TRICKS ON FIREMEN.
THERE is a class of fellows to whom the fireman is a shining mark. Whether or not he is looked upon as more gullible than other city officials, or whether he is too goodnatured to say no to those who approach him—for their own ends—is doubtful. Suffice it to say that any trickster who has an eye to filling his own pockets without doing more for it than indulging in a certain amount of blarney and bluff seems to be able to get money out of the fireman without giving him any approach to his money’s worth. The accustomed role these gentry play is that of the getter-up of the history of the local fire department from away back to the end of the nineteenth century. They promise a tastefully gotten-up volume, full of portraits, replete with illustrations of fire apparatus (the cuts, be it remarked, being for the most part in stock and “adapted ” to the particular locality that the solicitor is working), assistant chiefs, directors of benevolent associations, chiefs past and present, horses, fire houses, etc,, etc., etc. Serve these up garnished with catalogues of the various engine crews, hose, hook and ladder companies, with fulsome biographies appended, as a rule couched in vile English, all inclosed in flashy covers, and delivered (if delivered at all) to the subscribers for an apparently nominal sum, and the olla podrida is pronounced fit to be placed in the library of the fire station or to lie upon their parlor tables, and to be held as a precious heirloom to be handed down to their children’s children—always supposing that the binding of the “souvenir” (they’re all “souvenirs” now-a-days) survives a year’s handling. Sometimes such publications are delivered to the subscribers; freqently they are not, and the firemen find themselves mulcted in the price of their subscription (for these wily schemers, somehow or another, manage to get their money in advance)—too often only to fall victims to the same artful game once more. It is time to call a halt. We are constantly in receipt of letters on the subject, all telling the same story, and not seldom pointing to one and the same fellow, with the same oily manner, glib tongue, and pretended credentials and testimonials from other fire departments— of course, far removed from that which he is working. How long are firemen to be the prey of these cormorants ? Surely, it is nearly time for them to be alive to their all-devouring propensities, and to show such mean rascals the door—if necessary, to assist them to it by propulsive means not always of the gentlest. It may yet be necessary for FIRE AND WATER to particularize some of these fellows in such a way as to make them more than uncomfortable.