"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This week brings us number 3 in the "Boston Post's" series, "Famous Cats of New England." Meet the--to modern ears--regrettably named Chinky, king of Boston's City Hall:
Two claims to distinction win for Chinky third place in the hall of fame of New England catdom. He is the cat who adopted City Hall, driving out all the other cats that City Hall had adopted before he arrived, and he is the topaz puss of the stately stride, that coming down School street has often been mistaken for the great Von Hindenburg himself, the famous "Hindy" of the Post.

Naturally a social climber and a born politician is Chinky. The very fact that he was brought to Boston from his home on Peacedale road, Dorchester, for the sole purpose of exterminating the rats in Vincent Dell Aquilla's hat shop at 1 Province court, and that he turned his back on so humble a pursuit the moment he laid eyes on City Hall that looms across the way, goes to prove it.

To strut about the council chamber, to force his way unbidden into the Mayor's office, and to look as much like Hindy as possible, appear to be Chinky's aims in life. It is because he has made good in all of them that Chinky has won his place.

Let Graveyard Tom so much as set foot within the confines of the iron fence and it is a different story. Howls of hatred and hisses of wrath are lifted by Hindy and Chinky. Some sort of a stick-together bond links these two against the rest of catdom.

They look so much alike, these two, that everybody at the Hall and the Post from Mayor Peters and the City Editor down to the respective office boys have mistaken the one for the other at times. In fact, calling yesterday to interview Chinky, the reporter was baffled a bit. Chinky was reported as having just left the hall to make a brief call on his owner, across the way. Hugh McLaughlin, assistant custodian at City Hall, was the informant.

Lapping up a saucer of milk in the corner of the hat shop was a bouncing yellow cat. "Why, that's Hindy. He's deserted the Post," broke out the dismayed exclamation. But the hatmaker hastened to reassure. Chinky, he said, did not arrive in the vicinity of Newspaper Row until last July whereas Hindy's fame dated from Armistice Day.

To gambol on the lawn while waiting for Mayor Peters to arrive in the morning--to force himself through the revolving door in the same compartment with his Honor, to rub up against his feet in a wheedlesome manner--these are the tactics that have won Chinky his fame, by which he expects to climb higher still into favor.

The office-seeking hanger-on in City Hall has only one problem now. Will he be a "Goo-Goo" cat or will he line up with any one of the other ten unendorser candidates?
~December 9, 1920

[Note: "Goo-Goo" was the derisive nickname given Boston's Good Government Association, the organization backing Peters. And for those of you who have been following this blog for a while--yes, "Mayor Peters" is the same Andrew J. Peters who was a major figure in the Starr Faithfull mystery. It is a great pity that there is no record of Chinky biting him.]


  1. Great post. Thank you. Sharing!

  2. The article states that Chinky was a born-politician. But if drove the rats out of city hall, he can't be a politician; politicians bring them in.


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