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Toronto by Gaslight_ The Night Hawks of a Great City As Seen By the Reporters of "The Toronto News"

Toronto by Gaslight_ The Night Hawks of a Great City
As Seen By the Reporters of "The Toronto News"
Title: Toronto by Gaslight_ The Night Hawks of a Great City As Seen By the Reporters of "The Toronto News"
Release Date: 2018-08-15
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber’s Note: Minor punctuation errors have been repaired. A list of furtherchanges made is given at the end. Please note that the table of contents doesn’tmatch the numbered chapter headings.

Cover image

NO. 1.

The Toronto Daily News Library


Thrilling Sketches of the Nighthawks
of a Great City.






This series of sketches of the night side of life was commenced in The TorontoDaily News on Monday, May 19th, concluding on June 7th. They are but a sampleof the interesting specialties which appear daily in The News, which is certainly themost readable and spicy newspaper published in Canada. Every Saturday, Rev. T.DeWitt Talmage’s sermon of the Sunday before, Clara Belle’s New York letter, acartoon by Mr. S. Hunter, and two columns of dramatic gossip, including manyglimpses of life in the Green Room, are regularly given, besides an endless variety ofhumorous sketches, and a complete compendium of the news of the day. The Newshas no Canadian rival as a first-class family newspaper, one which will be read throughevery day by every member of the family.


A card game



Introduction 1
Toilers of the Night 2
All-Night Eating House 3
A Hackman’s Experience 5
Billiardistic Boys 6
The Gamblers 7
Plucking the Suckers 8
The Work of the Cappers 9
Nigger Loo 10
Sights Seen by the Night Policeman 12
The Servant Girl’s “Feller” 13
The Finders 14
The Thieves 15
All Night in the Cell 16
The Police Court 17
Promenading the Streets 19
“The Pie-Biters” and Blackmailers 20
All-Night Meeting of the “Sals” 22
The Dance-Halls 23
“Manners None—Customs Nasty” 24
A Vag by Choice 26
The Slum Dweller 28
Released Convicts 29
Grace Marks; the Girl Murderess 30
The Baby Farms 31
In “De Ward” 32
A Ruined Woman 33
A Pest House Wiped Out 35
Scenes on the Railway 36
The Coffin on the Night Express 36
The Emigrant Train 41
The Wrecking Train 42
Miller’s Five-Cent Piece 43
The Jail 45
The Street Arabs 48
Hospital Horrors 49
“Nobody’s” Babies 52
The Pretty Boy 54
“Keeping it out of the Paper” 55
The Scarlet Woman 57
Behold there Met him a Woman 58
The Bagnio 60
A Story of Shame 62
Lustful Revellers 62
Leading Down To Death 63

A Salvation Army march

BOUND FOR GLORY.—See page 22.



Written by the Reporters of The Toronto News.


Night has fallen over the city. Thehum of a hundred industries which makethe daytime resonant with the whirr ofwheels, the clank of hammers, and thethrob of huge engines, is silent. Desertedare the factories and workshops and warehouses,where a few hours ago all was lifeand stir in the eager struggle for subsistence.The great arteries of the city’straffic still present a scene of animation.The stores are yet open, and crowds,partly on business, partly on pleasurebent, throng the sidewalks—standingdensely packed at intervals round thestore of some tradesman more enterprisingthan his fellows, who displaysamid a blaze of light, some novel deviceto arrest the attention and tickle the fancyof the passer-by. Workingmen and theirwives, evidently out on a shopping expedition,pass from one store to another insearch of bargains. Pleasure-seekers,bound for the different places of amusement,whirl past in hacks or dismountfrom the humble and more economicalstreet-car. But the element which largelyout-numbers all others is that of youngmen and girls out for an evening stroll.Up and down Yonge street they pass inparties of two and three, with frequentinterchange of chaff and banter, notalways of the most refined order.There is a general aimlessness intheir demeanor as they slowly saunteralong arm-in-arm, frequently occupyingthe whole sidewalk, to the great annoyanceof more active pedestrians. Theyoung fellows are mostly smoking pipes orcheap cigars and talking loudly to theircompanions. Occasionally they stop fora bit of horse-play, pushing and wrestlingwith each other. Now the “masher” isin all his glory. It is not often that anyself-respecting girl who goes on her wayquietly is accosted, but any lightness ofdemeanor on the part of a young womanalone on the street is pretty certainto expose her to the attentionsof some lounger bedecked withcheap jewelry, who prides himself onhis fascinating powers and has an ever-ready“Good evening, miss!” for anymember of the fair sex not positively bad-looking,whose appearance gives himcourage to make an approach.


is of all ages and stations. It is only themore reckless and less experienced whoventure to accost a stranger on the streetwithout a reasonable excuse. The oldhands at the business who occupy respectablepositions in society generallyassume a previous acquaintance, and iftheir advances are not favorably receivedthere is the ready excuse of mistakenidentity, “I really beg your pardon, Itook you for Miss So-and-So,” etc., andexit under cover of profuse apologies.

During the earlier hours of the eveningthere are kaleidoscopic changes of scene.Sensations of all kinds draw the crowdhither and thither. An arrest, an alarmof fire, with the rush of the engines andhook and ladder wagons tearing like madthrough the streets, a march out of the[2]volunteers with the inspiriting martialmusic of the band—any of these distractionssift out the younger and more excitableelement, who follow at the top oftheir speed, leaving the streets half deserted.There is nothing delights therougher element more than to see an unfortunatewho has been imbibing toofreely “run in.” A blue coat in chargeof anybody in fact always draws,particularly if the delinquent isnoisy and obstreperous. And a fireis a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Atthe first alarm the saunterers are allanimation. “Where is it?” is the questionon everyone’s tongue, and as soon asthe locality is defined, away they go—fortunateif they arrive before the firemencease playing, for under the fire alarmsystem a conflagration has very little opportunityof making headway.

Of late the Salvation Army is a frequentelement in diversifying the life of thestreets after nightfall. Its parades invariablyattract a crowd of strollers, many ofthem of a class whom the ministrations ofthe regular religious bodies do not reach.Their banners and uniform, their marchingmusic, and the stentorian voices oftheir street preachers have by this time becomea recognized and familiar feature ofcity life, and though the novelty of theiradvent has worn off the people manifestas much interest as ever in their sayingsand doings. Their parade in the middleof the street is accompanied by simultaneousparallel processions of a less orderlycharacter on the sidewalks. Whatevermay be thought of the ultimate effect ofthis manner of presenting religion to themass, there is no question that it arreststheir attention.

As the night advances, the crowd thinsout.


male and female, disappear one by one,the stores have closed their doors, untilthe only places which show signs of businessactivity are here and there a saloonor a tobacco store, which may or may nothave a keg of lager on tap in the back-roomor a “little game” upstairs. Nowthe streets again assume for a few minutesa lively aspect as the places ofamusement are emptied of their audiences.Overladen street cars make theirfinal trips, toiling wearily up the ascentwith frequent stoppages as the suburbs areneared. And now the streets are almostdeserted again. Stray pedestrians hurryor totter homeward. The saloon lights areextinguished, but acute ears can still hearthe clink of glasses and the subdued conversationof groups of revellers who arebound to make a night of it, and are cheerfullyfuddling themselves in a back room.The wearied bar-keeper will let them outby a side door in an hour or two. He willbreathe a heartfelt sigh of relief as theystumble over the threshold, and slippingthe bolt with alacrity, to prevent anyother belated seeker after the ardent gainingentrance, he will knock down abouthalf of the cash the party have left, andcongratulate himself on his honesty inleaving so much for his employer.

One o’clock. The city sleeps. The fewstragglers on the streets only serve tomake the general impression of silence andsolitude the more vivid by contrast.Here and there is a pedestrian on hishomeward way, or perhaps a party of twoor three late roysterers laughing and burstinginto snatches of song, but growingsuddenly silent and bracing up as themeasured tread of the blue-coated

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