Did you ever see a real, true, unadulterated specimen of Down
East, enter a store, or other place of every-day business, for the
purpose of looking around, or dicker a little? They are
coons, they are, upon all such occasions. We noted one of these
critters in the store of a friend of ours, on Blackstone Street,
recently. He was a full bloom Yankeeit stuck out all over him.
He sauntered into the store, as unconcerned, quietly, and familiarly,
as though in no great hurry about anything in particular, and killing
time, for his own amusement. Absalom, Abijah, Ananias, Jedediah, or
Jeremiah, or whatever else his name may have been, wore a very large
fur cap, upon a very small and close-cut head; his features were
mightily pinched up; there was a cunning expression about the corner of
his eyes, not unlike the embodiment ofcatch a weazel asleep! while
the smallness of his mouth, thinness and blue cast of his chin and
lips, bespoke a keen, calculating, pinch a four-pence until it squeaked
like a frightened locomotive temperament! His boughten sack coat,
fitting him all over, similar to a wet shirt on a broom-handle, was
pouched out at the pockets with any quantity of numerous articles, in
the way of books and boots, pamphlets and perfumery, knick-knacks and
gim-cracks, calico, candy, &c. His vest was short, but that deficiency
was made up in superfluity of dickey, and a profusion of sorrel
whiskers. Having got into the store, he very leisurely walked around,
viewing the hardware, separately and minutely, until one of the clerks
edged up to him:
What can we do for you to-day, sir?
Looking quarteringly at the clerk for about two full minutes,
I'd dunno, just yet, mister, what yeou kin do.
Those are nice hinges, real wrought, says the clerk, referring to
an article the customer had just been gazing at with evident
Rale wrought? he asked, after another lapse of two minutes.
They are, yes, sir, answered the clerk. Then followed another
pause; the Yankee with both his hands sunk deep into his trowsers'
pockets, and viewing the hinges at a respectful distance, in profound
calculation, three minutes full.
They be, eh? he at length responded.
Yes, sir, warranted, replied the clerk. Another long pause.
The Yankee approached the hinges, two stepspicks up a bundle of the
article, looks knowingly at them two minutes
Yeou don't say so?
No doubt about that, at all, the clerk replies, rather pertly, as
he moves off to wait upon another customer, who bought some eight or
ten dollars' worth of cutlery and tools, paid for them, and cleared
out, while our Yankee genius was still reconnoitering the hinges.
I say, mister, where's them made? inquires the Yankee.
In England, sir, replied the clerk.
Not in Neuw England, I'll bet a fo'pence!
No, not herein Europe.
I knowed they warn't made areound here, by a darn'd sight!
We've plenty of American hinges, if you wish them, said the clerk.
I've seen hinges made in aour place, better'n them.
Perhaps you have. We have finer hinges, answered the clerk.
I 'spect you have; I don't call them anything great, no
Well, here's a better article; better hinges
Well, them's pooty nice, said the Yankee, interrupting the clerk,
but they're small hinges.
We have all sizes of them, sir, from half an inch to four inches.
You hev? inquiringly observed the Yankee, as the clerk again left
him and the hinges, to wait on another customer, who bought a keg of
nails, &c., and left.
I see you've got brass hinges, tew! again continued the Yankee,
after musing to himself for twenty minutes, full.
O, yes, plenty of them, obligingly answered the clerk.
How's them brass 'uns work?
Very well, I guess; used for lighter purposes, said the clerk.
Put 'em on desks, and cubber-doors, and so on?
Yes; they are used in a hundred ways.
Hinges, says the Yankee, after a pause, ain't considered, I
guess, a very neuw invenshun?
I should think not, half smilingly replied the clerk.
D'yeou ever see wooden hinges, mister?
Never, candidly responded the clerk.
Well, I hev, resolutely echoed the Yankee.
You have, eh?
E' yes, plenty on 'emeout in Illinoi; seen fellers eout there
that never seen an iron hinge or a razor in their lives!
I wasn't aware our western friends were so far behind the times as
that, said the clerk.
It's a factdreadful, tew, to be eout in a place like
that, continued the Yankee. I kept school eout there, nigh on to a
year; couldn't stand it
Ah, indeed! mechanically echoed the poor clerk.
No, sir; dreadful place, some parts of Illinoi; folks air
almighty green; couldn't tell how old they air, nuff on 'em; when they
get mighty old and bald-headed, they stop and die off, of their own
Illinois must be a healthy place? observed the clerk.
Healthy place! I guess not, mister; fever and ague sweetens 'em, I
tell you. O, it's dreadful, fever and ague is!
That caused you to leave, I suppose? said the clerk.
Well, e' yes, partly; the climate, morals, and the water, kind o'
went agin me. The big boys had a way o' fightin', cursin', and
swearin', pitchin' apple cores and corn at the master, that didn't
exactly suit me. Finally, one day, at last, the boys got so confeounded
sassy, and I got the fever and agy so bad, that they shook daown
the school-house chimney, and I shook my hair nearly all eout by the
roots, with the agyso I packed up and slid!
The clerk being again called away to wait on a fresh customer, the
Yankee was left to his meditations and survey. Having some twenty more
minutes to walk around the store, and examine the stock, he brought up
opposite the clerk, who was busy tying up gimlets, screws, and stuff,
for a carpenter's apprentice. Yankee explodes again.
Got a big steore of goods layin' areound here, haven't yeou?
We have, sir, a fair assortment, said the clerk.
Them Illinoi folks haven't no idee what a place this Boston
is; they haven't. I tried to larn 'em a few things towards
civilization, but 'twaren't no sort o' use tryin'!
New country yet; the Illinois folks will brighten up after a while,
I guess, said the clerk. Did you wish to examine any other sort of
hinges, sir? he continued.
Hain't I seen all yeou hev?
O, no; here we have another variety of hinges, steel, copper,
plated, &c. These are fine for parlor doors, &c., said the clerk.
E' yes them air nice, I swow, mister; look like rale silver. I
'spect them cost somethin'?
They come rather high, said the clerk, but we've got them as low
as you can buy them in the market.
I want to know! quietly echoes the Yankee.
Yes, sir; what do you wish to use them for? says the clerk.
Use 'em? responded the Yankee.
Yes; what priced hinges did you require?
What priced hinges?
Exactly! Tell me what you require them for, and I can soon
come at the sort of hinges you require, said the clerk, making
an effort to come to a climax.
Who said I wanted any hinges?
Who said you wanted any? Why, don't you want to buy hinges?
Buy hinges? Why, no; I don't want nothin'; I only came in
to look areound!
Having looked around, the imperturbable Yankee stepped out, leaving
the poor clerkquite flabbergasted!