How It's Done At The Astor House

People often wonder how a man can manage to drink up his salary in

liquor, provided it is sufficient to buy a gallon of the very best

ardent every day in the year. How a fortune can be drank up, or drank

down, by the possessor, is still a greater poser to the unsophisticated.

Now, to be sure, a man who confines himself, in his potations, to

fourpenny drinks of small beer, Columbian whiskey, or even that

detestable stuf
, by courtesy or custom called French brandy,--which,

in fact, is generally aquafortis, corrosive sublimate, cochineal,

logwood, and whiskey,--and don't happen to know too many drouthy

cronies, may make a very long lane of it; but it's the easiest thing in

the world to swallow a snug salary, income, mortgages, live stock, and

real estate, when you know how it's done.

Managing a theatre, publishing a newspaper, or keeping trained dogs or

trotting horses, don't hardly begin to phlebotomize purse and

reputation, like drinking.

"Doctor," said a gay Southern blood, to a famed "tooth doctor," "look

into my mouth."

"I can't see any thing there, sir," says the tooth puller.

"Can't? Well, that's deuced strange. Why, sir, look again; you see


"Nothing, sir!"

"Why, sir," says the young planter, "it's most astonishing, for I've

just finished swallowing--three hundred negroes and two cotton


Four young bucks met, some years ago, in a fashionable drinking saloon

in Cincinnati. It was one of the most elegant drinking establishments in

that part of the country. The young chaps belonged over in

Kentucky--daddies rich, and they didn't care a snap! says they, let's

have a spree! The "sham" came in, and they went at it; giving that a

fair trial, they took a turn at sherry, hock, and a sample of all the

most expensive stuffs the proprietors had on hand. Getting fuddled, they

got uproarious; they kicked over the tables and knocked down the

waiters. The landlord, not exactly appreciating that sort of "going on,"

remonstrated, and was met by an array of pistols and knives. Mad and

furious, the young chaps made a general onslaught on the people present,

who "dug out" very quick, leaving the bacchanalians to their glory;

whereupon, they fell to and fired their pistols into the mirrors,

paintings, chandeliers, &c. Of course the watchmen came in, about the

time the young gentlemen finished their youthful indiscretions, and

after the usual battering and banging of the now almost inanimate bodies

of the quartette, landed them in the calaboose. Next day they settled

their bills, and it cost them about $2200! It was rather an expensive

lesson, but it's altogether probable that they haven't forgotten a

letter of it yet.

A small party of country merchants, traders, &c., were cruising around

New York, one evening, seeing the lions, and their cicerone,--by the

way, a "native" who knew what was what,--took them up Broadway, and as

they passed the Astor House, says one of the strangers:

"Smith, what's this thunderin' big house?"

"O, ah, yes, this," says the cicerone, Smith, "this, boys, is a great

tavern, fine place to get a drink."

"Well, be hooky, let's all go in."

In they all went; taking a private room or small side parlor, the

country gents requested Smith to do the talking and order in the liquor.

Smith called for a bill of fare, upon which are "invoiced" more "sorts"

and harder named wines and liquors than could be committed to memory

in a week.

"That's it," says Smith, marking a bill of fare, and handing it to the

servant, "that's it--two bottles, bring 'em up."

Up came the wine; it was, of course, elegant. The country gents froze to

it. They had never tasted such stuff before, in all their born days!

"Look a here, mister," says one of the "business men," "got eny more uv

that wine?"

"O, yes, sir!" says the servant.

"Well, fetch it in."

"Two bottles, sir?"

"Two ganders! No, bring in six bottles!--I can go two on 'em myself,"

says the country gent.

The servant delivered his message at the bar, and after a few grimaces

and whispering, the servant and one of the bar-keepers, or clerks,

carried up the wine. Says the clerk, whispering to Smith, whom he

slightly knew:

"Smith, do you know the price of this wine?"

"Certainly I do," says Smith; "here it's invoiced on the catalogue,

ain't it?"

"O, very well," says the clerk, about to withdraw.

"Hold on!" says one of the merry country gents, "don't snake your

handsome countenance off so quick; do yer want us to fork rite up fur

these drinks?" hauling out his wallet.

"No, yer don't," says another, hauling out his change.

"My treat, if you please, boys," says the third, pulling out a handful

of small change. "I asked the party in, an' I pay for what licker we

drink--be thunder!"

In the midst of their enthusiasm, the clerk observed it was of no

importance just then--the bill would be presented when they got through.

This was satisfactory, and the party went on finishing their wine,

smoking, &c.

"S'pose we have some rale sham-paigne, boys?" says one of the gents,

beginning to feel his oats, some!

"Agreed!" says the rest. Two bottles of the best "sham" in "the

tavern" were called for, and which the party drank with great gusto.

"Now," says one of them, "let's go to the the-ater, or some other place

where there's a show goin' on. Here, you, mister,"--to the servant,--"go

fetch in the landlord."

"The landlord, sur?" says Pat, the servant, in some doubts as to the

meaning of the phrase.

"Ay, landlord--or that chap that was in here just now; tell him to fetch

in the bill. Ah, here you are, old feller; well, what's the damages?"

asks the gent, so ambitious of putting the party through, and hauling

out a handful of keys, silver and coppers, to do it with.

"Eight bottles of that old flim-flam-di-rip-rap," pronouncing one of

those fancy gamboge titles found upon an Astor House catalogue,

"ninety-six dollars--"

"What?" gasped the country gent, gathering up his small change, that he

had began to sort out on the table.

"And two bottles of 'Shreider,' and cigars--seven dollars," coolly

continued the bar-clerk; "one hundred and three dollars."

"A hundred and three thunder--"

"A HUNDRED AND THREE DOLLARS!" cried the country gents, in one breath,

all starting to their feet, and putting on their hats.

The clerk explained it, clear as mud; the trio "spudged up" the amount,

looked very sober, and walked out.

"Come, boys," said Smith, "let's go to the theatre."

"Guess not," says "the boys." "B'lieve we'll go home for to-night, Mr.

Smith." And they made for their lodgings.

If those country gents were asked, when they got home, any particulars

about the "elephant," they'd probably hint something about getting a

glimpse of him at the Astor House.