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November 3, 2013

April 20, 1874 Fifty Dollars, or I scream, Scamming a Hotel Landlord in Warrensburg, Missouri

"FIFTY DOLLARS, OR I SCREAM."
File:1870 success OldFashionedGirl byLMAlcott RobertsBros.png[St. Louis Dispatch, April 20th.] The pranks of a lady — at least in appearance — along the line of the Missouri Pacific Railway recently, have caused the depletion of the pocketbooks of several hotel proprietors at different towns, and among them Warrensburg and while the money was parted with there is still at least peace in the landlords' households. It will suffice to narrate bow this female "did her little job" at Warrensburg as related to a Dispatch reporter : She visited the town in the capacity of a book agent, to impress upon the incredulous the advantage to be gained by a subscription to the "most interesting and instructive work ever published." Arriving in town at noon she immediately went to a hotel, which shall be nameless, and registered. She was shown to a room and made her toilette. The next thing was to ring a bell, which ushered a boy in her presence, to whom she communicated the fact that she needed to see the landlord. The message was delivered to tbe landlord, and in the course of a few minutes he met her face to face in her room. As he entered the room she quietly locked tbe door, and placing the key in her pocket, said: "Now, Mr., I wish to have a few moments chat with yon." Well, ma'am," replied the landlord, "what you have to say, say it quickly, for I am in a hurry." In a very self composed manner the book agent drew herself, up, and said she: "Now, Mr., you are a married man, are you not?" "Yes, ma'am," meekly replied the landlord. "You have children, two of whom are nearly of age, have you not?" Yes, ma'am," again responded the landlord. "Well, then," said the book agent," if you have any respect for yourself or family, pay me fifty dollars, or I will scream." The landlord was bewildered, and, being a mild-mannered man, protested only in wellrounded phrases. This but made matters worse, and desiring to avoid a disagreeable reflection upon his wife and children, be agreed to pay her fifty dollars, when he did, and on the evening train she left for Pleasant Hill, and it is said she played the same game there. The landlord at Warrensburg thinks it rather expensive to pay fifty dollars to keep a woman from screaming, but there are only a few who know of it, and being a rather dignified gentleman, and one whose private character is spotless, he is not joked about it.

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 47, Number 7201, 4 May 1874

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