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Nov 1 1902


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, November 1, 1902

The Modern Diogenes

Prof. H. J. Cody, of Toronto, in a recent lecture on "Our National Heritage", suggested, as a possible cure for political corruption, some form of compulsory voting. The idea seems to me to be an excellent one. The non-voter, more than any one else, is responsible, if not for the existence of corruption in an election, at any rate for its attractiveness, wherever it is effective. It is not likely that we, as Canadians, are prepared to admit that the number of bought votes in an election constitutes any considerable proportion of the whole. As a rule they constitute merely a sort of casting vote in what would otherwise be a narrowly won victory for the other side. So when it is considered that the figures of the total vote polled are rarely more than two-thirds of the number of eligible electors, it is very evident that the highest trumps were left in the pack, and the culpability of the non-voter is clear. The non-voter, generally speaking, belongs to one of two classes: the carelessly indifferent and the ignorant - and these are not confined to the lower ranks of society, either - and those whose shibboleth is the old saw that both parties, or both candidates are so bad that they donít know which to choose. Of the two, the members of the latter class are the most deserving of blame. They are the Pharisees of our political life. They thank God that they are not as other men are, and do not stop to consider that they are as responsible for the triumph of unrighteousness as the soldier, who deserts from the ranks before battle, is for the defeat of his army. When they see the open sore of political uncleanness they gather their skirts about them and pass by on the other side. And in doing so they seem to imagine that they are exhibiting their marked superiority. They do not seem to see that their argument is utterly fallacious. Almost every day they buy something which is not just what they want, or engage an employee who does not exactly suit them; and their justification of their action is that it is the best they can get. Yet when it comes to public affairs, where the onus of the choice does not fall upon each individual absolutely, they set aside this practical principle, and try to hide their indifference and lack of public spirit with a cloak of imagined superiority. They man who never votes because the best man never runs for election is blood relation to the man who doesn't run because he knows people wouldn't vote for a really good man; and if they could only discover each other in the light each sees himself, the political millennium would be here. But each is a lineal descendant of old Diogenes, and they either never see each other, or else cannot agree to amalgamate tubs.

A Spanish Rival of Miss Fay

While Miss Anna Eve Fay has been thrilling Montreal audiences with surprising divinations, a Spanish exponent of the mystic art has been entertaining London music halls with his expositions of a different theory.

Senor Odrap reads your thoughts be feeling your pulse. He does not pretend to summon spirits from the vasty deep. His method, he tells you, is purely scientific. Thinking acts on the nerves and the circulation of the blood. The harder you think the more these things are affected, and so the Senor feels your pulse and draws conclusions.

The Daily News gives an amusing account of a recent performance in Steinway Hall, London.

The Senor began, it reads, by asking anybody to hide a pin. Plenty of people, including journalists and officials of the House of Commons, were willing to oblige. An old gentleman and a young one were chosen, and they sauntered round the hall as if they were thinking of buying it, while the Senor were guarded by two other persons behind a screen. The pin being hidden, the Castilian was let loose and a handkerchief tied round his eyes. Seizing the old gentleman by the wrist, the Senor rushed away like a comet, dragging the captive along, darting his disengaged hand to right and left, to the consternation of the nearest spectators, who evidently fearing for their eyes, fell on one another in their eagerness to escape injury, while the rest of the gathering laughed heavily. The ingenious hidalgo seemed to be playing a risky kind of blind man's bluff, but he found the pin in less than a minute, though it was stuck in the back of a chair. Then he undertook something more difficult, namely, to obey a mental, but unspoken direction. A lady was the subject. She was a clever little woman, for she managed to maintain a dignified demeanor and to keep her skirts from trailing while the Senor, holding her wrist high in the air, executed a sidelong gallop, as if he and she were dancing the Washington Post, wrong way about. Their wild career ended at a dignified gentleman in a middle seat. The Senor hauled him to the front, took his watch out, pulled his tie loose, felt in several of his pockets and took papers therefrom, fingered his face and hair, the dignified gentleman showing no emotion, though the ordeal, sharpened by the laughter of the onlookers, must have been trying. Then the Senor seized the dignified gentleman's umbrella, opened it with one hand, took a short gallop with the lady, whose wrist he had not for a moment released, returned to the dignified gentleman and placed the umbrella over him. It was what she had willed he should so. All the rest was superfluous, but funny.

Stitch! Stitch!! Stitch!!!

What an insight into the lives and customs of the people, the annals of its law courts afford. This is not be any means original idea was impressed upon me very strongly one day this week in glancing over the latest batch of London daily papers, from which I culled four typical items.

The first one furnished a painful reminder that the condition of things, which inspired Tom Hood to write his "Song of the Shirt," is not yet obsolete.

"Ann and Emily Lockyer, mother and daughter, presented pitiable appearance of poverty's struggles as they stood in the dock at the Worship Street Police Court yesterday," says the London Daily News, "and wailed out their defense to a charge of stealing trousers entrusted to the younger woman to work on."

"The evidence of a foreman to the firm of Shedrac, Schneider, and Sons, wholesale clothing manufacturers, of Dunward Street, Bethnal Green, showed that of several pairs of trousers given out to Emily Lockyer, some were not returned, and the police found pawn tickets relating to four pairs, some of which had been pawned by the mother."

"The younger woman, in defense, said, 'We had no food'."

"The mother answered, 'it is slow starving to work on these things at 2d and 2 ľ d a pair. We did it to get food and light'."

"The magistrate (Mr. Cleur) said it might be starvation, but it was not sense to throw away the chance of earning even the small sum they got."

"Detective Sergeant Handley said the women lived together, and their room was miserable and squalid. The work to be done for 2d[dime] per pair on the trousers was known as "finishing" and comprised all the buttons, sewing of bottoms and bands, pockets, etc., the women finding needles and thread. They were each ordered to pay 10s[cents], or serve five days for unlawful pawning, and were removed to prison."

The Beauty of the Birch

The fatherly and friendly way in which the London Police Magistrate parcels out practical advice in extremely interesting.

"Among the applicants at the Clarkenwell Police Court," states the same journal, "was a father who told Mr. Paul Taylor that his son, who was only 10 years of age, was entirely beyond his control."

The Magistrate: In what way?

The Applicant, pushing the little fellow into the witness box, said his son stayed out at night.

Mr. Paul Taylor: Do you really mean to represent to me that you cannot control that boy of ten years?

The Applicant: Yes, sir.

Mr. Paul Taylor: What have you done to correct him?

The Applicant: I have beaten him with my open hand, and given him some dozen strokes with a cane

Mr. Paul Taylor: Now, take my advice. Take the boy home and beat him well with a strap. It's no good beating a boy with the open hand. (To the boy): If you don't take heed to the strap which your father will administer to you, my boy, you'll be brought here and severely birched. By the by, has the boy ever seen the birch?

The Father: No, sir.

Mr. Paul Taylor: (to an officer of the court): Take him and show him the birch which he will surely have if he isn't careful in the future.

The boy, sobbing bitterly, was led from the Court into the gaoler's room, where the stalwart guardians of the prisoners made on or two whizzing cuts in the air with a formidable looking birch.

The father then conducted his son from the building.

The Loves of 'Arry And 'Arriet

An amusing sidelight upon the way 'Arry and 'Arriet carry on their love affairs was given in a case which came up at Whitechapel County Court, in which Alice Doyle sued William Steel to recover 12 pounds 19s[cents] 6d[dime].

The parties has been engaged for two years, during which time defendant had given plaintiff various presents, including a brooch, bracelets, rings, and a sewing machine. In April last, the lovers quarreled, and defendant, possessing himself of his presents, left the house in which plaintiff was lodging. In cross-examination plaintiff admitted that there had been previous disagreements, on which occasions the defendant had taken his presents back. The first quarrel was because she danced, and the second about another young man. (Laughter.) She acknowledged writing the following letter to the defendant:

My dear Will, - I write these few lines just to express my feelings with respect to my conduct, for I feel I am greatly to blame for trying your temper in the way I did. Do not think I do not love you, for, indeed, this has learned me a lesson, and I will endeavor to conquer my temper. I hope you will take this into consideration. You shall never regret it if you try me once more. Don't forget Thursday - Alice."

Defendant declared that he distinctly told the plaintiff when the diamond ring was bought that it was only to become hers on marriage. When they quarreled finally he removed the presents, but not by violence. Plaintiff had threatened to chop the sewing machine to pieces.

Judge Bacon: These people might have made it up again, and kissed each other one more. I cannot help calling it an indecent litigation.

Identified by His Finger Tips

Although I had frequently heard that the lines on the thumb and finger tips of no two persons were exactly alike, I was not aware that this fact was systematically made use of for the identification of criminals, until I read the following item in the London Daily Graphic:

Alexander Stuart, aged thirty, described as a laundryman, was charged on remand, at Lambeth, with being in the unlawful possession of an umbrella. On the evening of the 8th inst. Police Constable's Bailey found the prisoner, who was then under the influence of drink, in St. George's Road, Southwark, carrying a lady's silk umbrella, concerning the possession of which he was quite unable to give any satisfactory account. When the impressions of the prisoner's finger tips were taken it was found that he was a man who had been in trouble on previous occasion. Mr. Hopkins ordered him to pay a fine of 40s, or go to prison for one month.

A Tempting Bill of Fare

It is time that occidental people woke up to the fact that they have not a monopoly of all the enterprise of the world. The Acting British Consul at I-Chang, in his report on the trade of the past year, says the Japanese companies are making considerable inroads on the trade of the old-established British and Chinese lines, more especially as regards the native passenger traffic. This, he says, is doubtless due, "partly to the fact that their boats run on a fixed time schedule, and partly owing to the more tempting bill of fare provided for their Chinese passengers." The items of puppy-pie and birds-nest soup no doubt add greatly to the expense of the catering; but the Japanese have evidently decided that the return is worth the outlay.

"Living Chess" in India

Much has been said about the magnificence of Oriental pageants. But I doubt if anything yet seen has surpassed the spectacle proposed by Khursedjee Sorabjee Jussawalls, a chess enthusiast, who has addressed Lord Curzon on the subject of a grand "living chess" tournament for the Delhi Durbar. Here is his programme:

I propose that sixty-four squares, white and black as on a chess board, be constructed either of marble, clay or any other material, on an open plain somewhere in the camp, each square being given twenty feet on all sides. The whole square surface will thus occupy a space measuring 25,600 square feet. On these sixty-four squares real living elephants, horses, and camels, and persons representing kind, viziers, and foot soldiers will be located, as in the ordinary Indian game. Two big magnificent chairs moving on wheels or motors magnificently decorated, representing thrones, will be constructed, and two full-dressed kings in Indian garb with their fly-drivers driving the flies on either side, be installed therein, and also two small chairs or motors for the two viziers, and some device will be made to move these thrones by the help of men hidden underneath. The players on the one side (including the elephants, horses and camels) will be glad in glittering silver dresses, and those on the other in similar golden dresses.


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