What Big Ears You Have, Maitland

Front page news from the Skidmore Standard on Tuesday, April 1, 1902:

Maitland Suffers a Loss
From the Maitland Herald:

A great singer has passed away from Maitland:  J. L. Betz has sold his pet wolf.  That fawn eyed beauty with siren tongue, which was wont to sing the songs of Hades and the river Styx will be heard no more forever along the Nodaway.

Did you ever live on the frontier where two or three wolves came every night to serenade you?  Only two or three, yet it sounded as if there were millions.  They sang, cried, moaned, bewailed of lost hopes, the sins of men, unrequited love, the encroachment of civilization and the everlasting, calculating, cold-blooded greed of the Anglo Saxon, cruelly crushing the natives of the forests and the prairies.  You fell into a fevered sleep, awoke in a cold sweat by a note so sharp that you winced from their glistening teeth.  Road agents were bad enough; snakes and panthers terrorizing; the Indians were infinitely worse.  But one lone wolf could leap over, creep under and encircle all comparisons.  He came to you in the night and followed you through dreamland.

Such a wolf had J. L. Betz and so hideous was his song that many of the gentler sex – the ladies – wished to kill him.  The wolf, not Mr. Betz.  He would have been shot or poisoned every night in the week but each man let him live for the fun it was to spite his neighbor.  John Goodhart bought him and sent him to Ohio, the state of politicians, where he can run for office, howl for reform and gobble everything in sight.

Just before train time Mr. Betz secured a keep sake.  Whenever that wolf heard a church bell or music he began to howl and scream.  Mr. Betz took him to his phonograph and began to play a mouth organ while the phonograph was running to catch the sound.  Then the wolf dropped his under jaw, raised his head, lowered his neck, closed his eyes, pointed his nose to the northwest star, let his tail hang like a cotton string, and the phonograph caught the music.

The singing wolf may have gone, but it’s pretty clear there was still a poet in the offices of the Herald at Maitland.

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