Baltimore Evening Sun (13 October 1913): 6.
THE FREE LANCE
Well, well, well! Here is Isaac putting the hellish Sunpaper to the torture again! A long time between bites! The Hon. D. Harry is more ardent, more assiduous–but not less the dare-devil, not less amusing!--Adv.
He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away.—Psalms, cxii, 10.
The effect of prohibition upon the citizens or a speakeasy State, as described by Gilbert K. Chesterton, the famous English essayist:
- He has become a liar, calling things by false names and doing one thing while pretending to do another.
- He has become a rebel and a bad citizen, intriguing against the law of his country and the efficiency of its public service.
- He has become a coward, shrinking through personal fear of consequences of acts of which he is not morally ashamed.
- He has become a most frightful fool, playing a part in an ignominious antic from which his mere physical self-respect could barely recover.
That anonymous anti-vivisectionist whom I denounced as a liar on Saturday returns to the charge in today’s Letter Column with characteristically brave defiances. Added to them is another effort to deceive–to wit, in the Insinuation that experiments upon animals have had nothing to do with improvements in sanitation and the lowering of the general death rate. It is always difficult to determine whether a given anti-vivisectionist is a deliberate deceiver or merely an ignoramus. In this case I leave the question open. But it would be interesting to hear how sanitation could have made progress without antisepsis, and how antisepsis could have been developed without experiment. However, I do not invite the present whooper to provide the evidence. He has not yet answered my charge that he attempted a shameless fraud upon the readers of The Evening Sun. Let us hear from some one with clean hands.
Daily record of my potations, for the information and to the envy of the Hon. Charles Levister:
- Two cups of coffee.
- Three seidels of Pilsner.*
- Three cups of coffee.
- One cocktail.**
- Two bottles of rice beer.
Total for the week ended at midnight last night:
- Sixteen cups of coffee.
- One pint of California champagne.
- One cocktail.
- Three seidels of Pilsner.
- Three bottles of rice beer.
Analysis of the above sworn (and honest) record:
- Average daily potation:
- 2.29 cups of coffee,
- .14 of a pint of champagne,
- .14 of a cocktail,
- .42 of a seidel of Pilsner,
- .42 of a bottle of rice beer.
- Average daily intake of caffeine: 7.24 grains.
- Average daily intake of alcohol: .43 of an ounce.
- Physiologically safe dose of alcohol: .81 of an ounce.
- Longest interval between drinks (alcoholic): 52 hours 18 minutes.
- Limit of safety: 55 hours.
- * Country customers in town.
- ** Sunday. What else is there to do?
Come, come, dear Levister! Match this record if you can! Find a boozehound who takes less drugs into his system!
Associated Press dispatch in the morning papers:
Half a dozen American-made typewriters comprised an interesting freight shipment which left New York today billed for Rome. The boxes were stenciled “His Holiness Pope Pius X, Rome.”
Well, why not? The Papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val, has used a typewriter for 15 years, and on it he has composed many ecclesiastical documents of the first importance. His ordinary correspondence, of course, is dictated to secretaries, but when he has something of extraordinary delicacy to write, he goes to the typewriter himself, and clicks the keys at high speed—often writing, so I have been told, in English. The Hon. Woodrow Wilson pursues the same practice. All of his messages (or rather, speeches) to Congress have been written upon the typewriter, and by his own hand he is a very swift operator, and also knows shorthand. His habit is to make notes in shorthand, and then write out his speeches upon the typewriter.
The writing machine, in fact, is fast conquering the world, and all the old prejudice against it is dying out. Here and there, of course, you will find a man of letters who clings to the clumsy and painful pen, usually on the ground that he can’t think at the typewriter. But this inability to think at the typewriter is a mere delusion. The fact is that the machine makes lower demands upon a fluent operator than the pen, and that it leaves him more free, in consequence, to give attention to his composition. The process of writing, after a time, becomes wholly mechanical, and hence wholly unconscious. A writer who has mastered the typewriter gives no more thought to the keys and type bars than a first-rate pianist gives to the strings and hammers. His thoughts proceed from his mind to the paper without the slightest interruption.
The late Samuel L. Clemens, always an eager supporter of new inventions, was the first write of high position to use the typewriter. Unfortunately, he began too early—that is to say, before the typewriter was a practicable machine–and so he found it impossible and returned to the pen. William Dean Howells, I believe, made the same experiment and with the same result. But most of the younger writing men are now sworn to the machine. For example, George Bernard Shaw. All of his plays have been typed by himself. He even types his personal correspondence.
The growth of this last habit, by the way, may be proved by a glance at any current catalogue of autographs. Twenty years ago, or even ten years ago, practically all of the contemporary autographs offered by the dealers were A.l.s.–that is to say, “autograph letters signed.” But now it is quite common to encounter offers of typewritten letters. Before long, indeed, the dealers will have to invent a new abbreviation–perhaps T.l.s.–to meet this great change in the writing habits of the race. In another quarter century typewriting will probably be taught to all the pupils in the public schools, just as writing with the pen is taught today. English script is doomed.
Boil your drinking water! Give a cheer for the ex-Sheriffs! Watch Paving Bob and Dashing Harry come back!