Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: China

Tuesday, December 3, 1912

One of the men who went off a bridge in an automobile the other day has died. James B. Busey, assistant cashier of Busey’s bank at Mahomet, died this morning at the Burnham hospital due to uremic poisoning resulting from internal injuries. This came as a bit of a surprise, as it had been thought that he was only suffering from exposure and nervous shock. He leaves behind a young wife and two infant children.

The District of Columbia court of appeals held that Thomas Edison is not the inventor of the motion picture film and that his patents are invalid, having “merely solved camera apparatus problems.” Mr. Edison had brought suit against the Chicago Film company for infringement on his patent. This decision will save millions of dollars to motion picture concerns.

Hsuan T’ung, the boy emperor of China, is seriously ill. “By the terms of the edict of abdication the boy emperor of China was permitted to retain his title and to reside in a palace in the Forbidden city with the dowager empress, Lung Yu. There he has been living in strict seclusion, in accordance with the ancient usage, and has been treated by his attendants and others as though he were still ruler of China.”

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Wednesday, September 18, 1912

An oddly dressed new university student named Hiram Perkins caused a stir. “Clad in short, tight fitting, black pants and a high cut gray suit and wearing seven league plough shoes, and a yiddisher hat, he furnished a spectacle fit for the homesick eye of the freshmen and supercilious glance of the upperclassmen. Around his neck he wore a waterproof collar bedecked with a red bow tie, which well matched the blue shade of his eyeglasses.” He also carried a red telescope somehow laden with many quarts of canned fruits, and his Galesburg high school diploma kept falling from his coat pocket. He was trailed by a crowd as he inquired for rooms at several fraternity houses.

A Chinese graduate of the university returned home and now, eighteen months later, is the director and manager of the biggest railroad in China. Another Illinois graduate has won first prize in an international competition for the design of the Australian federal capital. Strangely, Australia has not ever had a capital; the proposed site is at Yass-Canberra, about two hundred miles from Sidney.

The May term of county court has ended, and a large number of criminal cases were stricken. Almost all of the cases continued have to do with liquor, and of those, the majority are for selling liquor in anti-saloon territory.

James Watkins, a Nevada miner, was jailed for stealing a pair of lace curtains, and he asked the jailer to see that his pet cats were fed. He was laughed at, and that night he broke out of jail and walked forty miles across the desert to feed his cats. “The charge against Watkins probably will be dismissed, his accuser having been impressed by the miner’s affection for his pets.”

Tuesday, September 17, 1912

The “wild man” who thinks that he owns every building here was arraigned again, found to be insane, and taken to the hospital at Kankakee.

Four Chinese students registered at my school yesterday. They were sent here by their government to be educated. They have all served in the Chinese army. Interestingly, in China, English is taught in schools, just as German is taught here.

Someone left a fine new briar pipe with an amber stem on the desk of County Clerk Fred Hess, “but do you think Fred would smoke it? Not much! He’s been in public life too long not to know all about how great leaders have had their domes shot off by infernal machines, and doesn’t intend to take any chances.”

Several new buildings at the university are nearing completion, and they have begun clearing the ground for the new armory, which will be the largest building of its kind in the world.

“American marines under the command of Maj. Smedley Butler are marching to the rescue of a number of French, American and native girls imprisoned in a girls’ school in Granada, Nicaragua.” They are in danger of starvation because the rebels have surrounded the school and none of the girls can get out.

Monday, September 9, 1912

Today was the first day of school in Urbana. That horrid Nellie person was in my class, and I don’t want to say any more about that. On to the paper!

A local woman, Mrs. Mary Frame, explains that she did not attempt suicide. She drank ice water and was seized with cramps, so she took a spoonful of laudanum. She claims she was “overcome by the heat and the effects of the ice water rather than by the drug.”

Whoever set the type for this article about an Urbana man getting a contract with a big orchestra must have been overcome with excitement, because part of the headline reads, “WILL PLAY FIRST VIOLIN WITH CINCINCINATTI SYMPHONY.” (Maybe he considers Cincinnati particularly sinful?) In any case, the orchestra’s board of directors includes President Taft’s wife, so it is particularly prestigious. Mr. Sol Cohen the violinist abandoned his plans for individual concert work because the New York managers wanted “from $3,000 to $5,000 to book him and from 5 to 10 per cent of his earnings. Mr. Cohen learned that, no matter how skilled an artist, they bleed him to the finish as long as he remains in their hands.”

I don’t really understand what is going on at the Mexican border, but apparently the situation is very grave, and senators have charged that President Taft might send the army into Mexico, make himself a “war president,” and “rely upon that to bring victory to himself and the Republican party in November.” The president declared that it would be “hard to conceive of a president who would use his office to throw the country into a way that experts have predicted could not end in less than two years, that would cost millions, that would mean the sacrifice of thousands of lives and ruin for years to come the basis of the nation’s friendship with the Central and South American republics.”

And even farther away from both my town and my understanding, rebels have taken over Yunan, a walled city of 100,000 inhabitants. The governor general was driven out by the town’s own army. “Yunan province is one of the most prosperous districts of China,” the article says, “inhabited by an intelligent class of people.”