Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fleas! Lorda'Mighty! Some Millions of Them



Man Picks 110 Off His Body Before They Could Get Away — Breaks His Lease and Moves, Then Landlady Sues Him for Rent He Failed to Pay, and There'll Be Some Doings in Court

The wicked flea in battalions has so seriously inconvenienced the family of A. S. Mitchell, treasurer of the Consolidated Casualty Company, that Mr. Mitchell, the fleas, Mr. Mitchell's landlady, Mrs. Frank L. Smith of Chicago. and Mr. Mitchell's lease have gone to the mat about it.

Mr. Mitchell declares that one bright, warm morning last August he plucked from his person fleas to the number of 110. Forty-five of the agile ramblers Mr. Mitchell discovered on his immaculately groomed and perfectly tailored person after he had dressed for the street and was about to depart for his office. In consternation he took a freshly laundered sheet, spread it on the kitchen floor, carefully disrobed and separated the remaining forty-five fleas from his apparel.

Mrs. Smith when asked about this expressed wonder that Mr. Mitchell could catch so many fleas all at once, and also how he had managed to count them without a previous capture, but Mitchell avers there were so many thousands that even he could catch the number named ere they could escape.

The Mitchell family leased from Hopkins & Luther, agents for Mrs. Smith, a four room flat at 1425 East Sixty-third place, at a rental of $57.50 a month. Oct. 1 the lease expired, and Aug. 28 the Mitchell family is said to have left, leaving the September rent unpaid. Mr. Michell claims he did this merely to fulfill his threat made months previous that he would move unless the landlady or her agents did something to exterminate the fleas.

The agents retorted by filing suit against Mitchell in the first district court for $57.50, the amount of the unpaid September rent; Mrs. Smith, it is alleged, says she stands ready to expend $5,000 in order to force Mr. Mitchell to pay that one month's rent. Mr. Mitchell is equally emphatic in his assertion that if necessary he will pay out $15,000 in order to fight Mrs. Smith.

Mr. Mitchell says that when he returned home at night, instead of enjoying his evening paper in peace and quiet, he had to get up and chase fleas. All night long the wicked flea pursued, he alleges, and sleep was a nightmare. Breakfast, he claims, was but a mockery, thanks to the fleas. Promises to eradicate the pest were plentiful as the pest itself, according to Mr. Mitchell.

—The Saturday Blade, Chicago, Oct. 9, 1909.

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