Born in a pesthole, sired by a lout and a jade, and treated most cruelly by both throughout his childhood, Cack the Sissy grew up in our midst to wear his nickname of opprobrium like a war decoration.
He never went to schools, and could neither read nor write.
He was ill-housed, and ill-fed, and sometimes was forced to wear women’s clothes to keep his frail body warm.
He was known to relieve himself in church pews, and he pestered some of the little boys.
Great sport was made of Cack by others: he was called “jack-o-lantern face” and “moon boy,” “twit,” and “girly.”
Once he was taken in by a farmer on the Vaughn Road to do chores, but the man lost patience with his squeamishness, and filthy traits.
He finally found work at the Hercules plant, but fell (or was pushed) into a vat of Fulminate and dissolved almost to the bone.
(from Little Lives by John Howland Spyker)