WHERE IS THE FOOL-KILLER?

WHERE IS THE FOOL-KILLER?

WHO is Jean Wetmore? He is evidently possessed of the idea that the world is out of joint, and that he is the man born to set it right. This Jean Wetmore, E. E.—whatever these cabalistic letters stand for—is an abolitionist, an iconoclast of the most radical type, and, like all of his tribe, would tear down everthing that does not come up to the Wetmorean standard of perfection. This standard he finds, not in New York, but in Chicago ! And whatever is not moulded on the lines of the “ Windy City,” must be accommodated to them at whatever cost. If too short, it must be pulled out till it is long enough ;if too long, the overplus must be lopped off. The bed of Procrustes was surely a trifle to the Wetmore measure ! JeanWetmore, with the taggedon initials, has assumed the role of “ Sir Oracle,” with respect to what he considers the radical changes necessary in fire extinction (he means “for fire extinction—but, then,this E. E. is, like the King, “ above grammar) in New York’’—-and “ when he opes his mouth, let no dog bark ” for the “cause is finished.” We poor New Yorkers fancied we had at least an “ indifferent good ” fire department, with a chief who had at least some knowledge of his business. It appears, however, that we have only “antiquated paraphernalia,” “Lilliputian apparatus,” “little steam squirt guns on wheels ” that can only “ puff and snort,”a “ siamesed pipe-stem of a perambulating water tower,” “funny little squirters,” “burnished toys of perambulating (our E. E. seems fond of that word) steam squirt guns with their water towers ” which “cannot squirt higher that nine stories.” These he would “relegate to goat-town, or keep for holiday parades, when the old volunteers drag their little hand-pumps along in memory of ancient times.” F’ire Commissioner, fire chief, the whole personnel of the fire department are “old mossbacks ” who cannot be rejuvenated, “ old dogs” that refuse to be taught old tricks, and should, therefore, be “ swept out ” in favor of importations from the “energetic, wide-awake, wild and woolly West” from whose fire-fighting methods we “have much to learn,” who are not of the sort to imitate Chief Bonner, whom this E. E. quotes as crying out “ Let her burn, boys!” when he saw the “• ridiculousness of his funny efforts” to extinguish the fire in the Home Life Insurance building—words which Chief Bonner uttered just as much as the Duke of Wellington, whom myth credits with crying out to the Household troops at Waterloo, “Up, Guards, and at ’em!” When we come to think of it, Jean Wetmore, E. E, (we love to give him his full name) must have got badly mixed over Chicago and New York. The words he puts into Chief Bonner’s mouth express exactly the sentiments of Chief Swenie of the former city,and the more we reflect upon the matter, the more we are forced to the conclusion that the E. E. had Chicago, and not New York in his mind’s eye when he stultified himself as he didin a recent number of a New York electrical paper,by abusing Chief Bonner and this city’s fire department. Chicago’s fire department has at least no better equipment for fighting fires in high buildings than this city; it has no auxiliary pipe svstem; it has no more powerful engines, nojmore skilled firemen, nothing, so far as we know, that is supe rior to New York in the way of methods for fighting fire in its many high buildings. Its fire department is, therefore, equally “ powerless.” In what respect, then, does Jean Wetmore, E. E., wish us here in New York to copy Chicago, or why must we import its firemen to teach ours how to tackle fire in high buildings? If Jean Wetmore, E. E., can explain his absurd inconsistency in this matter he will be to us a “great Apollo.*’ If not, let him for ever after hold his peace. Meanwhile, if he is wise, he will keep out of the way of the fool-killer.

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