The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 19, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Rather than offer any comment on the growth of Charlotte, seeing that it has grown plentifully and mightily in the years since 1939 without our comment, or on WPA relief, which is long since a dead horse, or on Frenchmen boasting of their manhood over Italians in war, and vice versa, as such also is long since a dead horse, or on "Hunting a Dead Horse" amid the excess cotton production of the South with a diminishing foreign market (hence some of it potentially winding up in the William Rhodes Davis barter, via the Bank of Boston, for German railroad equipment to Mexico in exchange for Mexico's expropriated American and British oil to the Reich to fuel the invasion of Poland seven months later), or on the relative humane merits of the electric chair versus the gas chamber, or either one in deterring crime, as we have covered the topic elsewhere several times, we thought instead we would first offer the following little filler from The Chapel Hill Weekly, then provide a student's paper from circa the fifth grade or thereabouts, a student, name withheld by request, whom we knew well when in the fifth grade--all for the sake of demonstrating, or not, the theory of Darwinian evolution.

So, first, the short piece from Chapel Hill, (which might be subtitled something like, "the importance of being Ernest", we think):

Father And Son

Louis Graves, Chapel Hill Weekly

When I was in Washington I saw a terse essay on the character and behavior of my brother Ernest, who is a colonel in the Army Engineers. It was in the form of a letter which his wife found on her desk when she came home one evening. Written in pencil by Ernest Jr., then about nine years old, it read as follows:

Dear Mother:

I think Pop is not fair. Just because I did not hurry and get my close of real quick he qurreled and fust. If he was trieing to punish me for this afternoon it was not fair either. I like him but sometimes I think he is a LOUSE.



And, now, that fifth grader's (or thereabouts) paper, equally verbatim:

Louis Pasteur, Fighting Hero of Science

On July 6th, 1885, was when Joseph Meister was bitten by a dog.

He was on his way to school when a dog jumped him and bit him 14 times. A bricklayer hit the dog and it ran home and bit it's master and so it's master shot it dead.

When the bricklayer picked him up, he found him bleeding with the dog's saliva all over him. An examination of the dog showed it had rabies--a deadly disease found in wolves especially.

For centuries the people of Alsace had lived in dread of wild wolves that came down from the Jura Mountains. To be bitten by a rabid animal was almost always fatal.

That evening, they had taken Joseph to the country doctor, Dr. Weber, who burned who burned Joseph's wounds with carbolic acid. He urged them to take him to Paris to consult Louis Pasteur who would know more than anybody about whether there was any chance of saving their son.

The dog's master Mr. Vone was told by Mr. Pasteur to not be concerned because his coat sleeve had saved him.

People thought Pasteur should give the rabies prevenative Joseph because there was no other chance. If only the boy had been taken to the blacksmith earlier and had his wounds cauterized by a red-hot iron, he might could of survived. The carbolic acid was given to late, so Pasteur decided to give the injections, although it was agreed to, that Dr. Granchee give the injections because Pasteur's hand was paralyzed from a stroke at the age of forty-six years old and it would be hard for him to handle the Pravaz syringe. Most important of all, he was not a physician and it would be illegal for him to treat Joseph.

After a while Joseph seemed to get better, but Joseph was still worried that might not survive.

The night of the final injection Pasteur could not sleep for the powerful injections might kill the boy, Joseph lived.

After curing another patient who had been bitten on the hands, a little girl was brought after being bitten 33 days before. The first time he saw her, he knew there was no hope because the headwound was still an open sore. But he went on and treated then after he saw there was no hope he turned to her parents and said, "I did so wish I could have saved your little one." As he left the house he burst into tears.

Later many people flocked to Louis Pasteur for his treatment and he saved many lives.

Louis Pasteur's ancestors were humble French peasants.

Louis had two sisters Jeanne and Virginie, he also had a brother who died a few months after birth.

Louis Pateur was born December 27, 1822. His mother was Jeanne-Etiennette Roqui and his father was Jean-Joseph Pasteur Monsieur.

At a party one night Louis met the University of Strasbourg's President's daughter and after about a year Louis Pasteur and Marie Lauront were married.

When Luis was about 27 his father died and a few years later his mother died.

He became paralyzed at the age of 46.

On September, 28, 1895, surrounded by his family he faded quietly away. But few scientists ever lived to see the benefits of their work begin to grow and spread as did Lois Pasteur. And no man ever made contributions which extended into so many fields. The foundations of stereochemistry and bacteriology were laid by him, and the the methods of industry, agriculture, medicine, surgery and public health was revalutionized by him.

[Name, (withheld by special request)]

This came from a book.

Whereupon, after that nobly honest postscript, (though we trust it was not verbatim from that unnamed book, unless the book perchance was drafted by some semi-literate Frenchman), our teacher, that is to say, the student's teacher, wrote at the bottom of this estimable write-up, fortunately sans grade, "This is the best part of your contract, [name]." Just what that bit of cryptic reference to contract meant, we haven't the foggiest notion, nor has the student in question the memory. Did it have Mephistophelian implications?

Unfortuitously and inconsiderately, the contract's rest, whatever it bestowed of wisdom from within its four corners, has failed to survive--only survives the best.

While we don't know what ever happened to Ernest, we do know, however, to demonstrate for you, whether you may be frustrated grade school student or frustrated parent or even teacher of same, that the student who wrote the latter piece of bio-scientific exposition grew up to be a lawyer and has written many contracts, even read a few, defended a few accused of crime, though no un-licensed doctors for practicing without a license yet, and even edited a pile of old editorials one time. And yes, even by a dog once was bitten, though that ere the above e'er was writ.

So, yet, there may be hope for you and your'n yet. Always keep it in mind, when frustrated with your written words, and just refer to it simply as the anonymous student's "Pasteur-dog of the hair that bit me" principle.

For you who are minimalists, you must admit that the opening line is succinctly catchy, and that the third and fourth paragraphs definitely begin to take on a patina of rich metaphoric content, especially if hearkening back to the period here of which we relate in 1938, (that is, '39), even if some of the rest, especially toward the end is less benign, tending to betray tired eyes under a hot steel lamp's vise as some more pressing task such as "Bonanza", if Sunday, Mayberry, if Monday, might have been in the offing, we confide, such that it became a bit overly terse, even a bit redundant, and, toward the very end, even a bit to the rabid side.

But for all of those minor flaws, we happen to think it possessed rather great gravity because, after all, it does remind that if one is bit by the dog, get the wound forthwith cauterized, for, if not, you too will be left to say that otherwise you might could of survived; in circa 1964, incidentally, were when it's words was set down with a sigh, that is, assized with a Scheaffer scythe.

There is even an inventive sentence form, little known to the modern world, yet akin in semantic structure to the well-ascribed diplasic diplanetic thorny toadling combination, discovered in a rare book of ancient cuneiform etched notes, brought from the First Crusades back to Constantinople where it remained until 1598 when a man named Redd Dogg brought the manuscript aboard the sloop H.M.S. Biteach from England, to which it had been transported by thieves in 1501 and secreted in Covent Garden's leading nursery tended by Mr. Dogg, a former deputy constable of Staffordshire until caught pilfering from the collection plate on Sunday, thus sentenced to a life of indentured penury for his crime until, having relieved the Garden of the ancient tablet bearing the notes containing the resemblant form of which we speak, he escaped his indenture one night and set sail for China, getting then confused with the lone headwind that faced him and resultantly instead sailed eastward until he came parallel to the North Carolina coastal headlands, whereupon after a fierce gale caught the vessel and smashed it headlong against the rocks on a moonless night, Thursday, June 20, 1599, just off Ocracoke, it, together with its crew of luckless miscreants and wights of spite, was impelled downward to the eternal depths, until pirates trawling for treasure in the vicinity hauled it to the surface in 1673 and buried it, forgetting then where it was, until one Aviarian Birdling Squallus in 1873, having built on the very same spot his antebellum home, painted in green and yellow stripes to resemble the ambient Carolina warbler which populated the area, discovered the work buried beneath his backyard birdbath in Amplitude High, S.C., giving it then voice in his teaching position at the College of Aquatics and Birdling Amplivagants in nearby Plenitude Bottom, where he taught many a polyglot for six decades.

So elegant this tracing of the little-known ancient form by the student's essay, possessed itself of such an apparently, (but deceptively so?), unwitting patois as to be genuinely evocative by atmospherics thus spontaneously generated toward that which the student wishes to express pastorally, yet directly, of the French peasantry to which the inditement of erudition forebells one's mind, (not failing to note also the obviously occasional deliberate elision, thus producing, for example, almost as if performed carelessly and without heed to respect for proper nomenclature, "Pateur", "Luis" and "Lois", the student thereby underscoring, almost unnoticed, yet obviously with strenuous, though seemingly effortless, cogitability, not only the purité of scholarship to which the subject was given but also the universality of the corpus causi), so elegant this, we shall repeat it for you: "The night of the final injection Pasteur could not sleep for the powerful injections might kill the boy, Joseph lived." It is true that this idiomatically economic result, elipsizing even the elipsis rendered thus invisible just as with microbes, idiosyncratically symbolic though it may be while nevertheless quite visibly preserving that precocity of which it was born, may have derived from the inexact slippage of the ordinarily dexterous hand used preferably by the young student to ascribe fancy to paper; but ink splotches thusly saturated and co-mingled with the cellulose fibers have often resulted in invention of such artistic merit as to be at one only with the savant's aesthetic, at least in its animate form of sensate endeavor acting in and within the modality recognized as humanus romixus. It is also true that one would, preferably, albeit by so doing to commit to the most stultified and stratified imprisoning of formalized structure, place instead of the ",", a ";", or, even more strictly and dedicatedly impostumaceously pricked, a "." thus punctiformally provisioning surcease where otherwise none is before then starting anew entirely, be it by clause or fresher yet, where Joseph is said to have lived, it being thereby, with the new beginning, heightened dramatically and existentially to frame symbolic impact, with that of the genitive, or if you prefer, absolute ablative, represented, albeit prodigally, by such a re-working of the student's elegance, as "; nevertheless, the life of Joseph was thus spared by the virulent medication, extending it in essence to this day's work by your humble callow author, forever memorializing that anti-toxin's delivered punch provided pointedly by the Pravaz syringe to spirit the young Mr. Meister everlastingly into the medical oeuvre." Yet, to tamper so with such a reamarkably simple, unerring evocation of aesthesia as originally displayed in the student thesis would be to try, say, to ameliorate Van Gogh by taking a photograph of the fields in which he painted and then saying of it: "It has the purity of realism and thus superiority for it, as opposed to the madness of the incredulous perpetrated upon the world by the overly colorful flower painter."

That all stated, we do, we admit, have to question, even after assavouring the eloquious, obviously deceptively straight-foward bio-assay of the fallow, yet well-cultivated, student, what might have happened to the burned Dr. Weber: Did he burn for administering carbolic acid to thus stint by vitriol the flow of the germanic-laden wound of Joseph? Were there instead two doctors, only one of whom was Dr. Weber, one who burned but the other who burned in lineage laid post rather than ante the phrasal stem, purely for stylistic parallelismatics? Or did he, being in fact only one, burn himself also in the process? thus again the apparently brief dissociational complex of redundancy nevertheless exhibiting therein a rich particoloured display of that improvisation rendering de minimis infinitesimals from things otherwise exhorbitantly Byzantine, that ability so often only exhibited in youthful tender?

Ah, then again, was it but poesis--repetition, repetition?

Too, on the topic, we might query as to why Monsieur Monsieur passed away only "about" at Monsieur Pasteur's age of 27, rather than put with more precision re the temporal flèche. Was that strangely reciprocal noms possessed of the father of Louis causally connected in some fashion with the imprecision with which the time of his demise is related (not to mention ditto with that of, too, his mom)? Perhaps, by rude insult resulting in some unsheathed èpèe imbrued? Was, in other verbiage less splayed, the end thus linked in some malefactorous episode foul of play? Even via failed mutuality of deterrence qua malice domestic? Was the date rather somehow je ne sais quoi, for its annus horribilis, reduced of superstition to mutatis mutandis, ergo de nudum seculorum? That, for time now passes, we can only leave to the author's own former proximal gleanings and, should you not have acquisition yet to its finer gloss, for your own more diligent subsequent recherche du temps perdu.

Anyway, if you feel tending to mock either one of these manifestations of vers d'occasion, child-prodigious literati output, the brief epistle above by Ernest, or the anonymous student's expositive "contract" papier dèchirè, go read some of your own damned fifth grade work (or thereabouts).

Watch Newton Grow

We wonder what made Clarence Kuester grow so suddenly cool to his own suggestion that the city limits of Charlotte be extended. One day he made out a good case for it, citing the fact that residential areas all around the city are a contiguous, integral part of it despite the imaginary line that zigs here and zags there, but the next day he took it all back.

Maybe the explanation is that Clarence, assuming he was leading a movement, looked around to discover that nobody was following. And it must be admitted that there is absolutely no agitation, no sign of agitation, for an extension of the city limits. The people inside are indifferent to lead and the people outside are heartily opposed to it.

But Mr. Kuester is going to be sorry, come that 1940 census, and so are the rest of us, that the step wasn't taken in time to be counted. Common sense will compel that it be taken sooner or later, else we shall be forever committed to the ordeal of Watching Charlotte Grow out into the county. And positively the last chance for the inclusion to be reflected in the 1940-49 census figures as a natural, logical representation of the size of the city, is during this present session of the Legislature, which will have to order the change.

These observations, we may add, are induced by the Legislature's passage of a bill to extend the city limits of Newton.

Not So Simple as That

The difference of opinion between Senator Adams and the President as to what the reduction in WPA's appropriation will mean in terms of reliefers discharged--1,000,000 to 1,1250,000, says the President; 600,000 at the most, says Senator Adams shrugging his shoulders--may be partially explained. What Senator Adams has done is to divide monthly WPA expenditures by the number of persons on relief, getting a quotient of $62. Then dividing the average monthly reduction in WPA's appropriation by $62, he comes up with his Q.E.D. of 600,000.

But it is not, really, so simple as all that. For one thing, Senator Adams fails to take administrative costs into consideration. That $62 a month doesn't go entirely for relief. A good bit of it goes for administration, which is to say for the expenses of ballyhooing WPA and for the jobholders, and there is no slight assurance that administrative costs will go down step by step with the raw cost of relief.

For another thing, the amount of relief per worker, and therefore the saving per worker discharged, depends altogether on where that worker is enrolled. If in New York City, that figure of $62 a month is conservative. Average WPA pay in those environs is nearer $70 than $60 a month. But if he lives in North or South Carolina, he and his brother would have to be fired to save $62 a month.

Behind the French Boast

The Italians began it with some elegant remarks, in one of the official propaganda sheets which pass for newspapers in their country, to the effect that a Frenchman wasn't worth the Italian spit with which all good Mussolini men expressed their opinion of him. That angered an officer of the French army who proceeded to retort in a French newspaper, L'Ordre, that ten Wops couldn't stand up to a single Frenchman, though he were old, blind, spavined, and pensioned--and to cite Caporetto.

All of which, of course, is mere braggadocio of the same order as that which prevailed in the United States, North and South, on the eve of the Civil War. But Mr. George Fielding Eliot, formerly a major in the United States Army Intelligence Service, seems to feel that ultimately the French have some ground for their brave words and that the Italians have none. Before us as we write lies an article he contributed to Harper's Magazine last April, in which he examines the relative military strength and fighting capacity of France and Italy, and concludes that France has the overwhelming best of the argument all around. In case of war in the Mediterranean, he says, the British and French fleets would probably cut off all communication between the Italian mainland and Africa and Spain, the Spanish people could be trusted to hang Franco, and the overwhelming strength of the Anglo-French fleets would wipe the Italian flag off all seas in short order, leaving the Signor nothing to do but attempt to force the Alps against the French army--an impossible task--or to surrender at discretion and personally take the consequences of the bombing of French cities he might have been so foolish as to engage in.

That is interesting mainly as confirming the view that Mussolini doesn't really mean to fight at all. What he is doing is trying to get what he wants under perpetual threat of making war. The only danger is that the explosive forces with which he plays may get out of his control.

Hunting A Dead Horse

The idea, sponsored by Secretary Wallace and Senator Bankhead, of holding a world cotton conference and frightening other cotton-growing countries into an agreement to share the world market with the South, under threat of resorting to "economic measures to protect the interests" of our farmers, might have some temporary good effect in helping to solve the embarrassing problem of the Government's possession of a whole year's supply of the staple. But it is extremely doubtful that such a conference and such methods can have any permanent effect.

The truth, probably, is that the South, in attempting to recover its foreign cotton market, is not dealing with a lost horse but one that is already dead and buried. Once upon a time we had almost a monopoly upon the production of the staple. But no more. Perhaps a half of all Brazil, and vast areas in Russia, China and India, are adapted to the growth of the fleece. Moreover, in all these areas it can be produced so cheaply that even the present world price affords a handsome profit, with the result that the acreage in these areas is swiftly expanding, as witness the fact that the South's foreign sales this year are 40 per cent less than they were last year!

Against such competition the South, with its soil eroded by a century of bad cultivation methods and its excessive fertilizer cost, plainly has little chance.

On Killing Criminals

Whether execution by gas or electrocution may be the more humane, we don't know for certain. The testimony of the prison officials in favor of the former sounds almost conclusive--but a doubt lingers. After all, these officials have to watch all executions, and nobody disputes that electrocution is probably the more horrible to watch. Nevertheless, electrocution does certainly halt all brain activity at once, whereas there has been at least one case in the gas chamber where the victim aroused seven minutes after beginning to inhale the cyanide and waved, apparently a good-by, to the onlookers. Perhaps he was not really conscious, but perhaps he was. And what tortures go on below the level of consciousness in these slow killings?

As for the whole question of capital punishment--there again it is difficult to be sure. It is certainly true that the eight states which have no capital punishment actually have less serious crime than the national average. On the other hand, North Carolina is a state which is not far removed from the old Southern tradition of mob violence. And the effect of the people's temper of removing the death penalty for the more inflaming crimes must be reckoned with.

What does seem fairly clear is that the Governor's idea of making the death penalty discretionary with the judges is a pretty good one--for everybody but the judges, who aren't going to care for that fearful responsibility.


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