Baltimore Evening Sun (28 November 1912): 6.


Thanksgiving Day: a day devoted by persons with inflammatory rheumatism to rejoicing that it isn’t hydrophobia.

Polite note from an anonymous but flabbergasting reader:

Deep down in your artist heart, which do you consider the more unbeauttful: that toothpaste ad. on the Phœnix Building wall or the Duffy’s Malt Whiskey and Lydia Pinkham ads. in the Evening Sunpaper?

My answer to this is a gob of silence so vast and so impenetrable that it would probably choke the Panama Canal.

Geheimrat Prof. Dr. John Turner, Jr., on his late visit of state to Panama:

I shall never forget that I was at the very bottom of the Panama Canal.

Nor will history forget it. In some future age a grateful posterity will turn the canal from its course and erect a monument there.

The sonorous, sweetish soughing of the platitudinarians:

Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war.—The Hon. Augustus Cæsar Binswanger, LL. B. It is time for some of you men to reform.—The Rev. Dr. Edward B. Bagby. It was a sacred vow when you plighted your troth.—The Rev. Edward B. Bagby. Prevention is better than cure.—Miss M. S. Hanaw.

Observe the virtuous frenzy of the “Duchess of Mulberry” in today’s Letter Column. What is the truth? The truth is that I suppressed the name of the suicide she mentions in my reprint of the Towel’s irresistibly comical article. If the family was actually outraged, it was by the Towel and not by me. Meanwhile, I make the direct and public accusation that the “Duchess of Mulberry” is a myth, and the clumsy creation of some super-asinine attache of the Towel.

Did you ever notice, by the way, how all these brave critics and denouncers cling to pseudonyms? Such folks, I daresay, also pass the lie by telephone. An honorable, savory, decent species!

The Police Board need not get excited over Dr. Howard A. Kelly’s gentle insinuation that the police of Baltimore are taking graft from disorderly houses. I doubt that the Doctor meant it to be taken literally. When a moralist makes such an accusation, it is done lightly and is music to the ear. The emergencies of eloquence must be met; audiences must be horrified; the town must be kept in a sweat. Hence the perennial charge that the theatres are sites of vice, the companion charge that the girl who dances is on the road to ruin. In the present case the police must take their turn as targets. They stand accused, at least by inference and innuendo, of a swinish and dishonorable act, unworthy of self-respecting thieves. But what would you?

The other candidates may have merit, of course, but young Bill has the sworn receipt of the wiskinski.—Adv.

Why doesn’t some honest drudge compile a list of the stable names of the great? What is a stable name? Simply a private name, a house name, an esoteric name—not necessarily a nickname. A race horse, for example, may be called Lucretia Borgia in the entries—and Jennie in the stable. In the same way a dog that is Romanoff Champion Dexter III on the bench may be Jack or Prince or Charlie in the privacy of the kennel.

So it is with men. The late Mr. Huxley, for example, bore the appalling official style and appellation of the Right Hon. Thomas Henry Huxley, P. C., M. D., LL. D., D. C. L., J. U. D., Ph. D., F. R. S., F. R. G. S., B. Sc. He was a Right Hon. under the English law by virtue of his membership in the Privy Council, and he was all the other things by the immemorial custom of the universities, But his wife called him Hal—not Thomas or Henry or Thomas Henry, but plain Hal.

In the same way the late. P. T. Barnum, whose first name was the lordly Phineas, was merely Taylor in the privacy of the fireside. And Mark Twain, whose official name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Litt. D. (Oxon), was always Youth to Mrs. Clemens. The origin of this name is unknown: no doubt it went back to their days of courtship. But it is known that Mrs. Clemens never used any other. The great humorist was always Mark to William Dean Howells, the Rev. Joseph Twitchell and other old friends, and Sam to his mother and his brother, but to his wife he was Youth, even after his hair was gray.

But the stable names of many other great men are unknown to us. Did Charles Darwin’s wife call him Charles or Charlie, or did she perhaps some more fanciful and romantic name for him, such as Dolling, Buck or Buster? Did anyone ever call Herbert Spencer Bert? I doubt it. Was William Ewart Gladstone ever addressed as Bill or Willie, even by his wife? The thing seems impossible. And yet Shakespeare was Will and Willie, not only to his wife and friends, but also to all the idlers of the Bankside, just as Col. Theodore Roosevelt is Teddy to all the vulgar.

I often wonder what stable name the late Dr. Ibsen answered to. His given name, Henrik (in English, Henry), has more stable names clustering about it than any other in the repertoire. It is softened variously into Harry, Henny, Hen, Hank, Hal, Heinie and Onry, and in German into Heintz. But imagine any human being calling Ibsen Harry! Or even Rikky! Nevertheless, it is not wholly impossible. Once, I believe, Ibsen was on bad terms with his wife. Maybe it was because she called him Hank.

Most Henrys become Harrys at the domestic hearth, just as all Francises become Franks. But the Georges are seldom relabeled. In early youth, true enough, they may be Georgies, but later on they hoist their authentic flags. As for Williams, you have their fate in Eugene Field’s famous poem:

Mother calls me Willie, Sister calls me Will, Father calls me William, but the boys they call me Bill.

The essay of Mayor Brand Whitlock of Toledo on “The Enforcement of Law in Cities,” long out of print, is soon to be reprinted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, of Indianapolis. Get in your order early: it is one of the sanest, bravest, most truthful discussions of a public problem ever published in America. Mayor Whitlock is a thoughtful and an honest man, and in addition, he knows how to write. Compare his intelligent, straightforward exposition and argument to the puerile, ungrammmatical balderdash of our own elected Solomons. Discover for yourself that a man may hold high public office in a republic, and yet not be a tedious, booming ignoramus.—Free Adv.