Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search

The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, July 16, 1864


And he fetched his things with him. - John Smith was brought into the city prison last night, by Officers Conway and Minson, so limbered up with whiskey that you might have hung him on a fence like a wet shirt. His battered slouch-hat was jammed down over his eyes like an extinguisher; his shirt-bosom (which was not clean, at all,) was spread open, displaying his hair trunk beneath; his coat was old, and short waisted, and fringed at the edges, and exploded at the elbows like a blooming cotton-boll, and its collar was turned up, so that one could see by the darker color it exposed, that the garment had known better days, when it was not so yellow, and sun burnt, and freckled with grease spots, as it was now; it might have hung about its owner symmetrically and gracefully, too, in those days, but now it had a general hitch upward, in the back, as if it were climbing him; his pantaloons were of coarse duck, very much soiled, and as full of wrinkles as if they had been made of pickled tripe; his boots were not blacked, and they probably never had been; the subject's face was that of a man of forty, with the sun of an invincible good nature shining dimly through the cloud of dirt that enveloped it. The officers held John up in a warped and tangled attitude, like a pair of tongs struck by lightning, and searched him, and the result was as follows: Two slabs of old cheese; a double handful of various kinds of crackers; seven peaches; a box of lip salve, bearing marks of great age; an onion; two dollars and sixty-five cents, in two purses, (the odd money being considered as circumstantial evidence that the defendant had been drinking beer at a five-cent house; ) a soiled handkerchief; a fine-tooth comb; also one of coarser pattern; a cucumber pickle, in an imperfect state of preservation; a leather string; an eye-glass, such as prospectors use; one buckskin glove; a printed ballad, "Call me pet names;" an apple; part of a dried herring; a copy of the Boston Weekly Journal, and copies of several San Francisco papers; and in each and every pocket he had two or three chunks of tobacco, and also one in his mouth of such remarkable size as to render his articulation confused and uncertain. We have purposely given this prisoner a fictitious name, out of the consideration we feel for him as a man of noble literary instincts, suffering under temporary misfortune. He said he always read the papers before he got drunk; go thou and do likewise. Our literary friend gathered up his grocery store and staggered contentedly into a cell; but if there is any virtue in the boasted power of the press, he shall stagger out again to-day, a free man.

Return to Call index


Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search