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[A1] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 5, 1842: Rosanna Strapple

Reported for the Spirit of the Times.


City Police — Tuesday, January 4 — I have a notion to collect my reports into a volume, to be called "Tony Blink's Class Book, No. 1," for the use of schools; especially boarding schools, where the female sex is educated. Nothing affects young minds like truthful narratives, showing how naughty people are punished. If I should carry out this plan,—I shall admonish the young buds and blossoms of womanhood against a fondness for fine clothes, which is about as bad a propensity as a girl can have. She had better wear no clothes at all, than to be always striving to dress beyond her means. But what's the use of making abstract speculations, when we have living examples?

Rosanna Strapple, a fresh heath-flower from the State of Delaware, came to this city several weeks ago in a domestic cotton gown, plaid shawl, and gingham bonnet. She obtained a situation of some sort in the family of an old bachelor, living in Filbert Street; and, for a month or so, gave great satisfaction to her employer. But the times change and we change with them:—old Square-toes began to get husky and crusty toward the damsel, merely because some small articles of trifling importance, such as silver spoons, sauce-pans, satin vest, spectacles, pencil-cases and such like knick-knacks thought proper to make themselves scarce. In the meanwhile, Rosanna's cotton frock, plaid shawl, &c, had disappeared and were replaced with articles much more costly and handsome. This showed that the girl was acquiring the refined notion of civilized life and was in the high road to celebrity—like many others who do things in a similar way, but have the art to take better care of their own safety. At length a cloak valued at sixty dollars, took a notion to sneak off unceremoniously, and the same evening Miss Rosy, "dressed to death," as the saying is, showed out in the second tier of Burton's theatre, having treated herself and another young lady to a ticket each. In walked a constable at the end of the second act. And arrested Miss R., scared her a little and made her acknowledge that the cloak was "spouted" in South street. Thither they went and recovered it. Poor Rosy was committed to answer for the larceny. Young ladies should not steal old bachelors' cloaks, vests, nor pantaloons; and the less they have to do in any way with the crabbed, crustaceous old animals, the better. Scarcely one of them knows how to take a joke, even from a lady!

Mrs. Maria Davis is not light-fingered, like Rosanna, but rather too heavy-handed with a certain blue case-bottle she keeps in her cup-board at home. If she would stay within doors and sleep it off, as a lady should do, all would work smoothly enough. But as soon as she begins to feel happy, she is seized with a benevolent wish to go abroad and communicate her delightful emotions to others. Unhappily, she met with no sympathetic good feeling on the part of the persons she encountered in the streets, but was locked up apart from all her soul held dear—namely, the case-bottle just mentioned, and her two children.

Both these examples would be potent with juvenile females, say from 15 to 18 years of age. I have studied their nature considerably, and know what they like, and what's good for them. Toney Blink.

[ . . .]

Mayor Scott, yesterday morning, committed Rosan the Staffle, a handsome Delaware girl, for stealing a splendid blue cloth Spanish cloak, worth $60, from No. 14 Filbert street—and, the Reporter had liked to have forgotten to mention, pawning the same for eight dollars, at an establishment kept by Joseph P. Donnelly, No. 352 South street, who was arrested and bound over by the Mayor on a charge of receiving the cloak, knowing it to be stolen.

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[A2] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 6, 1842: A Horrid Blank!

Reported for the Spirit of the Times.


City Police-Wednesday, January 5—A Horrid Blank!—Desolation and Dismay!—Not a Single Case!Oh hideous! Oh horrible! What are we coming to? Some dire convulsion of the moral world may be about to take place. Perhaps the physical world is about to burst up sooner than Mr. Miller expected. His first calculation fell short; his second prognostic may be as far ahead;—split the difference, and we shall have the settling off day about this time. The sinners had better look sharp, and come to a strict reckoning with conscience. Nothing but fire and brimstone could purge the world of its rascality;—I, for my own part, entirely approve of Mr. Miller's scheme;—the prospect of a day of judgment shortly to come will make some fellows act honestly when nothing else could do it. Go it, Miller!—give us your paw. To have some of the banks and their officers burnt up, I could almost consent to see all the other affairs in creation, except the pretty girls, burnt with them. Speaking of girls puts me in mind of a letter I received yesterday:—

To Toney Blink, Esq., A. M. L. L. D. &c.

Dear and Venerated Sir: I perceive from your announcement this morning, that you are about to get up a book for the use of young ladies' seminaries. Dear me, what an extraordinary man you are! Always kind, attentive, and obliging to our sex;—always planning something for our benefit. Allow me to suggest that your idea for that book is capital;—just such a thing has been wanted ever since I have been engaged in rearing the tender thought, teaching the young idea how to shoot, &c. I'd like to have some private talk with you on the subject;—call on me this evening about tea-time. Be punctual. I hope you're a single man; if not, I may call myself the miserable

Keziah Gristleton

Principal of the Hannah More Institute and President of the Single Ladies' Association.

Toney Blink.

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[A3] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 7, 1842: Green Enough!

Reported for the Spirit of the Times.


            City Police—Thursday, January 6—Green Enough!—Jabez Coyle, a gaunt country wight from the Eastern shore of Maryland, came into town with a drove of sheep, had them penned about sundown and got penned himself about ten o'clock; having been found seated on the earth at the corner of Washington Square; unable, at that time, to give any account of himself.  His examination this morning was conducted as follows:—

Mayor.—How came you in that condition, Mr. Coyle?

            Coyle.—Lord love you, sir, I don't know.  It's the strangest circumstance in my whole life.  I’d never been in the city before, so I thought I'd take a stroll around and try to make some acquaintance.  But some how or nother the people seemed rather shy; hardly any one I spoke to would give me a straight answer.  One fellow, allowed I was drunk, and gracious knows I hadn't touched a drop, another one seemed more clever like, and axed me if my mother knowed I was away from home; I told him she did, for she had sent me to town to sell the sheep; then he looked very serious and says he, "I guess you wouldn’t bring much; the market's stock'd with such cattle" says he, "but come in here and take something to drink and I'll show you how things are done hereabouts."  So in we went and sot down and he told me to call for whatever I wanted and they would fetch it.  "If I might advise," says he, "we'll have a couple of plates of oysters a piece, and something to wash it down with."  Sure enough I called for every thing he mentioned and we eat and drink as long as we could set to it.  At last he got up and he says, "Coyle, my dear fellow," says he, for he had axed my name before, "you stay here," says he, "while I step out to see a man that owes me seventy-five dollars—I'll be back in the shake of a junk bottle."  "Oh certainly," says I, "I'll wait for you.  You needn‘t to hurry yourself, for I've got nothing to do in particular," says I.  So he laughed and went out.  I sot more than two hours looking at the chaps playing fox and geese with them little black and white horn things with spots on 'em;—at last I begun to get tired of waiting, and thought I'd go out and take a turn or two and then come back again.  So I went and told the feller behind the counter, when my friend come in to tell him to wait for me.  "Jest please to square off before you go," says the feller with a kind o' half laugh, "the bill's one dollar and three fips."  "Why, my friend that went out told me there would be nothing to pay." Says I, "he axed me to walk in and allowed he'd show me how they did things in Philadelphia."  "Well, I 'spect he's kept his word," says the feller, "what more do you want?"  "No; he has'nt shown me yet," says I.  "Yes, but he has," says he:—"you are diddled; and that's a thing that's done here pretty extensively."  "Well, let's see what he says about it when he comes back," says I; "he can't stay much longer."  "I'm afraid he'll forget to come," says the chap behind the counter, "he's got the worst memory of any man that ever you see."  So I sot down again, and jest to pass away the time, kept drinking one stuff er another till my head got all in a buzz, like a hornet's next.  Then I paid the bill and put out, but how I got in the watchhouse, heaven only knows, for I'm sure I don't.  But I s'pose I shall be diddled again, before I get off.”  And so he was, to the tune of $1.50. 

Toney Blink.

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[A4] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 8, 1842: Remarkable Case of Witchcraft


City Police—Friday, January 7—Remarkable case of Witchcraft.—I am aware that some people don't believe in witches, but “facts is facts” and I hope no one will presume to doubt my veracity; if they do, I can prove what I am about to tell by the affidavit of a dozen witnesses; guess that will upset your incredulity.

 About 12 o'clock last night, a watchman passing down South street, saw an old woman walking with a cane; it was pretty dark and he found it difficult to get a good look at her; however, he saw she had more beard on her upper lip than ladies commonly carry, and she seemed to get along much more briskly than old women who walk with sticks generally do.  As she trotted along, she muttered curses to herself and acted so deucedly queer that the watchman became alarmed, tried to say a prayer, but could recollect nothing but "Here I lay me down to sleep," (a very common and convenient prayer for watchmen,) and having uttered that devout ejaculation, he tremulously ordered the beldam to stop.—"Stop what?" say she.  "Stop yourself, madam."—Here the old woman made a mysterious reply in which the words "nose" and "stopper" only were audible.  I think it likely that she intended to make a comparison between Watchy's proboscis and a tobacco stopper; though the proboscis alluded to is as large as a medium-sized powder-horn.  The officer arrested her forthwith, asking her how she dared, being a female, to carry such a mustache, when several of his young friends, supposed to be males, had been cultivating for years and couldn't raise a lip ornament one quarter as large.  She had nothing to say in her vindication and was locked up.  This morning she was put in the dock; but while the officer's back was turned for two minutes, she disappeared—vanished—melted into air; when he came back, she was gone!  Soon after, when the business of the day was about to commence, a large gray cat jumped out of that part of the dock where the old woman had been seated, made two or three supernatural bounds and escaped through a door which had just been opened.  Now if that cat was not the old woman transformed—I'm no sage, nor saint either.  A clear case of witchcraft as any on record!  Twenty spectators at least can testify to the appearance of the big gray cat, and the watchman declared that its eyes were precisely like those of the old hag who had been his prisoner.  Could any thing be more unequivocal?

Wm. Thomas, a young colored speculator was found with a couple of fur caps, supposed to be abstractions.  No one came to claim them, and Bill was remanded for another hearing.

Thomas Findley, genteel looking white man, caught in South street, below Tenth, with several pair of silver colored candlesticks, &c, tied up in two handkerchiefs and partially concealed under his cloak; tried to drop the plunder and escape, but could not effect it.  Examination postponed.

Toney Blink.

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[A5] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, Jan 21, 1842: Bad Boys

City Police.—Thursday, January 20—Bad Boys—A triad of blooming youths, Robert Kennady, Thomas Caldwell and George Weaver, composed the entire stock in trade this morning. They had each seen about sixteen summers, had seen the rose blossom and fade sixteen times and if they live "and do well," as the old woman says, they will be apt to see the flower of hemp blossom once too often. The elegant pursuits in which they happened to be engaged last night were ringing people's bells, jumping Jim Crow on cellar doors and thumping the watch boxes, disturbing the incumbents thereof with needless alarm and breaking their repose after they had faithfully discharged their duty by crying the time of night;—which is all that watchmen are bound to do, by moral or legal obligation. In this way, our young heroes got themselves into trouble, for watchmen are as savage as sausage-choppers when their slumbers are interrupted. All three were held to bail,

Speaking of bad boys reminds me of my friend Flib; a bright youth but full of deviltry. "Praise the bridge that carries you safely over!" that's my maxim;—Flib gave me a good puff t'other day, and if I don't puff him it's because I don't know how Prose and poetry shall both contribute to his honor and glory. Witness the following, composed at an interval of leisure, this morning:—


Youth of the radiant locks,—nose hook-ed

And legs and disposition crooked.

'Tis said, between us

There's some considerable amount of "genus;"

Why then this bargain let us make—

You puff me and I'll puff you,—

That's the way t'others do!—

(There's half the sonnet nice and neat,)

With pen and ink,

Shall Flib and Blink,

Each other toast

And rule the roast!—

All who presume to disagree—used up tremendously shall be!

So there's a sonnet all complete!Toney Blink.

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[A6] "New Movement in the Police Office," Spirit of the Times, Feb. 7, 1842

NEW MOVEMENT IN THE POLICE OFFICE.—One evening last week as our Flib was sitting in the sanctum engaged in discussing with himself the merits of the case of John Rogers's children, he was surprised by the entrance of Toney Blink, who plumped himself into a chair, puffed out his cheeks, whistled, stamped his foot on the floor, threw his arms aloft, and whistled again.

"Well," exclaimed Flib, "There's some extensive agitation in progress, some regular steam car blow out, there is."

"Look here, Flib," exclaimed Toney Blink, "I'm a-goin' to leave you."  Toney pulled out a red cotton handkerchief, and wiped the tears from his eyes.

"You don't mean it," replied Flib, in a voice of intense feeling,  "You don't mean it?  Cause if you do I'll go out and buy myself a dozen pocket handkerchiefs and a towel to veep in.  Come, Toney, if you go to cryin' that way I'll have to take an old newspaper to vipe my eyes vith.  Hold up, do."

"Break it gently to the editor," replied Toney in great agitation,  "Don't knock him down with the whole thunderclap of my fearful determination.  Give the news to him in bits like.  Circumstances as fearful as they are mysterious, force me to leave you."

"What's your reason for such a horrible determination?"

"Why Flib, I cannot tell you. Come up to the Mayor's office on next Saturday morning and see my successor—do.  He's a regular good fellow, do come."

"I will—depend upon me, Toney."

Here is


My friends I must bid you all good bye.  We've travelled together in the same omnibus for some time past, but now we must part.  I'll no longer regale you with histories of the rowdies’ rows, the watchmen’s watches of the night, the loafer's loafings—the pen of this genius is about to be laid on the shelf, and so is your humble friend Toney Blink. 

Thus far had I progressed in my valedictory, which I was writing on Saturday morning last, at Mr. Kenney's desk, in Mayor Scott's office, when the arrival of an individual inside of the Reporters pew, stayed my quill.

He was a very respectable youth, about the middle size, dressed in a dark green overcoat, beneath which I observed a black frock coat, buttoned up to his black handkerchief, which was finely relieved by a small extent of lately washed white shirt collar.—As for the picture of his face, imagine a small blue cap, a little the worse for wear, topping a mass of brown hair, which descended below the collar of his coat in diversified locks; fancy this hair relieving a countenance marked by full cheeks; small nose, half Grecian, half pug; dark black eye-brows; mouth with lips rather large; forehead low and strongly marked, and eyes vacant at most times, but when excited, flashing with a very peculiar expression, termed d—lment.  There was considerable fun, egotism, and talent in his general physiognomy.

"Who is that?" asked Flib, who sat at my side.

"My successor," I answered.

"Your successor is it?" said the gentlemanly Kenney, who overheard me.  "Your successor, is it?"

I observed him take three levys out of his pocket.

"Here, tell that long haired youth to take these and go over to Bogue's."

Flib looked grave.  I groaned, and several of the constables showed their teeth.  My successor approached.

"Allow me, Mr. Kenney," I observed, "allow me to make you acquainted with my successor; allow me to drop my name, and substitute that of Mr. William Br—"

"Hold up!" cried the long haired one.  "Don't Mister me—my name is plain and simple.  If any body asks for me, why you can just holler out—


Reported for the Spirit of the Times.


City Police,—Saturday, Feb. 5.—How a scholar hired a room of a widder, how he was pestered by  five children and a lap dog, and how he disposed of the Cat.

Marmaduke W. Roberts, a dapper little man, dressed in a faded black coat, black pants, and tattered boots, and with a very solemn expression of countenance, was charged with having committed an assault upon his landlady, Mrs. Tamswell, a large, plump, blooming dame, with very rosy cheeks and a very good humored countenance withal.  Said assault being committed at 10 on Friday night, and Mrs. W. appeared to substantiate the statement.  Here is Marmaduke's account.

            "You see Mr. Mayor—I'm a literary man."

            Mayor.—Ah! Sir, I'm sorry to see a literary man in your position.

            Marmaduke.—I'm a woman hater, sir.  I'm a child-despiser, sir.  A woman hater, and a child hater, sir.  I'm the done-up victim of this woman's persecution, and the whole lot of her children have slobbered all over me.  I doesn't want the women to love me, but the more I don't want 'em, the more they fall in love with me.  Last July, tired of the world, and every thing in particular, I hired a room of Mrs. Tamswell—I hired it with the particular condition that nothing like a petticoat or a baby's frock should come within a mile of my apartment, and I particularly enjoined "no listening" at the keyholes.

            Mayor.—What has this to do with the matter.

            Marmaduke.—Let me come to the point.  Three days after I engaged the room, I was sitting at my table, composing a literary work entitled "A Plan to render the Moon habitable, and further instructions calculated to make the Solar System generally useful"—when I  felt a tap on the shoulder,—I turned-and beheld a-child!

            Mayor.—How extraordinary!

            Marmaduke. (Solemnly)—Yes, strange as it may seem to you, I beheld a child, and presently another, and another—the fearful truth burst upon me in all its details—Mrs. Tamswell was a widder and I was destined to be her victim!  Day after day she sent her children into me, and the beasts did look so nice that I had to nurse 'em, besides her  brindled tabby cat, and then Mrs. Tamswell began to sport a lap-dog, the children and the widder I had a nice life of it, and my "plan to render the moon, &c." instead of going forward went backward, and  I was knocked into an intellectual "middle of the next week."

            Mrs. Tamswell.—O! was there ever such a man!  Just look at him!

            Marmaduke.—I became desperate.  I lost my sleep and appetite.  I wrote my own epitaph—"Died of a widder and five children together with a tabby cat including a lap dog."  Matters thus continued until yesterday when I went and bought five coffee bags, and as many spikes.  I drove the spikes into the wall and fixed the coffee bags to 'em.  In the evening Mrs. Tamswell missed her children—came into my room—found her children in the coffee bags hanging to the wall with their heads sticking out, and crying like the very devil.  The lap dog was stuffed away in a cold stove pipe, and the cat was squealin' away with her head in the leg of my boot.

            Mrs. Tamswell.—O! you nasty brute.

            Marmaduke.—The widder looked hard at me, and then she bust into tears.  "You're a brute," says she to me.  "You're a nuisance," says I to her.  "Pay me my rent," "Go to the d—l."  "Ugh! You miserable scribler."  "Ugh! You woman," I replied.  "Don't you provoke me," says she, fixing her nails in  my cheek.  "Keep cool you female," I replied, giving her a tap on the head, and with that she calls for the watchman, and here I am.  That's the whole truth of the matter, and I'll feel obliged to you if you'll let me go and finish my "plan to render the moon, &c."

            His honor advised the parties to settle the matter between themselves, and they left the office together.  Somebody will have to write a marriage notice shortly.

            Clarissa Williams and Matilda Anderson, kicked up a row, and broke the peace into a number of pieces, on Friday night.  Frail ones, they were sent down below.

            John Banks—alas for Whiggery!—was caught kicking up a row in front of the Walnut street Theatre.  Gave security to keep the peace.

            Hugh Dougherty—Came to this city in a sloop, from Leipersville—went strolling about town in company with alcohol—got lost—picked up by watchman.  Sent below.

Sunday, February 6.

            Samuel Link, was linked with another loafer, named McEuen, and the chain carried on an extensive business in the way of begging until last night, when it was severed by the arrest of Sammy.  Sent below.

            Ann Jane Billing Augustus, (one individual,) a yellow gal, kicked up a breeze in Mary street, on Saturday evening.  Did some swearing, and was otherwise eloquent.  Bound over.

            James Stilt, arrested at the suit of his wife, on Saturday night.  Had been flogging her and all that.  Wife didn't appear.  James remanded.

            Henry Quicksel, charged by Robert Harmer of the Cornucopia, with having stolen money from his drawer.  Quicksel has been a bar keeper in the establishment for a year or more.  Looked the very picture of guilt.  Pale face, downcast eyes, and you know what.  Bound over.

            Sarah Slobdoge, was supposed to be the individual who purloined some baby's clothes from the yard of Elizabeth Anderson, a yellow woman, who lives down town.  Sarah cried, but the Mayor was impenitent.  Sarah had to retire to Moyamensing.

There's the first daub of the brush.  Yours (as you please)

            Billy Brier.

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[A7] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, Feb. 26, 1842: A Sedate Old Bachelor

City Police.

Friday, February 25, 1842.

How an old bachelor didn't know any thing about certain luxuries, and how he was frightened by spooks, and the way it ended.

Ezekiel L. Codwell, is a sedate old bachelor, who keeps house down town in Olden's court, where as every body knows, the old houses leaning from each side of the out-of-the-way street, seem to be holding a familiar conversation with each other, upon the leading questions of the day.  Ezekiel, is a merry old fellow, fond of his retired location and of his book, but as ignorant of wine, woman, and other luxuries, as a man of forty-five years can well be.  In the morning, Ezekiel gets up about five-studies a volume of Goethe till seven—when he sends his housekeeper, Sally, out for a beefsteak or some other fixins, for breakfast—then he reads a chapter in the Bible—then looks into Bacon, and dines on a plate of ham, or eggs, or boiled gammon, as the case may be.  Then came his books—then his supper-then he travels off to bed, leaving nice little Sally, who is a minx of merry black eyes, and cherry cheeks, all alone in the kitchen, where she sits darning the elderly gentleman's stockings, mending his shirts and all that sort of thing you know.  Within a few nights past, Ezekiel, our bachelor friend, has been woke up in the very centre of the night, by strange noises down stairs, shrieking sounds among the chimneys, clattering of pans, and moving of chairs.  Ezekiel is a great reader of German books, and so Ezekiel is a little superstitious.  Of late his diminished means have made him think seriously of imitating the example of Dr. Faustus, and he had some distant idea of mortgaging his soul and body to the gentleman in black—and all that sort of thing you know.  So Ezekiel first asked Sally about the noises in the kitchen, but as Sally didn't know anything about it, last night about twelve, he groped his way down stairs, just as he heard a thundering racket in the kitchen.  Down stairs he crept with a stealthy pace, when a horrid whizzing noise met his ear, and the lamp was knocked out of his hand.  "Avoid thee Satanas!" exclaimed the affrighted bachelor, when he received a poke under the jaw and a whack over the head, and in the next instant the scholar Ezekiel found himself knocked up the stairs, all doubled up in a bundle.  "I'll call Sally," he shouted, and in a minute Sally's door was opened, and her bed examined, but—she was not there.  "They've murdered her—and they'll be for killing me too," cried Ezekiel, and then he opened the window and shrieked "watch! Watch! Watch!"  The watch came, and—alas! For human frailty!—Sally Evans was found in the kitchen cheek by jowl with Thomas Dobson, a raw boned lawyer's clerk, who had been making all sorts of love to her, and "that much!"  Sally and Thomas were bound over.

Ann Haines, an ebon beauty, was making love to ivory faces, in the neighborhood of Washington Square.  Sent to the castle.

John Breenagan was drunk, and so was Thomas Springer.  Fined.

Billy Brier.

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[A8] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, March 3, 1842: The Love of Nancy Phillips

City Police.

Wednesday, March 2, 1842.

The Love of Nancy Phillips—A Novel—Edited by Brier.

            The light of a damp morning in March, struggling through a heavy mist, came dimly through the dirty window panes of a Police Office, revealing the figure of the Mayor seated at his high elevation, the good looking clerk scratching away at his low desk, while grouped around were some dozen watchmen, the good humored Levin Smith, the gentlemanly Bennet, and the eye-twinkling Craige.  Scattered among them were two reporters—the unobtrusive Brier, and the witty Grig—pencilling away in their note books.  Outside of the bar, a watchman with an expressive face was marshalling some dozen negroes, to wit:—a short nosed female African, with a piccaninny, side by side with a flat nosed negress with a bit of a roundabout round her head; then came a flat nosed feminine with a tattered straw bonnet, then a he Ethiopian in a grey jacket, then a sharp featured female with a meal bag for a head dress, and terminating the group was a big Sambo with charcoal countenance and fleecy hair, and dressed in blue round jacket, check shirt and grey pantaloons.

            Now, my friends, there's a description for you, done up in Bulwerian style, with a small spice of the Bozian picturesqueness.  I sometimes think I'm cut out for a novelist, I could give such accounts of tender misses falling about two feet deep in love with nice young men, and then as for the hair breadth escapes,—why I'd daub the brush so thick that the paint couldn't be laid on any thicker.

            To go on with my novel.

            As for my heroine, take Nancy Phillips, a stout female negro, composed of a tattered cloak, check handkerchief, headdress and copper kettle face.  The villain of my story is Jo Robinson, a long bandy-legged mulatto, of refined manners and dashing appearance.  He obtained the rich treasure of kind-hearted Nancy's affections, and deserted her for another sable goddess.  Fired by jealousy, Nancy last night called the watchman, took him up an alley that was between Mary street and Redford's alley, then took him up a couple of pairs of stairs into a low, dirty, dingy room, where he found a lot of negroes, of all ages, sizes, hues, lights, shades, all doubled up into knots, and mixed into one another in quite a confusion.  Charity Brown, who keeps the house, was brought along with the batch to the Mayor's office.  Nancy said that "she had once seen Charity give a little boy a fip's worth o' breakfast," and that she had also seen "Louis Brown in Charity's house, with an instrument about as thick as her wrist, and so long, in his hand," and this she supposed sufficient evidence of the house being a den of thieves, robbers, and bad people.  They were all remanded.

            That beautiful and pathetic interrogatory which Oliver Cromwell applied to Charles the Second, "Does your mother know you're out?" might be strictly used in reference to Charley Smith, who was found lying on a cellar door at a late hour last night, with his face turned to heaven, studying astronomy with creditable energy and intentness.  Charley paid the price of his studies.

            Clarissa Davis and James Smith, blue.  Fined.

Billy Brier.

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[A9] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, March 8, 1842: Napoleons of Police Reporting

City Police.

MONDAY, March 7, 1842.

The Expected Interview between the Napoleons of Police

Reporting in both Hemispheres.

[ . . .]

            As I was sitting at Mr. Kenney's desk at half past seven this morning, a little black boy in a red livery came in, grinned, placed the following epistle in my hands and then "slid."


Monday morning.

            William Brier, Esq.—Sir: Waiving the formalities of an introduction, and actuated by that feeling of warm enthusiasm, which originates in every mind of talent at the mention of genius like yours, I respectfully solicit an interview with yourself, distinguished sir, at such place and time as you see fit to name, in your reply to, Sir,

Your most, &c.


            Charles Dickens, Esq.,—Sir, You do me proud—(as Mark Antony felicitously observed to the elder Pliny, when he helped him to the wing of a chicken).  You speak of naming the time and place, and that much!  What say you to a sociable talk at Mr. Kenney's desk to-morrow morning, at 7 3/4 o'clock?  You can come incog, you know, and ask for the ugliest fellow in the Police Office, and in a flash, close at your elbow, you will see


            P. S. I've received an affirmative answer.  So, look out to-morrow for the first meeting of the "two Napoleons of police reporting in both hemispheres," Billy Brier and Charley Dickens. 

Billy Brier.

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[A10] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, March 9, 1842: A Night's Spree

City Police.

TUESDAY, March 8, 1842.

A Night's Spree.-The Rowdies and their Rowdyism.-A New Volunteer Corps.-Dickens and Brier, or Brier and Dickens.

            "I say, Bill, here it's half-past four and no row kicked up yet.  I feels wicious-I haint been to Burton's ball for nothing-"Take your t-i-m-e Miss Lucy-take your time M-i-s-s Lucy Lo-long."

            "That's a capital air, Jim-'Take y-o-u-r time Miss Lucy-Lu-cy, Lu-cy Long.'  Warn't that capital?-That ball-Jim, it strikes me that post is corned-just look how it slides about-wot a disgrace to the corporation-'Take your time Miss Lu-cy-'"

            "Why the house is going round and ro-u-n-d-the street is going the wrong way too-the end of the world's comin'-who cares?  'Take your time Miss L-u-cy-'"

            "Come, Jim, let's make a night of it-let's do the thing handsome-as Baulty Sowers said last night when he walked into Burton's ball, and passed himself off for Boz.  Come Jim, here's an alley-let's dive  into it! Hurrah!"

            And with this Mister William Endsley took his companion-rowdy, Mister James Boulden by the arm and together they plunged into the recesses of Little Dock street with the evident intention of kicking up some furious row or other, and that immediately.

            What kind of row should they kick up?  There was the difficulty.  Billy went in for seeing Boz at the United States Hotel-for said he, I'm just as good as any of them 'porters wot goes there; Jim was in favor of pulling door bells, placing butcher's signs over the doors of doctors, or plastering the back of some cow with Sherman's Lozenge hand-bills.  All these expedients for creating fun were finally voted bores by both of our worthies.  In utter despair they took their station in front of Mr. Haight's tavern, one leaning on each side of a lamp post.  There is no knowing what they would have come to, had not Billy beheld a stone pile within a few yards.  He selected a few of the nicest stones, and rattled them over Mr. Haight's roof.  This was a grand idea, a bright development in the annals of rowdyism.  Jim followed suit, and the incessant rattling of the stones on the roof produced a very creditable imitation of Yankee Doodle, when a number of night capped heads were thrust from every  window, while a number of voices were heard calling "watch! watch! watch!"  The fun was stopped.  Jim and Billy did not pass scott free by a long shot.

            Edmond Taylor, John Morrow, James Fabes, John Wilton, are the officers of a new Volunteer corps which is organizing the town.  Uniform-dark coat, buttoned up to the neck, and white-washed on the back, shirt peeping from the elbows-toes looking out of the boots-hair in curious disorder, and well inhabited-hat knocked in at the corners-shirt of dark brown color, and usually with one sleeve, sometimes two.  Tout ensemble-grand and beautiful.  Name of the corps-The Loafer Invincibles.  Place of meeting-the castle down in Moyamensing.

            The Mayor sent them to their rendezvous.

Billy Brier.

            P. S.-My interview with Charles Dickens to-morrow.

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[A11] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, March 10, 1842: "Boz" in Philadelphia

City Police.

"Boz" in Philadelphia.

            It pains us to say that this celebrated gentleman is gone, gone to Baltimore-notwithstanding some of the papers yesterday, in mercy to our feelings, promised that he should remain in our city a few days.

            He left yesterday morning, at half past six o'clock, in the steamboat, the weather being particularly wet at the time, and promising to get no better fast through the day.  The last person who shook hands with him on that occasion—for even in that last agonizing moment he was lionized by gentlemen with "hearts in their hands"—was Mr. Hague, the Astrologer.  We happened to be near, and in our usual quiet, unobtrusive manner, we took notes of all that occurred.

            "Good mornin' sir," said Hague, with that inimitable smile, which lights up so peculiarly his intelligent countenance.

            "Good morning," replied Boz, with a shiver, as much as to say "how infernally raw it is in this Democratic climate."

            "I have drawn your Horoscope," ejaculated Hague, and a square piece of paper covered with astronomic hieroglyphics, was projected from the extremity of two of his dexter digits.

            "Thank you—ah!—yes—I see"—reading it—"humph are you sure—ha! Ha! Ha!—what a singular coincidence!"

            "Ha! Ha! Ha!—bow-wow!" echoed eleven men, a little boy, and a bull-terrier, beside him.

            "Born with Venus rising, did you say?" said Boz.

            "A—yes—that is—you know—of course—I—"

            "Oh! certainly," said Boz.  "And therefore I am—ha! Ha!—how strange—well! What would this world be without ladies!"

            "Very true, Mr. Dickens."

            "Mr. Hague you're an extraordinary man, and I intend to make you an extraordinary present: one that will hand down your name to posterity, and make your future life a constant source of unalloyed enjoyment."

            "Thank you!"

            "Yes sir when I return I intend to present you with a copy of that immortal work, the 'Pickwick Papers,' which I am told is now being published in your city at the desecrating price of one shilling—that is—twenty-five cents, American currency."

            "Thank you!" said Hague.  "Will you liquor?"

            Here the steamboat rang for the last time, and we had to start, although we are quite sure we heard Boz say that he "would take sugar in his," as we turned the wharf post.

            In another moment the boat was gone; and all that was left of Boz, was an indistinct remembrance of a darling, shy, fun-loving, mischievous countenance, over a red vest, and an eye that told volumes in reply to the sycophancy of "a free and enlightened people."

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[A12] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, March 14, 1842: The Reporter's Grand Ball

City Police.

SUNDAY, March 13, 1842

.           THE REPORTER'S GRAND BALL —"I'm afraid the watchmen and the reporters will have to go out of business.  I'll sell out to the highest bidder."  "Why, Billy?"  "O, L—d, there's nothing stirring—nothing doing, nobody getting corned-nor nothing else-only two cases—George Howell and Dennis Hagerty, both drunk—business dull!"  This was the conversation that took place between me and Captain Bennet, this morning, and I was just proceeding to observe that the fact of my friend David of Harrisburg having put his mark on the Resumption Bill, might possibly facilitate business in the way of small change, when a very neat billy dux, some 6 inches by 10 in dimensions, was thrust into my hands, and I read "these words:"

Saturday night.

Gulielmus Brierius,—

            We respectfully invite your attention to the following programme of a ball to be given by the Reporters of our city, and it is with the greatest consideration for your well known worth and genius, that we invite you—cordially as we might say—to participate in the festivals of the occasion.

[Some dozen names.]

Programme of a Grand Reportorial Ball, to be given by the Reporters of Philadelphia on the first clear day.

            The ball will come off in the old shanty, near the corner of Ninth and Green streets.  The shanty will be floored over on the occasion.  The South end of the Eagle of Columbia, kissing the cold nose of the lion of Britain, with the motto—Omnibus—signifying that the Reportorial profession is open to men of all nations, especially the "country born" of the Victoria side of the water.  The sides of the shanty will be decorated with drawings in charcoal of the following subjects:  On the east side, a picture representing a Reporter coming home from a ball, about five in the morning, with a load of corn on his back, and a brick in his hat.  He is pictured in the act of making some improvements in architecture, in the way of serpentine fence.  On the west side, will be painted a likeness of Jacob of old, in a drab coat and broad brimmed hat.  (The idea intended to be conveyed is, that Jacob was the first reporter.  The "cattle" business shows that if he wasn't a reporter, he at least had sufficient cuteness for the profession.)  The eastern side will be ornamented with red chalk drawings  of the principal reporters in the city.  Peter J. Smith's Culathumpion band is engaged for the evening, which, with the aid of a new brass kettle and a freshly scoured tin kitchen, and a few lately brightened pans, it is supposed that the musical department will be well filled.  A new instrument of music will be introduced.  It is called the Category—an improvement on the piano forte—consisting of a number of well grown pusses placed inside of a chest, with their tails projected outwardly, answering the purpose of keys.

            The following are some of the principle new dances, composed by Mr. P. Smith, especially for the occasion.  The brandy bottle waltz, (by the principal reporters in the character of brandy bottles,) the new whisky cask cotillion, and the worm-fence promenade.

            The great attraction of the evening will be a grand Tableau Vivant, entitled the "young men with hearts in their hands," representing Charles Dickens in a room at the United States Hotel, surrounded by a deputation of juvenile reporters, with a fresh calve's pluck in each hand.

            P.S. Don't know whether I'll go just yet.

Billy Brier.

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[A13] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, March 19, 1842: You'd Better Read It

City Police

FRIDAY, March 18, 1842.

            You'd Better Read It.—At precisely two o'clock this morning, Jacob Achan, an old man with tattered rags for clothes, a bald head, and grey hairs, as marks of age, and a heart wrung and withered by misery and distress, as evidences of a familiar acquaintance with the world, at two o'clock I say, Jacob stood at the corner of Market and Fifth street.

            He cast his eyes around.  There was the wide city, with its thousand streets and avenues, lined with wealth.  There were thousand sleeping on beds of down; there were gay bands of wine drinkers; there were riches, luxury, and profusion all around Jacob, and yet for all useful purposes he might as well have stood in the midst of the Arabian desert, with the sky of brass above, and the earth of iron beneath, while his every breath drank in the poison of the simoom blast.

            Jacob was hungry, and Jacob hadn't tasted food for twenty-four long hours,—but where was he now to procure a crust of bread?  The hope was vain.  So Jacob felt the weariness and exhaustion of hope eating away at his heart, and he also felt sleepy.  Jacob hadn't much idea of right and wrong, so he laid—aye—actually laid down upon one of the market stalls and slept.

            Had Jacob been a director of a bank, had he beggared thousands, and ruined a whole community, had he been a thieving pettifogger, cheating everybody and searching for every vacant post under government, had he been a hypocritical divine or a bargaining, buying, selling, and breaking merchant, these all might have been passed by as "very forgive-able sins," but that he was poor, that he had slept on a market stall belonging to the corporation—these were sins not to be forgiven, and Jacob was arrested by a watchman—eager for his "quarter"—and hauled before his Honor, the Mayor.  Jacob was sent to My'amensin' College for thirty days.

This morning my friend Grig, of a neighboring paper, bade good bye to the police office, to police reporting, and all that.  Give's your hand, Grig.  You're a clever fellow, but you ain't fitted for your station.  I'll give you a bit of advice, Grig.  Go to Woodbury, Grig—not to take notes, but to make 'em.  Do that, Grig, and come back to 'Fildelfy, Grig, and perhaps they'll make you a money article writer somewheres or another.  You can then look black, Grig, and sour; you can write letters to Bennett, Grig, and talk of morality and all that, Grig; so once for all, good bye Grig—Toney Blink has gone, and you're gone, and now—pooh! Light that segar; I'm melancholy.

Billy Brier.

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[A14] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, April 9, 1842: A Curious Instance of Masquerading

Reported for the Spirit of the Times.

City Police.

Friday, April 8, 1842.

A Curious Instance of Masquerading.

            Miss Judith McMinn is the name owned by a nice tidy Irish lass, who does the work in a respectable family at the corner of Tenth street and Farnes' Court.  Miss Judith's property lies in two calico frocks, a pair of black eyes, rosy cheeks and lips, two mousseline de laines, a swelling bust, a black silk gown, with an enormous blue red shawl; and it must be confessed that Miss McMinn makes the best use of her property.  She has also two strings to her bow, or two beaux to her string, just as the reader likes; and last night, one of these beaux or strings, in the shape of a Market street clerk, dropped in to see Miss Judith in the kitchen, and it may be as well to observe that they had it all to themselves, for the family had gone out to church, and so on.

After Miss Judith had satiated her eyes with a fond view of Mr. Charles C. Stubb's blue coat, metal buttons, blue check pants and flashy vest, as well as his smooth features, black neckerchief, you must know that she observed a curious thickness in her sweetheart's tongue, as well as a bobbing of the head, and profane winking of the eyes.

"It's slewed he is," she observed to herself, and at that instant Mr. Charles Carlton Stubbs dropped fast asleep, with his legs extended horizontally, his body resting in a fearful slope on the chair, and his hands dropped listlessly by his side, while a curious noise emanated from his nostrils, like the creaking of a rheumatic barn door.

"It's grunting and snorting ye are darlint," said Miss McMinn; "but it's beautiful conduct in a leddy's kitchen, ye nicely dressed piece of corned pork, ye!  Och, I wonther where Dennis O'Donnell is!  Ochone!"

At that instant a step was heard, and the next instant Miss Judith received a smack on the lips—of course—and then a stout built Irishman, with a sunburnt face, and in the coarse roundabout of a hostler, stood before her.  This was the other string to Miss Judith's bow.

He looked at Miss Judy, then at the sleeping Clerk—"Aha, it's nice, we'll fix him off, Judy darlint-Och, be jabers, how the bull-calf snores!"

Then Dennis winked at Miss Judy, some whispering took place, and—

It might have been after the lapse of a quarter of an hour, that a respectably dressed working woman, in an old white leghorn bonnet, and calico frock, with a bucket on her arm and a white-wash brush in her hand, emerged from the gate of the house in which Miss McMinn does the work—and came along Farnes court, toward Tenth street, where a watchman was standing.

"There's old Missus Hubbs, that goes out white-washing," he exclaimed.  "It's a fine night Missus Hubbs.  How's business with you?  Eh?  You're out rather late, Missus Hubbs?"

"Who the d—l are yo' talkin' to?" replied the lady waving her white-wash brush, and she slapped her bucket down on the pavement, "Do you want anything?" she continued, squaring off.  "Say the word you sir, say the word."

"Well if that ain't good! You're a purty church going woman, Missus Hubbs! You go to meeting—you talk to me of morality! Pooh! You're drunk, Missus Hubbs!"

"Don't be callin' me Hubbs—I'm—I'm."

"Come pick up your bucket; be off with you!"

"Bucket, indeed!  It's as beautiful a piece of silk westins—I'll give it to you—with the yard stick—(waving brush) ee-cup!"

With that Missus Hubbs made a circuit round the pavement from the corner of the house to the lamp-post.  The watchman seized her, brought her to the lamp, and discovered a—nice young man, with his face streaked with charcoal, and as drunk as a crazy comet, which goes about the air setting clouds on fire, and kicking up a considerable row among the moon folks.

Charles Carlton Stubbs—the victim of Dennis and his sweetheart's cruelty—spent the night in the watch house, paid for the use of "Misses Hubbs'" working dress, which had been left in the kitchen over night by the lady herself—and got off with a reprimand.

Moral.  (Make one for yourself.)

Thomas Turner.  Overgrown boy in a check shirt. Had been begging checks at the door of the Walnut St. Theatre.  Discharged.  Why?  Mayor said the theatres must take care of their own checks, bars, and the consequent blackguardism.

Billy Brier.