When Guy Irvine Slept in a Feather Bed
Old Time Tales of Warren County


When Guy Irvine Slept in a Feather Bed

Guy Irvine once slept in a feather bed in a Pittsburgh tavern, but not as other men have slept in feather beds. And the story, still told in Warren County, goes something like this.

Irvine was in the city of splendid smoke, the rafts-man's rendezvous where logs and lumber were landed by the million feet and the whole long riverfront, on both sides of the city, smelled of the soaked pine rafts which lay in fleets in the river.

They do say that Guy had been making rather an evening of it, had visited Ben Trimble's Varieties, an immensely popular resort much patronized by raftsmen, where there were short skirts, broad jokes and very tall glasses. A rafting trip to Pittsburgh without a visit at Trimbles, if a man were so inclined, was considered dull. The Varieties stod near the first store of Joseph Horne, in the heart of the city. There was vaudeville of a sort, with jokes calculated to fetch a roar from the rivermen.

Guy Irvine carried his liquor well and had probably visited a half dozen spots, including Barney Billing's place, and Joe Harris' saloon on Water St. when he arrived in the lobby of a rather pretentious tavern which catered to the best trade.

As Guy navigated a little unsteadily toward the desk the observant clerk noted his condition. It was nothing new, Guy's state attracted no attention, the average gentleman guest went to bed pretty mellow at that hostelry.

Irvine approached the clerk and inquired, "How much will you charge me for sleeping in a feather bed?"

The best rooms were three dollars, but the clerk saw an opportunity to make a couple extra dollars from this guest who would not remember rates when he rose in the morning.

"You can sleep in our best feather bed for five dollars," replied the clerk.

Irvine promptly tossed the hotel man a five dollar bill and was shown up two flights of stairs to his room. The boy set down his pitcher of water and departed. In the room was the highest, widest, softest, most generous looking bed Irvine had ever seen. The guest's boots were damp with the slime of Pittsburgh's cobblestones, his coat and trousers moist with the drizzle that was falling outdoors. He stood and took a long look at that enormous, billowy bed. He sailed his hat into a corner, took out his jacknife and slit a great hole in the feather tick. Then he crawled in among the feathers, wet boots, damp clothes and all. It was extremely soft and downy, he immediately sank into deep slumber and slept heavily till nine o'clock next morning. As he told friends afterward, it had always been his ambition to sleep in a feather bed.

When Irvine came down into the hotel lobby at nine he was a sight indescribable. Fluffy feathers sifted gently from his robust person like snow blowing off a bush. There were feathers in his hair, in his ears, in his boots. As he walked they kept falling out of his coatsleeves and floating across the floor. A crowd quickly gathered. The hotel clerk appeared. "Here you, what you been up to ;-ruining one of our feather beds! This will cost you twenty-five dollars."

"No it won't," said Guy Irvine, yawning, "it's paid for. I paid you five dollars and you agreed to let me sleep in a feather bed."

SOURCE:  Page(s) 147-149: Old Time Tales of Warren County; Meadville, Pa.: Press of Tribune Pub. Co., 1932


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