The Town Crier

San Francisco News Letter/July 1, 1871

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

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

We have received the following dispatch from the seat of war in Amador, where the pretty soldiers have gone (under command of a staff officer) to suppress the striking miners. The dispatch is secret, and therefore authentic: “All stagnant on Sutter Creel. Military hopeful— Miners’ League correspondingly confident. The League is elated at the splendid equipment of the army. Hostilities will begin as soon as both sides are ready. (The wicked are requested to abstain from food and drink until both sides are ready. Each embattled host is busy securing its line of retreat in case it should meet with organized resistance. The Honest Miner swears to demolish the dishonest Major. From younder Sierras forty centuries look down upon the soldiers! A council of war was held by the military chiefs, and it was decided not to eat the dead of the enemy, but to worry along on half rations of their own sick. During the session of the council there was thunder, an earthquake threw up a small white mouse of mountain parentage, the sun stood still upon one leg, and the constellation Taurus licked his wide nostrils alternatively, with a contemplative regularity and a uniform curl of the tongue that boded no good to anybody. Canis Major descended from the firmament, sat down in front of the tent, humped up his back, stuck out his hinder legs stiffly in front and dragged himself toward the enemy as if he too had an itching for fame. In the most tremendous moment of this solemn conference the lights winked mysteriously, a beer bottle popped without human agency, and a green rate leaped upon the table and executed an astonishing tour de force by spinning rigidly upon the point of his tail. Our citizen soldiers are much debilitated by body-lice.” Here the dispatch became unintelligible, as if a battle were expected. The colored troops fought nobly.

William Nandrupe has had to pay a fine of two hundred dollars for walloping his wife. After paying it, he returned to his humble hearth and seated himself moodily thereon. Observing his abstracted and melancholy demeanor, the good wife approached and tenderly inquired the cause. “It’s a delicate subject, dear,” said he, with love-light in his eyes; “let’s talk about something good to eat.” Then, with true wifely instinct, she sought to cheer him up with pleasing prattle of a new bonnet he had promised her. “Ah! Darling,” he signed, absently picking up the fire-poker and turning it in his hands, “let us change the subject.” Then his soul’s idol chirped an inspiring ballad, kissed him on top of the head, and sweetly mentioned that the dressmaker had sent in her bill “Let us talk only of love,” returned he, rolling up his dexter sleeve. And so she spake of the vine-embowered cottage in which she fondly hoped they might soon sip together the conjugal sweets. William became rigidly vertical, a look not of earth was in his face, his breast heaved and the fire-poker quivered with emotion. William felt deeply. “Mine own,” said the 1 good woman, now busily irrigating a mass of snowy dough for the evening meal, “do you know that there is not a bite of meat in the house?” It is a cold, unlovely truth—a sad, heart-sickening fact—but it must be told by the conscientious journalist: William repaid all this affectionate solicitude—all this womanly devotion—all this trust, and confidence, abnegation, in a manner that needs not be particularly specified. A short, sharp curve in the middle of that iron fire-poker is eloquent of a wrong redressed.

A remarkable instance of canine sagacity has just come to our notice. A gentleman living on Howard Street had a small child, no wife, a large dog and a house. As he was unable to afford the expense of a nurse, he was accustomed to leave the child in the care of the dog, who was much attached to it, while absent at a distant restaurant for his meals, taking the precaution to lock them up together to prevent kidnapping. The other day, while at is dinner, he crowded a large, hard-boiled potato down his neck, and it worked him off into eternity. His clay was taken to the coroner’s and the great world went on, marrying and giving in marriage, lying, cheating and praying, as if he had never existed. Meantime the dog had, after several days of neglect, forced an egress through a window, and a neighboring baker received a call from him daily. Walking gravely in, he would deposit a piece of silver, and receiving a roll and his change would march off homeward. As this was a rather unusual proceeding in a cur of his species, the baker one day followed him, and as the dog leaped joyously into the window of the deserted house, the man of dough approached and looked in. What was his surprise to see the dog deposit his bread calmly upon the floor and fall to tenderly licking the face of a beautiful child! It is but fair to explain that there was nothing but the face remaining. But what wonderful sagacity in a dog, to temper his diet of baby with a relish of bread! What a cultivated tooth! We would give anything for a dog like that—if we had a baby.

Persons desiring to visit Magdalena Bay to gather orchilla for the Lower California Company will naturally desire some information as to their duties. Orchilla is an endless moss, which grows in the sear, and the stem is cut up into macaroni. In gathering it you use a reel, upon which you quietly wind some thousands of miles, until you come to a place where some other fellow has cut it. This reel is fastened at the side of a golden throne, upon which you sit, and it has a music box attached, that plays the most ravishing melodies. While operating it,k you are served with wines, cigars, and all tropical delicacies, by beautiful female slaves. Each throne has a superb canopy of cloth-of-gold, supported upon pillars of topaz, and sparkling with all known gems and brilliants. The whole establishment—together with a palace, a park and stables crowded with winged horses—is deeded to you directly you disembark at the Company’s wharf. You are allowed all the money you want to send home; for where every desire is gratified the moment it is felt, there is, of course, no use for money. The climate is unspeakable, the winds being perfumed with attar of roses, and the sunlight falling through a sky of stained glass, across which float clouds of surpassing splendor. The whole country is covered with a natural Axminster carpet, except where holes have been cut to let the trees grow through. A great deal might be said upon this subject that would hardly be believed; but we hold in him light sesteem who requires urging to make him go gather orchilla.

Theodore Glynn has been fined five dollars for using profane language. Theodore may as well understand at once that he can’t imprecate with impunity in a city of civil and religious liberty, especially if the same be burdened with a heavy municipal debt which can be paid only 2 by a tax upon blaspheming. Theodore urges that the debt was contracted chiefly by plunder and general dishonesty. Well, two wrongs do not make a right, but one wickedness may be advantageously taxed to pay for another. For example, the vice of intemperance is very properly made to contribute to the extinction of a national debt caused by the expense of cutting throats. It is true that it is not quite so wicked to drink whisky as it is to cut a throat, and swearing is one degree less vile than plundering’ but then it must at least be admitted that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles, and that if all A is B, and C is A, then you cannot make a tin whistle out of a pig’s tail, which is absurd. [At this point the Town Crier became so deeply metaphysical that he could not preserve a proper distinction between his morality and his geometry, and having seen his logic expire ingloriously in the spiral agony of a pig’s tail, he had recourse to pure theology, and his subject became at once as intelligible as the second spasm of Goethe’s Faust, and as instructive as the repentant revery of a boa constrictor distended to a particular thinness over the passive anatomy of a cast-iron dog.

(Source: California State Library, Microfilm Collection)