Thursday, July 16, 2015

Another Officer Miller Adventure

Gossips has already mentioned a couple of times when Officer Miller intervened in domestic squabbles. In late February 1917, he was called to South Seventh Street, where there was a row between neighbors who lived in the same house--one upstairs, the other downstairs. The account of the scene in court the next morning, which appeared in the Hudson Evening Register for February 28, 1917, is so entertainingly written that it merits being transcribed in its entirety.

There's [a] proverb which substantially says that a person learns more every day, and in the City court room this morning several Hudsonians realized the significance of it. They acquired the valuable information that an incubator hatches other things besides little chicks. The theme developed during the action of the episode showed that incubators also hatch trouble.
The comedy, as it may be termed, had a novel opening; probably it was the newest creation in prologues. The curtain arose with Officer Miller occupying the a prominent position on the stage. Seated about were two women and a man. At one end of the imaginary stage was one who filled an important role, City Judge Fritts. Following a brief overture, the policeman addressed the judge. The gist of his remarks gave one a hint as to a suitable title for the comedy. Two families occupy a house on South Seventh street. The up-stairs man, he explained, was accused by the down-stairs man with administering to him several solar plexus blows last night, and also with an apparent effort to use the complainant's nose as a corkscrew.
Then, almost in unison, the accused and his wife started to tell their side. Vaudeville comedy hadn't much on it. The accused said he went to put a boy's cart under the stoop, and the man down-stairs confronted him: threatened him and did make an attempt to deal a love tap on the end of his jaw. He said he ducked while [the] ducking was good. Probably there was something of a "fowl" atmosphere in the surroundings. There was as it developed.
Enter, L. U. E., his nose very discolored and he walks with a limp. He refutes the defendant's assertion: says he was "beat up" unmerciful, and would hesitate in disrobing himself to the extent that the alleged black and blue spots on his body could be displayed. He kept his shirt on, however.
Then a rapid cross-fire begins. Husband, wife and pretty girl boarder on one side; down-stairs man on the other. The parties do not hesitate to express opinions, jump at conclusions and make accusations.
Finally, the down-stairs man admits he cannot live with the family up-stairs. His Honor suggests that if they separate, probably there'd be no further trouble.
Down-stairs man (dramatically)--I won't let this drop, no sir, (hasty exist), (curtain drops moment, indicating lapse of time). Enter Mrs. Down-Stairs Woman, apparently excited; looks sharply at those on the imaginary stage.
"No sir, I won't let it drop," she declares. "My man did nothing to him (indicating the defendant). He didn't have a chance. He was beat terribly"--and many other things.
Then part of the theme is developed. Some time ago, according to the complainant's wife, she complained to her landlady about the up-stairs family putting an incubator in the cellar under her flat, and she considered it wasn't a proper place for it. She feared it might explode. She inferred that the other family "got sore," and haven't been cured yet.
The other family put in a bit of argument at this point, and then all sorts of remarks were passed. Judge Fritts objected to the word "cattle" being used by the complainant's wife. Then something was said about throwing a chicken--yes, it was dead--out of the window, and the old time reminiscences were recounted.
Judge Fritts decided to let the matter remain open, but the complainants declared they intended to push it.
Clearly, this was back in the day before it was illegal to raise chickens in Hudson.

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