Timecapsule: October 20, 1880

Sometimes we like to let the past speak in its own words, and even better, on subjects that never show up in history books.

Here's an item from an 1880's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, written at a time when the lively iniquities of the Barbary Coast were in fullest swing. The gang of "hoodlums" involved are the very kids who gave rise to that piece of homegrown slang -- in fact, it appears right in the headline:

A Hoodlum Raid -- How they Swindled a Cheap Coffee House

Last night, after the dives had discharged their sweltering and depraved patrons into the streets, a gang of young hoodlums invaded a Market-street coffee-house. The oldest of the gamins might have been 16, but in rascality he was an octogenarian. The crowd occupied six tables, and for fifteen minutes made the establishment ring with the clatter of their cups and saucers. Having grave doubts of the solvency of the gang, the restaurateur kept a watchful eye on the young scamps, and was not reassured by seeing them slip out, one by one, with the remark, "Them fellers at the last table will pay for it."