While sojourning at Lake Griffith with the “boys” lately, Silas told a story on himself that greatly amused those who listened to it. While we cannot tell it in the interesting way Mr. Griffith did, we will endeavor to give the substance of it.
It seems that quite it number of years back Mr. Griffith sent some of his men to several places to buy horses that were needed to carry his lumber business during the approaching winter that bid fair to be a very active one. But the men were unable to buy a sufficient number of suitable horses, and Mr. Griffith took the matter in hand himself. He said he thought he could find some horses in the vicinity of Fair Haven, and one day took an early train for that point. On reaching his destination he went to a certain hotel in the village whose then proprietor, he was informed, could give him more information of the kind he wanted than anyone else in that vicinity.
Approaching the boniface, who did not recognize him, Mr. Griffith asked him if he knew of any good teaming horses which might be bought in that vicinity, and met with the Yankee answer of asking hint where he wanted to use them. Being informed that they were wanted for use in Danby, the landlord asked if they were wanted for Griffith. He was informed that they were, and he then said he thought he knew where he could get them, also volunteering the further information that he had himself worked for that gentleman one winter a few years before. Here was certainly a case of non-recognition on both sides. If the man was telling the truth—which further inquiry developed to be a fact.
The man talked along about Mr. Griffith and his personal traits, about the large amount of timberland he owned, the number of men he employed, saying many things that he would never have thought of saying if he had been aware that he was talking to Mr. Griffith himself. Among other things, he said: “Why, they had Griffith on the point of failing two or three times, I believe.” Silas said he guessed that was so, but guessed he had always paid his debts so far. “Yes,” the man said, “he has always paid.”
Silas was in a quandary what to do, for he knew that the drummer would reveal his identity as soon as he returned; but after staying out in the chilly air for half an hour, and wanting the horses very much, which the landlord was sure he could get for him, he goes back to the hotel and braves the situation. The landlord was absent from the room, but he meets the drummer and shakes him by the hand, then taking a position beside the stove to warm up. The proprietor soon came in, and after standing around for a few minutes with head down, apparently in deep thought, he approached Mr. Griffith and said: “I feel about the meanest of any man on earth.”
Silas asked him what was the matter, but at once realized that the drummer had “let the cat out of the bag.” The hotel man said: “You are Mr. Griffith, aren’t you? “—and Silas had to acknowledge that he was that gentleman. The landlord then says: “Here I have been talking to you about yourself and didn’t know who I talking to—and I certainly ought to feel mean about it. After working for you, I ought to know you when I saw you, but there is one thing about your appearance that I thought was entirely different than what it is.” Being asked what that one thing was, the man answered: “I would have sworn that you were bald-headed. You are not bald-headed, are you, Mr. Griffith?”
Silas assured the man that he need not feel at all distressed by what he had said, matters were patched up and the latter took his guest around to see the horses referred to, and Mr. Griffith’s trip was highly successful as well as somewhat amusing.”