Baltimore Evening Sun (21 March 1912): 6.


Less than two weeks more of snide politics at Annapolis. Then a blast on the whistle—and an easy job in the City Hall for every faithful hewer of wood and drawer of water in the city delegation.

Good-bye, C2H5OH!

To the connoisseur of genius the mental processes and feats of ratiocination of the Hon. James McC. Trippe, Annapolis agent of the H. M. the super-Mahon, must give constant and refined delight. Jim is a master of the syllogism, a virtuoso of logic. Recall, for example. his principal argument against the local option bill: the argument, to wit, that the Hon. J. Booker Clift is a perjurer. What a masterly piece of reasoning! What a complete and effective answer to all the statistics and sophistries of the Hon. William H. Anderson, that satanic man! And recall, again, his argument for ward representation in the City Council: the argument, to wit, that the people of the Third ward need a representative to “teach them the principles of American government” and “bring them into the pale of our civilization.” The present representative from the Third ward is the Hon. King Hill Garland! What a felicitous example! What an intelligent and happy argument! And recall, yet again, “Jim’s” protest against certain attacks upon him in the early days of the session: a protest grounded upon the plea that the Speakership is an office of high dignity and honor. An office of dignity and honor—and yet one filled, in the past, by Lloyd Wilkinson, Sidney Mudd and the super-Mahon!

Certainly the Johns Hopkins University, if it were not a foe to all real learning, would invite “Jim” to its chair of logic. Is so powerful a mind, so brilliant a gift, to be permitted to sink back into obscurity? A thousand nays! Jim must stand forever among our native Aristotles and Spinozas, our Huxleys and Herbert Spencers. In all Maryland there is but one man more brilliant, but one man more sublimely engined with brains, but one man more justly entitled to the name of intellectual giant—and that man is the super-Mahon himself, that blinding comet of saagacity, that belching volcano of wisdom, that self-confessed master of all the arts.

Them reformers ain’t never landed nobody on that bribe talk yet, nor they never won’t.

Medical freedom, it appears, is growing cheaper day by day. The price of the full course at the American College of Mechano-Therapy, in Chicago, is now but $27, and one need put down but $3 in cash at the start. Last July, when the learned Dr. W. C. Schulze, dean of the college, began soliciting my trade, the price was $100 cash, or $37 cash and $23 a month for three months. Not until September did it drop to $50 cash, and not until November was it down to $5 a month on the installment plan. But here are all the good doctor’s offers, just as they have reached me:

July 17.—$100 cash, or $37 cash and $23 a month for three months, or $24 cash and $14.50 it month for six months.
September 9.—$50 cash, or $18.50 cash and $11.50 a month for three months, or $12 cash and $7.25 a month for six months.
October 9.—$47 cash, or $4 cash and $6 a month for eight months.
November 9—$25 cash, or $5 cash and $5 a month for five months.
January 18—A renewal of the offer of November 9.
March 16.—$3 cash and $3 a month for eight months.

Dr. Schulze, in his last letter, begs me to get aboard the bandwagon. Medical freedom, he says, is in the air. The common people tire of camomile and mustard plasters. They regard all orthodox physicians with baleful eye. “Every intelligent man or woman,” he says, “knows that the day of drugs is past … Mechano-Therapy has made more progress in the last three years than osteopathy and kindred cults did in ten.” Aha, a slam for the osteopaths! And indirectly, an attack upon peruna! Can it be that the medical freedomists begin to war among themselves, that the grand battle for liberty is to descend into a mere hair-pulling match?

No matte what happens in this town, it always seems to put a little change in Bob Padgett’s way, so to speak.

It is a sad commentary upon our boasted civilization that science has yet to devise a perfectly effective weapon against the common cockroach, or Blatta orientalis, that agile invader of our boarding houses and offices. As I compose these lines a young Blatta of extremely doggy aspect, apparently a fashionable fellow, enters from the boudoir of the sporting editor and diverts himself by observing my labors. I let fly with a pig of type metal—and miss him. I let fly with my scissors—and miss again. I take aim with a syringe of permanganate of potassium—but alas, he is gone!

After all, what’s the use? There were roaches in every newspaper office in the world before the tar was dry on the roof, and, there will be roaches there when the republic sinks to ashes. The streptococcus gives way before advancing science and the Anopheles masculipennis already faces doom, but the swift and supple Blatta hangs on. The multitudes of proprietary poisons on the market are of no avail against him. They kill, true enough—but poets and children as well as Blattæ. Projectiles, missiles? They damage furniture more than they disconcert the reach. Traps? Always out of order! Ferrets, dogs, falcons? No breed is small enough to pursue the Blatta to his secret caves.

A bacteriologist of my acquaintance, annoyed by blattie raids upon his agar and his beerwort, attempted to breed a spider capable of pursuing and gobbling the invaders. He succeeded, after many failures, in producing such a spider, but the reptile did more damage than good, for some of the Blattæ always escaped, and those that did escape, by well-known Mendelian laws, begat a race of Blattæ of extraordinary and even incredible swiftness, so that in the end my friend’s laboratory was alive with darting and inscotchable forms. When he killed his spider the Blattæ began to degenerate, and now they are not much speedier than their relatives in the ordinary hotel-kitchen.

There remains the one genuinely effective weapon, the common mallet of commerce. A bit cruel, perhaps, and a bit laborioius, but once you land on a Blatta with a mallet his sinews are bound to gave way. One square blow—and he is done. But don’t let the anti-vivisectionists observe you at your grim work! That way lies woe!