The Town Crier

San Francisco News Letter/December 5, 1868

“Hear the Crier!”   “What the devil art thou?”

“One that will play the devil, sir, with you.”


Song of a Patient at the Hospital Window

Break, break, break

On the cold gray stones, O sea!

And I would that thy waves could drown,

The hunger that rises in me.


O well ’twas in Andersonville

Where the Rebs gave food bad enough;

O well for the San Quentin lads

With their hard-tack and meat something tough.


And the stately ships go on,

To the port under Telegraph hill;

But O, for ought else than this Hospital

And the sight of this Hospital swill.


Break, break, break

At the foot of this street, O Sea!

If you only would drown the Hospital clique.

What a blessing to us it would be!


Letters from the Dear People—a la “Morning Call”

NEWS LETTER:–I should like to know whether the estimate of the population of San Francisco in Langley’s Directory includes me. I never authorized the use of my name in any such connection, and consider it a swindle. Is there no law to protect a workingman in his rights? In the sanctity of a humble home in furnished rooms to be invaded and its household gods ruthlessly dragged before an unsympathetic public? Is an unoffending and tax-paying citizen to be computed without his consent? Dares a venal press answer these queries?


[For a solution of our correspondent’s last conundrum, we have referred his communication to the Alta, and shall watch with interest the result.]

NEWS LETTER:–By what right in this free country is a man forcibly seized, chloroformed, tied hand and foot with a log-chain and vaccinated all over with a two-inch auger? This thing is common enough in despotic England, but in a country of religious liberty should be voted against every time. The Board of Health has been taking liberties with my person and I demand immediate restitution.


[We sympathize with “Vox,” and don’t he wish he may get it? His case appeals strongly to our reparation.]

EDITOR:–Please inform me whether castor oil derives its name from being used to lubricate the castors on furniture, or from its use in the castors at table, by answering this civilly you will decide a bet on the election.


[Our correspondent having omitted to mention the amount of the stakes, we can take no more notice of his letter than if it were anonymous.]

“CALL”—I saw yesterday a mangy poodle wearing a tag numbered 813, while on the same street lives a full-blooded Newfoundland whose number is only 197. I should like to know how long a free people have got to stand this.


[If “Canis” will tell us his own street and number, we’ll send him our opinion of his addressing us as the Call.]


LAST SUNDAY’S SERVICES—Dr. Stone delivered a lecture on “Sacred Places and Characters.” In the Doctor’s estimation the most sacred place is the ground covered by his own patent-leathers…The Rev. Father Eaga preached upon the “Season of the Advent.” It was a season of the advent of a good deal of nonsense…Dr. Scudder continued his lectures on the Parables. He told a great many of these interesting fables, which seemed to come natural, and had no perceptible moral.

–Parson Fitzgerald is anxious for the arrival of Bishop Marvin, of Missouri. He says the bishop can “rouse the godless multitude by exhibiting the terrors of the law, and the need of a saviour.” What says Elder Knapp of this opposition concern? By the way, if any one wants to edit a religious weekly, let him be hopelessly insane, with just enough method in his madness to be consistently silly.—English paper.

What do you know about our local celebrities, you bloody Britisher?

THE EIGHT HOURS LAW.—Attorney-General Evarts has given his opinion officially that under the Eight-Hour Law of Congress, it is optional with the government agents to pay laborers in the government employ the wages of ten hours for eight hours’ work, or not, as they see fit, though he tacitly recommends a compliance on the part of the government agents with the rules established by private employers.

Though General Winn paint an inch thick, yet to this complexion shall he come at last.

–A correspondent sends us a review of a religious publication by Bishop Kipp. We really have not the space to spare. We only notice the parsons in terms of commendation or gentle reproof. Withering sarcasm is not in our line. Our mission is to foster the Church and pat the parsons on the back—or at the worst smite them friendly.

–The ever-satirical NEWS LETTER proves that civilization is spreading by the fact that gypsies have arrived in Oakland. We have confirmatory evidence: we saw a Chinaman entering the NEWS LETTER office.—Trifling Contemporary.

–The proofs multiply: we saw a respectable editor having a journalistic barber shop on Merchant Street.

–The reports that are going around about the marine personage, recently on exhibition at Eastport, in the State of Maine, are absurd. Are we to be gulled by the tale of a sea-serpent, having a series of gills, and a tall thirty feet off from his head, web-footed like a duck, and yet incapable of saying a word?

–There were several shocks of earthquake recorded in the dailies has having taken place on Sunday. The exact number is difficult to ascertain; everything depending upon the length of time required for the nervous oscillations of the several reporters to subside.

–There seems to be a prospect of war in Spain between the Monarchists and Republicans. This is to be deplored chiefly on account of the chagrin it will cause our dailies, who have been reveling in the supposed peaceful triumph of Democratic principles.

–The Republican papers roundly abused the Regents of the State University for selecting General McClellan for president. They now squarely abuse the latter for declining. Consistency, thou art a jewel—in an Ethiop’s ear.

–A close student of human nature, and an intelligent observer of the Outside Land Committee, have both arrived at the same conclusion, viz: that pigs will eat all they can get and squeal for more.

–During the month of November there were thirty-one arrests in Oakland. The worst of the criminals were confined within the limits of the county, and the rest let off with light sentences.

–Gen. Cobb addressed the young men of the evening schools on the subject of self-improvement. It is about all they can really rely on, with the present Board of Education.

–Stanyan, Cole, Shrader, Ashbury, Clayton! Clayton, Ashbury, Shrader, Cole, Stanyan! Five of the few immortal names that were not born to die, while there is a dollar in the city Treasury.

–Dr. Rowell writes to the Alta that if the Bulletin’s statements are true that Board of Health ought to be hanged. We’ll be hanged if they are true.

–Milwaukee calls harness-makers “horse milliners.”

Amusements and Pleasure Guide for the Ensuing Week

OPERA HOUSE.—“The Lancashire Lass”—one of Dion Boucicault’s last and best efforts in the way of sensational drama, is to be presented for the first time at the matinee today. The matinee, as well as the play, should be a sensation. No trouble or cost has been spared to put this play on the stage in the best manner. New scenery and appointments have been provided and the cast (the company having already shown their capabilities in this line) promises a first-class performance. The characters of Rath Kirby (the Lancashire Lass), Kate Garstone, and Fanny Danvilln by Emelie Melville, Kate Denin, and Rosa Rand, respectively. The male feature of the piece—a part of the name of Johnson00is persecuted by Charles Wheatleigh, and the other male characters by Jackson, Edwards, Vinson, Wilson, and Buckley.

METROPOLITAN THEATER.—As at the other house, Dion Boucicault is in the ascendant. Today we are to have at the matinee “Dombey and Son” and “Handy Andy,” and in the evening “The Six Degrees of Crime” and “Nick of the Woods”—(fit programme for a Saturday night audience)—and, on Monday, Mr. Boucicault reigns, and “Foul Play” is to be produced, and considering the short time it has been in rehearsal, bids fair to do credit to the management, and to have a good run Mary Rouse is to be represented by Mrs. Charles Poole, and Herne, Courtaine, Hawk and Barry have each good parts in the play Every effort has been made in the way of new scenery for some of the best scenes in this play—which, in variety of scenery and stage effects, is unrivalled—to give a good representation of a good sensation drama.

ALHAMBRA.—“After Dark,” or “Brought to Light”—still the piece de resistance, and with the continual change in the programme of songs and dances, gives a good and attractive performance nightly. Several new interludes are in preparation, and, on Wednesday next, the 9th instant, Mr. Sam. Wetherill takes his benefit, when, in addition to the varied programme given by the Minstrels, six of the members of John Wilson’s Circus Troupe will, by the kind permission of Mr. Wilson, appear in some of their specialties. Matinee today at 3 PM.

NEUES DEUTSCHES THEATER—PLATT’S HALL.—The fifth performance of the new series will take place on the evening of Monday next, the 11th December, when will be presented “Dr. Faust Haaskaeppchen”—comedy in five acts—in which Herr Otto Reiffarth and Frauen Jeannette Reiffarth and Ottilie Genee will appear.

PLATT’S HALL—Operatic concert, for benefit if Signora Luisa Marchetti, on the evening of Monday, the 7th instant. The beneficaire, Signora DePonti, Miss Hatch, Signore Massimiliani, Pizzioli, Carmini and Morley, and Mr. W. H. Cohan, will appear.

GRAND ITALIAN FESTIVAL.—This day, on the occasion of laying the cornerstone of the Italian Hospital, under the auspices of the Societa Italian di Mutua Beneficenza. To conclude with a ball at Platt’s Hall.

WOODWARD’S GARDENS—Open daily. Conservatory, Picture Gallery, Library, New Saloon, New Rotary Boat. Grand instrumental concert on Sunday December 6th, at 1:30 PM.

ANATOMICAL MUSEUM.—An hour or two spent in the Anatomical Museum is better than a dozen lectures; but both can be had if desired. The various models of human, animal and vegetable forms are both beautiful and illustrative.


The Honest Widow—An Advertisement


A parson insured his life for $5,000. The parson died, as he knew he would, and went to Abraham’s bosom. from this lofty eyrie he looked complacently down and chuckled over the little swindle he had perpetrated upon the Company. Imagine his indignation when he saw his widow steadily decline the money, on the ground that the late lamented knew of his approaching end when he insured. We draw a veil over the harrowing spectacle of this disembodied spirit’s rage; we suppress the oaths which fell from his impalpable lips. But look again, O parson, and thou shalt behold a scene at which the gods themselves might laugh. Lo, the story hath gone abroad, and the public prints comment thereon, and quarrel over the matter! they search out the hidden motives of the disconsolate and painfully honest widow; they bite and snap and grow exceeding red in the face as each drags to upper day its morsel of truth, and flaunts it in the wondering eyes of society Each takes its stand; these to uphold—to condemn, those. They jump into the middle of the great social problem, and find no end, in wandering mazes lost. Meantime the Insurance Company stands smiling by, radiant as to face, plethoric as too purse, and with hands lovingly clasped together under ample coat-tail, cheerfully surveys the field of combat and hisses on the pack. Egad! the best advertisements can now be had for naught, and what is an honest paper to do?


Ecce Doctor!

Some time since we apologized to our friends, the parsons, for the accidental omission from our feast of reason of the toothsome dish in which they were wont to see one another served up. Since then we have fallen into evil ways, and what was then an accidental oversight has become a permanent neglect. This should not be. The parsons, dear souls, can no more evangelize the world without our assistance than, in the beautiful language of one of their own guild, “a codfish can climb a barber’s pole, tail first, with a French roll under each fin.” Our theological editor hath returned to his wonted post upon the walls of Zion. He hath looked upon the work his faithful brethren have wrought in his absence, and hath pronounced it good. He hath twined for ach a crown of reward, and albeit it may contain a thorn or two, let us remember that even thus he of old was crowned. We shall resume and continue our gentle ministrations, seeking not the applause of men, but satisfied with the commendation of the faithful.


Father Eagan

It is with deep grief that we hear of the approaching nuptials of Father Eagan. The reverend father forgets that in the Holy Catholic Church the clergy marry not, neither are given in marriage. Who would have thought when the reverend father had the big wooden cross carried up and down the aisle in imitation of the Universal Church, that he would ever come to this? But does he think we shall stand it—we that have watched over him with the solicitude of a guardian angel, lest at any time his foot might strike against a Stone? Shall he run after false gods, and bow down to images of clay in waterfalls? Nay, it may not be; we’ve other use for him. We want him to accept a partnership in a boardinghouse on Kearny Street. Eh, Father?




Signor Massimililani’s benefit at Platt’s Hall on Wednesday was not well attended. This unfortunate tenor has had to fight against conspiring earthquakes, and got worsted. A concert postponed is usually a concert dead, and so it proved in this instance. Massimiliani was in fine voice, and his singing was ample refutation to those who have asserted that the former defects of his voice were natural and not accidental. The singing of the other artists was unexceptionable, and that of Signor Marchetti particularly good.


–It is telegraphically reported that a Miss Barber, in the town of Corning, New York, undertook the other day to broil a live baby on a very hot stove. We sometimes down little babies here like kittens, and sometimes leave them on doorsteps in blankets, but never broil them. If it is to be a permanent fashion, however, in New York, we suppose we shall have to adopt it. We can stand anything but being out of the fashion. They only question is, can the babies stand it?


–A man visited the office of the NEWS LETTER, yesterday, afflicted with a bad case of Cacaethes scribandi. We would thank him to display a yellow flag next time.


–One Dicey Morris was murdered by a well known low comedian on Saturday evening last. He was gagged to death.


The Alta’s reporter saw a sack fished out of the Bay and thought it contained a dead infant. To his surprise, it enclosed only another puppy.


(Source: California State Library, Microfilm Collection)