From The Librarian at Play, a collection of essays by Edmund Lester Pearson, published in 1911. Pearson was a librarian who wrote humor and true-crime books.
I looked and beheld, and there were a vast number of girls standing in rows. Many of them wore pigtails, and most of them chewed gum.
“Who are they?” I asked my guide.
And he said: “They are the girls who wrote ‘Lovely’ or ‘Perfectly sweet’ or ‘Horrid old thing!’ on the fly-leaves of library books. Some of them used to put comments on the margins of the pages—such as ‘Served him right!’ or ‘There! you mean old cat!’”
“What will happen to them?” I inquired.
“They are to stand up to the neck in a lake of ice cream soda for ten years,” he answered.
“That will not be much of a punishment to them,” I suggested.
But he told me that I had never tried it, and I could not dispute him.
“The ones over there,” he remarked, pointing to a detachment of the girls who were chewing gum more vigorously than the others, “are sentenced for fifteen years in the ice cream soda lake, and moreover they will have hot molasses candy dropped on them at intervals. They are the ones who wrote:
If my name you wish to see
Look on page 93,
and then when you had turned to page 93, cursing yourself for a fool as you did it, you only found:
If my name you would discover
Look upon the inside cover,
and so on, and so on, until you were ready to drop from weariness and exasperation. Hang me!” he suddenly exploded, “if I had the say of it, I’d bury ‘em alive in cocoanut taffy—I told the Boss so, myself.”
I agreed with him that they were getting off easy.
“A lot of them are named ‘Gerty,’ too,” he added, as though that made matters worse. Read More