Altercation at a Knoxville hotel - November 16, 1862
Tremendous Fight! Terrible Scene!
On yesterday, at a fashionable hotel, while the two hundred guests were seated at the dining table, a novel scene transpired. There was near the centre of the dining table, a very well dressed gentleman, apparently about forty-five years of age. He seemed as unconscious of all the world, besides himself and the edibles before him, as any other innocent guest who was replenishing his "commissary department." Knives and forks and changing plates are making the usual clatter, so agreeable to the famished wayfarer. To the amazement of the guests, a Biddy employed about the hotel, having walked around the tables closely scanning each guest, suddenly fell afoul of the quite stranger with a huge broom, which she had been using upstairs in scouring and washing the stairway and halls of the building. The dirty water flew in every direction, Biddy, at each blow inflicted upon the terrified stranger, exclaiming "Och! Faith! And bay the howly virgin, and ye beez afther insooltin a vartyous faymail woomun, yees dirty spalpeen! Out wid yees!!" The stranger did try to get out, but Biddy's broom for some time prevented a retrograde movement. His fat fell from his lap, and as he stooped to pick it up, Biddy did not fail to use the opportunity of giving him a blow across that part of his person where his pants were tightest. He straightened himself as quick as a "limber-jack," and rushing at Biddy, deprived her of the broom. Her expostulations and denunciations now began in earnest. She uses a broom well, but oh! Deliver us, form the tongue of a maddened woman! And especially and Irish woman -Biddy's mistress entered, and sought to restore peace. She placed herself between Biddy and the object of her wrath, and was advising the bruised and beaten stranger to leave.
Biddy now performed another maneuver. Like Stewart, she made the circuit of the enemy to secure her broom, which he had pitched under the table-seizing it, she came upon him with renewed energy. He cold not withstand the onset, but rushed down the long dining room to the entrance, Biddy in hot pursuit, upsetting chairs, smashing hats, and alarming everybody about the building by the infernal clatter. Biddy's tongue ran as rapidly as her sharp voiced keeping time to he blows of the dirty broom. As the terrified guest made his exit from the door, Biddy shrieked "ye dirty spalpeen! Yeez can't clane yerself for saxe months!!"
We have not the slightest doubt that this man is "demoralized" by this retreat and change of base. Biddy should be crowned a victrix. She is as honorable in her triumph as any of her sex in whose defence blood has been spilled on the field of honor. All honor to the brave Irish woman, which was freely accorded by the cheers of the guests as the fleeing stranger and his vindictive broom disappeared from the hall.
It is proper to state that the daughter of Erin assailed the wrong man, but this does not derogate from her excellence nor that of the story.
Knoxville Daily Register, November 16, 1862.
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