Publication: The Telegrapher
New York, NY, United States
*A Dream of Insulation.
I was sitting in the office after office hours one night,
Engaged in getting my reports to balance up all right;
The business had been brisk all day, and I felt tired out;
My eyes go heavy grew I scarcely knew what I was about;
So hurriedly I urged my pen in silence swift along,
But still some cents were lacking - I wondered what was wrong.
A veil of dreams fell softly o'er my sleep-bewildered eyes;
I found myself within the telegrapher's paradise.
There loftily frescoed ceilings stretched far up above my head;
No doors were there, but curtained, columned arches served instead.
Between them were bowed windows with stained panes of every hue,
Where the lights upon the richly tiled and marbled floor fell through;
And near them ebon tables were arranged within the space,
And I heard the "tick" of instruments in steady silvery pace.
There were operators groped about beside these ebon stands,
Appareled neat and tastefully, with white and well-kept hands;
Much I marveled, looking round me as I scrutinized each face,
That no hint of frown or wrinkle could I find a single trace;
There seemed a spirit prevalent of unanimity,
Of peace, content, and quiet systematic industry;
Seemed manipulation evenly the pulsing of the wrist,
And the armatures repeated it in echoes sweetly triste.
And then, to give my growing curiosity relief,
For the secret of the harmony I queried of the "chief;"
Motioned he without the windows where the wires stretched away
Over poles securely poised, their base protected from decay.
"Please remark those insulators, the invention of D. Brooks;
They prevent the least escapement; see how nice that cross-arm looks.
Here is comfort, steady working, pay good, and our hearts are light,
And we've time to be contented, also time to be polite."
Fell my head against the table ere I'd timme to make reply,
And I raised it quickly, looking round with wakened, wond'ring eye;
Found myself among realities, a sickly current near,
The relay ticking feebly with a round I scarce could hear.
Then I mentally contrasted what I'd dreamdt with what I saw,
And wondered why Americans ne'er recognized the law,
"Economy is time," just meant "do well what's done at all,"
And "Labor saved is money saved," would make stocks rise, not fall.
Instead their lines are poorly built to serve the present day,
Stability is scouted at, with thoughts of all decay;
And though D. Brooks has given them an insulation good,
They'd rather use the flint or glass within the arms of wood.
Injected never are their poles as lines across the wave
(As our European brethren have learned their time to save).
We're somewhat a shirking nation, caring but for present fame,
And naught to leave posterity the bright, untarnished name
We might if we but thought the "news" the stepping-stones of Time;
And coming years but echo "now" with sad or gladsome chime.
O. P. Erator.