Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Story Of One Bull Pup

While the basement was going through a little housecleaning, I happened to find a copy of an old newspaper story that I had photocopied during my days working at the library, which I would like to share with everyone today. The story was first published back in 1901 and its a perfect example of what passed for humor back then. Hope you find it as funny as I originally did back when I'd first read it.

Being documents found on the person of the late Mr. John Smith


Bought of Burke & Bight, Dog Fanciers: One bull terrier pup---$75


Mr. John Smith-Dear Sir:

Please call at my office and settle for two Angora cats, the property of my wife prior to their destruction.

Thomas Jones


Mr. John Smith-Dear Sir:

I cannot afford to feed that bull pup on Plymouth Rock chickens. You will confer a favor on me by sending me your check for $7.50.

Henry Johnson


Mr. John Smith-My Dear Mr. Smith

I assure you, sir, that your bulldog has buried nothing in my yard, and I wish you would endeavor to dissuade him from digging it up every day in search of certain bones which he seems to believe he had concealed under my tulip beds. I am sorry to have to do it, but am obliged to inclose a bill just sent to me by my gardener. Sincerely yours,

Henrietta Brown

Digge & Grugg, Landscape Gardeners, in account with Henrietta Brown--replanting tulip bad and sodding 8 square yards of lawn: $8


I. Slaughter, Butcher, in account with John Smith--to dog meat, $15


I. Hassenrod Emerson, Veterinary Surgeon, in account with John Smith---To curing one bull pup of distemper $25; to curing one bull pup of mange $25; Total $50.


Mr. John Smith-Dear Sir:

As that belligerent animal you keep around your place will not allow the carrier to approach your premises, I hereby notify you that you must hereafter get your mail at the post office. Yours Truly,

Henry Thompson, P.M.


John Smith, Esq-My Dear Smith:

I know that a warm friendship has always existed between us, but I cannot conceive how any man in his right mind can allow such a villainous whelp as that of yours to remain around his home, and I must insist that you pay me the full value of my fine bird dog, which is now lying at the point of death as a result of an encounter with your cur the last time he followed me in your house. He came home three days after I lost him, and if he ever does recover he is ruined forevermore. I don't want to quarrel with you, Smith, but this is a serious matter, and while no money can replace my fine old Brutus, I feel that it will be only justice for yo to pay me $250, which is the price I paid for the dog two years ago.

Charles Kanine


John Smith, Esq-Sir:

Complaint comes to this office that you are violating city ordinance 41.144, which makes it a misdemeanor to allow a vicious dog to run at large. I shall be obliged to send a policeman to your neighborhood to investigate this matter, if you do not immediately take steps to abate this nuisance. The maximum fine in your case is $100 or fifty days' imprisonment. Respectfully,

Robert Full, Chief of Police


Mr. John Smith-My Dear Smith:

The Widow Brown is mourning the loss of her four year old child, which while playing near your house yesterday, was seized--

Mr. Smith evidently destroyed the remainder of this letter, as the foregoing was all of it that could be found on his person.


Hard & Ware Firearms, sold to John Smith-one Smith & Wesson revolver, .48 caliber: $12

Extra from Morning Paper

John Smith, a well known resident of this city, committed suicide last night by shooting himself through the head. Mr. Smith was a man of means, of happy domestic surroundings and the motive for his rash act is shrouded in mystery


  1. dry and dark, just the way I like my humor.

  2. Wow - that was one costly dog.

  3. It might just be a rumor, but I heard that Burke was worse than Bight.

  4. Charles: What passed for humor back then was often dry and dark. I think you would have a field day going through the newspapers from the 19th & early 20th century. Personally, I kind of miss that type of humor.

    Lynn: You betcha.

    Funny how things are somewhat the same some 100 hundred years later.

    S.R.: That's funny, I heard it was Bight that was worse than Burke.

  5. Can you imagine the way the politically correct would be up in arms about this today? It would never see publication...speaking of which, cross your fingers. My dad got a request to see one of his sci-fi manuscripts from some big literary agent in NY!

  6. M: That is fantastic news for your dad. Tell him I got my fingers crossed for him.

    Oh man, this definitely wouldn't see the light of day except in the blog world.

    The stuff that they used to print back in the 18th & 19th centuries for stories and ads, would make a p.c. liberal burst into flames.

  7. thie Bight and Burke jokes are nearly as good as the letter itself which was quite amusing

  8. I'm surprized his neighbors didn't shoot the dog... Most folks would just get a better dog enclosure.
    These days it would be all police calls- no written letters!

  9. Darth: Thanks. I wish I still had other examples of 19th century humor to show you, but alas, what I had saved from my years of working at the library was unceremoniously thrown away some five years ago.

    Snaggle: That would be true today, but back then, the medium of choice was the letter and the only enclosure that people often had was what Mother Nature had provided.

  10. I'm not exactly sure how you keep procuring these things from, or if you have them ready on hand, but they're absolutely great. I do appreciate outdated humor.

  11. Maybe the wrong thing got that distemper shot.

  12. ABftS: Thankee.

    Long story short, my first state job was helping microfilm old newspapers from the 18th thru the mid 20th century.

    For seven glorious years, I photcopied all kinds of strange articles/stories.

    However, during a spring cleaning, my mother (who my family and I share a house with) threw out my vast collection of schtuff.

    All I was able to find, was this particle story stashed away in a book, and a old time riddle that I published here about a year ago.

    If you ever find the time, your local state library/historical society might have old newspapers either on microfilm or digital that you can peruse at your leisure. It has some truly great stuff in it.

    If you explore the tag "Library", you'll find about almost two dozen posts about my life working at a library.

    Travis: I think you might be right.


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G. B. Miller

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