"...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, May 11, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This week I have a double feature for you. This charming pair of news items appeared together in the "San Francisco News Letter," July 20, 1878:
A horrible tragedy has just been enacted at Sacramento, and which illustrates man's perfidy and woman's fatal sin of curiosity. A young lady, living on Elderberry street, recently jilted a young taxidermist, whom she was to have married next fall. He discovered who his dread rival was, and reproached the faithless sweetheart for her perfidy. During the altercation a beautiful sky terrier, belonging to the latter, conceived its mistress to be in danger, and sprang upon the discarded lover. The incensed man at once killed the animal with his cane. Afterwards he became apparently reconciled to the change of affairs, and offered to stuff the dog and leave the country for ever. In a few days the pet was received by the girl nicely mounted, hut with a singular tag attached to its collar. This bore the words, "Don't search its tail." Day after day the puzzled young woman racked her brains over this legend. What an absurd thing. Who would ever want to search a stuffed dog's tail, anyway? She at once concluded her old love had become crazy through disappointment regarding herself. All the same, however, as our lady readers have already surmised, it was not long before she did light a candle, and held it within an inch of her deceased pet's caudal appendage. Our innumerable intelligent readers can imagine what followed. In the dog's body was concealed a pint can of nitro-glycerin, the fuse of which extended through the tail. The only piece of the girl which could be found after the explosion, lover No. 2 now carries round in his locket, while the villain of the tragedy has fled to foreign lauds to become a Corsair, or bank President, or something.

A young lady traveling in the stage-coach from Redville to the Yosemite, a week or two ago, was suddenly requested by one of the passengers to conceal about her a large solitaire diamond ring, as some suspicious characters were seen ahead. The latter turned out to be highwaymen in good earnest, and went through the passengers in the most approved Vasquez style. After they had departed it was discovered the young lady referred to had swallowed the diamond in her fright. On reaching the next station the owner of the ring suggested an emetic, but the lady had time to think it over, and refused to take the dose unless she was first paid a hundred dollars salvage. This was refused, and now the ring owner is following the fair swallower around the country, secretly sprinkling Ipecac in her food and generally putting up jobs for the recovery of his property. He had her arrested for theft, but the Judge dismissed the case, and the indignant female has since tacked on an additional fifty dollars for storage. The stone is worth two thousand dollars, and the case grows daily more interesting. We shall keep our readers duly advised of the outcome of both.
Both these stories seem completely legit, of course.


  1. Yes, quite true, I'm sure. I like the bit in the second story about the man 'secretly' putting ipecac in the girl's food; secretly, known only to the readers of a newspaper in the biggest city on the American western seaboard. And the first one... Nitroglycerine must have been different in those days for a small amount actually to vapourise a body - except for enough to carry in a locket. Yuck, by the way.

    1. Yeah, I thought the locket was an especially quaint touch.

  2. The first story was really odd. Humor, like many things, must change as time goes by. The second story is a bit funnier. It's like a disgusting version of a story with a good moral - be careful who you trust, and what you trust them with!

    The Ipecac doesn't make sense, though. The ring can't be in the stomach anymore, and eating new food pushes the old food out. He's basically making his wait longer!

    1. Ha! I didn't think of that. How long did the man think the ring was going to stay put? It's things like that that show the story is exaggerated, at best. That and it's silly. But funny.

  3. "became a Corsair or a bank President..." Essentially the same thing really.

    And I think the only thing these two little snippets of wonderment reveal to the reader is that women are evil. As if we didn't know that!


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