a customer could get a bath as well as a cigar, a game, the consolations of female companionship, or a shot of Kentucky sour-mash whiskey. Since there were in this country few public comfort stations, the saloon substituted for that facility also. There was, in short, a need for certain practical services and for social expression. The saloon provided the sense, in current jargon, of belonging to an ingroup. It was warm and personal and clubby. The need was met, with no time limit, because the clock carried a sign which said: “This clock is always out of order.”

Social critics of the saloon system devoted little thought to the needs it served or the development of adequate substitutes. Perhaps that is why Alvin HuIteen, of Evanston, Illinois, when sentenced to attend Salvation Army services for three successive Sundays or go to jail, chose jail. And why a patient at St. Ann’s Hospital in Butte, Montana, slid down a sheet from the second story and made his way in the dead of winter to the geniality of a Main Street joint, clad only in his nightshirt.

There has been a curious, somewhat anachronistic connection between preachers and saloons. The Great West was dotted with bars run by ex-clergymen from back east who for their own reasons had exchanged the cloth for the bar rag. Many gospellers, of course, invaded the precincts to bring the Word. They were invariably treated with courtesy, even when the hosts were assailed as “fiends in human form.” In encounters of this sort, the cupbearers of the Demon Rum came off at least as well as the spade-tail ministers so far as basic good manners were concerned. On one occasion when an evangelist made a few remarks of a religious nature at the end of a bar in a Macon, Missouri, gin mill, the proprietors and bartenders stood with folded arms during the devotions, then joined heartily in singing “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” Again, two clergymen preached so powerfully in Close & Patterson’s saloon in Las Vegas that they baptized four gamblers and fifteen hurdy-gurdy girls, who were led to the altar of penitence by Lazy Liz and Nervous Jessie. A reporter who was present passed up the opportunity to be saved, but remained for the jubilation when the bar reopened. When death came to Riley Grannan, an honest gambler who had been generous to his nightcrawling friends, the services were held in back of a Nevada saloon. The tribute and farewell to Grannan, delivered by a wayward Methodist preacher who had himself drained the chalice of life to the dregs, is generally regarded by those fortunate enough to possess the full text as one of the truly eloquent and moving funeral orations in our language.∗

‣Reprinted in Play the Devil: A History of Gambling in the United States , by Henry Chafetz, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1960.

The personality of a publican was important. It helped boom business if he was a philosopher, a comic, an alderman, or a man of the people who had been in the public eye. One such was Steve Brodie, who did or didn’t jump from the Brooklyn Bridge on July 23, 1886, but in any event parlayed his notoriety into a popular resort. Retired fighters moved easily, almost inevitably, into barkeeping. John L. Sullivan, high up in saloon hagiology, tried over and over again to become a successful boniface. But he wasn’t cut out for it. Himself a man who got up in the morning with the feeling that he was spitting cotton, John L. could go through several pints before he felt even a little bit wet, and he was so expansive by nature that he was always inviting his customers to promenade up to the bar and have one on the house. “The Strong Boy” wore out several partners and finally landed in bankruptcy court.

The idea that the saloon was all evil was the product of the farmer mentality of the period. Yet the whiskey lecturers were right to some extent. In the small towns, before local option drove the saloon out, the bars were supported by serious drinkers who were indeed social outcasts. Tucked away on side streets, such barrooms were often places of violence. One saloon in Memphis set out a private-label whiskey with a strikingly candid name—“A Fight in Fifteen Minutes.” In the five-cent houses, a man could get a mouse with no trouble at all. There were cuttings and occasional gunfire, and what was worse, a good deal of Monday absenteeism from the wholesome twelve-hour daily discipline of factory life.

The grand opening of a new saloon in any American city was a jovial and stylized occasion. There would be a formal parade. Great Clydesdale horses in four- or six-hitch would draw a beer dray followed by a brass band composed of players with names like Johann Sebastian Schwartz, not to mention several Mullers and a Sontag. The board of aldermen and city fathers would be in the line of march, as well as thirsty citizens in mufti and the usual urchins who appeared on circus day. The bartenders would take their places, wearing clean jackets and geraniums wrapped in silver foil in their lapels, hair well pomaded with Lucky Tiger and carefully roached up in front. The brewer’s representative would be on hand, hail fellow well met, to stand treat and pass out cigars. He would also arrange for the license at city hall, go bail for good customers, and fix the cops. Sometimes the arrangements were even more imaginative. When the Bon Ton opened on East Randolph Street in Chicago, the proprietor sent out engraved invitations to come and meet the mayor, and Bathhouse John Coughlin and Hinky Dink McKenna. To open the Monte Carlo in Dawson, Alaska, William F. (“Swiftwater Bill”) Gates arrived at the landing wearing a Prince Albert coat and high silk hat, and there was a lovely girl perched on top of every barrel of whiskey.

The exact place of the saloon in the life of the West has been so stereotyped in the familiar art form of the “Western” that it is difficult to part the curtains and see it clearly. When a wagon train met an army train, a bar was improvised. There were saloons in tents, floating saloons on the western rivers. Perhaps the first prefabricated construction was employed in building saloons in sections that could be moved out to the railheads on flatcars. When Forsyth, Montana, was the end of the line on the Northern Pacific, twelve saloons arrived in sections, each with the conventional bar, beer cooler, table, and piano. The bartender in one joint was setting out the drinks before the roof was on, the professor was spanking the ivories, and in a matter of hours a man had already been shot in an argument over a dance-hall girl. Capacities were prodigious. Big vices went with big heroisms. Lonely men went to the whiskey mill where they found cultural empathy and emotional outlets. The frequent shootings suggest that the cowboys and prospectors were drinking not Kentucky’s best but some mixture that had been worked over in the cellar with red pepper, fusel oil, a touch of lye, and a plug of tobacco to add authority. San Francisco had 1,200 murders between 1849 and 1851. The mortality rate in eastern saloons was much lower, owing either to an effete population, or better whiskey, or poor marksmanship, or, according to one hypothesis, because easterners did not keep their guns oiled.

But “shootouts” were increasingly discouraged. When the Masterson brothers, Jim and Bat, plugged the bartender of the Lady Gay Saloon in Dodge City, they were arrested and fined $10 and costs. They felt the weight of social disapproval in other ways too. The Ford County Globe headed its account of the altercation: THE FESTIVE REVOLVER. AGAIN ITS MUSICAL VOICE IS HEARD IN THE LAND.

But the fiery distillate which caused the trouble also extended mercy. When a miner in town for a whingding had seen the bottom of a tumblerful of Nebraska Needle-Gun a few times, his marksmanship was apt to be erratic. Mostly, and despite the myths perpetrated on the television screen, the guests of the evening reached the point where they could stick to the floor without holding on, and without committing homicide were quietly carted off to the cooler.

Changes in this century—the automobile, the movies, the quickened pace of life generally, providing more places to go and more things to do—all helped weaken the saloon at the same time that competition grew sharper. There was always a brewer or distiller ready to put up the cost of the license fee if he could only get another outlet operating. Thus developed the abuses of the “tied house.” Pushed by promissory notes, mortgages, the need for ever greater volume, the saloonkeepers in this unhappy condition could survive only by breaking the law. They purchased votes, stuffed ballot boxes, rigged elections, shielded criminals, sold liquor to minors and hopeless winos. On those rare occasions when a publican was hauled off in the meat wagon, an alderman would very often appear in police court and say, “Your Honor, I’ve known this boy for years. He’s a good boy an’ works hard an’ takes care of his ole mother.” Since the alderman would very possibly have helped to seat the magistrate on the bench, the beetle-browed “boy” would be quickly released.

The landlord, the licensing authorities, the brewer and the distiller, the bonding companies, the patrolman on the block, the girls who had reached the end of the line, the workingman, all were caught up in the corruption which had become associated with perpendicular drinking. The showdown came in the political arena. The saloonists stole the municipal elections, while the Anti-Saloon League described all major crimes as “whiskey murders” and the women of the W.C.T.U. focussed the full and awful power of middle-class American morality on a single issue: “The only solution of the saloon problem is No Saloon.”

On January 16, 1920, the United States became dry by constitutional amendment. The next day the “alky” cookers were in business. Liquor of a sort remained abundant. But the environment and flavor of the oldtime saloon, the niceties of communal drinking, were swallowed up in the raucous, co-educational speakeasy.

Don Marquis, who like many another regretted the passing of the old days and old ways, agreed for once with the Hearst philosopher Arthur Brisbane, who predicted that Prohibition would pass but that the saloon would never return. As a man of religious feeling, Marquis hoped to enter the New Jerusalem. Before his death he expressed the wish that, if the hereafter took the hoped-for form, he might be permitted to run a saloon there along the old lines.

“Kit Marlowe will be there,” he wrote, “and Kit Morley, too, and Shakespeare and John L. Sullivan and Frank O’Malley, and Benjamin De Casseres, and Benvenuto Cellini. There will be a good deal of talk. And if they make me let women in, I’ll take my saloon to hell. If they invade those precincts, I suppose I’ll have to move to Hoboken.

“P.S. There will be a Back Room.”