The Human Water Spider

We here at Forgotten Stories are always fascinated by those moments when an idea takes root; you know, those moments that cartoons illustrate by showing a light bulb above Wiley E. Coyote’s head. Unfortunately, history doesn’t preserve how Oldrieve came up with his idea, but we do know that sometime during the summer of 1888, while working as a tightrope walker at Revere Beach in Boston, Oldrieve decided to embark on an exciting new career as an aquatic pedestrian.

Now, pedestrianism was quite a popular sport in the 1880s and had been so since the Civil War’s end. Thousands gathered to watch pedestrians such as Charles Rowell and Edward Payson Weston compete in 500 mile walking matches in huge indoor arenas for big cash prizes. Well, if those chaps could make a good living taking a stroll on land, Oldrieve saw no reason he couldn’t figure out a way to take a stroll on the water.  Taking a hint from the rowboats which pleasure-seekers took out into Boston harbor, and building on a previous water-walking attempt by a gentlemen named Ned Hanlen who’d abandoned the pursuit and gone into rowing matches instead, Oldrieve fashioned an ingenious pair of water walking shoes.

Made of cedar and copper plating, the shoes were water tight. “On the bottom of the water shoes,” wrote The Evening World, “are fins so arranged that when the foot is moved forward they lie close to the bottom of the water shoe, but when the foot is pushed back in the motion of walking they drop down and secure a hold on the water.” After a few trial walks on Boston Harbor, Oldrieve realized he had a problem; no one particularly cared whether he could walk on water, and if no one cared he certainly wasn’t going to make any money at it. Scrounging together some $500, Oldrieve became his own publicity agent by laying his funds on the line; if anyone would be willing to match his $500 he’d be willing to stroll down the Hudson River from Albany to New York over the space of seven days.

Somewhere he found a taker, and during the last week of November, 1888 Oldrieve took his stroll down the Hudson. He made it too, coming in with sixteen hours to spare. The next few days were spent demonstrating his shoes by strolling between Brooklyn and New York, and Oldrieve went back to Boston richer by some $500.00.

Once home, he doubled down, and spent the entire next year wagering on water feats. He strolled from Pemberton’s Hotel back to Boston netting a cool $100.00. During one wager he nearly lost his life; while attempting a 20 mile jaunt on the waters of the Atlantic a fog came up and he lost his way. He fortunately spotted Apple Island, struggled onto dry land and passed out under a haystack. When morning came, he built a raft and attempted to make it back to Boston. Currents swept him out to sea however, and had not a chance Coast Guard cutter appeared, Oldrieve would have disappeared. He walked the Niagara River above the Falls; betting his life that he could make it across before going over. During January 1889 he nearly died navigating the rapids of Massachusetts’ Merrimac River.

Safer pursuits were called for, and local entertainers booked him to perform off Revere Beach during the summers. Billed as “The Human Water Spider” Oldrieve strolled out onto the water with a satchel of explosives and a cigar; lighting the fuses with the cigar he dropped the explosives behind him sending forth huge plumes of water and, incidentally, stunning a few fish. He gradually built on this, bringing along fireworks to add to the aquatic display.

For the next decade or so, Oldrieve made his living performing up and down the Atlantic Coast, even going so far as Cuba. There could still be danger; as he described it in lengthy, but thrilling fashion (We trust the reader will excuse the extended quotation):

I went to Havana a few years before the Spanish War, and at the time the Cubans were struggling to thrown off the galling yoke of the mother country. My walking on the water feat proved quite a hit, and after giving several exhibitions in the bay, close to the dock, I was engaged by the Havana Yacht club for a sort of private show…the water was calm as some sylvan brook, no wind to speak of was blowing, and I felt in excellent spirits, so my performance – even if I do say it myself – was first class, and caused those dons and donnas to chorus repeated bravas from their snug resting places on the decks of the yachts.

I walked back and forth, performed a sort of gliding stunt, bent the crab, and did other foolish things, and, becoming exhilarated by my exercise, took a turn a good piece out to see…a cry of alarm sounded from the deck of the yacht nearest me. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw, just about five yards behind me, a thin, black strip showing above the water, and as it moved rapidly in my direction I quickly divined what it was, the fin of a shark. I was practically helpless, with no weapon in hand, not even so much as a paddle, and in the sudden terror that claimed me my legs grew week, with the result that I nearly lost my balance, one foot inkling to the right and the other to the left, and I came within an ace of pitching head first into the sea.

The yacht of the mayor was only a few yards from me, and, pushing forward my right foot, I sped toward the haven of refuge. But as I covered an inch my pursuing foe covered many feet, and a scream from one of the white-robed ladies on the deck apprised me that the destroyer was upon me. Instinctively, I described a turn, and facing about, saw six feet of bluish, clammy-looking flesh, a double row of pointed teeth, set well in a cavernous mouth and round, pointed beak to the side of me, as the shark sprang from the water. He missed me by a narrow margin, and his while great length – there must have been twenty feet of him – in a half circle splashed into the water, and the passage of the massive body through the flood whirled me around like a top.

As soon as I recovered myself I started again for the yacht, and had almost reached the boat’s side when the cry of alarm once more came from the deck. I could hear the swirl of the water behind me, and, looking over my shoulder again saw the same murderous fin parting the green wavelets. The shark, profiting by his first miss, did not spring from the sea until he had clearly overtaken me. His hard beak grazed the rear end of my right shoe, and caused my leg to shoot forward from under me, and as I fell backward into the sea the monster fish turned over on his side, and snap went his dreadful jaws. The bite tore away all of one portion of my left water shoe, and the calf of my leg was mangled and torn by the center teeth. As I fell into the water I felt the stinging pain in my leg and knew the shark had me in his jaws, but with a resourcefulness born of despair, I jerked my foot violently forward. My lacerated, bleeding leg was freed, as the teeth had only sunk into the loose flesh, and besides the long strips of skin I left all my left water shoe in the shark’s mouth.

I struggled about under the water for a few moments, expecting every minute to feel the shark’s teeth closing about my body, and for a time my overturned right shoe prevented me from rising to the surface. I was a good swimmer though, and when the brine had nearly choked me, by bending my right knee to the utmost, and so relieving the depressing weigh of the shoe, I thrust my head above water.

My first impression was an awful splashing all about me, and for a moment I fancied the shark and some of his family had come back to finish lunch. Spray was dashed in a deluge into my face and for a moment the water, descending in a cloud, blinded me. But then I saw it all. Several boats were floating near me, ordinary skiffs I mean, and the men in them were beating the water with the flats of oars. That’s a good ruse to frighten sharks you know and it must have worked with my hungry friend…The beating of the water was all right and no doubt saved my life, but the excitable Spaniards kept up the practice with such persistency, shouting loudly all the while that for a time I was in danger of having my brains knocked out…A boat was quickly pulled to where I fought to keep my head above water, and, more dead than alive, I was drawn over the gunwale, water shoes and all, and carried to the yacht.

I had lost much blood and a large strip of flesh was missing from my limb, and to add to my pain and misery the doctor insisted on burning the wound out with a solution of nitric acid, declaring that the shark’s teeth might have been infected from eating some dead carcass thrown into the sea.

After some time on crutches Oldrieve recovered, and in the winter of 1897 announced that he’d be walking across the Atlantic from Boston to Havre, then up the Seine to Paris. The trip would begin on July 4, 1898, and a friend, C.A. Andrews would accompany him in a small canvas boat that could be folded into a 3 foot by 3 foot square and carried under the arm. According to Oldrieve, the going would be easy, since he could glide down the sides of steep ocean swells, and he could sleep and eat aboard Andrews’ tiny skiff. By July however, the Spanish-American War had broken out and the newspapers were trumpeting the dangers posed by the Spanish Navy; the trip never took place.

For the next eight years or so Oldrieve stayed quiet. There are a few accounts of performances in Boston and at various beaches around the country; some had to be cancelled when Oldrieve got too intoxicated to perform. Somewhere along the way Oldrieve also acquired a wife; a small, slight man barely 130 pounds, Oldrieve’s bride his Caroline dominated him both personally and physically, she tipped the scale at nearly 200 pounds and had a huge pair of shoulders she’d earned rowing in the waters off her native Nova Scotia.

Cupid’s arrows are often wisely dispatched, and however divergent their physical natures, they got along famously. She took charge of his career, and soon she came up with a new venture. On a wager of $5000 put up by E.J. Weatherton of Dallas, Texas against the noted sporting man Alfred Woods of Boston, Massachusetts, Oldrieve announced he would walk along the river from Cincinnati to New Orleans in 40 days; taking the Ohio River until he reached Cairo, Illinois and then continuing the rest of the way on the Mississippi.

He left Cincinnati at noon January 1st, 1907. Midwest weather in early January can be particularly awful, and January of 1907 proved no exception to the rule. Although Oldrieve made around 22 miles per day along the Ohio’s waters, he was already a day behind schedule by the time he reached Paducah, Kentucky on the aftern

oon of the 14th. The wind had been particularly troubling, if it blew at his back it had a tendency to upset the water shoes, and if it blew at his front it made it particularly hard water walking. That January, the wind sometimes seemed to come at him from both directions at once.

His wife rowed alongside him as he walked, shouting encouragement, providing meals, struggling to stay next to him in the strong current, and rescuing him when he occasionally fell into the ice cold water.  Weatherton and Wood’s representative Edward Williams accompanied them in a gasoline launch, to verify that the Professor did indeed walk the entire way. Oldrieve assured the world that the affair would be on the level; telling the The Washington Herald, “If I win, I will win on the square.” Some good fortune hit too, he got a day’s rest when the gasoline launch failed, and was given until February 10 to finish the task.

He hit Cairo, Illinois on January 17, and a large crowd greeted him, accompanied by the whistles from passing steamboats. From here he hoped that the rapid current of the Mississippi would help him move quicker and make up for lost time. The current did help; he picked up four hours between Cairo and Memphis, arriving there on the morning of the 22nd and then continuing on towards Vicksburg which he reached on the 30th, enjoying the hospitality of Mississippi plantation owners who provided a soft bed and decent meal, gratis.

With mere hours left until noon on February 10, 1907 Oldrieve began striding past the suburbs of New Orleans, with his wife cheering him on. At an hour left, he hit the city limits, and with 45 minutes left he passed the Canal Street Bridge. Then trouble struck; Oldrieve got caught in an eddy created by a passing steamboat spinning around and around. Caroline was too far away to reach him, and as the Professor lost balance he was only just able to grab the outstretched hand of a black stevedore who’d spotted his peril and reached over the gunwale of a coal barge.

After a few minutes to recover, Oldrieve set off once more, making it to the finish line with only a few minutes to spare.

With $5000 in his pocket, some good Creole cooking, and a stay in one of New Orleans’ best hotels, Oldrieve soon recovered from his trip, and regained the 25 pounds he’d lost. He started focusing on future plans; walking across the English Channel, and even re-floating the idea of walking across the Atlantic. Meanwhile however, he and his wife gave performances up and down the Mississippi, and his water-dynamite act was to be the star attraction at Greenwood, Mississippi’s Fourth of July celebration.  The Professor planned an extravaganza to cap off the event; in the foreground he would drop dynamite into the Mississippi creating giant jets of water, while Caroline set off a barrage of fireworks in the background.

Disaster struck. One of the fireworks set Caroline’s dress on fire, and instead of making for the water she jumped off the barge’s landward side in a panic. Badly burned, Oldrieve rushed her to King’s Daughters Hospital. She soon regained consciousness, and urged the worried Professor that she would be on her feet again soon. As he was unwilling to leave her side, she had to order him to take the train to Paducah to book their next engagement. He went.

Ever the trooper, Caroline’s conditions were far more serious than she let on, and in the humid Mississippi weather her wounds gave way to a rapid infection. On July 7th she died suddenly; unable to be reached by telegram, Oldrieve read about it in the paper. The hospital forwarded her body to Oldrieve, who met the casket in Memphis.

Unable to cope with his loss, Oldrieve spent the next four days after the funeral drunk, only sobering up enough to procure three bottles of chloroform from the corner drug store. Alone, in a tiny hotel room in a city where he had no friends, Oldrieve drank all three bottles. He was dead when the chambermaid found him the next morning.                      

Physician Heal Thyself

Dr. Rudolph Tauszky was a medical vagabond. Born in Hungary, he received his basic medical training at the University of Vienna, spent some time as a surgeon for Garibaldi’s Red Shirts fighting in Italy, and then emigrated to the United States where he spent the Civil War  in the Union Army as a field surgeon. He returned to Vienna in 1865, gained an advance degree specializing in women’s reproduction, then returned across the Atlantic and rejoined the Army, serving in isolated forts along the American frontier.

By 1868, Tauszky was a civilian once more, and living in New York City. After a stint with the Board of Health he joined the staff of Mt. Sinai Hospital as Chief Surgeon. He wrote copiously; authoring How to Produce the Best Possible Condition After Parturition, Ovulation and Other Theories of Menstruation, and The Changes in Epithelia Produced by the Growth of Myeloma, and even an article on the priapism in the recently deceased. By 1873 he’d set himself up in private practice, although he maintained an advisory relationship with Mt. Sinai.

Beginning with his publication of an article entitled Lunacy and its Crimes, Tauszky turned his attention to criminal insanity, an  increasingly popular topic in the wake of the national debate surrounding the sanity of Charles Guiteau, President Garfield’s assassin. The doctor’s interest arose at an opportune time, astute trial lawyers had been advising their clients to plead insanity at every opportunity. “So common has the defense become that in almost every case of atrocious  and brutal crime, it is presented,” George B. Corkhill, United States District Attorney for the District of Columbia complained in The Medico-Legal Journal. “And it is remarkable that there is scarcely a criminal but can find facts, in his own life, of physical or mental disturbance, or in the lives of some of his blood relations, from which men of eminence or of scientific attainments readily demonstrate to juries that these facts, taken in connection with the atrocious and brutal nature of the crime, indicate insanity.” The doctor embarked on a lucrative sideline as an expert witness in insanity cases. In one probate matter involving a will’s beneficiary, he testified on an heiress’ behalf; his efforts netted her an inheritance and himself a fee of some $6000.

With an ample income, the 40 year old doctor decided it was high time he found a wife, and fastened on Frances Rosenthal, the daughter of a well respected uptown rabbi. Gossips whispered that Frances was inclined to frivolity and plumpness, but the doctor paid more attention to her raven hair, dark eyes, and vivacious personality. Tauszky had his critics too, and they warned Frances that the doctor had a mercurial temper, and as a lifelong bachelor he’d have difficulty adjusted to married life with a woman 20 years his junior. Nevertheless, after a short courtship the two were married in 1883.

Their first few months were spent in busily setting up their house at 171 E. 70th Street, but then things turned sour. Exceeding jealous of his young bride, Tauszky went so far as to bar her from leaving the house alone lest she be seduced by other men. At the annual Liederkrenz Festival in Jones’ Wood, Frances’ childhood friend George Otterbourg asked her to be his partner in a polka; before she could answer, the doctor exploded, causing a scene and dragging his wife bodily to the train station. A few days later, Frances left on an extended trip to visit her brother’s home in Milwaukee. In Frances’ absence, the doctor rented out their home to Morris Wetzler and his wife. He slept at the St. Cloud Hotel, but reached an agreement with the Wetzlers, a reduction in their rent in exchange for Mrs. Wetzler providing him breakfast and dinner. The doctor soon became enamored with a new project, an ambitious plan for bathhouses throughout New York’s impoverished areas to provide free weekly hot showers to the poor, with an additional facility at Castle Garden for new immigrants.

In the middle of 1884, Frances returned for another try at married life. Instead of returning to their home on 70th Street, the pair took up residence at one of the new apartment houses springing up along the city’s northern outskirts, the swank Ashton Flats at 612 Lexington Avenue. The apartment was large, even by the roomier standards of era. The doctor’s private office faced the street, and then behind it was his consulting room, and the family’s private quarters, complete with parlor, dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, and a small bedroom for the help; a live-in maid named Esther Harris. Instead of bringing on a cook they arranged for Frances to join her husband for meals at the Wetzlers. All went well for a time, until Tauszky and his wife showed up after a late evening at the theater and the doctor demanded a full meal prepared from scratch. Wetzler refused to have his wife ordered about and suggested, more or less politely, that the late diners content themselves with leftovers. The doctor left in a huff, dragging his wife along with him.

Dr. Tauszky’s relations with his tenants became even more strained a few weeks later, when the doctor attempted to remove the house’s loan bathtub to his new apartment. Wetzler objected and the disagreement escalated; by the time the police arrived they found the doctor brandishing his American Special .32 caliber revolver under Wetzler’s nose. After a night in jail sputtering invective about his ungrateful tenant to whomever would listen, the charges were dropped.

The apartment required other furnishings besides a bathtub, and Frances busied herself with decorating. She purchased a large piano for the parlor, expensive etchings to line the walls, and cream colored curtains which matched the orange highlights in the apartment’s plush carpeting. While Frances decorated, the doctor continued with his bathhouse project, drafting a petition endorsing the plan for the New York State Tenement House Commission. He visited any medical professional with whom he was even remotely acquainted, such was the doctor’s zealousness that several signed merely to get the excitable man out of their offices. In early December, 1884 the Commission agreed to hear the doctor’s plan, but were less than enthused about the project’s $25,000 price tag, and they tabled it. Left without a creative outlet, the doctor’s jealousy returned full force, and he once more began to suspect his wife of infidelity. He confided his fears to his sister, who urged him to focus instead upon his stellar career prospects. “What good is a star,” the doctor sighed, “when it isn’t the one you want?”

Then, shortly after his presentation to the Tenement House Commission, Dr. Tauszky’s father died. Recalling the elder Tauszky’s funeral a few months later, witnesses remembered two things; Frances’ absence and Tauszky’s histrionics. He created such a scene that his brother-in-law had to physically wrestle him into a waiting taxicab. As had women’s health, insanity, bathhouses, the Wetzlers, and his wife’s purported infidelity, his father’s death became the doctor’s obsession, and he spent countless hours dwelling on the hereafter. He couldn’t sleep, and Dr. Leszysky, a colleague with offices a few doors up Lexington Avenue, prescribed chloride. A strong dosage, combined with bottles of wine produced a fitful night’s rest, but did little to reduce the doctor’s melancholia.

So things stood early in the morning of January 5. Frances had dragged her brass bedstead into the parlor, where a fireplace kept the room tolerably warm, and at 2 a.m. the doctor collapsed alongside her. “Talk to me Francesca,” he implored his wife in German.

“He asked me a number of questions,” she told a policeman the next morning, “about things that he was perfectly familiar with, and then he said, ‘It’s too bad, my memory fails me.’” The doctor climbed out of bed and went into his office. When Frances went to check on him an hour or so later, she found him shivering in his office chair, staring at his father’s picture on his desk. She asked if he wanted anything, and he looked up long enough to request that she bring him a bottle of wine and three cigars. She loathed when he smoked indoors and worried he was drinking too much, but she got them for him anyway. He took a pull directly from the bottle, finishing a third of it in one gulp, and she left him to the wine and cigars and went back to bed.

When she came back again around 4:30 the gas lighting had been turned off and her husband was a dim silhouette before his desk, still sitting in his easy chair. “Why have you no light here?” she asked.

“We don’t want one. Love can see well enough in the dark. Francesca, put your arms around my neck.” She did as he asked, sitting on the his lap. The doctor’s left hand slid up her back, pausing to let his fingertips graze the smooth skin of her neck before he pulled out the pins which held her hair in place, releasing it to tumble down in a black cascade. She kissed him, in the way that only a woman sitting on the lap of a man can kiss, and rested her head on his shoulder with a contended sigh. Then she felt the touch of cold steel just below her hairline. She tried to pull away, but the doctor squeezed her tighter and said tenderly, “We go together.”

The revolver flashed, she fell to the floor with a shriek, struggled to her feet and then ran out the door and into the hall. Convulsive sobs mingled with her cries that she’d been shot, and woke the next door neighbor, Mrs. Strong.  Aghast at the sight of blood pouring from Frances’ scalp, Mrs. Strong nearly fainted and had to hold onto the wall to stop from keeling over. Upstairs, Henry C. Dart, a flour merchant with offices at 90 Broad Street, heard the screams and came down to investigate. He sent the Esther Harris to summon Dr. Leszysky. Someone notified the police, who took so long to arrive that Dart wrote a complaint to the Police Board. Dr. Leszysky treated Frances, whose wounds did not appear to be life threatening. Until the police showed up, neither Dart nor any of the small crowd of residents who’d been awakened had any inclination to confront Dr. Tauszky, an armed man who’d just shot his wife. Eventually, Policeman Abraham Philips arrived, and he and Dart broke down the doctor’s office door.


Inside, the doctor lay next to his wardrobe. Blood pooled from a bullet wound in his forehead, but Leszysky’s quick examination confirmed the doctor was still breathing; the bullet had fractured the Tauszky’s skull, carving a grove along the bone before exiting near his left temple. With several reporters in its wake an ambulance arrived to cart Tauszky to nearby Presbyterian Hospital. Frances remained behind. “She is suffering now more from nervous prostration than anything else,” Leszysky informed the press.

Dr. Tauszky’s physical prognosis was good too, but his mind was a different matter. Policeman Phillips prevented an attempt at defenestration, and doctors confined Tauszky to a straightjacket. He asked after his wife, but then refused to believe she was still alive. Tauszky’s sister cajoled Frances into writing him a letter.

My Darling Husband:


I am all right. Am only prostrated by nervousness. You will, I am told, get better soon. Do not worry, dear, and as soon as I can get out rest assured I will come to see you.


Lovingly, Frances.


The doctor pronounced the correspondence a forgery, and even when Frances did visit he refused to believe she was anything but a ghost. His ravings went further and further, one day he accused his nurses of being part of a vast conspiracy of 80,000 people who wanted him dead, on the next he was claiming to be the only man who could save the Republican Party.

At the end of January, a sheriff’s jury found the doctor insane, and at the family’s request the court sent him to a private asylum outside of Hartford, Connecticut, where he died in November, 1889. Frances eventually returned to her mother and father. It was one of the bystanders who watched workmen empty out the Tauszky’s apartment that had the definitive word on the affair. “What a travesty…” a reporter heard him say, “the idea of an insane doctor giving evidence as an expert in cases of insanity.”


The Lothario of the Law Courts

Fictional men in love have been known to engage in acts of striking bravery; Leander swam the Hellespont, Romeo braved the House of Capulet’s guards for an evening’s canoodling with Juliet, and Sir Gawain fought a whole host of knights and risked drowning merely because his fair maiden asked him to seize a tree branch which she particularly desired. Emanuel Schulhafer, a 25 year old clerk in his father’s grocery store at 1351 Third Avenue in New York, bore little in common with these legendary men. Nevertheless, he was very much in love with a pretty cook who worked in the kitchen of one of the large houses which lined the bucolic streets of the Upper East Side. Schulhafer’s parents did not approve; in 1885 it was simply not acceptable for a Jewish boy to be seen in the company of an Irish cook.

Nevertheless, on the night of January 7, Schulhafer invited her to join him at a performance of The Private Secretary at the Madison Square Theater. Schulhafer donned his best garb; Newmarket coat, three button vest, boiled white shirt complete with a high starched collar, and a pair of highly polished “toothpick” shoes, so-called because they were exceedingly narrow and finished in a sharp point. After scalloping his bangs so that they hung in curls along his forehead, the erstwhile beau picked up his Irish belle and headed for the theater.

Defying his parents was one thing, but defying them and getting caught was more than Schulhafer was willing to undertake no matter how pretty the colleen. Afraid of being recognized, Schulhafer donned a disguise a few blocks from the theater. He’d chosen his means of concealment poorly, for it was a long and bushy gray beard that flowed to nearly chest length. Even worse than its size and color, the beard was entirely too big, and hung loosely on Schulhafer’s narrow face. His date’s reaction is unknown, but she and Schulhafer took their seats front and center.

The first act went fine, but when Schulhafer reached over to whisper a comment in his date’s ear before the commencement of the second his beard got caught in her dress, and his efforts to free himself excited the attention of a few of the theater’s patrons. As the second act got underway, the theater-goers spent more time watching Schulhafer than the actors. Titters of laughter became giggles, for each time that he moved his head the oversized beard refused to follow suit. Quiet whispers became a little louder as people speculated on the young man’s identity; a bank clerk who’d absconded with funds and was out on a night on the town in disguise, or perhaps a detective sent to keep an eye on a suspect. Finally the giggles and loud whispers became too much for the ushers and Schulhafer was more or less discreetly hustled from his seat and into an upstairs office. Here, Captain Williams of the New York Police Department waited, and placed Schulhafer under arrest. The cook presumably found her own way home.

The next morning, after a night spent surrounded by the City’s Criminal classes, Schulhafer looked much the worse for wear. The high starched collar had wilted, whitewash from the jail’s walls stained his jacket, his hair presented a dapper picture, and his gold spectacles hung askance. Peering down at him Judge Duffy, whose diminutive size belied a powerful voice, read the charges; “That said defendant did disguise his face by wearing a false beard and moustaches and moved said beard and moustaches to and fro, annoying the patrons of said theater.” As such, Schulhafer’s conduct was a breach of the peace.

Judge Duffy asked to see the wig. “Young man, what did you parade yourself in this thing for? Why didn’t you go to the theatre like a man?”

“Because your Honor, I was with a party that I did not want to be recognized in her company and…”

“Another man’s wife I suppose?”

“No sir, no sir, nothing of the kind.”

“A widow, maybe then?

“I assure you, it was not.”

“You violated the law, anyhow; but after all I think you did it innocently. Five dollars or five days.” Schulhafer’s choice was an easy one, he peeled out five dollars from his wallet, took up his beard which he’d promised to return to the hairdresser, and sheepishly boarded the horse-car for home. History does not record if he got another date.


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