Baltimore Evening Sun (20 November 1912): 6.


Bouillonocaput, n, a member of an old-fashioned charter commission, a perfumer, an Honorary Pallbearer, a souphead.

The mournful, lonesome music of the platitudinarians:

And the Old Town Merchants, drunk with blood, give Jake another chase around the track. O tempora, O mores!

A water meter in every house! Soft jobs for 100 more ward-heelers! Laugh, suckers, laugh!

Boil your drinking water! Cover your garbage can! Look out for Anthony Comstock!

The way them Old Town Merchants make faces at a Certain Party, it would make the Concord Club die first.—Adv.

Come, dear hearts, pay up your paving tax! You have paid once, true enough—but the boys need the money! Would you see the faithful starve? Have you no pity for poor ward heelers?

Again the circulation of The Evening Sunpaper has passed 40,000. Obviously, Harry must have been doing some knocking on the quiet.—Adv.

Hide your Rabelais! Throw away your Decameron! Anthony is prowling in our midst!

Meanwhile, the Havre de Grace deacons grow almost as bumptious as the Old Town Merchants. Nothing succeeds like crime.

Scoriacaput, n, a ward heeler, a dusthead, a junkhead, a slaghead.

Two great problems in psychology and chicane now engage and flabbergast the cognoscienti. The first is, Who wrote Col. Jacobus Hook’s declination of the Hon. Satan Anderson’s challenge to debate? And the second is, How was he ever induced to sign it?

Certainly no sane man believes that Jacobus himself composed that letter. Consider, for example, this passage:

I * * * am accustomed to giving expression to my views on public matters only when the public exigencies demand it.

Imagine the good Colonel penning any such repudiation and defiance of the business, the vocation, the passion of his life! No; that treason is not his. I suspect some scrivener of greater effrontery and less humor—to wit, the Hon. Aristides Sophocles Goldsborough, LL. B., K. T., author of the super-Mahon’s masterly series of ukases to the Job Hounds, and holder of the Hot Towel’s spermaceti medal for literary composition. In every line of Jake’s reply, indeed, there are tracks of Aristides’ style, and particularly of his high-pressure, state-paper style. No other man of our time writes such insidious and voluptuous English. It has the terseness of The Sun Almanac, and at the same time the Dionysian rhythm of a Wiener waltz.

But who forced Jake to sign the thing? I use the word “forced” with a full understanding of its meaning. Compulsion is written all over the paper. The glint of the pistol at the Jacobian temple is constantly visible. But whose hand grasps the handle? Alas, it looks to me like the Hon. Archangel Harry’s! I may be wrong, and if so, I apologize with tears in my eyes, but at this writing it looks to me like the Hon. the Archangel Harry’s.

Come on, Harry, let us have another message to the Job Hounds! The city pays for the printing! Lay on, Tartuffe!

The estimable Evening Sun on the sad degeneracy of the times:

In fiction there is no Dickens or Thackeray, no Hawthorne or George Eliot or Walter Scott, much less a Balzac or Hugo. And in all the world today where is there one poet whose song rings clear aa the Victorians’?

Is this strictly true? I doubt it. The great Victorians, English and French, had the inestimable advantage of being pioneers; they gained in comparative stature by the mere lack of competition and fixed standards. In each one, of course, there is intrinsic merit, and in the case of some of them, such as Thackeray, for example, it was very high merit indeed, but would they seem so great if they were writing today? Would they seem so great if they were put into direct competition with the great moderns in our schools and not worshiped unthinkingly as unique and incomparable? Isn’t it a fact, in brief, that Dickens for one is chiefly read today, not in the spirit of spontaneous appreciation, of high intellectual adventure, but chiefly as a matter of duty?

Thackeray wrote many indubitable masterpieces–“Barry Lyndon,” “The Book of Snobs,” “The Four Georges,” “Henry Esmond,” perhaps “Vanity Fair.” But he also wrote much sentimental and preposterous drivel–“The Newcomes,” “The Adventures of Philip,” “Lovell the Widower.” There are many novelists writing today who have never done anything half so meretricious and futile. The worst of George Moore is better than the worst of Scott; the best of Joseph Conrad is infinitely better than the average of Thackeray. Mark Twain, a thorough post- Victorian, produced at least four books that were better than “The Scarlet Letter.” And “The Old Wives’ Tale,” “Sister Carrie,” “What Maisie Knew,” “McTeague,” “A Mummer’s Wife,” and “The New Machiavelli” are much closer to life as it is really lived in the world than “Pendennis” and “Little Dorrit.” I, for one, wouldn’t exchange “Youth” and “Heart of Darkness” for all of Scott and nine-tenths of Hawthorne. And if I had to choose between George Ade’s “Fables in Slang” and Dickens’ “Pickwick Papers,” I’d choose the fables without hesitation, as considerably more amusing and illuminating to a man of my time.

But what of the poets? Well, it seems to me that Stephen Phillips, to name only one, has written better poetical dramas than Browning, and that Kipling has written vastly better lyric poetry. Tennyson, a better poet than Browning, lived out his long years as remote from his race and time as a man on a desert island. The stupendous progress of the world, the titanic revision of old ideals, the change in the whole machinery of life, made no impression on him whatever. The contemporary of Morse, Huxley, Pasteur and Marx, he groped absurdly through mists of medievalism. If a great poet should be to his kin and era what Homer was to the Greeks, and Dante to the emerging Italians, and Shakespeare to the Elizabethan English, then Kipling is a great poet, and Tennyson was one who missed greatness by an inch.