Posts Tagged ‘Scarecrow’

Foes of the Wheel Have Trotted Out Another Scarecrow

October 28, 2010


Enemies of Wheeling Say It Affects the Vocal Chords.

All the talk of the bicycle face having practically died out, the foes of the wheel have now trotted out another scarecrow claiming that as a result of wheeling women are becoming loud talkers, with an unpleasant quality of voice. They assert that wheeling, especially with the mouth open, has a detrimental effect on the vocal chords, and when to this is added the strain to which the voice is subjected in an effort to keep up a conversation while cycling the danger seems something more than a shadow. Some persons who have made voice culture a life study are inclined to fall in with these views, asserting that exercise on the wheel is responsible for an apparent alteration in the voices of women. One vocal teacher says:

“While bicycle riding people frequently fill their lungs with dust, and this is, of course, injurious. Then the exercise leaves the system exhausted and unable to resist the bad effects of excessive perspiration. A severe cold is detrimental to the speaking voice, and when these colds are frequent, as they are with bicyclists, they will ultimately result in permanent injury. If women would ride but a few miles at a time and would keep their mouths closed there would be no danger, but I find that many of my pupils cannot refrain from overdoing the sport. Professional women realize the harm that bicycling does to their voices, but they say that they cannot bear to give up wheeling. Calling to one another as wheelwomen frequently do cannot help but strain the voice is persisted in.”

Another vocal instructor hold totally opposite views. Said she: “I am strongly in favor of cycling for women. It is a most healthful exercise, and so cannot fail to be beneficial to he singing and speaking voice. I do not believe the old-fashioned theory of things affecting the vocal chords directly. Of course it is possible to strain the voice but I should think this most unlikely when wheeling. The very tendency of the wheel is to keep the rider quiet. If riders should call from one to the other when outdoors their speaking voices might be affected, but the most strident speakers are often the sweetest singers. The soft, well-modulated voice of the English girl does not give us as many brilliant examples of the song bird as the less pleasant and somewhat nasal tones of the American. Nine out of every ten successful singers abroad to-day are Americans. This is because the other girls are never allowed to expand their lungs with the same delightful freedom. A good digestion is the first requisite toward good singing. I should say poor cooks have more to do with spoiling the voice than all the wheels in Christendom. A theory has been advanced that the rapid breathing necessary when riding the wheel is injurious. This is wrong, as the vocal chords are completely protected when not in use.” — Philadelphia Press.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Aug 5, 1897

The Robber Crows

October 27, 2010

The Robber Crows of Tamaqua.

The robber crows made such terrible depredations upon his cornfields that Frederick Horman, living near Tamaqua, was forced to take extreme measures.

He fitted up a scarecrow with a six-shooter, self-cocking revolver in each wooden hand. In a box in the chest of the man image he placed a strong clock to which he connected the triggers of the pistols. He arranged the connecting string so they would be wounds up in a certain number of hours, thus firing the revolvers. As the crows are worst at daybreak and as they are fearful of the smell of burnt powder, Mr. Horman arranged the pistols to be discharged at ten-minute intervals in the morning.

The experiment worked like a charm, for although none of the crows were hit by the bullets fired from the scarecrow, the shooting scared them so badly that they always, after two or three mornings, flew around Mr. Horman’s cornfield  by a circuitous route and bothered him no more.

— Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Aug 24, 1892

Night Train HooDoo

October 26, 2010


Engineer of a Fast Train Receives a Fright Which He Can’t Forget.

“The nervous strain on the engineer of a fast train is something enormous,” said one of them the other day, reports the Detroit Free Press. “Not only the lives of the passengers are at stake, but there is the constant fear of running over someone on the track. An accident, no matter how innocent the engineer, is always a kind of hoodoo. What was my first accident? I shall never forget it. If it had been traced on my mind with a streak of lightning it couldn’t have made a more lasting impression.

“It happened one bright moonlight night in November. We were spinning over the rail full speed across the country whee there were few people passing at that time of night, when I looked out and saw the figure of a man lying across the track not ten feet in front of the engine. I stopped quick as possible, but too late, of course. We had run over him, and the lifeless was under the wheels. We got out to look for him, and found his hat, a piece of his coat sleeve and one of his shoes, but the rest seemed to be further back under the train. I backed up the engine and got out to look again. There lay the body. I nearly fainted when I saw its distorted form. I felt like a murderer. Did I known the man? No, not personally. He was a scarecrow from a neighboring corn field.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Apr 6, 1898

The Scarecrow: Occupation, Crime and Complaint

October 25, 2010

Image from (by Kristina Layton)


In yonder field he stands erect,
No matter what the weather,
And keeps a watch so circumspect
On foes of every feather.
So faithful is he to the trust
Committed to his keeping
That all the birds suspect he must
Dispense with any sleeping.

Sometimes his hat tips down so low
It seems a cause for censure,
For then some old courageous crow
Believes it safe to venture;
But catching sight of either arm
Outstretched in solemn warning,
The crow decides to leave this farm
Until another morning.

Although his dress is incomplete,
It really does not matter;
Perchance the truest heart may beat
Beneath a patch or tatter.
And it is wrong to base our love
On wealth and name and station,
For he who will may rise above
His daily occupation.

We should not look with eyes of scorn,
And find in him no beauty,
Who stands and guards our fields of corn,
And does the whole world duty.
But honor him for native worth,
For rustic independence,
And send a hearty greeting forth
For him and his descendants.

Martha Caverno Cook, in Harper’s Young People.

The Hazel Green Herald (Hazel Green, Kentucky) Oct 14, 1885

This was also published in The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) on Feb 4, 1890.  One word had been changed in the last line: “To” was used instead of “For.”

The Scarecrow’s Complaint.

The farmer’s daughter fixed me up —
‘Twas really quite a sin;
My hat is down clear o’er my eyes —
I haven’t any chin.

My arms are sticking right out straight —
I scorn this ragged coat;
My trousers — this is worst of all —
Are fastened round my throat.

Alas — that cruel farmer’s girl —
Her heart is hard and bad;
She brings her beaux to look at me —
And giggles just like mad.

— Chicago Record-Herald.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jun 17, 1901



The Trial of the Scarecrow.

“The prisoner, your honor,
As the court well knows,
Is accused of the crime
Of alarming the crows.”

Then the jury retired
Till they call could agree
To punish the rascal
Or let him go free.
They found a true bill,
With a great many caws,
“That the scarecrow with malice
Had broken the laws.”

Then up rose the judge,
And he solemnly said,
“I sentence the prisoner
To swing till he’s dead!”

The Daily News (Frederick, Maryland) Sep 30, 1893