If Paul J. Sachs '00, professor of Fine Arts, is brusquely stopped by an insolent redcap in Grand Central Station this vacation while conducting a tour of eastern art galleries, his students trailing behind will find him quite unfazed.
For Earl Brown, a porter in Grand Central, has written in Letters, biweekly magazine, how he once tried to extort "hush money" from Mr. Sachs on "Sugar Hill," the Vanderbilt Avenue taxicab entrance.
His story follows:
The narrowest escape I ever had from being fired was when I got fly with a little guy who detrained from the Lake Shore Limited. During Prohibition days, 'leggers came in from Canada and other points with huge bags loaded with liquor. In order to get through O.K., they'd dress like preachers, bums, and ambassadors. A redcap in not allowed to charge a passenger for services--take the tip and shut up! is the law. But bootleggers could be hijacked for a buck or more, if you were sure you had one in tow.
Thought Sachs Had Liquor
I was sure the little guy from the Lake Shore was hauling liquor; so I began to lay my racket.
"These bags are too heavy, whatcha got in 'em?" I curtly asked. The little guy looked around startled and said, "Books, why?" "You can't hand me that stuff," I bluffed. "They are books; I'm returning to teach in the University," he explained. Mad through by now, I retorted, "Feels like 'splo' (liquor) to me." Instead of getting hot under the collar the good little guy asked, "Do you work here all the time?" "No," I answered, "I'm a Sophomore in Harvard."
He didn't believe me; but when we arrived on Sugar Hill and I opened his cab door he gave me a buck and his card. On it was engraved: Professor Paul J. Sachs, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.
I ducked Fine Arts courses.