PRINCES OF THE FOURTH ESTATE: Part 3. Reporters found the pen mightier than the sword!

IF SOMEBODY ASKED JOE GOODMAN LATER ABOUT WHO WOULD EMERGE AS A LEADING AMERICAN LITERARY FIGURE, HE WOULD HAVE ANSWERED, WITHOUT HESITATION, DAN De QUILLE.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

NEW CENTURY COMING: DAILY TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE IS SHAPING UP TO MEET THE 2OTH CENTURY. Below: ONE OF DAN DE QUILLE’S SUCCESSFUL BOOKS, THE BIG BONANZA. IT WAS ONE OF THE COUNTLESS PORTRAITS OF VIRGINIA AND THE COMSTOCK TO COME FROM HIS PEN. Below: MARK TWAIN, ROCKING AWAY AND SMOKING MAMMOTH CIGARS, IN HIS 70s.

From the International (booze den) they pushed out into the frozen night … and climbed Union Street to their B Street boarding house. There Mark stealthily helped himself to a wedge of the mince pie left out to cool in the kitchen.

Four or five sticks of firewood from Tom Fitch’s wood-box were needed to heat the room he shared with Dan.
Some nights they didn’t go home at all. But they trooped up and down the streets until dawn, sometimes with an excursion to the D Street line. Other nights they stayed on at the office, writing until breakfast, through the clatter of the thrashing presses and the chattering of the newsboys, who had been there since six.

Mark Twain and Dan De Quille had partnered for more a year as reporters on the Enterprise. Years later Joe Goodman remarked that if anyone had asked him at the time which of the two would emerge as a leading American literary figure, he would have said, without hesitation, Dan De Quille.

DRAWING $50 A WEEK

Well, we know how that worked out. Twenty years later, Mark Twain was spending his mornings in bed, propped up on silken pillows and smoking cigars the size of dynamite sticks; he’d be writing his immensely popular books, making huge investment blunders, and vacationing in Bermuda.

Dan De Quille was still pounding the board sidewalks of Virginia City, gathering news for the Enterprise, drawing his $50 a week.

Until the late 1880s, he was a familiar sight limping along the shabby streets of the played out City, in his antiquated black cloak and his sparse chin whiskers, as an eccentric old mandarin.

Alf Doten, himself a reporter for the Union and later for the Enterprise before becoming editor and publisher of the Gold Hill News, kept a daily journal all his life. Dan De Quille’s name appeared in it often during the 1860s; it was frequently in connection with late nights and drinking sprees.

HIS CAREER JUST VANISHED

On Christmas Eve in 1869, Doten noted in his journal, “Ran the News till we got it to press, then walked to Virginia … this evening ran the Enterprise, as Dan is discharged again for drunkenness.”

De Quille was rehired, and served the Enterprise more or less faithfully until 1885, when he was let go. He was employed again in 1887. Doten’s journals again mention his former colleague of earlier years. In April, 1887, “Dan DeQuille got drunk again today for the first time since he was back in his old position as local of the Enterprise.”

In June 23, he wrote: About 7pm (I) met Taggart on the street and he got me to fix up the local department of the Enterprise. Dan being too drunk, he been drinking heavily the last few days & other parties have had to do his work occasionally.”

On June 27, “Was about getting items, but Dan was sober enough to work tonight, so I was not needed.” June 29, 1888, “Dan on deck again.” Eventually, Dan’s career just evaporated and he got by on a small pension paid by John Mackay”.

After nearly 40 years on the Comstock, June 14, 1897, Dan De Quille went east to die.

<< Adapted from The Modern Monthly, 18??.

FINAL: Everyone on the staff hated Mark Twain whereas everybody really loved Dan De Quille, said Joe Farnsworth, the former State Printer of Virginia City. Next week.


NEXT WEEK: ANGELA, MOTHER OF FIVE, WENT INTO A REAL SPIN. “I COULDN’T GET OVER THE LAST AWFUL THING BEFORE THE NEXT AWFUL THING HAPPENED TO ME.” BUT GOING TO SALVOS HAS BEEN A GOD-SEND. PLEASE HELP RIGHT NOW – 13 72 58.


ROYAL ASSASINATION: PART 1. The day the Crown was in danger – the attempt on the King’s life

THURSDAY, JULY 17, 1936 -- POLICEMAN HURLS HIMSELF BEFORE THE ASSASSIN’S GUN. THE KING WAS UNMOVED.

HERE’S THE MAN: SPECIAL-CONSTABLE DICK, FAR RIGHT AND WEARING A PEAKED CAP, HOLDING THE MAN AFTER HE HAD MADE AN ATTEMPT ON THE KING’S LIFE. Below: WITH A SMILE, THE KING, LEFT, CASUALLY DISCUSSING THE INCIDENT. Below: THE 32-YEAR-OLD JOURNALIST, GEORGE McMAHON, WHO MADE AN ILL-ATTEMPT ON THE LIFE OF THE KING.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

In the dawn of English monarchy he (or she) who wore the Crown ran the high risk of violent death which is the danger part of the job. The notion of assassination had become a thing of the past, only to rear its head in a peculiar and well publicised fashion many years later.

George Andrew McMahon was placed under arrest in Constitution Hill after an attempt on the life of King Edward VIII. The King was on his way from the ceremony of the presentation of Colours. Special Constable Dick, of Hackney, whose prompt action saved the King’s life, assisted in holding the man at bay.

Special constable Dick was only on duty for the day.

His eye caught a glint of metal in the sunshine as the man moved on the outskirts of the crowd. He saw the man holding a revolver. Dick threw himself between the gun and the King, and pouncing on the assailant, knocked the revolver into the roadway.

He then arrested the gentleman whose name was George Andrew McMahon.

The King on horse-back was casually discussing the incident with a smile a few minutes after the assailant has been arrested; he remained the only sane person around.

‘STOP HIM, STOP HIM’

A woman in the crowd screamed “stop him, stop him” until she saw an arm appear and it struck the hand that held the revolver. At that stage, the woman said, “I headed a click, and the pistol fell at the feet on the King’s horse, which looked startled.

In was a bizarre incident. The 32-year-old journalist named George McMahon was seized by police and carried over their heads through a furious crowd who struck at him and shouted ‘Lynch him’.

McMahon, during his arrest, said he was making some kind of protest about an unspecified personal grievance and no intention of harming the King.

‘HE WAS AN ASSASSIN’

The episode was a sensation.

Later, when McMahon was on trial at the Central Criminal Court for possessing an offensive weapon, he claimed rather wildly that he was indeed an assassin in the pay of a foreign power.

More the anything else, the revolver incident was an alarming reminder that such things could happen – even in Britain.

<< Adapted from the Daily Mirror, UK, Friday, July 17, 1936; Marshall Cavendish Ltd, 1978.

Next: Royal Assassination: Even without wars and bloodshed, the rather risky life of the Middle Ages carried off many a Royal. Appearing in June.


AN EX-KING’S LIFE IN EXILE: “A garden is a mood,” says Edward the former King            

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

SURROUNDED BY FLOWERS: THIRTY MINUTES DRIVE FROM PARIS THERE IS AN ANCIENT MILL THAT THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OWN. “THIS IS WHERE THE DUCHESS AND I SPEND WEEKENDS AND THE SUMMER,” SAID THE DUKE.

The ex-King Edward, whose dramatic broadcast in 1936 as would lead to troubled times, as the UK reeled as his official abdication was announced. Twenty years later: the Duke of Windsor speaks on recreating an English country garden in France.

A garden is a mood, as Rousseau said, and my mood is one of intimacy, not splendour. It is a very tranquil place, where one can garden as one should, in old clothes, with one’s hands among familiar plants.

I loved the place

For me, it is a fascinating place where I can immerse myself in day-to-day detail. For the Duchess, it is a source of supply for the vases which dot every room in the mill. For our pug dogs, it is a private playground.

Our first real home, says the Duchess, was the little mill. I saw the mill in 1952. I loved the place immediately. This is the first (and only) home the Duke and I have owned since we were married; even our house in Paris in leased. She said:

It is so different from any house we have lived in before, because it is small and intimate and informal.

We’re used a great deal of furniture from Fort Belvedere, the Duke’s home when he was Prince of Wales and King.

<< Women’s Weekly Treasures; The voice of women since 1933; Bauer Media Pty Limited, Sydney.

lIIustration: “We love our furniture, big or small,” says the Duchess.


FOODFROLICO: Cooking in the 194Os. How good a cook are you?

GOOD COOKS WOULD BE KNOWN FOR, SAY, SERVING MEAT MUCH BETTER THAN THEY SERVED DELICIOUS POTATOES. THE TEST FOR A GOOD COOK IS WHETHER THEY ARE ABLE TO PREPARE OLD FASHIONED POTATOES.

HAVE A GO!: THE 1940s RECIPE. BOIL UP A HANDFUL OF DELICIOUS POTATOES AND MAKE THEM TASTEFUL AND APPETISING. Below: SOME POTATOES FROM THE 1940s. JUST LIKE OURS.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Here’s a test then, using the same recipe. Cook up a handful of potatoes the housewives way in the 1940s. Remember. Housewives who take pride in their cooking meat to a turn often serve up wet, mushy potatoes that are tasteless as they are unappetising.

Make the best of potatoes. They are worth it. Potatoes give you extra energy. They are cheap, or can be home-grown. Just follow the rules of this 1940s recipe.

There are boiled potatoes and boiled potatoes.

THE METHOD

Never peel a potato before cooking. Peeling wastes goodness and flavour. Scrub potatoes instead, cook them in their skins. Remove skins after cooking if you like. But you’ll find potatoes in their skins make good eating.

BOIL POTATOES

Start you’re action this way. First scrub them and put into a saucepan with just enough boiling salted water to cover them. Boil them SLOWLY for 10 minutes, then drain, cover with a clean cloth, put lid on again tightly add let potatoes STAND in a warm place for 20 minutes.

They then finish cooking in their own steam: this keeps them from breaking-up and makes them deliciously floury.

<< This was prepared by the Ministry of Food, London, 1940.


THIS IDEA FROM 1940s WILL ADD RELISH TO YOUR MEAL. For a meatless day, try ordinary canned sardines or fish heated in a frying pan or under the grill and serve with green vegetables or salad and boiled potatoes.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 18 May 18

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