The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 13, 1938


Site Ed. Note: For another reference to the Dionnes, the subject of "Five Little Patients"--albeit by analogy and in a somewhat different context, see "A Dozen Monkeys", May 26, 1939.

The "freakish" alliance of the West to the Republican Party since the Civil War, mentioned in "A Defensive Victory", refers to the fact that the West entered the union as free territories, statehood of course coming for most of it, save California, not until well after the Civil War. This initial natural affinity to Lincoln and the Republicans became "freakish" by the fact that the Republican Party afterward became identified with big business interests centered in the East, quite antithetical to the rugged individualism exemplified in the founding of the West, much more naturally kindred in spirit therefore in that sense with the South.

"A Couple of Notes" was retracted in "A Retraction" on September 16, proving that the search for Truth by The News, even in opinion pieces, was always thorough and honest. And to show that its writers were able to admit a mistake rapidly and print it in the same column where the mistake occurred, not buried on page twenty-five behind the cabbage and hair-dryer ads, when even a shred of doubt of veracity was shed on a story. So we leave the example, since it bore no names anyway, for the illumination of Truth and as demonstration that its diligent search, even if performed initially with character and integrity, sometimes may involve mistake and should therefore always be continuing, even as to anonymous examples which might be discernible by some contemporaneous associate of a person in a community and thus produce a scintilla of a chance of reflection adversely and unfairly on someone's good character.

A Couple of Notes

In 1937, a woman came to the office of the Sheriff of Mecklenburg County and said that she could pay her rent but could not pay the cost of the "papers." The Sheriff knew nothing of any papers, and asked her what she meant. She showed him a bill for one week's rent, $2.00, on which was the notation "for serving papers, $3.00; total $5.00."

It turned out that these so-called papers had been served by a special deputy sheriff whose commission limited his activities to the premises of several real estate companies. The "papers" and the added costs were his own idea, and of course were nothing more or less than the old flim-flam. The Sheriff de-commissioned him.

Yesterday a tenant came to the office of the Sheriff of Mecklenburg County and produced a receipt showing that a special deputy sheriff had collected a fee of $1.00 for his services. "The man came to my house and flashed a badge," said the tenant, "telling my wife she must pay a fee for collecting the rent, so she paid him a dollar and he gave her this." The Sheriff promptly de-commissioned the special deputy.

Note: The special deputy was the same person in both instances.

Note: We are quite sure that there must be somewhere in the books a law against collecting money under false pretenses and duress.

Matter of Whose Ox?

Now we shall see if the New Deal is as prompt to pluck out and cast away its own, offending eye as it is the eyes of the opposition. The Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee has decided that the collector of internal revenues of Baltimore, a Treasury official, violated the "spirit" of the law by calling his non-civil service employees and telling them that he favored Lewis over Tydings.

In Georgia, it will be recalled, Edgar Dunlap, counsel to the RFC, was given the gate because he took part in the marked Senator George's campaign for re-election. Dunlap was not a regular Federal employee but a practicing attorney whose services had been retained by the agency. What his political views were or what he did when he wasn't giving legal advice to RFC, we always thought was his own affair.

But RFC didn't think so, and fired him. This would seem to bind the Treasury to the President, all the more so because the Baltimore official is a full-time, enrolled employee. If it should countenance his politicking, we should be forced to the cynical conclusion that the New Deal, for all its high idealism, operates on the double standard.

Hitler Pauses

One special circumstance must be kept foremost in mind in assaying Hitler's speech yesterday. He was speaking directly to Nazi Party members, and they have learned to expect from Der Führer nothing short of exultation, exaltation and exhortation. They got all three, in abundance.

But there was something else in that speech. There was a distinctly conciliatory note, such as the reference to the "surrender" of Strasbourg* in order "to settle once and for all the eternal strife with France." There was the admission of less than complete preparedness contained in the reference to the fortifications on Germany's Western frontiers; they would be ready "before the Winter sets in," but they aren't ready now. There was his implied willingness to negotiate further over the Sudeten question, contained in his declaration that the Sudetens must be allowed "self-determination." He did not say how or when.

The Czechoslovakian crisis remains perhaps as acute today as it was yesterday, and there is the dangerous probability that the Sudeten Germans and the Czechs may roll over at any moment, thus precipitating a showdown which would draw in Germany, France and, in all likelihood, England. But insofar as Herr Hitler can control the course of events which are largely of his origination, he seems to have said, "Come, ye boobs and tyrants, and reason with me. There may be a bloodless way out of this for you--and for me."

*[Formerly the capital of the German province Alsace-Lorraine lying on the French side of the Rhine, retaken in 1918 and now French territory.]

Five Little Patients

Any fond parent who has ever undergone anxiety, usually unnecessary but nonetheless heavy, of a tonsilectomy on Junior or Jane, will be able to sympathize with Papa and Mama Dionne. The quints, all five of them at the same time, are to have their tonsils out.

Yvonne, you see--or maybe it was Emillie; we have an awful time keeping them straight--caught the sneezies and naturally that went smack into five cases of the wheezies. Much doctoring and time--good old time--cured them of this distemper, but Dr. Dafoe, who at first wouldn't hear of taking their tonsils out, thought it best to remove the source of infection before Winter set in. So--

So, one of these Fall days--and Fall comes in hurry up at Callandar--all five little girls are going to go through an experience the perfidious nature of which they don't suspect as yet. One by one they are going to sleep counting dutifully, "One, two, three, four , seven, two... sev..." One by one they are going to be put back into their five little beds, to lie pale and terrifyingly inert until consciousness begins to return and they become aware that something drastic has been done to their throats. And one by one they are going to whimper pitiably, to drop off into a natural sleep again and to wake up feeling a little better but still pretty bad. But in three or four days they are going to feel fine again, so it's all right and we needn't have worried over them. And it'll be all over and their adenoids will have come out too.

A Defensive Victory

Senator Tydings, with half of the precincts in, seems to have won a thumping victory over Representative Lewis. It represents, to be sure, another direct rebuke to the President and notice that Maryland, like South Carolina and in all probability like Georgia, resents Presidential interference in state elections. But the renomination of Tydings isn't going to save the Republic any more than the renomination of Senator Smith in South Carolina. It isn't even going to save the party.

What is happening as a result of these abortive purges of the President is that the South, with which Maryland is more closely identified than with any other section, is being driven to take over in the shell-hole of conservativeness. Conservativeness would be all right were there any possibility that the brand would be of the South's own selection, but there is not. There never has been. Even in the Democratic Party the South is a minority which can't overcome the natural economic affinity between Democrats and Republicans of the industrial East.

And the West is so far away, and so traditionally Republican as the result of a freakish nominal alliance going back to the Civil War, that an effective political union is out of the question.

The South, indeed, is on the verge of returning to its profitless role as the perennial minority bloc, whose representatives sit in on party conclaves but do not govern them. It is a role which the South can take with vigor and to which it will be thoroughly accustomed, but in the past and present it hasn't seemed to get us anywhere.


Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News--Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.