[C8] "Our Talisman, No. 8," Spirit of the Times, Feb. 3, 1842: A Rich Scene in Bank on Tuesday

Our Talisman, No. 8


            Yesterday afternoon, the door of our sanctum was flung suddenly open, and in a moment we beheld our Flib, his eyes suffused with tears of—fun, his mouth distended in one extensive grin, while his whole figure, red hair, squinting eye, crooked legs included, seemed undergoing some sudden convulsion of deep and unmitigated laughter.

            "Go get a drayman and a chimbley sweep to hold me," cried the youth, between the pauses of his laughter, "Hoora! Or you'll have somebody to bury.  O my!  Such a scene—ha, ha, ha—ho, ho, ho,—Is there no benevolent individual in this neighborhood to put a couple of arms round me, and keep a fellow from splittin'?  I shall burst, I shall—ha, ha, ha."

            "What's the matter?  Are you mad, foolish, or moonstruck."

            "Naigther.  I heard this morning that there was to be some capital fun in the Bank at the corner of Third and Vine st., Northern Liberties.  I was there.  This is my story."


            The beautiful ring was rubbed, the wish was made, and before you could count ten, I stood in the banking room of the institution at the corner of Third and Vine streets.  Scarcely had I taken my invisible post, before the street door opened, a stout, robust young man entered, holding a big stick in one hand, and a square piece of paper in the other.

"Mr. Cashier can I speak with you a minute."

            "Why yes,—I 'spose you can.  Walk in this room."

            The two entered the room of the Cashier, and I followed.

            "Your business, sir," said the Cashier, looking very piercingly at the rough looking young man.

            "Why to tell you the truth, I've an execution against you.  An execution to recover the value of certain notes of your issue, which you have refused to redeem.  The Court of Common Pleas says you must pay up these notes in specie, and pay a whole lot of costs beside."

            The Cashier put his hands in his pockets, whistled, looked up to the ceiling, then whistled again, and remarked that it should be some remarkably fine morning indeed, when he would give specie for the notes which the Constable held in his hand, and it was his opinion that it would be a much finer morning when he would see fit to pay the cost on said notes.

            "Very well, sir.  All the same to me.  I'll levy on that picture of old Benjamin Franklin—O, by the bye, did you ever read Franklin's essay on swindling?—and that desk will help to make an item.  If you, Mr. Cashier, was worth anything, why I'd levy on you.  But as I never heard of a Cashier's being worth his salt, I'll leave it alone."

            "You are complimentary."

            Thus saying, they entered the Banking Room.

            "Do you see that object," asked the Constable, pointing to a pile of half dollars which lay on the counter within reach.  "Do you see that pile of dollars?  Well, I'm thinking of changing these notes myself—so here goes for the specie!"

            He clapped his brawny hand upon the heap of half dollars.

            "Lord—is it possible?" exclaimed the Cashier. "Can I believe my eyes?  Will some person produce my spectacles?  Yes he has—no he hasn't—it is a reality.  He's trying to steal the dollars.  Help! help!"

            And then, as fast as a flock of young beetles gather around a full grown cockroach, when danger is near, so fast did all the clerks, paying tellers, and underlings gather around the Constable and the Cashier, with every imaginable cry of alarm and surprise.

            "Hit him over the head," shouted one.

            "Fire—robbery—thieves!" cried another.

            "Choke him—bang him up against the counter," added a third.

            "Here, fellow," cried the Cashier, "these dollars belong to a widder woman, and you really oughtn't to take 'em."

            "Very creditable," observed the Constable, as if communing with himself—"very creditable.  That music is first rate, and the invention of the Cashier is really refreshing.  Frank Johnson's band couldn't ekal that music by a mile or two.  Look here, you weazel faced individual, leave go my neck—take that, Mr. Paying Teller—get off my back, sharp-nose—and take that, and that—and that, and that, by way of a general compliment.  Now, Mr. Cashier, what do you want."

            The Cashier looked at his wounded and defeated companions.

            "Well, I guess you can take the money."