n this cover sequel to "Hen(dricks)-Pecked," Tilden and
Hendricks again appear as a married couple. They are pleased that their
inflation Rag Baby has fallen asleep (passed out) after imbibing high bock beer
(a strong, dark brew) when the Congress Water proved insufficient. While the
latter item signifies the U.S. Congress, it was actually a popular brand of
mineral water, purportedly with medicinal qualities, from the health resort town
of Saratoga Springs, New York.
This same issue of Harper's Weekly reports that the Democratically-controlled
House of Representatives had repealed the fixed date for the resumption of
specie payments (January 1, 1879). The hard-money Tilden had recently endorsed
the date-repeal as a compromise with the inflationists. He claimed that it
removed a hindrance to resumption, but he did not explain how. The confusion
over Tilden's policy is reflected in the Rag Baby inebriation and thumbing of
The design on Tilden's fan blends allusions to government "red tape"
(allegedly caused by the patronage system) and his position as one of the
nation's most successful and richest corporation lawyers, who specialized in
railroad law. Because he directed several mergers of railroad companies, critics
called him a "train wrecker" and sang the campaign ditty, "Sly
Sam, the Railroad Thief."
The hands on the clock stand at the eleventh hour: the last possible moment for
accomplishing a given task. The portraits on the wall highlight Tilden's
connection with Tammany Hall. On the left, the escaped William "Boss"
Tweed runs away in a sailor's suit. (See comments on "A Call for Tweed.") On the right, former-prizefighter John Morrissey is,
according to Harper's Weekly, the new political boss in control of the ring. (See comments on "The Democratic Team.")