A PET ALLIGATOR.
Mr. Louis Hanitch returned to Bismarck from Dayton, Ohio, a day or two since, and brought with him a young alligator which a friend at Jacksonville, Florida sent to him. Yesterday Mr. Hanitch presented the tropical bird to the editor of the Tribune as a token of respect or something, and the little fellow now lies in a bed of cotton in the Tribune editorial room. He (we guess he's a he) is about a foot in length, and is as lively as an Indian kid.
The alligator is not a handsome creature. He does not claim to be a professional beauty, but he is upright and honest in all that he does. He is of a frank, open countenance: so open is his countenance that when he does open it his features disappear as if by magic and are supplanted by a yawning chasm which extends away down into his depths. When he smiles genially over some fond recollection he reminds one of the Rev. Talmage, and when he yawns he leaves upon the mind of the spectator an impleasant impression that he has split himself in two. When the wise Creator made the alligator he probably did so as an experiment. Scientists advance the claim that He first intended the rare bird for an opera singer, and made the mouth the base of operations. He constructed an enormous mouth and attached to the rear suburbs of the jaws just body and tail enough to prevent them from wandering away from each other and getting lost in the crowd, and then stuck in what little material He had left of that texture for legs. Then the job was thrown aside as a failure. The creature was so peculiarly constructed that it couldn't kick, and in His wisdom He foresaw that the opera singer would one day be the champion kicker of the universe. Theatrical managers have ever since regretted that the prima donna was not left in the original form. The mouth, however, was retained, and with a different body the fair warbler was turned loose, and flourisheth even unto this day.
The alligator is not fastidious in his tastes. He will eat anything, from the tender and delicate poodle of the dudess to the gable end of a beef, and his appetite is as implacable as the leap year career of an old maid. He is particularly fond of the negro baby, and will receive one of them into his yearning bosom at any time with an eager solicitude which denotes his great affection for children. One healthy alligator near a southern plantation has been known to keep a whole colony of enterprising colored families down to a mere quorum, and one of them can cast more gloom over a colored neighborhood in one working day of ten hours than a yellow fever epidemic can in a month. His absorbing powers at times attain the wonderful.
As a songster he is not a marked success. He can sing when he feels happy and contended and has his stomach filled to repletion with anonymous baby, but his song is not soothing. His voice is of the basso profundo species and is of great power and compass, but does not smite the critical ear with that soft and dreamy roll which is noticed while sitting in front of a professional basso profundo, when he is in a state of eruption. It jars harshly upon the nerves and causes the listener to suddenly remember that if he remains longer he will be too late for supper—that is, his own supper. He might be just in time for the alligator's evening meal if he strayed too far in the direction of the music.
We have planned a brilliant future for our pet. He has been duly cristened "Bismarck," and he seems to be delighted with the capital city. When he gets a little older that yawning chasm of his will be a well patronized resort for the aspiring poets whom we have heretofore been in the habit of running through the press and selling to farmers for fertilizing material. In the future they will fertilize our cherished pet—that is, if his stomach is as brave and intrepid as we believe it to be. And when he attains his majority, if he should some day feel a craving at the stomach and gulp us down at one spasmodic gulp, we shall die happy in the consciousness that he did it through his great love for us.
"Bismarck" is on exhibition in the Tribune sanctum, and will be pleased to receive any ladies or gentlemen who may make him a social call. Please leave your babies at home. We do not wish to encourage in him an appetite for dainties.
Bismarck Tribune, 2/15/1884
GREEN WITH JEALOUSY.
The editor of the Duluth Tribune is so jealous that he casts a green shadow. About the time this paper was presented with an alligator, a Florida friend sent one to him, and he hoped to paralyze the whole blooming northwest with the assertion that he possessed the only living alligator now in the state of captivity. When he read in our paper that we also had a pet of the same species, it made him so mad that steam hissed out of his ears, and his eyes glowed with a burning glow that almost rivalled the cardinal halo which surrounds his nose, and a cloud of smoke followed his pencil as he wrote the following:
The Bismarck Tribune claims to have been presented with a pet alligator also, just because the Duluth Tribune has one. We'll wager $4 that there isn't a man about the B. T. shanty that ever saw an alligator, or if he did, the alligator didn't see him. The B. T. alligator is a myth. Somebody saw Kit Adams yawn and stretch himself, hence the—illusion.
Our once cherished waste of yawning mouth and diminutive body has passed away from the cares of the earth, else we would send a photo of him to our good Duluth co-patriot. The only proof we can furnish is a lead pencil bearing the tooth marks of the little rascal. He saw it in our hand and mistaking it for the limb of an opera singer, which he was accustomed to see in his southern home, he made a gallant lunge at it and almost crushed it in his saw-like teeth. The pencil will be forwarded to the Duluth scribe.
Bismarck Tribune, 2/22/1884