Six or eight congenial spirits sat around a stove in a Detroit grocery the other night and after several other subjects had been exhausted some one introduced that of panics in churches, theatres, and halls. This gave Mr. Hopewell a chance to remark:

“Gentlemen, I just long to be there.”


“Why, in one of those panics. Yes, sir, I’d give a new twenty-dollar bill to be in the theatre one night when there was an occasion for a panic.”


Why, because one cool, level-headed man could stop the thing as easily as you could end up that barrel of flour.”

“Well, I dunno about that,” observed one of the sitters. There is something awful in the cry of fire, and hear it where and when you may, it startles and frightens. What would you do in a theatre in case there was a cry of fire and a rush ?”

” I d stand upon my seat, pull a revolver from my pocket, and shout out that I’d shoot the first man who attempted to crowd or rush. One cool man would check the panic in ten seconds.”

While the subject was being continued the grocer went to the rear end of the store, poured a little powder on a board, and gave three or four men the wink. Directly there was a bright flash, yells of “ Fire!” and “ Powder 1” and every man sprang up and rushed. Hopewell didn’t spring up and talk of shooting. On the contrary, he fell over a lot of baskets piled between him and the door, got up to plough his way over a rack of brooms, and when he reached the sidewalk he was on all fours, white as a ghost, and so frightened that he never looked back until he reached the opposite side of the street.

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