Baltimore Evening Sun (20 December 1913): 6.


But think of the fun when that legislative investigating committee begins exploring the secret archives of the Anti-Saloon League!

Far be it from me to stand in the way of any lady or gentleman who contemplates leaping into the beyond without waiting for the doctor: suicide, indeed, is too magnificently frank a piece of self-criticism ever to be disputed by an outsider. But nevertheless, it is always possible for one who views the end with equanimity to raise technical objections to the means, and this I now do to the growing custom of charging the lethal cup with bichloride of mercury. Try something else, beloved—aqua fortis, phosphate of zinc, caffeine, roach powder, American Pislner, anything but bichloride! If you think it kills quickly, you are far, far wrong. And if you think it kills painlessly, you are even further wrong. In point of fact, it is one of the slowest of all the common poisons, and it tortures abominably as it slays.

All this, of course, upon the authority of chirurgeons who have seen many such deaths: I myself am no user of drugs. Somehow or other (probably as a result of the newspaper sentimentalization of the recent Atlanta case) the belief has got about that a swig of bichloride means an easy and romantic death, with weeping relatives and the church choir singing “Throw Out the Life Line.” Nothing could be more remote from the reality. Instead of pious calm there is apt to be a wrestling match between the nominee and his keepers, and instead of “Throw Out the Life Line” there is apt to be a great deal of yelling, biting and swearing.

The ordinary bichloride tablet contains seven and one-half grains of bichloride—enough to kill the toughest of us. But the process of killing is not a quick process of paralysis, as in the case of prussic acid, for example, but a slow and extremely painful process of corrosion. First the mouth is burnt, then the esophagus, then the stomach, and finally the intestines and kidneys. Every stage save the last of all is agonizing to the victim—and they may stretch over two, or even three weeks! Imagine it: three weeks of intense suffering! Better let bichloride alone, girls! It’s sweeter, by far, to be kicked to death by a mule!

The pain following the swallowing of a bichloride tablet comes on at once and is very severe. It is caused by the destruction of the membranes lining the throat and stomach, and is usually accompanied by hemorrhage. In a short while the patient is exhausted and in bed—but the worst is still ahead. That worst takes the form of almost unbearable pains in the intestines, where the bichloride is burning and destroying the tissues, and of a very severe diarrhœa. Then the kidneys are invaded and the last stage is at hand. That last stage presents all the symptoms of uremic poisoning: the kidneys are entirely out of commission and the body is unable to eliminate its wastes. Convulsions follow, and then coma. The patient, by this time, is beyond pain or caring, but his final struggles are anything but soothing to his circumambient relatives.

In brief, death by bichloride poisoning is a very slow death and a very hard one. The existence of a delusion to the contrary is to be blamed upon sentimental newspaper reporters. Most of them who write of such things know the truth—but they think that fiction will please the readers better. Besies, I know of no newspaper which would print an accurate and complete account of sucha death, with all the disgusting details, just as I know of no newspaper which would print an accurate and complete account of a hanging. I have reported nine or ten hangings myself, and I have always tried to do justice to the hangman’s efforts, but every time I have kept a darky roosting on the soft pedal. The whole truth would fill the town with mal de mer.

Problem now confronting the Hon. Tom Parran: Whether ’tis better to give local option the shake and go back to the kaif, or to go the whole hog and get converted to prohibition.

The unspeakable Archdeacon Wegg, of Belair, ghostly valet to the Havre de Grace horse breeders, wastes space in today’s Letter Column to accuse me of being on familiar terms with the Hon. William H. Anderson, and even of framing up fake slugging matches with him, to the cost and damage of the sports who put their money on either the one or the other of us. I need not say, I hope, that this accusation is wholly without any foundation in fact. The only gentleman connected with the Anti-Saloon League with whom I have any acquaintance is the Hon. Charles M. Levister, LL. D., probably the most daring theologian since John Alexander Dowie. Having lost as much as 20 pounds weight by listening to Dr. Levister’s exegesis for half an hour, I have always felt that it would be a wicked tempting of Providence to put myself in the path of his boss.

From “Through Palestine With Tent and Donkey,” by the Rev. Dr. Carlton D. Harris, editor of the Baltimore Southern Methodist (page 92):

The 30,000 mangy, wolfish, mongrel curs that formerly gave Constantinople such an unenviable reputation have been carried by ship to one of the islands of the Sea of Marmora and left there to set up a kingdom for thesmelves. The Mohammedan officials of the city could not kill them, as such a thing is against the principles of their religion, so they adopted this way of getting rid of them. For killing a man, the Turkish law inflicts a penalty of seven years of imprisonment, and for killing a dog, three years. * * *

How curiously and how copiously our own so-called “Christian” uplift borrows from Mohammedanism! The other day, as cognoscienti will recall, I demonstrated the essentially Mohammedan character of the Anti-Saloon League, and its bitter opposition to true Christianity. Now, from Dr. Harris’ pages, comes proof that the Maryland Anti-Vivisectionm Society is also Moslem! After this nothing will surprise me—not even the news that Mohammed invented Bergsonism and the Montesorri method, and that Abdul Hamid is in favor of the short ballot, vice crusading and the recall of judges.

The Rev. Dr. A. W. Elliott, head of the Southern Rescue Mission of Atlanta, Ga., after four years’ experience as a vice crusader:

Many cities have forced the police to close the [segregated] districts when they [the police] know that such was not for the best. Every chief of police who has closed a district certainly deserves credit for having the courage to enforce the laws on the statute books * * * but a graver injustice could not have been done society, the women are still in the cities, scattered all over.

The italics are the rev. gent’s own. Perhaps the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte will now tell us to which of the two classes of scoundrelly segregationists he belongs—the stockholders in brothels or the frequenters thereof.