« ForrigeFortsæt »
confidence of the whole family, but also to get all the facts concerning their business affairs : how much the little farm brought, and how much they had left to begin life in the west, and actual cash on hand. There was not a hitch in the scheme; the new friend (?) loaded them with kindnesses and courtesies, paid all the bills at lunch and theatre-took the young people into the mysteries of the great wonderland—all so new and strange.
It was the last afternoon; father and Mr. Confidence Man were returning from a tour of sightsee. ing. They met a man walking in great haste; looking up he saw the two men, and suddenly laid violent hands on the farmer's friend," demanding the payment of a note three days overdue. They quarrelled; all manner of apologies were made, that he was “entertaining an old friend, etc.," all of which caused the Shylock to grow more enraged and unreasonable; they almost came to blows.
Finally the old man's benefactor asked to see him for a moment alone. Then meekly humble, and with many regrets, asked for a loan of enough to pay the note. “We will go right down to my office, and I will reimburse you with big interest for the kindness.” The honest old man was only too glad for an opportunity of returning, by such a little act, the kindness that had been shown him. The note was almost one thousand dollars; when the bills were counted out, less than ten dollars remained in his purse—the savings of a lifetime.
Proceeding on their way until they reached the first saloon, “ It is my treat, uncle," said the man.
After the drinks were served, he asked to be excused for a moment, and stepped into a back room from the bar-he was seen no more. After a long time, the barkeeper informed the old man that his friend was one of the worst crooks in St. Louis. With less than ten dollars he staggered out of the saloon, wandered over the city dazed and half insane. On the following day he was found down on the wharf crying like a child. What had happened? He had been in the hands of a Confidence Man.
There are being formed in all walks of life-high and low_associations and alliances, spurred on and incited by extravagant promises—the hook baited according to the fish—which culminates in certain disaster. The pathway of life is strewn with victims of Confidence friends—instead of friends. As in all these subtle and dangerous diversions we believe every trap and scheme are under the direct control and supervision of Satan-playing the role of Confidence Man. Many with a natural impulse for pleasure knock, and at once arms are wide open to receive them; lust beckons, and the Broad Way becomes choked with her votaries; covetousness shouts her promises, and the love of money soon burns out every high and holy aspiration. Fame holds the chaplet in full view, and men are ready to exchange heaven in order to have it pressed upon their brow.
But alas, in the end-in the end—“ it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." When the curtain falls, too late to recover, we shall be found on eternity's shore, shipwrecked, robbed, ruined—victims of the great seducer. No one but an incarnate devil could stoop to the low plane of Confidence Man in business and social life; but think of what it means : by flattering promises, smiles, and kindness force an entrance into the heart life, and when once in possession, desecrate, prostitute, and destroy. We insist that it takes a devil-possessed man to operate in this particular field, and the world is full of such. We therefore conclude he is the god of this planet, blinding the eyes of his unnumbered victims.
THE TRAPPER “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”—2 Timothy ii. 26.
“ Surely he will deliver thee from the snare of the fowler."Psalm xci. 3.
To be a trapper requires something more than setting traps and baiting them. The old trapper returns from a season spent among mountains, rivers, and forests—ladened with valuable furs of every kind: beaver, bear, otter, fox, mink, wildcat, coon, opossum, etc. Remember the animal kingdom is infinite in variety ; no two alike. A trap that will catch a beaver will not answer as a bear trap; a coon and a mink are as far removed from each other as a polished American and a native of Madagascar. A A coon will not go within a rod of a chain, but have little if any keenness of scent for protection. A rat will not go near an object if the smell of human hands is on it.
Volumes of natural history would be inadequate to give the details of differentiation of the animal kingdom. The old trapper in his log cabin has never read a page of zoölogy, but is far more familiar with the ways of the furry folk than the scientists who write our books on natural history. The trapper is a graduate from the school of Association; he has studied the traits and pranks of the forest inhabitants by observation at close range. He knows just where the mink can be caught, and just how the trap must be baited and concealed; he has the same information about all the rest, and can apply it. Once when a child, we were enraptured until late bedtime by the stories of an old trapper : telling about the different varmints." Without drawing on his imagination, he could have added many chapters to the tales of “ Uncle Remus.” The facts about our furry friends are far more interesting than fiction; the trapper knows about these facts.
The Psalmist calls Satan a fowler; one who sets traps for old and young as the fowler sets traps for fowls. How is it done? Leaves and weeds are carefully cleared away, and the trap is skillfully set by a trigger, so that the slightest touch will spring it. The ground is also cleared for several rods leading off in front of the trap; suitabie food is scattered under the trap and all along the clean strip of ground. The birds excitedly follow the line of food "-walking under the trap where it is scattered in abundance. In the scuffle, the trigger is soon touched; behold the trap falls, and they are caught; oh, how they beat their heads against the prison bars until they are covered with blood, but all is over. They are caught in the snare of the fowler.
Every animal and fowl will flee from the approach of danger; the trap must be hid, or in some way made to appear as something harmless; nature has endowed them to seek always self-preservation. With nothing but instinct to guide, they are easily caught by the skill and cunning of man, but never caught in