The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 418
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Slaughter's suicide. In 1893 genial Dick Slaughter of Dallas grew
suddenly morose and depressed. He was gloom itself. Now Dick
and "Dr." Beck disliked each other heartily and even vocally.
Dick's friends took particular pains to see that "Dr." Beck knew
of Slaughter's current melancholia, brought out, so they said, by
"family reverses" that threatened poverty, failure, and a full-
sized nervous breakdown. Serious-minded Scotsman Beck took all
this in.25 Then on the third floor of B Hall one day Dick hanged
himself, using an old-fashioned leather trunk strap placed around
his body and under his coat to sustain his weight with the strap
protruding from his back. When found he was dangling from
the transom. The alarm was sounded. Excited cries of "Dick
Slaughter has hanged himself, bring a knife," brought not only
the butcher knife on the run but "Dr." Beck with it. Just as
"Dr." Beck reached to cut the strap, the boys on the inside turned
loose, and Dick dropped to the floor. Here he put on an excellent
performance of gasping out his last breath while his gallant
rescuer frantically administered first aid.
The strict Scotsman "Dr." Beck had many fine qualities, but his
rigid ideas did not mesh with the thinking of young men of the
1890o's. He was dubbed Earl of Brackenbeck. He could not go
along with any complaints about his "cheap" food-whether
"rotten" strawberries in his shortcake or coal oil in the oatmeal.26
Dudley Woodward looks back after fifty-odd years and says that
Tom Botts, who had indigestion, had a test for the Hall's standard
dessert, tapioca pudding. Tom stuck a toothpick in the pudding,
tried to pull it out; if the saucer came with the pudding, Tom
passed up the dessert.27
In 1894 all inmates petitioned the governing authorities for
better food, which was a slap at "Dr." Beck. A committee of three
representing the Regents and faculty heard the petition, while
Beck stood aloof. Then the timid inmates faded out, and Beck
was victor until a hand-to-hand duel took place a few months
later between Beck and an inmate by the name of L. E. Hill,
27Dudley K. Woodward, Jr., to Walter E. Long, June 16, 1958 (MS., in possession
of Walter E. Long, Austin, Texas).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/505/: accessed March 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.