Eugene Field was at a dinner in London when the conversation turned to the subject of lynching in the United States.
It was the general opinion that a large percentage of Americans met death at the end of a rope. Finally the hostess turned to Field and asked:
"You, sir, must have often seen these affairs?"
"Yes," replied Field, "hundreds of them."
"Oh, do tell us about a lynching you have seen yourself," broke in half a dozen voices at once.
"Well, the night before I sailed for England," said Field, "I was giving a dinner at a hotel to a party of intimate friends when a colored waiter spilled a plate of soup over the gown of a lady at an adjoining table. The gown was utterly ruined, and the gentlemen of her party at once seized the waiter, tied a rope around his neck, and at a signal from the injured lady swung him into the air."
"Horrible!" said the hostess with a shudder. "And did you actually see this yourself?"
"Well, no," admitted Field apologetically. "Just at that moment I happened to be downstairs killing the chef for putting mustard in the blanc mange."