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Cabalistic Carving

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Some days ago, a tramp was seen coming out of a residence in this city by the Argus man, glancing up and I down the street to see if any one was in sight. He took out a piece of black chalk from his pocket and marked a hitching post. When the tramp had moved on, an examination of the hitching post revealed a large X. The significance of the action was not clear to the reporter, and when, on Wednesday, a periodic visit was received from a veteran Bohemian whose wanderings have covered nearly every state and territory, and whose varied associations have embraced almost every grade of persons, the solution of the meaning of the cross was submitted to him. With a smile indicating perfect acquaintance with the subject, he said substantially as follows: "Why, Mr. Editor, the motive and method of the man's apparent madness are well understood by every veteran member of the self-perpetuating guild of professional vagrants, known among themselves interchangeably as mouchers, hobeaus, fly-hitters, roadwelters and hand-out-hustlers, but by the world at large classed under the expressive title of tramp. The viciousness and innate and well-nigh universal depravity of the class has justly made this term the most opprobrious and degrading epithet applicable by one man to another. 'You see it's this way. In common with all humanity, the tramp has long since recognized that strength is the progeny of combination. Now, while their nomadic habist render anything like general organization impossible, the swiitness, wiae range ana constancy of their moyements, and the : freemasonry of their outcast eondition, lead to incredibly rapid dissemination of information important to the craft. At every point of chance meeting the fullest interchange of late experiences is mutually made. "By this means it is a matter of wonder to the uninf ormed how soon stern repressiye measures in any town resul t in its .comparative emancipation from the national nuisance. Eyery victim of such local vigorous action, every one that that victim meets, each one that these meet, and so on in constantly multiplying procession, diffuses the news so successf ully and efficiently that within a week or two it is known literally and generally from Maine to California. "The mark you saw made wasone of svarning, indicating that either a cross . iog or 'cruel' people made the place an ■ undesirable one for mendicant ' 9ïs. liad it been the rough outline of a hand, it would have meant, according to size of hand and its point high or groundward, that a more or less desirable 'hand-out'- bundie of cold food - might be had. If a square had been either very small or quite visible, it would signify the house to be more or less safe for a large or small meal. A sketched shoe points it out as a place where footwear may be successfully cast. Either the head of the animal or the word 'buil,' indicates the residence of a policeman; and if any other feature of the house can be expressed in signs intelligible to the average hobeau mind, it will be done by a veteran vagrant for the benefit of lus special class; and these now happily f ast dying out originators of the tramp crimináis have a hundred methods of conveying such pernicious information. ïhis cabalistic feature may be closed by saying that the approach telephone or telegraph poles to any town contain hieroglyphics which wam against approaching danger or insure safe passage. Almost all men on the road for any length of time are familiar with these signs. A club grasped in hand means rough treatment ahead, while O. K., sometimos with town name attachment. means safe sailing. "But foolish is the householder who supposes the above to be in anywise the limit of the perils to which they are subjected by this malign system of surveillance. 'There is the list system, the evil3 of which are most flagrant in populous places. In the course of a sojourn ranging from a week to a monta a tramp will discover from flf ty to a hundred houses where a full and lavish meal may always be had for the asking, and they are by him carefully listed, and form a commercial commodity easily salable at one or two cents a name for each house on the list. "Yet again, if several of these pariahs spend a day or two in a town, the person or persons who use one oL them generously at breakf ast, will invariably have another for dinner, supper. and so on during the stay of the party. The unwisely charitable housewife will innocently express wonder at the inundation, and her mendacious yisitor will share her surprise, express indignation and extend sympathy, the while devouring regulation tramp rations of good f are. " Short of entire suppression of the tramp evil just described in one of ita aspects by a man who knew whereof he talked, there is only this consolation in sight for the charitable, either wholly cease back-door donations, or watch your gate-posts and vigorously limit the number of tneals or other aid you will give away consecutively. If you feed a man in the morning absolutly deny yourself tbat pleasure for at least two days. By thatmeasure you will get classification as a 'sometime' house and escape eternal importunity. Happilythe resulta of the systematic plans of mendicancy largely work out their own remedy sooner or later. The most obtuse in time get aware of the fact that they are marked and absolutely close their hearts against all appeal. But the other side of the picture is that the tramps justly claim that suckers are bom faster than tliey die, so that no man can foresee the extinction of what is becoming or has become one of the notable evils of the nation and the century."