The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
A Beggars Strategy
By Isaac Kahn Friedman (18701931)
From Autobiography of a Beggar
MEH an Foxy, said Jake the Beggar (I see Foxy aint here to-night), worked a racket dat was all right fer Foxy, but what didnt go at all fer meh. Him an meh started out ter-day an he axes meh what I has on.
Give a feller a chance, snaps Foxy; let me finish. Heres de new part: I stands on de corner wid meh hat in meh hand, an yer hobbles up ter meh, an yer looks sorry fer meh. Den yer drops a dime in meh hat. Den a whole crowd of peoplell say, Did yer see dat beggar give de other beggar a dime? How deservin he must be. Den dey all stops an drops a dime in meh hat. Some ef em more an some less.
So meh an Foxy walks on, an Foxy watches sharp, an when he sees de right corner, he stands still an he takes orff his hat, an he begins ter sing a song de like ef which I never heerd afore. He must have made it up ez he went along; it sounded like Chinee ter meh. But whether de song was Chinee er Japanee, it done de work. Yer never seen sech a crowd.
An I takes off me hat an I hobbles thru de crowd, an I begs an I dont get a red. Den I fishes a dime out ef meh pocket an drops de dime inter Foxys hat, a-sayin ter mehself, Good-by, dime; meh an youll never see each other agin. Den de crowd loosens up. Yerd a thought it was a-rainin silver. I never seen sich an invistment fer a dime in all meh born days. In five minutes his hat was dat full I tought itd break.
An Foxy, seein I means business, he agrees ter divvy, an I dont let meh hand orff his throat till he does. An when he gives meh de coin, I hands him a punch, an Foxy yells. An I turns ter go out of de alley when Foxy bawls:
Say, Jake, I didnt do de square thing an Im ashamed ef mehself. Now, Jake, yer an meh kin work de same racket over agin. Ill play lame man an yer kin play blind man, an sing an hold de hat.
So meh an him starts fer a new corner, an when us hits on one, I takes orff meh hat an I shuts meh eyes ter play blind man an sings fer all Im worth. It didnt take long fer de crowd to come, an Foxy hobbles up ter meh thru de big crowd an he stops in front ef meh an looks inter meh hat an he grins. Den he hobbles away, not droppin de dime in. Yer a long time a-spendin dat dime, I was a-goin ter yell out, but dasnt.