November 15, 1908
If a man writes poetry every week to his mother-in-law is her son justified in striking him? Such was the interesting ethical point that Festus O. Miller, justice of the peace, was called upon to decide yesterday morning.
This is the way it all happened. A. S. Abercrombie is a motorman on the Holmes street line and he is married to the daughter of Mrs. C. W. Bradley, 2318 Holmes street. Every week, it was brought out in the trial, Mrs. Bradley received a letter from her son-in-law inclosing some samples of alleged poetry, of which the following will be as much as the average reader can stand:
"I see my Lily is true to me
And will be good to her, you see;
If she don't make me me climb a tree
Some day my fortune she will see.
--By A. S. Abercrombie."
Since the Lily referred to was Mrs. Bradley's daughter, she stood the trial reading these versus without complaining very much. But soon Abercrombie began sending the verses in the form of a newspaper, written in long hand and called by him "The Bradley-Abercrombie Journal." In one of these the following effusion was offered:
"You thought I had money was the reason why
You proposed for your daughter to marry me,
But that's where you got left, you see."
Mrs. Bradley showed this poem to her son, William. The young man boarded his brother-in-law's car at Eighth and Walnut streets and rode out to Howard avenue, quarreling on the way. At Howard he struck the motorman with his fist.
"That was a very serious offense," said Justice Miller. "By striking the motorman while the car was in motion, you not only committed an assault, but you endangered the lives of all the passengers on the car. However, considering the nature of your provocation, I shall make your sentence a light one. One dollar and costs is your fine."