Tag Archives: 1870s

Quite cherry-coloured with the cold


The young hippopotamus, “Guy Fawkes,” completed its third week of existence. Mr. Bartlett, the superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, being of the opinion that it would be safe to admit visitors on Saturday, the hippopotamus house, which had been closed since the birth of the young one, was accordingly opened, and was thronged from twelve o’clock till four p.m. with visitors eager to catch a glimpse of the latest arrival in the gardens. A number of the Fellows and members of the Council of the Royal Zoological Society were present at about three o’clock, when the mother was fed. Mr. Bartlett had kept her a little short during the morning, in order that she might come out of the water when her food was at length brought. His expectations were verified, and for a short time the visitors had a good view of both animals.

The “baby” is now about 2ft. high by 4ft. long, and weighs probably 2cwt. He has taken nourishment from his mother in a most satisfactory manner during his seclusion, and is now beginning to pick up a little food for himself. He is slate-coloured on the back and legs, with a pinkish tinge under the belly.

On Sunday the appearance of such an unusual number of visitors attending the little one’s first levée appeared distasteful to both mother and baby, and they passed most of the day in the tepid bath, only coming up at intervals to breathe. Last week, during some alterations which were being made in the house, the mother got into the outside yard and took her bantling into the cold water. Some apprehension was felt with regard to the effect which the sudden change of temperature might have upon the little one, especially as he came out of the water quite cherry-coloured with the cold, but fortunately no evil consequences ensued.

The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, Saturday 30 November 1872


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The writer escaped this time


A writer having attacked vehemently, in a New York journal, a place of dubious reputation in the town, he received in reply to his remarks an anonymous letter advising him to desist from those proceedings, but took no notice of the warning except to continue his literary crusade. A day or two afterwards, as he was sitting in the office of the newspaper, enter to him a ferocious-looking individual armed with a club, and demanding “Where is the editor?”

With considerable presence of mind the receiver of the visit concluded what was the object of his visitor, and asked him to sit down and read the papers while he went in search of the editor. Once out of the room he made for the street door; but here encountered another rough looking stranger also armed with a bludgeon, and demanding in still more furious tones “Where is the editor?” Here the native wit of the New Yorker had a real opportunity for showing itself, and he directed the second intruder to the room he had himself just left, telling him he would find the editor there reading the papers. The result was a tremendous conflict between the two visitors, each of whom was convinced he had to do with an unusually muscular and determined man of letters.

While the struggle was proceeding the intended victim of the agression was quietly bringing the police upon the scene, who, when they arrived, found the combatants quite sufficiently exhausted by their efforts to be easily captured and led off to prison. The incident exemplified once more the superiority of mind over matter and of wit over brute force. But though the writer escaped this time, the affair shows that writing for the Press has its perils in New York.

The Royal Cornwall Gazette Falmouth Packet, Cornish Weekly News, & General Advertiser Friday 2 August 1878

Note: ‘agression’ is shown as in the original

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Filed under Displays of wit, Narrow Escapes, Violent Episodes

The small matter of being possessed of blood-imbibing vampires


The San Franscisco Alta says that while the steamship Nevada was about 80 miles off one of the minor isles of Micronesia, on its way up to Australia to San Francisco, at about six o’clock in the morning, a strange animal of a dark figure was observed to light on the highest peak of the forward mast. Attracted by its peculiar appearance, the officer of the deck, Mr. Burns, the second mate, offered one of the sailors a small bonus to secure it. The man clambered up the mast with a heavy cloth in his hand, and, after a slight struggle, in which he was severely bitten on the hand, it was secured.

Bringing it to the deck, on examination the beast proved to be a fine specimen of a species of the vampire tribe. This animal closely resembles the terrodactyl of the antediluvian ages. In appearance it is like a huge bat, on hasty examination. It is in the head of the animal, however, that the main distinction is found. That of the present one is a perfect counterpart of the black-and-tan terrier dog. Its teeth are over half an inch in length, and are called in constant requisition to discountenance all attempts at familiarity. When flying, the wings of this ill-omened beast stretch, from tip to tip, at least five times the diameter of its body. It is of a deep jet black colour, the body being covered with heavy fur. It is very savage, being constantly on the alert to attack any person approaching it.

Whether this animal is a full and perfect vampire, lulling man to sleep with the waving fan-motions of its wings while sucking in the victim’s very heartblood is yet a question, for as yet it has not been examined by any scientific man. Its appearance is, however, enough to suggest the truth of such a horrible surmise. Be it as it may, the little Micronesian island had always borne a weird and frightful reputation among the native inhabitants of the adjoining ones. Strange stories of cannibalism, tales of savage idolatrous practices, poison valleys, &c., are constantly connected in their minds with its name, and the small matter of being possessed of blood-imbibing vampires, in addition to all the other horrors, few of them would think extraordinary or the least doubtful.

The Huddersfield Daily Chronicle, Thursday 10 April 1873

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Depredations on the High Seas

This ‘ere post be in honour of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Hold on to yer eau de Cologne, me fine fellers, for the fearsome fishers o’  Lowestoft wish ter apply it to their fancy whiskers – and if ye step in their way, ye face a roight BUFFETIN’.


Our gallant life-boat crews have over and over again proved their indomitable bravery during the lamentable storms which have visited the British coasts; but in one or two instances brutal selfishness has, unfortunately, characterised the actions of a few English fishermen. Piracy, it would seem, has, no more than wrecking, died out of the experience and practice of our seafaring population. It was but the other day that we had to record the dishonesty and greed which marked the conduct of the people when the Royal Adelaide was wrecked near Portland. Four Lowestoft fishermen, however, as appears from an inquiry instituted by the Board of Trade, have boldly carried out their depredations to the high seas, boarded a Dutch vessel in the German Ocean, split open the mate’s head, knocked one of the crew into the hold, buffeted the captain on the mouth, and stole a quantity of gin, cigars, tobacco, and eau de Cologne. Three of the enterprising fishers, however, have been discharged, and one alone stands committed for trial.

The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, Saturday 11 January 1873

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A half-wild, strange animal


JAMES PAGET was summoned at Worship-street Police-court on Wednesday for detaining an opossum belonging to James Williams. The defendant admitted that he had kept the animal, and produced a large rat-trap, in which he had caught it. He said he had caught it in his house after it had been running about at night, frightening his wife and damaging his property, and he thought he had a right to be paid for the damage it had done. Mr. Cooke said he could sue for the damage, but must give up the animal. The defendant then offered the complainant the animal, but insisted that it should be taken out of the trap, which he refused to lend to carry it home in. The complainant objected to take the animal out with his hands, as there was danger that it would escape into the Court. Mr. Cooke then said that the defendant would have been justified in destroying the animal when he caught it, and the complainant could not have complained. If he would keep half-wild, strange animals, he must take better care of them. He made an order for its return to the complainant, and said the defendant must take it home and safely deliver it.

The Illustrated Police News, Saturday 16 September 1876

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Blind faith



A painful scene appears, by the account given of it in the Stirling Journal, to have occurred on Sunday last week in a Church near Gartmore, in that county. The minister, who is in the habit of warning his congregation on special occasions against the machinations of the Evil One, was delivering a discourse on his favourite theme, when suddenly a large window-blind and roller behind the pulpit lost its hold, falling right over the preacher, and completely concealed him for a time from his flock. In its descent the roller smashed a number of window panes, and the clatter of falling glass added panic to the already terrified condition of the enshrouded preacher. Ignorant of the cause of the sudden darkness and horrible noise, he thought that he might have exceeded the bounds of discretion in his denunciation of the devil, who had thereupon arrived hastily in person bent on retaliation. A frightful shriek of “I am gone!” echoed through the church, and the maddened preacher with one bound cleared the pulpit, nor even stopped until he reached the corner of the edifice. It may be well imagined that the suddenness of this alarming incident and its dramatic nature exercised a most powerful effect on the nerves of all who witnessed it. Fortunately there was no general panic, or the consequences might have been serious, but the story should be a lesson to those ministers who touch upon the delicate question of the personality of the devil to retain their self-possession under any circumstances, and not to leave the pulpit unless absolutely ejected by force.

The Huddersfield Daily Chronicle, Friday 13 April 1877

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