26 May 2010

In Momentary Dread of Being Torn to Pieces By the Dog

This is part eight of the 1919 interview of then 71-year-old Bridges Smith (1848-1930) entitled "BRIDGES SMITH, AFTER FIFTY YEARS OF NEWSPAPER WORK, INTERVIEWED FOR FIRST TIME BY GIRL REPORTER." Upon his death, Mr. Smith was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery...

Locked Up for Half a Day
The oddest experience that this old-time reporter ever had was being locked up in jail for a half a day, though he admitted that he had had a good many other odd ones in his time.

"Probably being in jail for half a day and yet out of it was the queerest thing that ever happened to me," he declared. "It was when the six condemned riot prisoners from Eastman were confined in the old jail for safe keeping. One Sunday, just after dinner, I visited the jail as was my custom and went upstairs to talk to the prisoners, and while so engaged the sheriff of Dodge county came to the jail to see about taking them to Eastman. Bill Foster was the jailer, and forgetting about my being upstairs he took the Dodge sheriff out for a walk over town."

"Bill had one of the most ferocious bulldogs you ever saw, and when he went out that way the dog took his position in the jail doorway and no prisoner would dare to escape through that door. When I was ready to leave I started down the stairway to find that awful bulldog on guard. I stopped about three steps down, for I heard the dog's warning growl. By degrees I eased myself to a sitting position, and there I sat, afraid to call Bill, and, in fact, afraid to make the slightest move."

"Now and then the dog would look upward and give a low growl. I could hear the people passing along the street, but couldn't see them for the high fence around the jail. I knew there was no one about the jail yard and that I had to stay a prisoner there until Bill returned. Night was coming on, and there I was, unable to make my rounds for news. When darkness came the jailer's wife happened to come around and at first sight of her I called out gently to take the dog away. This she did, considering my predicament the best sort of a joke. But it was far from a joke to me. It was one of the most horrible afternoons of my life, being in momentary dread of being torn to pieces by the dog."

...Next up -- Author of Opera and Songs.

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