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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 47, no. 1336, p. 307.

September 30, 1865


...You have all heard of the St. Albans raid--of the impudent exploit of the Southern filibusters under Bennett Young, who passed over from Canada, plundered all the banks, stole all the horses in St. Albans, and shot a livery-stable keeper. Not far from St. Albans, in the State of Vermont, is a place called Burlington. Here there has just taken place a "raid" rivalling in turpitude and impudence the famous deed of Bennett Young. A citizen of Burlington has just eloped with no less than three married ladies, and "made tracks" to Canada. One of the injured husbands has started in hot pursuit of this "gallant, gay Lothario" in triplicate. The other two, wiser, remain at home. I am sorry to hear this about Burlington; for the affair reflects grievously on the State of Vermont, which is a very moral State, and has adopted the Maine liquor law. It is only in the western and "wild cat" part of the Union that you expect to hear of matrimonial eccentricities. If you will only reside, for instance, six months in the State of Indiana you may obtain, at the expense of a few dollars, a divorce on almost any kind of plea. "Incompatibility of temper" is a serious ground for divorce there. There are "divorce lawyers" in the Atlantic cities who make up periodical excursion-trains of clients to the capital of the "untying State." You may often see an advertisement couched in this fashion:--"I start for Indianopolis on the 1st proximo. Couples wishing to join (i.e., to be disjoined) will please communicate at once to 'Alpha,' 302, West Old Hundredth-street, N. Y."

Mention of the naughty man of Vermont leads me naturally to the recently-published volume of "Artemus Ward Among the Mormons," to which is prefixed a very graphic and sensible introduction by Mr. E. P. Hingston, who was Artemus's companion during his journey from California to Great Salt Lake City and thence north again. Skimming over those pleasant pages, I have discovered that the choral nuisance, the intolerably coarse and stupid "comic" song of "Jolly Dogs," with its meaningless refrain of "Slap, bang! here we are again!" which has been yelled at music-halls and ground on street organs innumerable, has, after all, a Yankee origin. Mr. Hingston heard it sung, nearly three years since, in a stage-coach in Utah by three "saints"--a Mormon bishop, Brigham Young's son-in-law, and the manager of the Great Salt Lake City theatre. The chorus to the American edition is "Rip, slap! set him up again!" There is nothing new under the sun....

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