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[C1] "Our Talisman, No. 1," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 11, 1842: Pay Day in the Theatre

Our Talisman—No. 1.


Who says that the day of supernatural wonders, of magic rings, of witches and of wizards, or charms and spells has departed?

The history of five thousand years has amply attested the fact, that in all ages, in all climes, in all places, and among every nation, there have existed various traditions, histories and legends of the existence and power of a race of beings different in their character from all corporeal things; riding on the viewless winds; using the thunderbolt and the lightning as their familiar weapons; and exercising an overwhelming, although invisible influence upon the fortunes and destinies of men. This belief, faith, or superstition, call it what you will, has been current in the minds of men since the flood, and it remains for the slim-waisted exquisite, to exclaim, as he curls his bristled lip, "How dem'd superstitious you are—O! dem."

So much for preface. Now for our own observation in the matter.

On Wednesday evening last, on entering our sanctum, we found our red-headed devil occupying our arm chair, and displaying on one of the fingers of his right hand, a peculiarly shaped ring, upon which his obliquitous eyes were fixed with peculiar intensity.

"Flib, what's the matter? Whose ring is that?"

The sanguine haired youth raised his head, and solemnly observed in his own way:

"That there ring is a talisman—it was brought to me by a spirit—"

"A spirit?"

"Yes, a rale, regular, bona fide spirit, with a tail and two horns—and that's as true as I'm settin' here."

"Why Flib, what's the matter with you, that your phiz is dwindled out as long as Judge's opinion. Your lips are drawn down to your chin, and your eyes are doing their best to look straight ahead for once in their lives. What's the matter? You surely don't mean to tell us that you have been visited by a—a—" (imagine our index finger pointed downward, with a significant gesture.)

"I was a sittin in your arm chair," continued the rapt youth, "I was a sittin' in this here chair a waiten for that Governor's message which haint come yet, and I don't know how it was, but I fell into a gentle sort of doze, you know. Well, I felt a sort of vision coming over me,—just like—(I beg your pardon) like a fit of animal magnetism, and I beheld a peculiarly shaped individual, sittin' right plump on the table before me—"

"What was he like?"

"He was a little bit of a fellow, about a foot high, with a curious sort of look; a remarkably curly tail, and two regular big horns. I had some conversation with him—can't recollect what it was all about—but the upshot of the matter is, that he gave me this ring, and said it would enable me to go to any where at all, or somewhere else—that it would make me invisible, help me to take a dive into the duck pond of men's thoughts, and do a great many other things—that's a fact."

"Well Flib, of course, you don't expect US to believe all this?"

"There's the ring."

He threw it upon the table. We took it up and examining it, found it to be a massive gold circlet, set with a brilliant, which had all the shadowy depth of brightness characteristic of a pure diamond, whether dug from the mine or found within the compass of a beautiful woman's eyelids.

"Flib, some person must have left this ring here by mistake. Take care of it, and—"

Here we were suddenly called away, and saw nothing more of Flib and his ring until next day. Flib came into the sanctum, and presented us with the following story, written in curious characters, with more curious orthography.

We deciphered the writing, corrected the orthography; and this was the manner of the manuscript.

Pay Day at the Theatre.

The morning was cold; the air was keen and biting, and the sky clear and cloudless. It was pay day at the —— Street Theatre in a city that we all wot of.

I made the wish, rubbed the ring, and quick as light, I stood in the box office of the Theatre, unheard, and invisible.

A sharp faced man, with thin aquiline nose, thin lips, and quick, sparkling eyes, half hid among his bulging eyelids, while his face was redolent of the gin-bottle, stood looking over a large account book. He was fashionably clad in a tight bodied black frock coat, black silk vest bulging out with the fashionable stuffing, and with a fine cloth over-coat resting carelessly upon his made-up figure.


"Come in!"

The door opened and the leader of the orchestra, with his hair brushed up nicely from his forehead, appeared, accompanied by the whole band. Behind their heads I took a glimpse of the rough manly visages of the machinists and carpenters of the theatre.

The leader made a polite bow, remarked the coolness of the weather, and observed that he would like to have his small account.

"Why, my dear sir,"—replied the manager, with a supple bow, and insinuating smile,—"I am very sorry—indeed I am exceedingly sorry, but the receipts of the theatre for the past week are not sufficient to pay even the gas expenses of the establishment. I am unable to let you have any thing to-day."

"Indeed!" replied the leader of the orchestra with astonishing coolness. "Gentlemen," he continued, turning to the band, "No money here to-day—what say you?" There was a whispering of a few minutes, and then the leader of the orchestra approached the manager, and with a very polite bow wished him a very good morning, "and," continued he, "by way of passing remark, it may be as well for me to inform you, that it would be very advisable for you to provide the theatre with a new selection of musicians, as the present band will serve you no longer. Again I wish you a very good day!"

He walked out of the box office, and with him trooped his whole band. This was more than the manager intended. He merely wished to cheat the men, not to lose their services. He called them back, and with evident reluctance, drew from his desk a corpulent roll of notes, and paid their demands.

The carpenters and machinists had seen this proceeding, and of course they insisted upon similar treatment. Their demands were likewise settled, and the manager was left alone.

I rubbed the ring, and wished to take a peep into his thoughts.

"D—n the thing!" he muttered to himself, "to think that I should be driven to the folly of paying my debts. Let me see, (looking over his account book) the expenses of the theatre would be, were we to pay everybody, about $85 per night—the receipts—let me see—two and two are four, and two are six—yes, six hundred and fifty dollars per week is a fair average. Six times eighty-five is five hundred and ten—profit $140 per week, after paying all hands. Humph! I've paid nothing of late, and don't intend to. I had to "go through the mill" once, and I'll play the "grab" game this time. My pockets feel flush just now, and were it not for those cursed musicians and carpenters, I should soon be a "made" individual. But, by Jupiter! I'll make it up on the other actors, and as for the actresses—I'll put it into them like all —. D—n it! Who's there—hey?"

The door again opened, and a pale-faced woman entered. The bloom of her cheeks had been nipped by privation and suffering, and she was clad in a thread-bare cloak; her bonnet was of faded straw, rimmed with dingy ribbon, and to all appearance more suited for the warmth of summer, than for the keen and biting air of winter.

"Mr. —, I would like to have some money, if you please," said the female in a mild soft voice.

"Madam, I have none to give you." The manager placed his hands in his pockets, looked at the semi-circular window of the box office, and whistled the air in "La Bayadere" with as much devotion as though he intended to set up a musical academy.

"If it was the merest trifle"—

"Madam, I tell you I have no money."

"Well, my salary is but a small sum," exclaimed the woman—"a mere trifle three dollars—and—and," her voice faltered, and a convulsive motion was perceptible at her throat—"and to tell you the truth, I have not broke bread for two days—my child is starving at home—I have no wood. For God's sake, Mr. —, give me one dollar!" As she said this a flood of tears came to her relief. Full and copiously they rolled down her worn and wasted features, and burying her face in her cloak she gave full vent to her feelings.

The manager continued to gaze at the semi-circular window and whistled "Happy am I," with greater earnestness than ever.

"Madam," he shouted at last, as the female yet remained, "Madam, I'll be d—d if this isn't too much. You can have no money here to-day. If you don't like our arrangements, why you needn't come on the stage any more."

The whistling was resumed; and with heavy step and bended form the poor supernumerary left the Box Office.

And thus, for the space of an hour, the box office was thronged with females, who had toiled and slaved day and night on the boards of a theatre for a beggarly, miserly pittance, and as fast as they applied for their stipend were they refused with expressions of insult and gestures of contempt. They were told to leave the theatre; the Manager did not want their services: not he. He to be sure, was perfectly indifferent about the matter. Some observed that they would have recourse to the law for their dues, and the manager advised them by all means to do so. That they would see how soon they would get their money. He wouldn't keep em out of it for six months: oh, no. He would be the last man to do that.

While the actors and the manager were at their highest point of debate, I, Flib, willed that my person might be visible. The ring was true to me. I became visible, and trotting up to the Manager I presented the bill of the Times, for advertising and so on. The Manager was very sorry but he couldn't pay it; hadn't any money and all that. I put my thumb to my nose. Exit.

Flib is a very bad boy. Ain't he?

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[C2] "Our Talisman, No. 2," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 12, 1842: A Peep at the Sessions

Our Talisman—No. 2.


Yesterday our Flib was missing during the morning, and with him we missed the magic ring.-Being somewhat familiar with the movements of the eccentric youth, we were prepared to receive the following account of a visit which he made to the General Sessions during his absence. "I made the wish, rubbed the ring, and in a minute I found myself in the Court of General Sessions, safely ensconsed behind the Judge's big arm chair, seeing every body, without any body seeing me.

At precisely twenty-five minutes before eleven o'clock, the attention of the audience who daily throng to this Court, was concentrated upon two actors in the grand melo-drama of Justice. One was the good-humored and gentlemanly senior deputy Attorney General, who, leaning over the bar, proceeded to arraign a short, stout, thick set negro, with a countenance of no particular meaning, for the daring larceny of a toy box, from the store of Messrs. Jones, up Second street, and of the astounding value of twenty-five cents.

The mulatto plead not guilty. Several witnesses were examined, and the fearful larceny was established beyond the possibility of a doubt. The case was submitted to the jury without argument; the mulatto was found guilty, and immediately stood up for sentence.

"Why did you commit this crime?" asked Mr. Badger, in his usual penetrating way. "What was your reason?"

The prisoner didn't know. A little boy outside the bar suggested the possibility of the negro's having stolen the monkey (that was the toy) for bread.

"I suppose," said Mr. Badger, "you stole the monkey to take care of it—didn't you?"

This pointed remark created universal laughter, and every body seemed to think it the most pleasurable thing in the world, to make the most fun out of the fellow who could so atrociously commit so deliberate a crime.

With great lenity the Court, his honor Joseph M. Doran being on the bench, sentenced the prisoner to six months imprisonment in Moyamensing, with the remark that his winter lodgings were now safely provided, which ought to have exercised a very reforming effect on the criminal's mind. He will come out of prison with a good principle implanted in his head, viz.—never again to steal a paltry toy, but—following illustrious examples—to rob, (scratch that word out) to abstract the funds of any particular bank, whether the property of widows, orphans, or any body else.

Here was the next scene. A short, broad-shouldered laboring man, with stiff straight hair, relieving a very ruddy, honest, and rugged face, with a turned up nose, and dressed in a coarse white beaverteen round jacket and pantaloons, stood up before the Attorney, with the evident intention of taking part in any thing that might be about to come off.

He was arraigned for an assault and battery, committed upon one Frederick Disthmal, (we believe that was the name,) who keeps a tavern somewhere up town.

Frederick, a plain looking German, testified that a few weeks since defendant "come into de tavern, and," continued he, "and hit me hard upon de belly, and den he whacked me on de back, and den he git me down and tramp me so. I vas much hurt—and abused too bad."

The prisoner hadn't any lawyer, and so he got up, and made his own statement.

"Gentlemen of the Jury," he said-"the fact is—that I—because you know—I mean—that I didn't know any thing about this here row until three days afterwards—you see I'm a friend of this man—in fact I was on a spree—and there's no knowing but what I did have a little shindy with him—I didn't mean any thing—and I've been in prison two months—and gentlemen of the jury,—Judge, your honor, I'm a poor man—and this is true."

Here the prisoner sat down, and pulled a temperance pledge from his pocket, which he showed to Mr. Badger, who encouraged him in his good beginning, and warned him against the evils of intoxicating liquors.

The Jury returned a verdict of guilty.

"It is the sentence of the Court," said Judge Doran, "that you undergo an imprisonment of five days in the County Prison—"

"Thankee sir," interrupted the prisoner.

"And stand committed for the costs of prosecution, until paid."

The prisoner's mouth dropped, and he was hauled off. So ends the first lesson. Flib came away just then.

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[C3] "Our Talisman, No. 3," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 18, 1842: Two Scenes in a Post office

Our Talisman No. 3.


"Where is that Flib? Flib I say—Flib! Flib!! Flib!!!" Really his pranks are becoming intolerable. We have scarcely had our eyes upon him for two days past. Flib—Flib—I say Flib!—Can nobody telll us where the devil is? Hello!—F-L-I-B."

"Well now there's no use of your makin' sich a fuss about the matter. If I've been absent—I've been on particular business, I have. This here ring is a rouser. Look there what it has done in the space of a week. There's a roll for you."

The eccentric devil handed us a bundle of dingy paper, covered with a most villanous collection of characters, unworthy to be called even by courtesy hand writing. However, a glance into the matter of the manuscript convinced us, that the long absence of our Flib was not without an excuse. We forgave him the fault, and dismissing the youth, we gave him leave to prepare himself for the lecture which he was to deliver in the evening. We then read the manuscript.


It was about a week since that looking at the magic ring, a certain funny idea struck my head.

I'll do it, says I, and as quick as a growing cherub can sail from one star to another, on a newly manufactured sunbeam, so suddenly did I pass my hand over the Talisman, made the wish, and I in a moment stood amid the busy scenes of a post office. A long vista of arches varied the appearance of the extensive hall, and here and there, a number of clerks in their white beaverteen jackets were running from table to table, skipping from window to window, and hopping from desk to desk, apparently very busily engaged in the various duties of the office.

I looked around. An elderly gentleman with grey hair, white eyebrows, small piercing eyes, aquiline nose supporting gold spectacles, thin lips and prominent chin, stood writing at a small desk in the centre of the hall. Says I to myself, says I, I'll take a peep at your thoughts, my old friend, I will indeed. I was passing to his desk, when I observed a red whiskered clerk, leaning over a table and whispering to another clerk distinguished by black hair, and small, starved brown mustachios.

"Look here, Jack," said red whiskers—"there's a-goin' to be the devil kicked up here this morning. There's flying reports about money lost—missing you know—a Government Agent—and all that."

"Eh?" brown mustachio opened his eyes in astonishment, "now that is a rum story. To talk about stealing, after we've been kept out of our perquisites. Wh-e-w."

I passed on. In an instant I found myself looking over the shoulder of the elderly gentleman in gold spectacles. He was figuring off in an account book, and his thoughts in the meantime were holding a complete town-meeting in themselves. I rubbed the ring, and his mind was laid open to my view. A curious spectacle it was to be sure.

"Now let me see," thus the elderly gentleman communed with himself, "now let me see, I must get up a cry of 'great vigilance of the Postmaster,' and all that. I've made a small beginning. There now, the old Postmaster used to allow the clerks all the overplus on the hire of the boxes, and the result of their economy in blanks, paper and twine. Just see what I've saved off of the clerks. There's a neat roll of notes, between four and five hundred dollars; I'll turn it into specie and send it to Washington, and tell 'em I've saved that much in the first quarter. Won't they think me a clever man? I'll tell 'em, I work all night and look sharp, and they won't know how I stint my clerks and make thieves of them from necessity. Good. Now let me consider."

Faster and faster his pen went along the paper, and quicker and quicker ran the current of his thoughts. "Now about the thefts lately committed in the P.O., I've a plan laid to catch the thief—I've a trap—a capital trap—an excellent trap—"

I wondered what this trap might be. In a moment the whole plan was laid clear to me. The elderly gentleman called a crowd of the clerks of the office around him. They all fixed their eyes with great intensity upon the gold spectacles, and there was quite a quantity of parted lips and upraised eye-brows.

"Gentlemen, there have been great frauds committed in this identical office." The elderly gentleman extended his right arm, and pointing the forefinger of his right hand to the ceiling, he looked around the circle of corduroy-jacket-ed clerks, as if to read them like so many spelling books. There was an awful pause. "Gentlemen, there have been extensive frauds—unparalleled for rascality and—and—extensive frauds,—you perceive I repeat the word,—mark me,—extensive frauds,—that is to say, gentlemen, there has been some fifty thousand dollars lost in this place within the course of three months. Now, gentlemen, the question is—who is the guilty man."

Bang!—came his fist down upon the desk, and he looked from one clerk to another, to discover involuntary signs of hidden guilt. There was considerable winking among the clerks, but not one of the whole invoice of them fell down upon his knees, and not a single one begged for mercy. The group of clerks were dismissed, and the elderly gentleman resumed his musings.

"Let's see. I'll find out the thief. It was a capital idea—that one of mine, in going round to all the places where my clerks have dealings, and examining their accounts. I went to this grocery, to that trimming store—to one 'pothecary establishment, and to quite a number of fashionable boot-makers, and as for the tailor shops, I couldn't count 'em. One clerk, the rascal, had been buying six pounds of sugar for Christmas sweetmeats. There's extravagance for you! Another had been buying three yards of superfine ribbon for some woman or other. What is the world coming to? I've made inquiries at the box offices of the theatres, and at the Circus, and I find that three of my clerks were seen going into one or the other of these places. Lamentable! Then there's [so-and-so] he's been getting a pair of fashionable boots. Why wouldn't his round-toed ones do? And as for young ***—he's been getting a new gold watch. That's suspicious. He paid $25 on account, and is to pay $80 more, little by little, as he can afford it. What makes it more suspicious is the fact that he was appointed by the old P.M.! He'll make an excellent scapegoat, and—umph! I must select one or two more, and then there'll be room for more relations of mine. That's settled."

As he said this, a very good looking young man entered a side door of the office, and approached the desk. He was dressed very neatly in the latest fashion, with a classical cloak thrown over his shoulders, with a velvet cap surmounting his dark looks, and looking altogether as much like a fine young fellow as might be.

As he approached I took a peep into his thoughts. A pleasant picture of domestic happiness filled his mind. His thoughts were on the mother whose support he was; upon the sister whom he was bound to protect. And then there was another form, which arose before his fancy. It was the form of a young and blooming bride, the rich treasure of whose affection was shortly to be his own. The young man felt happy, and with an elastic step, he was passing the desk where I stood, when gold spectacles exclaimed:

"Oh, Mr. ***, a word with you, if you please. Here is a package which I wish to send to Washington by a trustworthy person. I wish to send it by a gentleman—a gentleman, you perceive. You are worthy of my confidence, and accordingly I select you as my confidential messenger."

"You do me too great an honor," the young man replied, bowing low. "I shall endeavor to prove myself worthy of your confidence."

"No honor at all, no honor at all, Mr. ***," replied the elderly gentleman. "Let me have a little further conversation with you, if you please."

The young man bowed.

"Now my young friend there has been some difficulty between us, concerning the late frauds in the P.O. I now frankly confess that the most abundant reasons have been given me concerning your innocence in the matter. Indeed I never suspected you. Between me and you, I know who the thief is—Mum's the word you know. Now Good bye. Hurry off, and get yourself ready to proceed instanter to Washington. Good bye."

It was really gratifying to see how cordially he shook the hand of the young man. This matter ended. The young man departed from the office, with a light heart and a lighter step. He was proud of the confidence bestowed upon him, and he thought of the pleasure it would give his mother and his sister when he told them of the honor.

As young *** was leaving the office, a smile of peculiar meaning lit up the features of the elderly gentleman. There's something in that convulsion of the thin lips, says I to myself. I rubbed the ring and wished to take a peep into the package which the young man held in his hand. Again the ring was true to me. I read the package.

It contained a request, signed by the elderly gentleman, and asking for the dismissal of this identical young ***, who was now leaving the hall of the Post Office, with the intention of hurrying to Washington and with the package which was to seal his fate!

Here is the second scene.

It was near evening, and the brilliant gas light illuminating every nook and corner of a certain Post office, discovered that various clerks and underlings plying their avocation with as much diligence as a set of tolerably impudent fellows can be supposed to exert.

I took my place, invisible as usual, beside two clerks, who seemed somewhat fresh at the business of tying packages, and all that sort of thing.

"It was neat, wasn't it?" suggested one of these individuals distinguished by a pug nose—"Exceedingly neat? Eh? He—he—he."

"What?" asked the other, whose countenance might be known by its excessive vacancy of expression—"What?"

"That trick of sending young ***, on to Washington, with the request for his own dismissal in his pocket. O, Lord! Ha—ha—ha."



"I say —, we've had a nice berth of it, haven't we. We've been here only a week, and yet we've been able to —"


"Lord there's no harm in what I was going to say. We have been able to save, save I say you perceive, a good deal, hain't we? I've a new house and —"

"I've a farm in prospect."

"Fine times—hey!"


Pug nose, turned an imaginary organ at vacancy; and vacancy winked at pug nose. While the reader is admiring the economy which can save so much cash in a single week, I will close this scene.

I left the Post Office hall, and presently found myself in a certain passage way. My attention was arrested by the sight of a young man standing near a gas light. He was the very picture of despair. His hands were dropped listlessly by his side, his cloak hung carelessly upon his shoulders, his dress was disarranged and his blood shot eyes were fixed upon the earth. Who can he be? Says I to myself. I moved a step nearer and discovered young *** who had been sent to Washington a week before. I took a peep into his thoughts. His mind presented one universal blank of utter and withering despair.

Had he not cause? He had just been turned away from the door of the father of his intended bride; he had but now met with every expression of scorn, every gesture of contempt from the very woman with whose happiness his every thought was interwoven.

So much for making a scape goat of innocence.

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[C4] "Our Talisman, No. 4," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 20, 1842: A Queer Scene in Bank

Our Talisman No. 4.


            Queer and most amusing scenes, as well as scenes of festering corruption, are frequently to be met with in those modern rag-manufacturing institutions denominated banks.  On Monday morning something of this character occurred in one of the temples of the Money-God that grace our city, of a character too rich, piquant, and peculiar to be permitted "to blush unseen," and pass unnoticed by the popular tongue.  Flib was present by means of his ring, and the following is the substance of his story:

            The hour was towards noon—the place, the Director's room in a certain banking house.  The board was grouped around the box containing the notes offered the bank for discount.  "I had made the wish," said Flib, "rubbed the talisman, and presently I found myself standing behind a desk looking quietly over the shoulders of the men in authority, and watching the various changes in their physiognomies."

            Here was a round-visaged, rubicund, and portly gentleman, with his thumbs inserted into the arm-holes of his vest, his thin legs crossed one over the other, and his brow knit with thought.  He is meditating some benevolent project, says I to myself.  I rubbed the ring, and wished to see the landscape of his mind.

            "Let's see.  I'll not go in for discounting that paltry fellow's note.  His credit's good enough—he is rather enterprising, but my relatives must be served first—and—and I wonder whether there's no plan of bleeding this bank without discovery.  Now in that box there are contained quite a number of mechanic's and trader's notes.  They may all go to the dogs.  I go in for my relatives—I do decidedly."

            Enough of you, says I; and turning to the next director, a sharp thin-faced man, I looked into his mind.  He was occupied in discussing an important point.  An old and infirm widow had been living in one of his houses without paying him rent.

            "I guess that's settled"—he mused—"yes, I'll turn the old bag out of house and home on Saturday next, and take the sacrament on Sunday.  The old dragon!  Why couldn't she pay me my rent?"

            Thus were they all occupied in planning over various schemes, suited to their various turns of thought.  A little bit of a fellow at one end of the chain of directors, was musing after this fashion.

            "We can drive things in our own way—we can now.  That fellow will not be re-elected—he will not by any means.  The bank is our omnibus, we are the drivers, and our destination is"—

            "The devil!" I whispered in the ear of the director.

            I don't know whether he heard me or not, but at all events he felt rather uncomfortable.  He screwed his lips up like one of his own purses, and continued—"Yes, the fellow won't be elected.  If elected he shan't take his seat—he shan't—"

            The door opened, and a slightly made young gentleman, attired in black, entered.  He was marked by a shrewd look, and intelligent countenance.

            "That's him by —!" exclaimed the little director.  "Monsieur Tonson come again!" cried the fat gentleman.  "The plagues of Egypt returned!" whispered the thin faced and merciful man.

            The young gentleman in black, very coolly looked around as if to take a glimpse of their various visages, for the purpose of affording him assistance in the art of portrait painting should he ever turn his attention that way. 

            "The worst of it is, that he owns 13 shares of stock in the bank, and—"

            "He must be choked off;"

            "Bought off,"

            "Or got off, or—"

            "Done something else with, that's certain!"

            "Gentlemen," exclaimed the President, "when this whispering has ceased, I've a small matter to lay before the board.  These documents announce the election of Mr. A. and Mr. B. as Directors of this bank, by the Legislature, on the part of the State.  One of them is present, I perceive, and has taken his seat."

            The President pointed to the young gentleman in black and then sat down.

            This announcement created pretty considerable buzzing among the corps of Directors.

            "I wonder who's been boring at Harrisburg," said the sharp faced man.

            "How much are screw augers a dozen?" asked the portly gentleman, and

            "Do they manufacture gimblets at Harrisburg?" added the little bit of a fellow with a knowing wink, and then there was considerable hee-hee-ing, and haw-haw-ing done, intermingled with any quantity of funny faces, all the fun being evidently got up and prepared for the especial benefit of the young gentleman in black.  He very coolly turned round to his brother Directors, and observed that even if he had taken a few oysters with any select number of the members of the Legislature at Harrisburg, he imagined that it was nobody's business.

            "Oysters?" inquired a good humored Director, with fun written in every line of his face, "Oysters, who says anything about oysters?"

            The young gentleman in black observed that the allusion to boring had some connection possibly with the fact that he, as well as others, had treated some of the members of the Legislature, to an oyster!

            "Oysters!" whispered the Director, "and pray, sir, may I ask what did the members do with the oysters?"  He drew his chair to the side, of the gentleman in black, and with upraised eye-brows and parted lips, awaited an answer to his thrilling inquiry.

            Every body wondered what the members of the Legislature could do with oysters; what use could they possibly turn them to?  It was certainly a puzzling question.  The board listened with the greatest interest, to hear the reply of the young gentleman.  The ruddy faced director inclined his head to one side, so as to hear more clearly; the thin-faced one looked pleasant for a moment in the intensity of his interest; and the little bit of a fellow sraightened up as if to drink in every word that was uttered.

            "Oh, yes—certainly"—exclaimed the Director who had just put the query—"Oh, yes—certainly,what could they do with 'em?"

            "Yes, what could they do with 'em?" said sharp face.

            "What could they do with 'em?" cried portly.

            "What could they do with 'em?" screamed little one.

            "Well, they—" began the gentleman in black.

            "Yes, they—" interrupted sharp face.

            "That is to say—yes—yes—" cried little one.

            "Yes—yes—yes—" added portly, bursting with impatience.

            "Why, they ate them, to be sure!"

            Here a horse-laugh rent the chamber.  One of the Directors, (an old rat who had corrupted more legislators with champaigne dinners than you could shake a stick at,) turning up his eyes, piously exclaimed—

            "Well, well, what are our legislatures coming to!"  A significant wink succeeded the exclamation.  Flib vanished as the gentleman in black took his seat.

            Flib intends to be present at the board this morning.

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[C5] "Our Talisman, No. 5," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 22, 1842: Another Scene in Bank

Our Talisman—No. 5

ANOTHER SCENE IN BANK—The Board of Directors—How Notes are Discounted—The Injunction of Secresy —The "Gentleman in Black" his Protest, his Speech, and Flib's Exit.

            "Flib" popped his red head into our sanctum yesterday morning, and disturbed us in the midst of a profound reverie on Lord Monboddo's theory that men were originally monkeys, and gradually rubbed their tails away by the use of cane-seat chairs.

"Sir," said he.  "Well?"  "I'm here sir, I am."  "Well?"  "I've been to the bank this morning, and here's what  happened.  I'll be smothered! If it wasn't an affecting scene, it was."

            Here he handed us a bunch of paper, redolent of garlic and peppermint water, (Flib belongs to the "teetotal society,") and having decyphered it, we publish it for the benefit of our readers.  It is an accurate picture of a scene which occurred on Thursday morning, at the meeting of the Board of Directors of one of our city banks.

            "I rubbed the ring," wrote Flib, "and became invisible.  I entered the Bank.  The Board of Directors was sitting in all the majesty proper to the individual disposers of millions.  Below waited in anxious expectance the clerks with their bank books, the brokers with their interest tables, and some poor devils who were fools enough to imagine they could get their bank notes converted into specie.

The box containing the "notes for discount" was brought forward.  I took a peep at it.  It was divided into three compartments, and alphabetically arranged from A to izzard.  It was filled with notes ready to be capsized on the table for the inspection of these demigods in the temple of Mammon.

            Thinks I, "what are these codgers ruminating about," and making the wish, the map of their fancy lay open to my observation.

            "Now is my chance," old Portly was soliloquizing to himself, "Let me see—Slap, Dash &  Co. can't hold out much longer—last discount day I got their note through for a thousand—out of that I got eight hundred—humph! That'll do—they'll stand a week more I guess—I think I'll go another thousand to-day for them—they'll buy that lot of wool from me for $700—it cost $250—net profit $450—yes! And then I  can put the new crimson lining and cushion to my pew in —Church.  Good!  Suppose they do wind up—the Bank can compromise for 50 cents on the dollar—a man's first duty is to himself—the next to his Church, and if he have any left, society at large may come in for the balance."

            The "young gentleman in black"—the State Director I alluded to before—sat immediately opposite the President. "I wonder what he is thinking about" said I to myself. "He looks mightily grave."  I cast a squint at his mind's operations.

            "What in the deuce! is coming next," he was muttering to himself.  "I hope they won't renew the old injunction to secrecy.  I hate secrecy.  Suppose the old President were to appeal to me as a newly elected member, just as he did three years ago!  'Young man,' he would say, 'the rules of this Society require a profound silence out of doors as to whatever passes in this Hall, sacred to Finance.  Gentlemen cannot transact business, if all their little affairs about notes are not kept as quiet as the grave.  Self-respect should teach you without further instruction to comply with our injunctions.'"

            The young gentleman in black, now looked up for a moment, and then began soliloquising again. "Ah. Ha! I see it now," said he to himself.  "The legislature took care to say nothing about 'secrecy' in the re-charter of the Bank.  The public mind, that year, was violently opposed to all 'Secret Associations.'  Hence the necessity for that broad insinuation!"

            At the centre of the table sat Pale Face, reading a copy of my favorite paper, the "Spirit of the Times."  By-the-bye almost every director had a copy of it, and the way they abused me, was awful to contemplate!  It pleased me almost to death, to hear 'em—they did it with such excruciating asperity.

            The President now spoke. "Gentlemen will please come to order."  Here he read a letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Banks in the legislature, (the Cashier all the while looking as innocent as a tea-pot), desiring to know when it would be convenient for their High Mightinesses to commence paying their debts, i.e. resuming specie payments, as the people were beginning to complain about an irredeemable specie currency.

            This occasioned a rambling argument, which was stopped by handing around the notes for discount.

            "Here is A. offers B. for two hundred dollars."

            "That will do—pass it round," says another.

            "B. offers C. for $450." Done.

            "C. offers D. for $520."  Done also.

            "D. offers E. for $2000." "Oh! That is too much—make it special," says Portly.

            Here Sharp Face winked to Big Nose—as much as to say "never mind, we'll put them to their purgation, and work it through after a while."

            Some went through.  A number were reserved for special consideration.

            "Here S. offers T. for $112." "Pooh! He's a paltry mechanic—let him run—can't do it-havn't got the money," observed one.

            "But he's poor, and honest, and is pressed for the money," whispered another.

            "Oh! pshaw," said a third, putting his thumb to his nose, in the usual classic manner.

            "Well, here V. offers X. for  $93."


"Who are they?" inquired somebody. "Tradesmen," was the reply.

            "Can't be done."

            "But they are prudent, industrious men, in good business—times are hard—bills can't be collected-money is scarce, and if this note is not discounted, V., who is a worthy, hard-working honest fellow, will be ruined."

            "Let him go to the brokers."

            "I'll shave it at my office," said Big Nose.  "I'll give him $30 for the note, as you say it's a good one."

            At length a pretty large note attracted the attention of the gentleman in black, who had been quietly attentive to all that passed.  While he was examining it, another note for $1500 was placed in his hands.

            "I am opposed to this," said he, turning to the President.

            "Who the d—l cares if you be," looked Big Nose—and then muttered aloud, "Mr. President, that note has been discounted—I move the vote be taken on it."

            It was done, and all but the Board voted in the affirmative except the gentleman in black, who remarked that as the Directors were personally responsible, he would never enter his protest against the discount of the note alluded to.

            Here one of the Directors arose, and whispered to Big Nose, who said, "Mr. President, I withdraw my resolution;" but after sundry moves he remarked "Let us continue our business.  Why are we disturbed in this manner?  If the gentleman is going to write protests, let's give him pen, ink and paper." 

            Here all was confusion.  Several directors got upon the floor, and commenced speaking at once—The President interrupted them, and lectured the young gentleman in black for not permitting the Directors to do as they pleased. "If you don't holler as soon as a note is out of the box, it is considered discounted."

            "Very well," observed the young man. "I'll do it in future; but while I was taking down these few notes in my hand, to which I object, and against which I have here written a Protest, several whappers , amounting to from ten to fifteen thousand dollars, passed through, including the one of my friend Portly."

            "Egad!" thinks I, "I'd like to see that Protest."

            I peeped over his shoulder, and, while he was talking, copied it down on my memory.  Here it is.


Philadelphia, Jan. 20, 1842.

            The undersigned respectfully presents this his protest against the discounting of the following Notes by the Board of Directors of the * * * * * Bank.

            [We leave out the names, this time, as we have no desire to injure men of business.]





Payable to


Oct. 26, '42

4 m's.




$1542 17

Aug. 10, '42


J. & B.

J. W. L.

J. W. L.

  1166 00

June 30, '41


J. D.

J. D.

J. R.

  1809 90

Jan. 11, '42

90 ds.

W. & B.

J. W. R.

J. W. R.

  1208 68

Aug. 14, '41

8 m's.

B & P.

H W & Co.

H W & Co

  1064 50

Aug. 15, '41


D R & R.


P R & R.

  1315 52


$8106 77

            He offers the following reasons for Protesting:—Firstly, Because none of his colleagues seconded the call for the yeas and nays.  Secondly, Because he considers the notes to be each and every one too large in amount, and that the bank by discounting such large paper encourages an extent of trade and credit which past experience has proved to be injurious to the interest of the stockholders both State and individual, as well as the community at large.  Thirdly, He considers that the gentlemen named having large accounts on deposit in the bank entitles them to no extra claim, as large deposits were the great objection urged against continuing specie payments in October, 1839.  Fourthly, He believes, in consequence of the determination of his colleagues to discount the large paper, some thousands of small paper was rejected, thereby favoring a small portion of the depositors to the injury of many.  Not being acquainted with the gentlemen named, he begs leave to state that he has no other objections whatever to their paper—all of which is respectfully submitted by

The Gentleman in Black.


            Here a random debate occurred which led to much dispute in relation to the appointment of a Committee from other Banks, and decide upon a suitable reply to the Chairman of the Committee on Banks.

            "The Bank can resume specie payments instantly," said one Director.

            "She can't do it between now and the day of judgment," replied another.

            "It is high time," remarked a third, "that the Bank should make as many friends as possible, (why don't they make a friend of Flib?) and that the account of my friend the rich Merchant Tailor should be taken in the Bank without delay."

            The young gentleman in black now rose to speak.

            "Let's hear what he has got to say," cried Pale face.  "Young man," said the President, "stick to the text and don't wander."

            "You anticipate me," was the reply. "Call me to order when I wander as the rest have done."

            "Hear him!" said Big Nose.

            Expecting some fun, I stole a sheet of paper and wrote down word for word, what he said.  Here it is.

            "Gentlemen, my speech will not be long.  One of the gentlemen present has said, that if the Legislature were to compel specie payments, this Bank could resume at once!  This I doubt; but I do say that if this Bank can resume, it ought to resume immediately!  It is dishonest to wait until compelled to do it."

            "But," interrupted the Cashier, "with a scornful curl of his lip, "how can we resume if the other Banks do not?"

            "Sir," continued the State Director, "I have yet to learn that there are other Banks embraced in the charter of the one in whose direction I have been elected to assist.  What have we to do with other Banks?  If other men engaged in the manufacture and sale of carpets were to refuse to fulfill their obligations, would it at all exonerate me from the fulfillment of mine?"

            "That's a fair comparison," said the other State Director.

            "It's no comparison at all," said the Tailor, "for Banks are not Carpet Stores by a jug full."

            "As to instructing the Committee," continued the gentleman in black, "I would recommend, since you are determined to persevere in a suspension of specie payments, when the Committees meet this evening from the various Banks, that they prepare a snug, cosy letter, well digested, and direct it to the Chairman of the Committee on Banks.  He is a quiet, easy, gentlemanly sort of man, and I have no doubt that with a few additional hints from our Cashier, (here the Cashier grinned a ghastly smile,) he will prepare a bill of any character you may desire, and postpone the day of resumption until the Millennium."

            Now a great bustle took place. "Is 'Flib' about here?" whispered one.  "I'll bet an X that all our proceedings will appear in the Times."

            An immediate hunt was made with care for my corporeal presence, and laughing at their abortive efforts, I walked off.  Here I am."

            "Flib, you may go."

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[C6] "Our Talisman, No. 6," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 26, 1842: A Rich Scene in the Board of Discounts

Our Talisman, No. 6


            Flib came in yesterday at noon in a hurry.

            "I've been to bank, sir, I have."

            "Well sir."

            "The poor young gentleman in black, sir, was used all up to a grease spot.  Pooh!  What a beautiful fuss was kicked up.  They're going to kill you sir, and boil me down, and make red ink of me, sir, they are."

            "Indeed! Why they are sanguinary."

            "Oh! yes, the gentleman in black had Portly, Big Nose, Anti-loco, Sharp-face, the Great Warrior, Pale-face, Benignant, and the Tailor, all on him at once; and even that tother quiet gentleman what the Legislature sent, gave him a sly dig."

            "You don't say so?"

            "Don't I! but here's the document, sir," and he handed us two or three pages full of pot-hooks, which he averred contained an accurate account of the proceedings of the Board of Directors of the — Bank, as they took place on Monday morning last.  We translate them for the benefit of the unlearned reader.

            "I rubbed the ring and became invisible, entered the chamber, and took a seat facile for observation.  The table was surrounded by the Board as usual.  Benignant was in a profound reverie, and I quietly wrote out his reflections.

            "There," thought he, "is that note for $3500, that I should have offered to-day.  Let me see.  That will make about thirty thousand dollars I have borrowed on 200 shares of stock.  Good!  That's a devilish neat transaction.  If I had to sell the stock—let me see—200 times 40 is 8000; yes, it would only bring eight thousand dollars.  By and by the stock may get lower—then I can borrow more, and if I can borrow in the same proportion on it, why the whole concern may go to the dickens, and it will prove a very snug transaction for me.  But I must watch that young gentleman in black, for he is so infernally officious I'm afraid he will protest against my note, as well as other people's.

            "By-the-bye," he added, "I must not forget my relations.  Little Charley must have $1500, and Bill $1000.  They must be pretty lively about it too, for that Locofoco paper the Times is making such a noise about us, the Directors won't be able to get a dollar for themselves before long.  They'll have to give it all to the nasty dirty mechanics and tradesmen."

            Here I saw that copies of the Times were scattered about the room in all directions, and to judge from the way in which the Directors first looked at them, and then at the young gentleman in black, it was evident that some juvenile thunder was in preparation for his especial benefit.

            "Come to order, gentlemen," said the President.

            The usual routine of discounting now commenced.  Big-Nose whispered to a companion, "We must do a number of small notes to-day.  The 'Times' has exposed us to the Legislature.  The members are writing down to us about it.  You understand."

            His companion put his dexter thumb significantly to his sinister optic, as much as to say "green cheese is ridiculous," and was silent.

            Note after note was passed of moderate amount.  Some large ones then came up.  The gentleman in black "protested."  He said he didn't honestly consider them entitled to consideration.  I peeped over his shoulders to se what notes they were.  I read—10mo 5th—6mo's                   HJ&Co, H&B.  H&B,            $1752 00

Nov. 12—5mo's          LJ&Son, FA&Co, BP,            2741 17

July 24—9mo's           P&B, LC&P, WDF&Co, 1     580 66

Dec. 13—4mo's          HC&Co, NC, RC,                   1715 00


$7788 83

            I perceived that some other large notes that were handed out were motioned back by the Cashier, he observing that the gentleman in black had his eye upon him, and was bent upon Protesting against the discount of paper for shaving purposes.  These large notes no doubt went back for consideration at some select "Wistar party."

            The notes once removed, debate began.  The Protest I gave in my last account, was handed in, and such a scene followed!

            "It can't go on the minutes," one said.

            "It shan't, by the bones of my grandmother!" said another.

            Anti-loco arose, and said the protest in its first reason, contained a falsehood, and he quibbled like vengeance to prove it, because the copy of it in the "Times," differed in two words from the original.

            "Go it my boy!" cheered Portly.

            "That's your sort," eschewed sharp-face.

            "Give it to him—he's got no friends," thundered the Big Warrior.

            "Sir," continued Anti-loco, "I'm always willing to do what is right, and far be it from me to object to the course of the young gentleman in black, if he chooses to make a fool of himself!  Why don't he follow our example, and go in for the fat of the land, while any is left."

            "If he don't hurry there'll be none left," sighed Benignant.

            "I always take care of No. 1," said the Tailor.

            "Gentlemen," said Big-Nose, "I rise filled with the deepest emotions.  (Here he blew his nose.)  For five-and-twenty years I have had the honor of being associated with this bank.  There have been a great many State Directors sent here during that time—men of noble natures—men who scorned to betray a secret.  ALL KINDS OF STATE DIRECTORS HAVE UNITED WITH US, (one of the present Directors being the only exception,) and all have exhibited that attachment to their own and our interests, which would induce men to stand shoulder to shoulder in times of difficulty.  But gentlemen, an individual who, by boring the Legislature, has again become a State Director here, is about exhibiting those radical, diabolical, abominable, I may even say ridiculous notions, which annoyed us so three years ago.  Gentlemen, he then opposed a resolution to suspend specie payments—an offence that should ever condemn him in the eyes of all prudent bank directors."

            "Oh! oh! oh! oh!" groaned all the directors.

            "Gentlemen," continued the speaker, "havn't we all managed this bank for 20 or 30 years, and haven't we proved our ability to do it well, by reducing its stock from 120 to 40 dollars a share?   Don't we move with the times?  Ain't everything going down, and shouldn't our stock go down too?"

            "Gentlemen; within the last few days, paragraphs have appeared in that abominable, but witty, original and interesting newspaper, the 'Spirit of the Times,' which have exposed all our doings.  To be sure some of our intentions were perverted, but the statements ARE SO NEAR THE TRUTH AS TO CONVINCE AT THE FIRST GLANCE!

            "Gentlemen, if this thing goes on, if our little secrets are to be exposed this way to the public, and the modus operandi of note-discounting uncovered to the vulgar gaze, it will naturally destroy the institution—I say, gentlemen, solemnly and emphatically, destroy the institution!"

            "Oh! oh! oh!" groaned the Directors again, in concert.

            "It won't do," he continued. "A representation must be made to the Legislature; and if that won't do, we must address the Governor.  At any rate, gentlemen, the young man in black must be turned out of the bank."

            It was now moved that the observation of Anti-loco, which declared the "Protest" to be false, should go upon the minutes.

            The gentleman in black opposed it.  He was willing to withdraw the first part of the protest about the "yeas and nays," but would not withdraw the whole Protest.  The rest of the Directors vowed they would "make him out a liar," and then nobody would believe his statements.

            "The Protest is already made public," said the President.  "Where—how?" said the gentlemen.  "It is in the Times," replied the President, "and every body reads that racy paper.  Who wrote those articles?"

            "You did," said Big-Nose.

            "You know you did," wheezed Sharp-face.

            "Flib did," whispered Benignant.

            "I dare say a reward of five or six hundred dollars would find the author," said the gentleman in black.

            "Bribery and corruption," cried out somebody.

            "These articles are scandalous," said the President—and then reflecting that even Big-Nose in his speech had said that they "WERE SO NEAR THE TRUTH AS TO CONVINCE AT FIRST GLANCE," he stopped short.

            "They are very naughty," observed the other State director.

            "How much do you owe the bank?" asked his colleague.

            Here a violent discussion arose.  All spoke at once.  High words ensued.  I smelt powder, and was about to "cut stick," when a letter addressed to the "Chairman of the Committee on Banks" attracted my attention.  I looked in it.  It was the old song.

            "Mr. A, can you pay me my little bill?"

            "Why, call on Wednesday next, and then—I'll tell you when to call again."

            So the banks won't resume yet awhile.  That's all, I'll visit the bank again on Thursday.

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[C7] "Our Talisman, No. 7," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 31, 1842: Scene at the Rehearsal

Our Talisman, No. 7


            The members of the histrionic profession, when they fail to make the public laugh on the stage, seem to turn their hands to making them laugh in their private capacity.  Last week there was a considerable whispering in our town, about a regular knock-down-and-drag-out which it is said took place between two actors at a certain theatre.

            Our Flib got wind of the matter, and investigated it with his usual diligence and alacrity.  Hear what he says.


            The other morning being somewhat tired of the bank excitement and all that kind of serious fun, says I to myself, says I, I believe I'll convulse myself with something else.  Where do they grow the regular built fun?  The best is to be had at the theatre, I answered to myself, I did.  And so, rubbing the ring, I uttered a word, and presently found myself behind the scenes of a theatre.  Two actors were disputing in the centre of the stage, and making quite a convulsion among themselves, while the stage manager and the other actors were forming the audience of the scene.

            "Look here"—cried one of the disputants, generally known by the name of the Great Failure, from an awful murder which he committed at one of our city theatres last winter.  "Look here, fellow—you are a thief, and I can prove it."

            "A thief?" exclaimed the other. "I'm a thief, am I?  You knocked me down two days since—you licked me yesterday—spit in my face—you kicked me, you did—and now I'll tell you what I did, I will—look here!"

            He pulled a paper out of his pocket, and held it before the eyes of Great Failure.

            "Now sir, this is an apology to me, an apology from you, declaring I'm no thief, but an honest man—and you must sign it."

            "Fellow! You get impudent.  Sign an apology to you?  I'll see you to the d—l first, and knock you down afterwards."

            "Now sir—I've been to my lawyer—there's a writ out against you for slanderin' me—can you get bail for $1000? Eh—my buffer?"

"You can't come it—I'm not so green as that—a writ out against me for $1000—pooh!"

            As he said this, a small square piece of paper was thrust before his eyes.  Great Failure started and beheld a—Sheriff's officer.

            "Now will you sign the apology?"

            "Y-e-s,—yes.  I'll sign any apology.  Give me the paper.  What does it say?  'I believe Mr. — to be an honest man.'  No, I'll be d—d if I'll sign that.  I'll make you any apology you like, but I won't put my name to such a thundering lie!"

            "Take him away, sheriff's officer."

            "Come off my Great Failure.  Down to Moyamensing, old boy."  Exit Great Failure, in custody of Sheriff's officer.  Grand Tableau.

            The person "wot was slandered," took Great Failure's part that evening at the theatre and was most awfully hissed.

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[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."

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[C9] "Our Talisman, No. 9," Spirit of the Times, Feb. 17, 1842: Roguery in a Dry Goods Store

Our Talisman, No. 9.

            ROGUERY IN A DRY GOODS STORE—It was on the day before yesterday, that our eccentric devil who has been under the weather for some time past took a stroll along Second street, and noticed a very manly looking gentleman, one of our literary characters, looking very earnestly at something in the window of a dry goods store, where "Relief notes taken for payment of goods," was written in very large, bold and legible characters.

            "Yes, I'll do't," exclaimed the gentleman, "that's a capital vest pattern—my money is all in Relief notes—umph."  He entered the store, and Flib having his ring about him, popped in after him, and took an invisible station behind the counter.

            A smart, spruce looking clerk, with his hair all done up in ringlets was selling goods to a plain country man, dressed in neat although coarse linsey wolsey and with the usual expression of rugged honesty on his features peculiar to Reading rusticity.  A venerable martyr-ish looking gentleman with bald head and gold spectacles, was writing at a desk.

            "I like the vest pattern," exclaimed the gentleman, "how much is it?"

            "Two dollars and a half sir," the clerk replied, describing a circle in the air with his yard-stick in a pleasant manner, "only two dollars and a half, sir,-I'll wrap it up for you, sir,—quite remarkable weather, sir—"

            "There is a $3 Relief note—will you please let me have two quarters."

            The clerk took the note, opened the drawer, dropped the note in, and then observed in a careless way, that he supposed that the winter was postponed for a few weeks, on account of the weather, and continued he in his flippant way—"we've very nice calicoes—you don't want anything in that way—or you don't want anything else, do you!"

            "Yes—I want my change."

            "Your change?"

            "Yes—the change for my $3."

            "Do you see that," observed the clerk, pointing to a bit of pasteboard, fixed in front of the shelves, behind the counter.  "Do you see that?"

            "To be sure I do, sir—RELIEF NOTES TAKEN FOR GOODS," in large capital letters.

            "But don't you see 'at a discount,' in very small letters?  Read it again?"

            "Tats de way dey cheated me," chimed in the Dutchman, tying up his bundle of goods.  "Dey stick a bit of pasteboard out ov doors, to make one believe dat dey takes de Releefs at par, and after dey had cut off a lot of goods for me, dey bamboozle me out of my money, as dey are tryin' to bamboozle you—te tamt quill driving yard-stick holdters."

            "This looks a great deal like villany," observed the literary gentleman, "it looks remarkably like swindling."

            "How are you off for spectacles," exclaimed the clerk, "hadn't you better provide yourself with a bright pair."

            "Your eyes are your market," interrupted the bald headed gentleman.

            "We can't help it if you cheated yourself," chimed the clerk.  "You'd better make the most of a bad job, and take your vest."

            "Here Augustus," exclaimed bald head, "tie up this package of red velvet—I intend to make a present of it to — Street Church.  Won't it look nice on the pulpit, as a cushion for the Bible?"