From the Vault– Ugly is Sin

“Sling a dead cat” into your room, suggests the Hyde Park Herald’s July 24, 1885 issue.

We used to be a much more “literary” paper. I put that in quotes because I mean it in the most judgmental way possible.

At first, the piece “How to look ugly,” published with the poetry and serial novels we also used to include, seems like it’s intended to point out that dwelling on grudges is bad. But, like so many things in Hyde Park, it quickly takes a turn toward the bizarre. As fast as you can say “petticoat,” this Victorian column becomes a metaphysical discussion about the laws of nature, maybe. Or possibly it’s just a joke that didn’t land well.

There’s probably nothing funnier to add to this post than a couple snippets of the article’s fine prose—if you can work out what the author was going for, you may want to consider a career editing a community newspaper.

A special prize goes to the reader who can figure out what it might mean for air to root up in the trees.

“’Curses come home to roost!’ Yes, They return to roost permanently on your face.”

“Regard all ornamentation as ‘flummery.”

“Pretty world this would be were her laws to vary and powder sometimes refuse to burn when fire was applied to it. Or that trees should sometimes root up in the air, or vice versa; or that your nose should suddenly and without warning become as long as your arm…”

Read the whole thing here.