Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Today -100: July 15, 1915: It’s the “common” part that really stings

The Prussian interior minister says Germany will spend $7.5 million to rebuild Louvain, Belgium as a modern city. You know, Louvain, the city they burned down last year.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels allows two naval constructors (that’s a job title) to resign from the Navy, but boy he isn’t happy about it. Having gotten special training, paid for by the Navy, the constructors had signed contracts requiring them to remain for 8 years, which they have but now they want to cash in. Daniels regrets the “custom” by which naval officers think they have a “moral right” to resign during peacetime after a certain number of years rather than serve until the government no longer has a use for them. He crankily suggests that he may not give permission to resign in the future. The government thinks that it has the right to reject resignations.

A Mrs. Mary Guadiano of Peetsburg, New Jersey is being charged with being a common scold, because that’s still against the law. (Don’t know if she was convicted or what the punishment for common scolding might have been since the NYT doesn’t follow up on the story).

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  1. Well, the punishment used to be the ducking stool for a common scold.

  2. Technically, it was a "cucking" stool.

    I should probably have pointed out that the definition -- the legal definition -- of a common scold was gendered.

  3. On the eastern side of the Atlantic both names were used. The etymology of the word "cucking" is fascinating and, in the circumstances, I guess not surprising.