Railway Etiquette by Edgar Wilson Nye

Story type: Essay

Many people have traveled all their lives and yet do not know how to behave themselves when on the road. For the benefit and guidance of such, these few crisp, plain, horse-sense rules of etiquette have been framed.

In traveling by rail on foot, turn to the right on discovering an approaching train. If you wish the train to turn out, give two loud toots and get in between the rails, so that you will not muss up the right of way. Many a nice, new right of way has been ruined by getting a pedestrian tourist spattered all over its first mortgage.

On retiring at night on board the train, do not leave your teeth in the ice-water tank. If every one should do so, it would occasion great confusion in case of wreck. It would also cause much annoyance and delay during the resurrection. Experienced tourists tie a string to their teeth and retain them during the night.

If you have been reared in extreme poverty, and your mother supported you until you grew up and married, so that your wife could support you, you will probably sit in four seats at the same time, with your feet extended into the aisles so that you can wipe them off on other people, while you snore with your mouth open clear to your shoulder blades.

If you are prone to drop to sleep and breathe with a low death rattle, like the exhaust of a bath tub, it would be a good plan to tie up your head in a feather bed and then insert the whole thing in the linen closet; or, if you cannot secure that, you might stick it out of the window and get it knocked off against a tunnel. The stockholders of the road might get mad about it, but you could do it in such a way that they wouldn’t know whose head it was.

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Ladies and gentlemen should guard against traveling by rail while in a beastly state of intoxication.

In the dining car, while eating, do not comb your moustache with your fork. By all means do not comb your moustache with the fork of another. It is better to refrain altogether from combing the moustache with a fork while traveling, for the motion of the train might jab the fork into your eye and irritate it.

If your desert is very hot and you do not discover it until you have burned the rafters out of the roof of your mouth, do not utter a wild yell of agony and spill your coffee all over a total stranger, but control yourself, hoping to know more next time.

In the morning is a good time to find out how many people have succeeded in getting on the passenger train, who ought to be in the stock car.

Generally, you will find one male and one female. The male goes into the wash room, bathes his worthless carcass from daylight until breakfast time, walking on the feet of any man who tries to wash his face during that time. He wipes himself on nine different towels, because when he gets home, he knows he will have to wipe his face on an old door mat. People who have been reared on hay all their lives, generally want to fill themselves full of pie and colic when they travel.

The female of this same mammal, goes into the ladies’ department and remains there until starvation drives her out. Then the real ladies have about thirteen seconds apiece in which to dress.

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If you never rode in a varnished car before, and never expect to again, you will probably roam up and down the car, meandering over the feet of the porter while he is making up the berths. This is a good way to let people see just how little sense you had left after your brain began to soften.

In traveling, do not take along a lot of old clothes that you know you will never wear.

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