OCR Interpretation

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, February 11, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 14

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-02-11/ed-1/seq-14/

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New York, Feb. 11. 0, why should
the spirit of mortal bproud? This
thought came home to many a
Broadwayfarer the other night, along
with the realization that the Old Man
with the Scythe is no respecter of
time nor place. It was just at thea
ter curtain time and Longacre Square
Pwas filled with its nightly hurrying,
bustling throng of pleasure, seekers.
High hats glistened, ermine cloaks
flashed an occasional glimpse of
gleaming shoulders and alabaster
necks; taxicabs whizzed and whirred
madly afound corners, while the
white-gloved traffic policeman had to
wig-wag rail their fingers at once to
keep things moving and protect pe
destrians from. the vehicular lugger
nauts. Jn short, it was a typical
Broadway night at the rush hour,
with wealth, fashion, beauty and
pleasure rampant on a field argent.
Had some modern financial duke
perched himself "high in a windowed
niche" of the Astor and shouted:
"On with the dance, let joy be uncon
fined," it would not have been out of
the picture.
In the midst of the hub-bub, wo
men's shrieks were heard and a
Broadway surface car was halted
precipitately at Forty-fourth street in
the very center of the pleasure seek
ers. The screams came from the car
and were occasioned by the collapse
in the aisle of a man. The car crew
picked up the fallen man and carried
him to the street, where he was laid
out on the concrete base of one of
the "white lightc." Then the car went
on its way. There was not a soul
about who knew the man and no per
son in authority was left with him by
the street car men. They simply laid
the man in the middle of Broadway
and went on about their business.
At first the fellow lay utterly alone,
moaning almost inaudibly. Then a
hurrying . pedestrian, crossing the
whirling rapids of traffic, and halted
perforce by a taxicab, looked down
and saw the prostrate form.
He stopped to look at the man and
found no sign of life. He loosened
the collar and clothing and felt over
the heart. This was enough for the
crowd. Instantly, almost miracul
ously, the lamp standard was sur
rounded by an eager, chattering mob
of hundreds. There were bare-headed
women in shimmery theater
gowns, men in evening clothes, or
dinary pedestrians and ragged news
boys and char-women, rubbing el
bows in the common bond of curios
ity. "Who is he? What is he? What
happened Is he dead? Was it a taxi
cab?" and a thousand and one other
queries came from everywhere. And
in answer there were a hundred
wrong explanations. Nobody really
knew what had happened, for the
street car was gone and nobody had
any idea of the man's identity.
Suddenly a little man with chin
whiskers wormed his way important
ly through the crowd. "I'm a doc
tor," he said, and the curious throng
parted and made way. The profes
sional man made an examination.
Then he turned abruptly.
"He's dead," was all he said.
Such a change as then came over
the crowd. Men's hats came off and
women wept. And the throng melt
ed as quickly as it had formed. An
interesting accident was one thing
and the presence of death was an
other. None lingered. In a second
the body of the dead man was alone
on its little island, isolated between
the two streams of hurrying traffic.
Then came an old man, a little man
with a frayed coat and dilapidated
hat. Boldly he walked over to the
body on its improvised slab. Tender
ly he stooped down and fastened the
clothing which -the self-styled doctor
had left disordered. Then with his
fingers the old man closed the eyes

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