| Fifty Famous People|
|by James Baldwin|
|Offers stories about real persons who actually lived and performed their parts in the great drama of the world's history. Some of these persons were more famous than others, yet all have left enduring footprints on the 'sands of time,' and their names will be long remembered. Though not strictly biographical, each of the stories contains a basis of truth and an ethical lesson which cannot fail to have a wholesome influence. Each also possesses elements of interest that will delight the children with whom it is shared. Ages 6-9 |
THE LANDLORD'S MISTAKE
WHEN John Adams was president and Thomas Jefferson was vice president
of the United States, there was not a railroad in all the world.
People did not travel very much. There were no broad, smooth highways
as there are now. The roads were crooked and muddy and rough.
 If a man was obliged to go from one city to another, he often rode on
horseback. Instead of a trunk for his clothing, he carried a pair of
saddlebags. Instead of sitting at his ease in a parlor car, he went
jolting along through mud and mire, exposed to wind and weather.
One day some men were sitting by the door of a hotel in Baltimore. As
they looked down the street they saw a horseman coming. He was riding
very slowly, and both he and his horse were bespattered with mud.
"There comes old Farmer Mossback," said one of the men, laughing. "He's
just in from the backwoods."
"He seems to have had a hard time of it," said another; "I wonder where
he'll put up for the night."
"Oh, any kind of a place will suit him," answered the landlord. "He's
one of those country fellows who can sleep in the haymow and eat with
The traveler was soon at the door. He was dressed plainly, and, with
his reddish-brown hair and mud-bespattered face, looked like a hard-working
countryman just in from the backwoods.
"Have you a room here for me?" he asked the landlord.
Now the landlord prided himself upon keeping a
 first-class hotel, and
he feared that his guests would not like the rough-looking traveler.
So he answered: "No, sir. Every room is full. The only place I could
put you would be in the barn."
"Well, then," answered the stranger, "I will see what they can do for
me at the Planters' Tavern, round the corner;" and he rode away.
About an hour later, a well-dressed gentleman came into the hotel and
said, "I wish to see Mr. Jefferson."
"Mr. Jefferson!" said the landlord.
"Yes, sir. Thomas Jefferson, the vice president of the United States."
"He isn't here."
"Oh, but he must be. I met him as he rode into town, and he said that
he intended to stop at this hotel. He has been here about an hour."
"No, he hasn't. The only man that has been here for lodging to-day was
an old clodhopper who was so spattered with mud that you couldn't see
the color of his coat. I sent him round to the Planters'."
"Did he have reddish-brown hair, and did he ride a gray horse?"
"Yes, and he was quite tall."
"That was Mr. Jefferson," said the gentleman.
 "Mr. Jefferson!" cried the landlord. "Was that the vice president?
Here, Dick! build a fire in the best room. Put everything in tiptop
order, Sally. What a dunce I was to turn Mr. Jefferson away! He shall
have all the rooms in the house, and the ladies' parlor, too, I'll go
right round to the Planters' and fetch him back."
So he went to the other hotel, where he found the vice president
sitting with some friends in the parlor.
"Mr. Jefferson," he said, "I have come to ask your pardon. You were
so bespattered with mud that I thought you were some old farmer. If
you'll come back to my house, you shall have the best room in it—yes,
all the rooms if you wish. Won't you come?"
"No," answered Mr. Jefferson. "A farmer is as good as any other man;
and where there's no room for a farmer, there can be no room for me."
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