The Work of Greg Clark and Jimmie Frise

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The Good Thing That Soured

April 7, 1923

This illustration went with a story by Frank Mann about crooked hockey games.

Five Pins

February 10, 1923

Five-pin bowling is a Canadian game invested in 1909 when customers complained that the ten-pin game was too strenuous.

Are All Fishermen Liars? Are Fish Stories Ever True?

Halfway through those raging rapids with the bass following me in great triumphant leaps, my canoe overturned.
The entire crew take hold of the rope and yank the lunge in hand over hand

Did a Fish Ever Fight or Are All Yarns of Battles Pure Fiction? A Tale of the Only Bass That Ever Put Up a Real Struggle.

By Gregory Clark, July 7, 1923.

Fishing is full of fictions.

In fact, after a careful study of the whole subject of fishing over a period of a quarter of a century, I am convinced that fishing is largely fiction.

At times during my intensive study of the subject, I have come very definitely to the conclusion that there is no such thing as fishing, and that fish themselves are only a delusion.

But there is a weakness in human nature which some call gullibility and others call credulousness, which demands for the human spirit some outlet other than that provided by the perusal of cold facts. It manifested itself in olden days in the legend of the griffin and in the unicorn. Fables grew up about these strange beasts.

In modern times this outlet is provided by fish. And mankind lets loose these restless longings for the mystic and unknown and the incredible through the fabulous tales of fishing.

To go thoroughly into the whole matter would require more than a short story. And a short story is what the editor demands.

I shall take, therefore, only one aspect of fishing: the fable of the fighting fish.

You will hear men commonly arguing with great animation as to which fish is the gamest and fights longest.

“Give me the lunge,” says one. “Give me a lunge of ten pounds or over and I am set for life. There is no fish that swims to compare for gameness and furious fighting spirit with the lunge.”

“Inch for inch, and pound for pound,” says another, quoting I know not what authority, “the small mouth bass is the gamest fish that swims.”

“A trout,” says another, “is never beaten. I have fought a one-pound brook trout, with light tackle, fine and far off, for three-quarters of an hour, and when, through utter exhaustion, I was forced to put the net under him, that trout was as fresh and full of fight as the moment I hooked him.”

That’s the way they talk.

“One hour and twenty minutes it took me to land that twenty-two pound lunge,” says the lunger. “A battle royal all the way.”

Here we are in the very core of fiction.

The lunge fisherman usually drags a stout rope behind a rowboat, at the end of which dangles a large metal trolling spoon set with gangs of hooks one inch or more in size. Similar sets of hooks are used by life-savers when they are dragging for drowned humans. When the poor fish seizes the metal bait, the entire crew of the rowboat take hold of the stout rope and yank the lunge in, hand over hand, like a log. With a whoop and a roar, the lunge is slammed into the bottom of the boat and clubbed to death. The whole operation takes from twenty to forty seconds.

But fiction demands a story about the fish. So the fishermen stretch it into a battle of forty minutes.

About ninety per cent. of the lunge caught in this fishermen’s paradise are thus caught on a rope in a few seconds.

The remaining ten per cent., I find, are caught by real sportsmen, who use a rod to troll with. It is a stout steel rod, strong enough to hold a bull. The line is tested to hold twenty pounds, and the biggest lunge that swims weighs, in the water, only three pounds, owing to the laws of specific gravity. So the odds are slightly in the fisherman’s favor.

When a lunge is struck, the first thing they do is look around to see if anybody is in sight. If there is nobody around, the lunge is reeled in, quite as effectively and a little more safely than by the hand-line method. If anybody is within sight, they spread the battle over three or four minutes. The poor fish wonders what has happened. It wiggles and yanks. But in it comes.

That battle took an hour and six minutes, “by the watch.”

Bass fishermen use a hand net, and as soon the bass is hooked, so alarmed is the fishermen for fear it will escape, he drags it alongside and dips it out of the water with the net.

Trout fishermen are the fictionest fishermen of the lot. Never yet have I met a straight out-and-out worm fisherman. Ninety-nine per cent. of trout fishermen are loaded up with fly hooks, leader boxes, light fly rods and little landing nets. Ninety-nine per cent. of them have a can of worms secreted about their person.

When in sight of their friends, they whip the stream with files. But you will notice that trout fishermen always like to get away by themselves.

“You fish up stream and I’ll fish down,” says one, selecting a cast of files with loving care.

And the other promptly agrees.

The minute they are out of sight of each other, off come the flies, and one of those known as a Gardenia or garden hackle goes on. The cast of flies is hung handy in the hat, in case anyone should be met on the stream.

You see a trout fishermen sneaking very softly up a stream. They tell you the reason is that trout are very wary and have to be stalked. Not at all. Another fish legend. They are sneaking so softly not for the trout, but listening for other fishermen, lest they be caught fishing with worms. I have seen a couple of country boys standing in the water under a bridge snaring trout with fine wire. And the trout flittering about their feet. Trout wary? Trout fishermen wary!

The way ninety-eight per cent. of trout are caught is this: The fisherman hooks it, and with a violent swipe slams the poor little thing high and dry up on the bank.

The other two per cent. are caught in the presence of other fishermen, and for fiction’s sake the catcher has to play it around in the water for a moment, with his heart in his mouth, before scooping it up in the net.

The only authentic case I know of where a bass put up anything like the legendary scrap was a personal experience in which that bass far exceeded any fiction tale I ever heard.

It was up on the Muskosh River, just above the rapids known as Brown’s Cookery.

Evening was falling, and a purple haze hung like a magic curtain over the grey rocks and the dark green firs.

I drifted in my canoe about seventy-five yards above the head of the swift rapids. I was using frog bait and casting to the shores on either hand. In my canoe I had seven of the eight bass the law allows, all of which had put up remarkably good battles, considering that it was only fiction.

I had dropped my bait fair in the middle of swirl of current, when a giant bass leaped and took it. He came fully four feet clear of the surface in that wonderful rush.

With a steady rush that took all but ten feet of my hundred and fifty foot line, he passed me upstream, leaping every few feet and shaking his beautiful bronze body. At the end of the rush, when I had despaired, he turned and rushed as madly down stream, still leaping, and entered the rapids. There he had the swift current to aid him, and he took all but a foot and a half of my line. So intent was I on the battle that I did not notice I was drifting towards the dangerous rapids, which no man had ever shot, except in fiction.

Feeling the stern, if hopeless, pressure on my hold, that bass turned again, raced up stream, and again I was facing north. Leaping every four seconds, by the watch, which I was using to time him, in the interests of truth, he fought over that river.

To my horror, I suddenly saw white water at my side.

I was in the rapids. Would I relinquish that fabulous bass and seize the paddle in the vain effort to save my life? Or would I go to my doom like a good fisherman, holding grimly to my catch?

I decided to die game. Halfway through those raging rapids, with the bass following me in great triumphant leaps, with the dim shades of night upon us, my canoe overturned and I was thrown down, down, deep into that boiling rapids. I lost consciousness. I know not how I escaped from the ragged rocks of that furious stream. But when I came to, I was lying on the beach, three hundred yards below Brown’s Cookery, and morning was breaking. And that bass was still leaping and racing out in the pool below the rapids, with only two and one-half inches of my line on the reel. It had safely come through the rapids with me, and had fought me all night. But unconscious though I was, I held him.

When I dragged it ashore, along about noon, I was utterly exhausted. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the bass had missed his regular feeding time, I never would have got him. He weighed, if I remember rightly, seven and a half pounds – the largest bass ever caught in Ontario. I didn’t enter him in The Star competition, not did I tell my friends about him. For if there is one thing I detest, it is that air of incredulity with which a man’s fishing stories are received.

I tell the tale now, only by way of proving the rule that most fishing stories are fiction. Exceptions prove the rule. This case I have recited is the only instance I know of where a bass really did fight. Most bass are hauled in like an old boot.

I have similar tales to prove my contentions about lunge and trout. Once I fought a thirty-eight pound lunge which I had caught inadvertently on a three-ounce trout rod. It took me four days to land It. Owing to bad weather, I have no photos to prove it. And on another occasion, I hooked a two-pound trout which fought me a distance of seventeen miles up a stream near Caledon. Mile after mile we struggled, the creek getting smaller and smaller. My frail tackle and the delicate fly hook were almost frayed out. If it hadn’t been for the fact that at last we came to the headwaters of the stream, which were a small spring about two feet in diameter, I never would have landed that beauty. When I put my net under him in that small pool of crystal water, I was scarcely able to see. But the trout was just ready to make the seventeen mile journey back to where we had started.

It is cases like these which go to prove, by exception, just to what extent fishing is a legend, a fiction and a pure fabrication.

That Barefoot Boy Legend

He is only a sentimental fiction.

By Gregory Clark, June 23, 1923.

You know this freckle-faced, barefoot country boy, with a string of fish dragging on the ground and an old alder pole in his hand?

Have you ever seen him?

Sure you have – in cartoons.

Did you ever see him in the life?

Not likely. For he is only a sentimental fiction.

He is often pictured as selling his string of trout or bass to some perspiring and disappointed city man who is laden with scores of dollars’ worth of expensive fishing tackle.

He is quoted right and left by those who don’t fish for the discomfiture of those who do. If a man goes away for a week-end of bass, and comes home without them because wind or weather were against him, his motoring or gardening or golfing friends crow at him about the freckle-faced country boy with the willow tad who can go out any old time and bring home a string as long as your leg.

This country boy, however, is one of those sentimental fictions of which the world is unfortunately full. Fictions such as this hide the truth and are at the root of half the ills of the universe. This barefoot boy was conceived and is kept alive not by the scoffers, but by the anglers themselves. All good sportsmen like to cover their defeats with good-humored self-derision. When a man goes out for trout, and gets none, he does not blame the wind or the weather, which are really to blame. He blames himself, and says that he passed some freckled urchins on the stream who were getting plenty. When a man will so deride himself, watch out.

With a patience covering many years, I have hunted for one of these country boys I have heard so much about. I would meet boys on the side roads with willow gads and bare feet and freckles, with all the equipment, in fact, except the fish. I have encountered country boys on streams, and they have hung around me for hours watching my methods, trying to learn the secret, and hinting broadly in the hope that I would part with some of my bagfull of beauties.

Up east of Toronto I met four boys striding down the highway towards the lake. There was a likely looking trout stream crossing where we met, and I asked the boys if there were any fish in it.

“No,” they replied. “The on’y fish they is hereabouts is down in the Pickering River. Perch and suckers.”

Having long ago discovered the country boy to be the worst-informed angler in the world, I promptly disembarked at that stream, and as the boys went on with winks and grins, towards the Pickering River, I unlimbered all my tackle.

That evening we met again. From the Pickering River came the four barefoot country boys and their willow gads. One had three dried and miserable little perch on a twig. The other three had nothing.

And I had a bag of twenty as nice trout as ever graced a frying pan.

Needless to say, I didn’t show them my fish. I intended coming back to that creek. No, I admitted I had caught nothing, and they passed proudly up the road with their three perch, grinning derisively, perfectly conforming to the legend of the freckle-faced country boy.

And that’s the way it should be.

I could recount scores of instances such as that one. Like any good fisherman, I can tell them by the hour.

In fact, I am all for organizing a new fishing competition in which, on the first of June each year, the best ten trout fishermen in the National Club, say, or any other such easily sorted institution, would go up to Orangeville, or some such centre, and compete with the ten best barefoot, freckle-faced country boys of that neighborhood. At dawn of the first of June, the two parties would be turned loose on a given township, in which are enough trout creeks to accommodate twenty anglers.

If the country boys win, then the country boy crack can be sprung on all anglers for the current year.

But if the city anglers, with their fancy tackle, win, then the rule would be that the country boy gag be buried for the current year.

Rich Rowdies Ejected from Toronto Homes

June 9, 1923

These images went with an article about declining manners by Laura Mason.

June 9, 1923
June 9, 1923

“Where the Speckled Fishes Play”

May 5, 1923

Rum-Runners Work in Broad Daylight

February 10, 1923

These illustrations went with a story by C. R. Greenaway on the rum-runners on the Detroit river during Prohibition. The photos taken were considered very risky, as it was not unexpected to be shot at by the gangsters who would not want evidence.

February 10, 1923

“Yes, the Boss is Out”

October 6, 1923

Exiled Canadians Ship as Hoboes of the Sea

On a windy Liverpool dock, a man huddled in the shelter of packing cares. It isn’t uncommon to find the dead bodies of stowaways after a voyage. He was turned over to the stoke hold.

Stranded Overseas, They Try to Get Back in Desperation as Stowaways – Hiding in the Coal Bunkers is Challenging Death – Sometimes a Woman is found in the Hold.

In the dead of night on a windy Liverpool dock, a man sat huddled in the shelter of a great square pile of packing cases.

Single lights waved in the wind at lonely intervals down the length of the dock. In their fitful gleam, the funnels and masts of steamers could be seen, a great tangle of shipping. The night was filled with the groan of hawsers and cables, the splash of waves. The air was heavy with the smell of the salt sea, of paint and tar and coal smoke.

The man in the shadows had his eyes fixed tirelessly on the far end of the dock, where a small, second-rate liner was taking on cargo. Under the glare of portable calcium lamps the crane was swinging net loads of packages and rope tied cases up off the dock, over and down into the steamer’s hold. With shouting and whistling, groups of men on the dock and on be ship’s deck loaded and unloaded the crane’s burden.

For hours the man in hiding watched this ceaseless, noisy toil of the loading of a ship. He squirmed with cold in his worn tweed suit, and twisted the collar up about his neck to help a blue cotton handkerchief keep out the chill.

There was a look of desperation in his face. He needed a wash, a shave. His hands clutched restlessly at a bundle of sacking beside him on the planks.

As he started up the dark dock the crane suddenly paused in its swinging, and there was a commotion amongst the groups of men. There was shouting and shrill whistling. After a pause of about five minutes, two small squads of men came slowly down the dark dock bearing heavy burdens.

The man in hiding rose as they approached. He saw that the burdens were men, who twisted and moaned with pain.

“Thank God!” muttered the shabby man as they passed. Forgetting his sack bundle, be ran up the dock, towards the groups under the calcium lights. Work had recommenced. Slowing up, collecting his breath, he stepped up to one who was clearly a foreman, and said:

“Need any more help?”

“Yes,” said the foreman, hurriedly. “Get up on deck, there, and ease that net into the hold. Just had a couple of men smashed there. Watch yourself, now!”

Breathing blessings on heaven, the shabby one stumbled up a rough gangway to the deck. In a moment. under the direction of a fierce man in a blue great coat, he was seizing the huge swinging packages as they came overside, and was shouting and cursing with the rest of them, like an old-time wharf rat.

But he wasn’t a wharf rat. He was a Canadian clerk. His business was the writing down and adding up of figures in a ledger. But it was so long since he had written anything but his signature in employment agency lists that he had forgotten what ink and ledgers smell like.

He had come over to Europe to share in a certain war that took place some seven to eight years ago. He had sucked mud at the Somme, climbed Vimy, gone swimming at Passchendaele, done the great sightseeing tour from Amiens to the Rhine, and then, on his way home to Canada, had married a girl from Cherriton, whom he had wooed in those far-off Shorncliffe days; and then had taken his discharge from the Canadians in England.

He had planned to loaf about Blightey for year or so, and then return to Canada at leisure. But there was a great industrial slump in England right after the war, and he found himself, as weeks flowed into months, living off his wife’s parents. He could get no work. He had no friends in England. His people had no money to send him from Canada. When he called at the Canadian commissioner’s in London to get sent home, they regretted to inform him that since he had taken his discharge in England, the Canadian government could assume no responsibility for him.

He got rough jobs here and there for a day a week, for four or five days a month. He was destitute, broke, alone, shabby.

Down and out.

By long, hard stages he got to Liverpool. He haunted the docks, trying to get a job on the crew of Canada-bound ships. The ships officers pushed him out of their way. There were hundreds of qualified seamen begging for jobs.

Day after day he saw great liners draw gracefully out into the harbor, Canada bound. He saw great crowds aboard them – going home.

He grew rather crazy.

And then dreams of his boyhood came back to him. He recalled the tales of olden days, of great sailing ships, and of boys who went as stowaways on high adventure.

And, in a dim sort of ecstasy he decided to get home to Canada as a stowaway on one of these ships curving out to sea.

For six weeks the haunted the docks. The regular dock workers gave him no chance to get jobs. They were a jealous and brutal lot. He took several beatings and bootings for being found hanging about the waterfront. But by securing occasional pitiful jobs in the city, and with the proceeds buying the odd drink for sailors in the taverns by the docks, he picked up a little useful information.

In a piece of sacking he got together three or four pounds of emergency rations, some sea biscuit, a tin of bully beef, an old army water bottle full of cold tea. He even stole some dried herrings from in front of poor little shop.

And every night, evading watchmen and dock workers, he crept into the neighborhood of the Canada-bound steamers.

One night he was caught trying to board a tramp freighter for Montreal, and was nearly drowned when the crew pushed him over the side. Another time, when he was pretending to help a squad load a great packing case into the side of a ship, the foreman of the gang spotted him and booted him off the deck.

He realized that in some way he must get a job loading cargo into a ship.

And then came this night, when two men had their legs crushed by tons of cargo; and it being three o’clock in the morning, with none of the usual hangers-on about, the foreman of the dock gang had welcomed him, and sent him on deck.

He nearly broke out sobbing when he looked down into the vast dim hold of that ship. His hands were shaking so, his legs so weak, that the deck gang had to swear at him over and over. He toiled an hour. His hands were bleeding. His starved stomach was caving in.

“Come down here, some of you!” bellowed a voice from the hold.

He followed frantically a couple of the squad who moved away to obey the summons.

Down in the hold they were stowing cargo. Crates, cases, packages were being ranged solidly and immovably down in this safe bosom of the ship – Canada bound! So strenuously and willingly did he work, heaving and pushing the great weights about, that the men gave him the dirtiest work to do. He peered. He squinted. He pried. Into every corner his wild eyes bored. And presently, as he and his mates shoved a great crated machine of some sort into a position against the side of the ship, he saw a little space, just big enough for a man to crouch, under that machine.

He manoeuvred other pieces of cargo into position so as to screen the space.

When the attention of the gang was in another corner of the hold, he slipped breathlessly into his cranny and there he crouched. He heard them call him, hunt for him. He heard them say he must have gone off.

He heard tons of cargo come aboard, and then the sounds of day, the whistling of tugs, the splash of fresh wind on the ship.

But the ship did not sail, in spite of the hurry to load her at night, till late that following afternoon. And then he remembered he had left his parcel of food the dock. He huddled in his corner, starved, half crazy with thirst, fearful that the ship might have ports of call in Ireland where he could be put ashore. Forty-eight hours he crouched in that dark hold, until he heard voices of some of the crew seeking something in the hold. They were far at sea. So he shouted with all his might for help.

They had to shift tons of cargo to get him.

They took him before the captain of the ship. He told them he had been knocked senseless while helping stow cargo and had not come to until the ship was at sea.

The captain smiled grimly.

“Aren’t you a Canadian?” asked the captain.

“Yes,” admitted the stowaway.

“Send him down to spell the trimmers,” said the captain, a little more grimly.

They don’t like stowaways, at sea. If stowing away were not discouraged, a ship’s master would never know where he got off. He might find himself with a dozen extra mouths to feed, every voyage. Then it gets ships’ officers in trouble with immigration authorities. Stowaways are decidedly a nuisance. So ship officers discourage stowing away.

Our Canadian wanderer they took down into the bowels of the ship and handed him over to the third engineer. The engineer turned him over to the stoke hold, and there he was introduced to a bad, coal-blackened squad of men known as trimmers. The trimmers grinned startlingly out of their black faces when the word stowaway was pronounced. They took possession of the shabby young man and set him to work, relieving them, turn about, at filling and wheeling barrows of coal from the bunkers to the stokers, who stood ceaselessly firing the great raging boilers.

For eight days the stowaway earned his passage among the trimmers. He worked as long as the trimmers wanted him to work. No union hours for him.

“The Somme was a picnic to that trip in the stoke hold,” he said to me – for he told me his adventures one night in Halifax, where he was awaiting money from his people to bring him the short – ah, blissfully short – journey from Halifax to western Ontario.

When the ship finally docked at Halifax, he was let up out of that hell in the bowels of the ship. He ached in every cell. He was bruised and aged and weary. But he was home. They banded him over to the immigration officers. The trimmers had mockingly assured him that he would be sent back by the Canadian immigration officers by the same ship he had come on, to the same port he had left. He was a listless and hopeless figure when he stood before the officers.

He nearly fell dead when he learned that, it he could prove he was a Canadian citizen and could get the money to pay his are back to his own people, he would be freed.

He wired for confirmation of his Canadian citizenship, and money was promised immediately.

Canada is very easy with stowaways who turn out to be Canadians. But with all others she is as stern as the rest of the world. And it is said that hundreds of the Canadians who were stranded in England after foolishly obtaining their discharge overseas, have come home either as members of the crews of ships, deserting on their arrival in a Canadian port, or else as stowaways.

Most of the stowaways do not go through all the hardships described. The easiest way to get aboard a ship is by bribing one or more members of the crew. The night before sailing, these sailors bring the stowaway aboard in the pretence that it is one of their mates a little the worse for liquor. He staggers and hangs his head, and the officer and members of the watch are unsuspicious.

They feed him from their own ration till the ship is clear of land, and then they let him be discovered, and he is put to work by an irate ship’s officer either in the stokehold, trimming, or scrubbing decks or relieving the cook’s helper of the dirtiest work that falls to that dignitary’s lot.

The agents of one of the big steamship companies tell a comic story of a stowaway who got aboard at Liverpool, a fine-looking young man in the best of business tweeds. How he got on the ship nobody ever found out. He slept in one of the lifeboats, and stole other passengers’ steamer rugs off the chairs on the boat deck. He spent his days cheerfully on deck and in the saloon, and he actually played cards and won from some of the passengers. He went down for meals with the rest of the passengers, and the stewards assigned him a place at one of the tables.

The day before landing, the lifeboats were swung in on their davits, and one of the sailors, noting that the cover of one of the boats was loose, lifted it and looked inside. There was a snug little nest, lined with the missing steamer rugs. He reported it to his officer, and that night, after everybody had retired, they came and opened the boat and found the elegant stowaway curled up sound asleep in his big cradle.

The elegant stowaway snug in his great cradle

This man agreed to pay the company his passage, and after much telegraphing the money for the trip was produced by relatives in western Canada.

The scheme of signing on with a ship and deserting at a Canadian port is a good one, if the job can be got in the first place. Ships’ officers are very fussy about experienced men, and usually refuse to sign a man on these days unless he has papers to show he’s an experienced and able seaman.

Most of the stowaways on the high seas are not romantic figures, bucking fate, but are simply the sea counterparts of the hobo of the land who rides the rattlers and the blind baggages and steals rides in freight cars.

They are the hobos of the sea, and as soon as they tire of one port, they stow away for a cruise to another – they don’t care much, which. The customary procedure with these vagabonds is to get a job at coaling of the steamer, during which they smuggle in a bundle of food and water and hide themselves in the coal bunkers. These are the ones who get the rough and tumble treatment from the officers if they are caught.

Boys are great nuisances as stowaways. Too young to be taken on as sailors, without the influence to get signed on as boys, they have no other means of working off their-romantic fevers but to stow away. There is one of these boys who plies between Halifax, Sydney and St. John’s, Newfoundland, who has been a stowaway on practically every ship that, run regularly between the ports. He has become a sort of a port joke but is getting old enough to be taken seriously, and one of these days he will find himself trimming a tramp to Valparaiso or the Antipodes.

Women stowaways are rare. Sometimes a sailor will pick up a sweetheart in some port and induce her to stow away aboard his ship. But it is no life for a woman. Halifax had one very pitiful as recently. A sailor brought aboard a young girl of sixteen and hid her in the coal bunkers. He fed her. But she was very seasick, and he abused her frightfully, and on the run from Newfoundland she had her feet and hands frozen. He got a jail sentence out of it, and the girl was sent back to her home in Newfoundland.

She hid in the coal bunkers

Steamers carrying food cargoes, such as fruit and other ready edibles, are favorites with the sea hoboes. Most of these ships are refrigerated, but some of them carry deck loads or hold cargoes of crated fruit. This ensures both food and drink to the hobo, who lies snug throughout the journey in among the crates he helped load, and then he slips overside in the night, when port is reached, and swims ashore.

It isn’t uncommon to find the dead body of a stowaway when a ship is discharging cargo. One fruit steamer found two dead stowaways who, in loading the ship in the West Indies, had left a space for themselves when the officer in charge of the loading was not looking. They had the hidden themselves in this space. But they had forgotten that even in a fair sea cargo will sometimes shift. During the voyage the ship rolled a good deal, and the pair were crushed to death by the crates of fruit.

Bodies have also been found in the coal bunkers, in the cargo hold, starved to death or crushed, and one poor boy had hidden himself underneath some planking in the hold and was drowned in bilge when the ship took on all her cargo.

In the old day of sailing ships, when stowaways faced death for a change of air, there was no Salvation Army, no colonial offices and agents to help a man on his way to the other side of the world. It is easy now to cross the sea one way or another within the law. Only the hoboes and the very desperate resort to stowing away.

The hoboes do it from habit. The desperate are never that desperate again.

The Sport of Kings

May 19, 1923

The reference to a “cracked spark plug” likely is a callout to Spark Plug, the racehorse introduced in the comic strip Barney Google, which was wildly popular since his introduction in 1922. His first race became one of comics’ first national media events, eagerly anticipated by millions of newspaper readers. So great was the public’s enthusiasm that Billy DeBeck (the creator), who had been planning to retire him after that one storyline, made him a permanent part of the cast.

Barney Google and Spark Plug

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