These two illustrations by Jim appeared on the same page for different articles. The first, above, is from a story by Fred Griffin about people being distracted on the streetcar, with the illustration showing a woman unable to look up while reading a book while paying her fare. Not unlike smartphones today?
This illustration is from “The ‘opkins Rent and ‘aunted ‘ouse” by Edith Bayne. It is a terrible story written in working class slang about a haunted house. The man in the illustration thinks he hears a ghost, but it turns out to be the new boarder who is a telephone switchboard operator who talks in her sleep (5 cents being the cost of a call from a pay phone).
There is no
more vain and no more popular argument in the world than at what age a baby is
the other day, I happened to remark to George that in my opinion a baby three
months old was without doubt the sweetest and quaintest creature in the
astonished gaze,” I said, “It’s smile, it’s first silvery chuckle, it’s
first difficult groping with its hands –“
disagree with you,” put in George. “To my mind, a baby is at its most
delightful age at about fourteen months.”
course, is precisely what George would say, for his little girl is exactly
fourteen months old. As if I didn’t see through his absurd point of view, he
fourteen months, they are intelligent beings, essaying their first little
words, their first timid steps, discovering for the first time all the wonders
of the world. I repeat, at fourteen months they are intelligent creatures, not
mere little bundles of soft flesh, crying and kicking and oblivious to
everything in the world except noisy rattles and gesticulating and diddering
parents at their cribside.”
might say, was a deliberate dig at me and my little boy, who, by the way, is
exactly three months old, and the gentlest, cunningest – However!
continued to shout in that manner about his little girl until everyone in the
restaurant was staring at him. I never knew anyone who could blather so about a
child as George can.
on, just a minute!” I exclaimed. “Give me a chance, won’t you? You’ve
had fourteen months to rave about your child to me. Surely you can shut up for
a minute and listen to me. As I was saying, a child of three months is not far
short of fairyland. What I mean is, as a child grow older, it grows coarser,
becomes, in fact, more human, and therefore more gross. Now, a baby of three
months has that elfin air –“
here!” shouted George, quite angrily. “What do you know about it. My
baby was three months old, and six months old, and ten months old, and now It’s
fourteen months old, so I know what I’m talking about.”
seen other children,” I remarked.
not the same,” replied George.
I answered sweetly, “it is not.”
finished lunch without even talking about the new dominion cabinet. George and
I have this kind of row about once a month.
the futility of arguing about babies.
instance, a young lady who has two very kindly asked me how our baby was.
he smiling yet?” she said.
I exclaimed. “My goodness, yes! He’s been smiling since he was three weeks
but not knowingly,” said she. “They don’t smile really until the
this boy of mine was smiling at three,” I declared.
course,” she said, “a little pain or makes them appear to
could you say to that?
laughed out loud at three months,” was all I could think of to say at the
moment. But it fell on deaf and unbelieving ears.
family doctor has the misfortune to be a grandfather. His first grandchild is
just about the age of our boy. And in his attitude towards our baby we can
detect something just a little more than the professional manner.
fine boy, a fine boy!” he says, as our fellow, observing that it is the
doctor, shows off his lung development in a few shouts.
little-grandson,” adds the doctor, “just laughs and gurgles all day
long. I’ve seen countless babies in my day, but I never met so good natured a
child as he.”
we discount his professional opinion to a proper degree.
now,” we all say at once, “this little fellow is so good we often
wonder if it is right. We can’t imagine what has got into him just at the
grandson of mine,” continues the doctor in a loud, firm voice, “gains
nine ounces a week.”
surely that isn’t healthy,” exclaims my wife. “Ours gains five and a
half, and that’s just about right.”
tut,” says the family doctor. “The more the better.”
shouldn’t have grandchildren.
maternal grandma lives with us. She is a philosopher.
most beautiful age for a child,” she states, “is the age it is.”
will have a lot of fun with this fellow when he is creeping.”
more than now,” I say.
will have great sport with him when he walks, and you can take him out to the
more than when he is creeping,” I say.
will be great company when he is four or five.”
more than when he first walks,” say I.
the greatest day of all,” says grandma, “will be the day he presents
you with a little boy just such as he now is.”
such a mystery, at so marvelous thought, I am dumb.
instance, one of their favorite tricks is to order you to do some impossible
thing. And then when you fail, as you were bound to do, the doctors clear their
throats, make a hopeless gesture with their eyebrows, and say – “I told
Now, take a
baby, for example.
egged on by the doctors, tells you right at the start:
spoil the baby. Don’t rush and pick him up every time he cries. Let him cry: it
won’t hurt him. It’ll exercise his little lungs.”
Then you have
the doctor in, just to look over the baby to see that his legs are quite all
right even if they are bent that way, and so on and so on –.
the usual assurances that it is indeed a remarkable child, the doctor hitches
forward in his chair and says very earnestly, looking both parents in turn
sternly in the eye:
don’t spoil the baby by picking him up every time he cries. You will let
yourself in for to end of trouble. Just let him cry it out. He’ll be no bother
you expostulate, “maybe he has a little pain! Eh? What if he sounds as if
he were in agony?”
well, they have their little pains, you know,” replies the doctor,
deprecatingly. “If you like, pick him up for a minute, and rest him
against your shoulder.”
And so it
goes. What a fiction! What a tradition! Let him cry it out!
may be all very well for second, third, and subsequent babies. But as far as
first babies go I’d like to see the parent, male or female, who has ever
carried out the rule.
try, of course. In a case with which I am acquainted the baby sleeps beautifully,
softly, finely all day. In fact, he can scarcely be waked up for his meals, and
falls asleep before even they are half through. He is all pink and dimpled
sighs, snuggles, with quaint momentary blinks of wakefulness when he stares
Intently and somewhat embarrassingly at your teeth or your necktie or your
All day he
sleeps. But at six p.m., he comes alive. He stretches his little arms over his
head, starts a few premonitory kicks and squirms, and then opens his mouth and
night this occurred the parents were, of course, naturally concerned. They both
leaned anxiously over the crib.
him cry it out, now!” warned the father. “Don’t you pick him
up!” retorted the mother.
And it must
be admitted the father was leaning a little the closer.
forty long seconds these young parents leaned over that crib and watched their
baby yell and kick and wave its little hands. Then the father cried:
see! That’s a cry of pain, or I’m a Dutchman!”
But he had
not completed the sentence before the mother had taken the cue and scooped that
baby up into her arms with a gesture so swiftly divine – Oh, well! –
nights this same drama was enacted. The spell lasted from six p.m. till
midnight. And during this time father, mother and grandma took turns in
walking, rocking and singing to the baby, hushing it to sleep, laying it down
in its crib, only to have it waken immediately and let out a most indignant
cry. They took turns in picking it up.
ten days the doctor’s admonition was recalled.
said the father, sorrowfully, “we must let him cry it out. It isn’t that I
mind nursing him. But we are spoiling him. It’s for his own good.”
night, after about two minutes’ crying, all three elders detected a distinct
note of pain in the baby’s cry. And in the stampede to the crib-side grandma
weeks now they have been trying to let him cry it out. The longest period so far
has been twelve minutes. That evening, when laid firmly in his crib and left to
himself, the baby started with a few, casual, good natured yells. The three
adults, sitting breathlessly in the next room, were smiling broadly into space.
The quaint little shouts from the nursery would fall off for a whole minute,
and they could hear him gurgling and clucking to himself.
little rascal must have discovered he was alone. For all at once there arose a
most abandoned yell from the nursery.
and mother and grandma jammed each other in the doorway in their haste –
use. These young parents I speak of have practically given up the attempt. They
are reconciled to having a spoiled baby.
declared the mother. “I detest those soft little book-fed babies that
haven’t any steam in them!”
cuddles her little fellow till his face! turns red and he cries –
trouble about walking and rocking the baby is the songs that are inflicted on
him. They are most demoralizing.
instance, take this one, sung to the fine old tune of “There’s a Land That
Is Fairer Than Day.”
come out something like this: (Sing it as you read it!) –
land that is fairer than day,
by faith I think he’s going to sleep,
pick up the shawl off the floor
put it on the head of the crib.
the sweet bye and bye,
chair has an awful squeak,
the sweet bye and bye
out the light before I put him down.”
father, along towards midnight, gets into a sort of comatose condition. And you
can well Imagine the consternation of a church-going household, when the
father, an ex-soldier, begins to vary his repertoire of cradle songs with some
of the old war songs that have floated o’er Flanders fields. Picture him
crooning, to the squeak-squeak of the rocking chair, the following billet
get drunk to-night
never get drunk no more!
keg of beer between the four of us!
be, there ain’t any more of us,
four of us can drink it all alone!”
this unfortunate lapse grandma purified the little shaver’s ears by singing her
favorite lullaby, which goes, to various tunes:
low, bye low!
low, bye low!
dee, deedle dee!
Bye low, bye low!”
Editor’s Note: “I’m a Dutchman” is slang said after describing something that is obviously not true.
Once more comes round the season when man
discovers anew the absence of that rib he lost in Eden.
The season of man-made breakfasts is here.
The season of unmade beds, of disorganized laundry, of great heaps of dirty
dishes in countless deserted kitchen sinks! The season of holey socks, of
buttonless bedeveys, of bleak and dusty homes! Lo the season of the summer
bachelor is upon us.
It is in the next eight weeks that the
married man discovers what liars and mockers his bachelor friends are.
Thousands of husbands, growing shabbier and
seedier and more undernourished every day, are falling in love with their wives
Yoho and ahoy! Regard the well-known summer bachelor whose wife is up at the cottage! See him at seven o’clock of the evening, the cafe-fed expression on his face, a large hole in the heel of his sock, a bundle of funny papers under his arm, standing on a deserted down-town corner watching the hours whizz by.
See him watering his lawn at home. Observe
him deporting himself gayly on his verandah, rocking in the wicker rocker that
is his wife’s favorite chair. Hear him in the early morn, rattling pans as he
gets himself his breakfast. Does he sing as he shaves? Does he come home at eve
with his usual spring stride?
It is time we recognized the pitiful plight
of summer bachelors. The Armenians and others are getting altogether too much
What an opportunity the churches, the Y. M. C. A., and the Rotary Club are missing by not shepherding the summer bachelor!
The churches could hold special mid-week social
gatherings for them. The poor fellows could be invited to bring their socks to
be darned, their garments to have buttons sewed on by the ladies of the church
who are still in town. A bright program could be made up by inviting two or
three of the summer bachelors to bring their wives photographs and give little
ten-minute talks on “Why I Miss My Wife.” Good old sentimental songs
could be sung, such as “When You and I Were Young Maggie” and
“In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.” In addition to improving
tremendously the domestic spirit of the community, such gatherings would be of
wonderful relief to the poor neglected fellows.
The Y. M. C. A. could put on summer
bachelor evenings, to which the distracted, lonely beggars could invite several
of their real bachelor friends. Then in the gymnasium, bouts could be staged
between real bachelors and the summer variety, in which the latter could pound
the stuffing out of the genuine article in payment for all the false blather he
had indulged in about “freedom” and “independence.”
I advocate this thing in order to render unnecessary
the tragedy which recently occurred in the apartment of a real bachelor friend
Being temporarily alone, I had reached the climax
of summer bachelor misery. All my laundry was equally divided between the laundryman and my bedroom
floor. My socks had run out. There were no more restaurants left to try. All
the dishes, including the cut glass and the fancy plates of the dining-room
plate-rail, were in the sink. And the house fairly shouted with emptiness. Then
I remembered Henry.
Henry is, or was, my bachelor friend, who
bragged so of his “freedom,” his Independence, his blessed single estate.
I decided to hunt up Henry and see how he
managed, without a wife.
We met; we dined together. He took me to
His apartment was about the size of a
decent chest of drawers. It smelled of heat and stale smoke. His bed was
unmade. There were heaps of clothing on the floor, garments hung on doorknobs,
a boot on his dresser. There was dust and confusion on all his tables and
window sills. In his bachelor kitchenette dirty dishes were in the sink, and extinct
sardine cans and milk bottles were strewn about.
Henry, wholly ignorant of my emotions, sat down
in his rickety leather easy chair, and said –
“Ah, this is the life! No slavery for
me! Free and independent! Now, you, your poor – “
With that, I struck him with a chair over
Over his remains I heaped the stray
garments off the floor and a few tin cans out of the kitchenette.
I make no excuses for this deed. For the
summer bachelor is subject to a sort of madness. It is caused by the uneven
pressure on his vertebrae and spinal cord owing to the loss of one of his ribs.
Editor’s Note: A “summer bachelor” was a common character in Greg’s stories, even early ones like this one from 1921 illustrated by Jim. Middle class families who owned summer cottages would have the wife and children go to the cottage for the whole summer when the children were out of school. The husbands would stay behind in the city for the work week, and would go to the cottage on weekends. The joke was that the men would always be helpless at home without their wives around. This situation would come up in the future Greg-Jim stories as well, as the hijinks they would get into was always when they were on their own.
Jimmy illustrated this 1921 article about women with bobbed hair and swimming. It is hard to tell if the unknown author was disapproving of young women with short hair (no bathing cap!) and “skimpy” swimming outfits. As the caption noted, “Looking like wet Pomeranians”.
Illustration from article by Stephen Leacock. The article describes a new type of woman (also shortened to “Vamp”). She appears in silent movies as a fashionable seductress of naive men, who are ready to spend their money on her. There was a movie called “The Vamp” released in 1918. Leacock seems disappointed that he can’t seem to meet a vamp in real life.