Saturday, June 04, 2011

A barber and three dogs

The Queenslander Newspaper 16th November, 1889


On Monday (reports the last number of the Fanciers' Gazette to hand this week) Mr. G.P. Wyatt, deputy-coroner for East Surrey, held an inquest at St. Thomas's Hospital on the body of Frances Marion Smith, aged 13 years, the daughter of Abraham Smith, a nurseryman, living at No. 14 Park-place, Lower Tooting, who died in the above institution on Friday last from hydrophobia. Mary Ann Margaret Smith, the mother, said that her daughter had enjoyed very good health until the 2nd of last August, when she was bitten by a dog. The day previous witness kept her away from school, in consequence of which the teacher gave the girl a good shaking, which witness thought was the cause of her feeling unwell. The wound was cauterised, and after a few days she appeared to regain her usual health. Last Tuesday night, however, symptoms of rabies set in, and upon her return from school she went to the tap in the back kitchen and got a cup of water. She was, however, unable to drink it, and asked for some tea, which, when she attempted to swallow, took her breath away. "Witness then took her to a neighbouring doctor, who ordered her immediate removal to the hospital. Minnie Tanner, a girl of fourteen years, said that about half-past 1 o'olock on Friday afternoon, the 2nd August, she was walking along Tooting-grove, when she saw Smith, who was with her little brother, attempting to stroke a little dog which was passing. The animal jumped up and bit her in the face, and it was with difficulty that he was shaken off. The little boy, in attempting to drive him away, was also bitten by the dog in the arm. A number of men then came up and ran after the dog, which witness lost sight of. Inspector Henry George Barrett, Tooting, stated that on the afternoon in question Mr. Smith brought his son and daughter to the police-station, and stated that they, as well as himself, had been bitten by a fox-terrier dog. Dr. Brent, the divisional surgeon, was at once called in, and cauterised the wounds of the girl, the father and son refusing to have their wounds attended to, as Mr. Smith did not believe in the treatment. The dog, which was unmuzzled, was sent the following morning to the Dogs' Home at Battersea, where it has since been destroyed. In answer to the coroner, witness stated that there had been no post-mortem on the dog, consequently he was unable to say whether it was mad or not. Dr. Thomas Philip Cowan, house physician, deposed to receiving the child upon her admission on the 18th August. She then experienced great difficulty in swallowing, and complained of a severe headache; the following day she became much worse, and at the sight of water was seized with violent spasms. The child was shortly afterwards seized with fits, which terminated in her death on Friday last. A post-mortem examination which had been made on the body showed nothing which would account for death, which was not an uncommon occurrence in cases of hydrophobia. The mother informed the coroner that her husband and son, who were at present in Paris under the treatment of M. Pasteur, were not aware of the shild's death. The jury returned a verdict of leath from hydrophobia. We regret to record another death this week. Last May Mark Allen, aged fifty-seven, a painter, living at Henwood-side, Chigwell, was bitten by a retriever dog. He experienced no inconvenience until a few days ago, when symptoms of hydrophobia were observed, and on Monday night he was taken to the London Hospital evidently in the last stage of the terrible disease, where he died on the following Monday morning.

An Irascible Barber.—At Wallasey (Cheshire) Petty Sessions lately, Frederick Johnson, barber, Seacombe, was charged with assaulting Dr. Churton, J.P., coroner for Chester. Dr. Churton said he went to defendant's shop to be shaved, and asked him to be quick, in order to permit him to fulfil an engagement. Defendant very rudely shouted, "Come in, then; I can't shave you at the door."   He suggested that Johnson should treat his customers civilly, when defendant seized him by the arm, and threatened to kick him out of the shop. Dr. Churton added: "I did not much care for his threats, but I was in an awkward dilemna. I was close to an excited man, with a razor in his hand and a huge bull dog by his side. (Laughter.) I may say the latter was the best bred animal of the two." (Renewed laughter.) In reply to the bench, Dr. Churton said he thought the man committed a very unwarrantable assault when he rushed upon him in that violent fashion. Corroborative exidence having been given, the bench fined the barber 25s. 6d., including costs. — Daily Telegraph.

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