Baltimore Evening Sun (7 October 1913): 6.
The Dashing Harry to the astonished Democrats of Chestertown:
The Democratic leaders [of Baltimore] are earnest, God-fearing and comparatively poor men. * * * There is no gang or machine.
Sweet words by the political Mother Eddy. The Royal Family, it appears, is a phantasm of Mortal Mind, like the colic of a Christian Scientist. It is a Delusion, an Error, a Poltergeist. The money it shakes out of the packets of the taxpayer is imaginary money. Harry himself is nothing worse than an apparition, an hallucination, a jim-jam.
The followers of both whoopers, I daresay, got something valuable out of last night’s bellowing match at the Lyric, for what promised to be low comedy turned out a dignified and even impressive affair, and that rooter must have been hunkerous indeed who did not go away with a better understanding of the other fellow and his case. It was the Hon. Lloyd Wilkinson, far more than the Hon. William H. Anderson, who brought this happy consummation to pass. The Hon. Mr. Anderson, usually so cool and brassy, bore the chaff of the Rum Demonists somewhat less joyously than is his habit. At the start, true enough, he was so ready and so devastating in retort that the interruptions began to bear the guise of having been rehearsed, and more than one of them wrested a good-humored chuckle from the gullets of the opposition. But in his speech of rebuttal he came dangerously near losing his temper, a fatal weakness in such a combat, and for a moment or two the air was full of electricity and the evening threatened to end in rough house.
The Hon. Mr Wilkinson, with 40 years of experience on the stump behind him, fell into no such foolishness. He wore a soft, suave smile from end to end of his hour and a half of argumentation, and the heckling that the boozehounds tried upon him didn’t disturb him in the slightest. Every time they broke into mocking laughter he flung some genial pleasantry at them, and bit by bit he thus won their good-will. A man of much less wit than Anderson, he is more at home upon his legs. He had no incandescent epigrams to offer and very few stinging repartees, but he kept up the appearance of good humor through thick and thin, and there were many more laughs with him than at him.
The hon. gent, indeed, made a palpable effort to woo and disarm the enemy. Time and again he turned to the preachers who sat upon the dry side of the stage and gave them shameless baths of goose grease, and the holy men seemed to enjoy it. The Hon. Mr. Anderson tried no such ingratiating arts. His two harangues were well reasoned and well delivered, but they were addressed exclusively to those already won. He dealt almost entirely in excoriation; he made the drys yell, but he made no direct appeal to the sympathies of the wets. The Hon. Mr. Wilkinson played a more politic hand. He was there to prove that he was a pretty decent old fellow after all, and the way he set about proving it was by acting the part with great unction. I have a suspicion that the scheme worked well. The speech he made had very little argument in it, and that little was often thin. But it was a good vote-getter. It had an intimate, personal air; it was a button-holing more than an oration; it filled the dry side with smiles that were benignant quite as often as they were sneering.
Do such bouts do any good? Of course they do. It would be a good thing, indeed, if all political ear-thumpers were forbidden to loose their parts of speech save in the presence of the other fellow. That arrangement would make for courtesy, it would make for honesty, and what is more important still, it would make for fair judgment. The solo performances of ardent propagandists are usually almost idiotically extravagant and inaccurate. When the Hon. Mr. Anderson harangues a Sunday-school, his thoughts are upon the collection plate far more than upon exact justice, and so he depicts the opponents of local option as monsters so inordinate in crime that their very existence is unimaginable under civilization. And when the Hon. Mt. Anderson, in his turn, is discussed in ward meetings and in the kaifs, he is described as a grotesque and impossible mixture of Jesse James, Anthony Comstock, Lucretia Borgia, General Weyler and Alaric the Goth.
Neither picture, of course, has the slightest resemblance to the reality. On the one hand, the opponents of local option, taking one with another, and not excepting the actual saloonkeepers, are probably as decent a lot of men as the pious fellows who pray for them and bellow at them. And on the other hand, the jehad of the Hon. Mr. Anderson has a great deal more sincerity in it and a great deal more common sense than most of his critics are disposed to allow it. Inject a highball into Anderson and turn him loose in any respectable kaif, and he would quickly win the friendship of the bartenders, the oyster bar blackamoors and the assembled bibuli. And the average saloonkeeper, by the same token, would be converted into a very fair simulacrum of an archangel by the addition of a white tie, a set of false teeth and an expression of bilious melancholy.
Such thoughts assaulted the fevered brain through all of last night’s proceedings. On looks and respectability, the dry side had no advantage over the wet side. The saloonkeepers in the west gallery were all in their Sunday clothes, with diamonds and lodge emblems, and many of them brought their wives. Taking one with another, they were probably fatter than the boozehounds on the other side, but fatness, in itself, is certainly no proof of moral decay–and many of the boozehounds were themselves rather buxom. Some of the clergymen on the stage, indeed, looked more like saloonkeepers of romance than the actual saloonkeepers opposite. A tough lot of theologians! Bad boys to tackle without care! No wonder the Hon. Mr. Wilkinson put up so much butter upon the sops he cunningly held out to them!
The seven wonders of dear old Baltimore:
- The Francis Scott Key soda fountain.
- The Maryland Suffrage News.
- The Hon. Mitchell Levy, the Iron Man.
- The Greater Baltimore Committee.
- The Hot Towel.
- The Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte, LL. D.
- The Hon. Dan Loden’s new overcoat.
We have yet to see the first frost, but Col. Jacobus von Hook has already attended 17 banquets and made 22 speeches. Unless he is stopped by the police, he will score 100 before Christmas.—Adv.
Come, Isaac, bite us again! The fat old Sunpaper grows plethoric. On with the phlebotomy!
Geographical note from the sapient Hot Towel:
After eluding for more than four months the police and detectives of this country and other leading cities in South America * * *