Quick Quotes 31. The following quote is taken from the John O’Groat Journal, from 19th April 1877. The journal is re-reporting an article taken from the New York Times, as was commonplace for local newspapers at the time to bulk out their content:
A gentleman, evidently a stranger, was walking along Main Street on Monday morning. He walked leisurely and used his eyes to the best advantage. He had his hands clasped behind him, and was well dressed. As he was passing Perrins’ Block a most extraordinary mishap overtook him. A small aquarium sitting in an open window on the second floor was thrown from its rest by some unknown cause and descending struck on the tall silk hat which the gentleman wore. The glass enclosure was smashed to atoms, and the unhappy man, thrown on his knees by the blow, was deluged with water. His hat was jammed down over his face, an eel three inches long, and two lizards and goldfish were driven down his back, and a frog and another gold fish were deposited in each of his overcoat pockets, while both ears were covered with moss. Mr Merrills, the grocer, and two of his customers witnessed the accident, and hastened to his aid. The grotto in the aquarium had broken in the crown of his hat, and was found inside, but his head was not cut, and beyond a drenching and a seriously skinned nose no great damage was done to his person. He was taken into the barber’s shop where the sand was removed from his head. On disrobing, a performance that was attended to at once owing to the agility of the eel and the lizards, two more goldfish and another frog were found. The gold-fish and frog were dead, but the eel and lizards were saved. It was certainly a most remarkable accident, as well as a miraculous escape from death, and the gentleman should feel quite grateful, although we have no reliable evidence that he does.
Some aspects of that story sound like they might have been exaggerated, especially as it is reported as if it is second-hand information. The victim had clearly not been interviewed by the journalist, and neither had the cause of the incident been discovered. The birth of “modern” journalism standards, perhaps!
“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.