Hoaxes & Pranks

Burra Record (SA)
Date: August 27, 1889
Page Number: 3
A hoax of a cruel, and at the same time, stupid character was perpetrated a few days ago on the Rev. S. Knight, Wesleyan minister, of the Brunswick-street Church, Fitzroy (says the Melbourne Herald of August 21). The hoax is all the more contemptible because it comes from some members of the rev. gentleman's congregation. It appears that Mr. Knight only took charge of his district on Sunday week last. After the sermon he announced that he and Mrs. Knight would be glad to meet tbe lady members ot the fellowship classes at a spiritual soiree at his residence, Victoria-parade. Last Wednesday was named as the day when this fellowship gathering was to take place. Some members of the congregation, not members of the classes, and therefore not invited to the service, are said to have taken umbrage at not being able to attend, and to have determined on revenge. The mode of revenge was the old stupid one of sending postcards to trades people ordering goods to be sent to the victim's residence. In this particular instance the goods were ordered to arrive about the time the spiritual soiree was to commence. This was 3 p m. Just about that hour a knock came to the door, and Mrs. Knight, accompanied by her husband, went to answer it, expecting to see some lady member of the Brunswick-street congregation. To their astonishment they were confronted with a man who wanted to know where he was to deposit the coal that was ordered. Scarcely had the rev. gentleman rid himself of the coal man when a confectioner's boy arrived with tarts and buns for "the soiree." He was dispatched with haste, when a fruiterer's man arrived with a basket of fruit, also for the soiree. Then came a chimney sweep in full war paint, broom in hand, and ready to clean out the chimney. In vain did the rev. gentleman assure him it was a mistake. His only answer was that he received a post card to call, and he was "not going to be made a fool of." After the chimney sweep came a representative of a furrier with sundry boas for the clergyman's "better half." He also had to be assured that it was a hoax. By this time the guests arrived in numbers, and the Rev. Mr. Knight at each knock was almost frightened to answer the door for fear of finding another hoax. Sometimes he was agreeably surprised, at others he was faced by a grocer's lad with a hamper full of things, and a bill accompanying it in his hands. Things went smoothly and the company were settling down to enjoy themselves when a furniture man called to "move that organ." He was quickly followed by another person of the same description, who apologized for being late, but said he could move the furniture before nightfall, or be would give up his profession. The rev. gentleman in despair expected every moment to see an undertaker call to take his measurement for a coffin, but instead of that a tailor called to take his measurement for a pair of trousers. Altogether 20 tradesmen were led into this hoax. As may be imagined, tbe rev. gentleman naturally felt very hurt at what had been done, and did not view with much complacency the discreditable conduct of those who planned the affair. He accordingly announced at a subsequent meeting of the church the scandalous trick which had been played on him. This at once set some of the adherents in the work of spiritual detectives, and within a few days the work of "tracking" was completed, and the names of the perpetrators of the hoax known. The authors of this stupid business, seeing that they were run to cover at once, thought prudence the better part of valour, so they addressed a joint and humble letter to the Rev. Mr. Knight, begging him to extend a Christian forgiveness, and announcing the fact that they were led into the business by others. This communication was, however, anonymous, and there the matter stands. In the meantime the chimney sweep, the van drivers, the grocers' assistants, and various and sundry tradespeople are anxious to find out who these jokers are, as they intend to make them pay for their fun.

Hoaxes & Pranks
Clergyman Hoaxed, 1889
Reverend S. Knight
Wesleyan Methodist Church, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.