Drift from Two Shores
The Man From Solano
He came toward me out of an opera lobby, between the acts,--a figure as remarkable as
anything in the performance. His clothes, no two articles of which were of the same
color, had the appearance of having been purchased and put on only an hour or two
before,--a fact more directly established by the clothes-dealer's ticket which still adhered
to his coat-collar, giving the number, size, and general dimensions of that garment
somewhat obtrusively to an uninterested public. His trousers had a straight line down
each leg, as if he had been born flat but had since developed; and there was another
crease down his back, like those figures children cut out of folded paper. I may add that
there was no consciousness of this in his face, which was good-natured, and, but for a
certain squareness in the angle of his lower jaw, utterly uninteresting and commonplace.
"You disremember me," he said, briefly, as he extended his hand, "but I'm from Solano,
in Californy. I met you there in the spring of '57. I was tendin' sheep, and you was burnin'
There was not the slightest trace of any intentional rudeness in the reminder. It was
simply a statement of fact, and as such to be accepted.
"What I hailed ye for was only this," he said, after I had shaken hands with him. "I saw
you a minnit ago standin' over in yon box-- chirpin' with a lady--a young lady, peart and
pretty. Might you be telling me her name?"
I gave him the name of a certain noted belle of a neighboring city, who had lately stirred
the hearts of the metropolis, and who was especially admired by the brilliant and
fascinating young Dashboard, who stood beside me.
The Man from Solano mused for a moment, and then said, "Thet's so! thet's the name! It's
the same gal!"
"You have met her, then?" I asked, in surprise.
"Ye-es," he responded, slowly: "I met her about fower months ago. She'd bin makin' a
tour of Californy with some friends, and I first saw her aboard the cars this side of Reno.
She lost her baggage- checks, and I found them on the floor and gave 'em back to her,
and she thanked me. I reckon now it would be about the square thing to go over thar and
sorter recognize her." He stopped a moment, and looked at us inquiringly.
"My dear sir," struck in the brilliant and fascinating Dashboard, "if your hesitation
proceeds from any doubt as to the propriety of your attire, I beg you to dismiss it from
your mind at once. The tyranny of custom, it is true, compels your friend and myself to
dress peculiarly, but I assure you nothing could be finer than the way that the olive green
of your coat melts in the delicate yellow of your cravat, or the pearl gray of your trousers