Baltimore Evening Sun (27 November 1912): 6.


Democracy is the theory that intelligence is dangerous. It assumes that no idea can be safe until those who can’t understand it have approved it. It defines the truth as anything which at least 51 men in every 100 believe. Thus it is firmly committed to the doctrines that one bath a week is enough, that “I seen” is the past tense of “I see” and that Friday is an unlucky day.


A prize each week for the sweetest, juiciest platitude launched in Baltimore! No entrance fees; no vexing conditions! The contest is open to all Prominent Baltimoreans, leading lawyers, newspaper editors, boomers, public functionaries and ministers of the gospel. This week’s prize is a miniature flag mounted on a goose feather, suitable for sticking in the hat. Next week: A handsomely bound copy of a pamphlet proving that dogs and cats have souls, issued by the Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society. The week following: A pan of Frederick county pfannehase from the famous abattoirs of Prof. Luther Derr. The week after that: A complete sult of oilskins.

Hydrocaput, n, one who believes that all men who drink are drunkards, a waterhead.

The incessant thundering of the platitudinarians:

Streets are supposed to be used by moving vehicles.—The Right Hon. Jacobus Hook, K. T. Justice is rare.–Miss M. S. Hanaw. A wife * * * is not a toy, to be cast aside when you are tired of her.—The Rev. Dr. Edward B. Bagby. It is a mother’s duty to teach her daughter * * * to have a horror of whatever would dishonor or defile her.–The Rev. Dr. O. C. S. Wallace. The world does move.—The Rev. Dr. Polemus H. Swift.

The estimable Democratic Telegram, turning aside from politics for a space, now proposes a public subscription for a monument to the late “Joe” Gans, whom it praises as the king of Baltimore boomers and one of the greatest Baltimoreans who ever lived. Note the “one of the” before “greatest.” The Democratic Telegram is discreet.

Honor demands that you pay every one of your dozen tax bills, even if the horse in your stable has to eat sawdust.–Adv.

The Rev. Dr. Edward Niles, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, at Baltimore and Lloyd streets, makes an earnest protest in today’s Letter Column against the disorderly houses in Watson street. Alas for the good doctor, but I fear he comes forward a bit too late—specifically, about 15 years too late. Where was his predecessor in the Second Church’s pulpit when those houses were established? Where were his parishioners, now so suddenly outraged, during all the long years that those houses increased in number and prosperity, unimpeded by warrants and writs, until finally they took on a sort of quasi-legal respectability and security? Was it necessary to wait for Mr. Max Carton, a man of alien race and faith, before anything could be done?

The Hon. the Archangel Harry having mysteriously sounded the “cease firing,” the estimable Hot Towel now trains its heavy tallow guns upon the Right Hon. Phillips Lee Goldsborough, that great statesman. A bomb of goose grease connected with the hon. gent’s person this morning, and at the same time he was deluged with vanilla witch hazel. Thus the artillery which once peppered Doc Munyon, and later Joe Goeller, and still later the skittish Archangel, is now heaping its oils and unguents upon gentle Phil. Such is oleomania! Such is greasing!


So long as men continue to be what they are, there will be unfortunate women in this world. I cannot banish them from the city. I can only work with the police to minimize the evil. The greatest good fortune that can happen to us is that these women congregate in certain localities. In that way they do the least evil. But when they are spread out all over the city their evil is without limit. Don’t say that the Police Commissioner can drive them out of the city. He cannot do it. But he can drive them all over the city under your noses, and the noses of your children. That unfortunate thing was done here once, but I trust that it will never be done again.

Oleocaput, n, a journalistic oiler of the super-Mahon, a tallowhead.

Polite note from a reader of the highest respectability:

I see you have taken to writing theatrical notices again. I suppose we can stand it once a week. But what the deuce do you mean by backfisch? Is this a word or a typographical error?

A word, dear friend. A sound, Gothic word, and much needed in English. Literally, it means baked fish: figuratively, it means a simpering and insipid girl, an innocent and pretty numbskull, the unsalted female of the species. We have no single word in English to indicate that flat and tasteless creature. Sometimes, being hard pressed, we borrow the French word ingenue, but it lays too much stress upon her pleasant qualities, and not enough upon her absurdities. Backfisch fills the bill exactly. It is boldly figurative and it has a touch of humor. It is an admirable name for a wholly artificial being, the most awful product of civilization.

Observe the brave defiance of “Veritas” in today’s Letter Column—brave and unsigned. Let this anonymous tear-squeezer send in his name and address, for publication, and I shall be glad to answer once more the question he asks. Meanwhile, I can only regret that this discussion of the social evil, hitherto in the hands of frank and earnest men, has attracted the attention of one who seems to be neither.

Scorteocaput, n, one who believes that Harry has reduced.the tax rate, a leatherhead.

Standing of the clubs in the National Typhoid League for the week ended November 2:

Chicago............................365 Philadelphia............................128 Baltimore........................358 Pittsburgh................................000 New York........................290 St. Louis..................................000 Boston.............................149 Cleveland................................000 ——— Morality is a device for penalizing honesty.—Adv. ——— Gypsocaput, n, a retainer of the Archangel Harry, a plasterhead.