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Exit the Night Hawk

Old John Dimming, “Honest John” as his patrons used to call him, has stabled his nag for the last time. The famous hackman has surrendered to the taxicab, and his weather-beaten vehicle will be seen no more in Powell Street. It was inevitable. The cab made a heart-breaking stand against the motor; the night hawk refused to retire before the chauffeur. But it looks as though the end has come. Who hires a hack these days, except for a funeral? Almost nobody. The prices are higher than taxi rates, and the pace is much too slow for this speeding age. One or two more of the old time cabbies still lag superfluous, but they are not earning their salt. The good old days of plenty have departed, and it’s a long time now since any of these jarvies has been able to afford the luxury of a new beaver. Old Finney died before the business went to smash, but Dimming lives to hear its last wheeze. It is the same elsewhere. The last street cab disappeared from K Street in Sacramento last week. There was nothing doing. Tax-eaters drive in taxies nowadays when they do not board streetcars. A far cry from the golden yesteryears when the hackman of Sacramento knew every millionaire in Northern California. What stories those old cabbies could tell if they would. But your cabman was always close-mouthed. Discretion was his greatest asset. The passing of Dimming’s cab recalls old memories. But why rake up the past? There is a new generation which knows nothing of the trouble that Dimming passed through. It is just as well.

The Spectator
Town Talk The Pacific Weekly
January 3, 1914