“Drunk and Down”

September 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

Pathos and Squalor Week has reached its wretched end, and to celebrate, we close with one of the most pitiful events in the history of Guy Town, which appropriately took place at “Mexican” Charley Cunio’s compound at Third and Nueces, courtesy of the Daily Statesman.

October 17, 1885


Dies a Drunkard’s Death in a Miserable Hovel.

Last night, at about two o’clock, Justice Purnell was summoned, by telephone, to a housefire-trap in Mexico, in the rear of Cunio’s saloon, to hold an inquest over the remains of Della Roberts, or Robertson, a notorious prostitute, who had died from the effects of a spasm a short while before.

The facts elicited before the jury were, in effect, that the deceased had been on a big spree for several days past, but on yesterday she had, apparently, sobered up some what, and was endeavoring to get over the bad effects. She was never known to make any threat to take her miserable and degraded life, therefore the several witnesses examined were of the opinion that no poison had been administered by her own hand or by the hands of any other party. The woman who lived in the same house with Della stated that the deceased had a fit, or spasm, and died from the effects of it, as she supposed. She had been out, and when she returned found the deceased lying on the floor, writhing in the agonies of death. Other witnesses corroborated this statement.

The jury returned no verdict last night, but the verdict will be rendered today. The jury believes that the deceased came to her death from heart disease, superinduced by an overindulgence in whiskey.

There will be few mourners at the funeral today. The deceased had fallen so low that she was shunned by even those of her calling. She was drunk whenever an opportunity offered, and was one of the most conspicuous “Drunks and downs” before the recorder’s court. Perhaps she is better off now than she was before her miserable death. Her troubles are, at least, ended.

October 18, 1885

“She died a drunkard’s death in a miserable hovel.” So said our city reporter and so has said many reporters before. Alas, what a commentary upon human life. “When lovely woman stoops to folly,” she sinks deeper and deeper until the hovel or the gutter is reached. Della was, perhaps, once the belle of her neighborhood and her father’s pride and mother’s joy. But she listened to the voice of the charmer and fell — fell never to rise again for her own sex never forget nor forgive. A single whisper is sufficient to doom an erring sister for ever, even though many who cast stones live in glass houses, perhaps. Yes, died in hovel and those who hastened her ruin did not even attend her funeral. There may be another world where justice is more evenly divided than in this, justice that is tempered with mercy, and heaven’s books will be found filled with petitions that have no precedence in the books we find in this life, and trials there will not be postponed to await the arrival of important witnesses.


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