"Taking Down" a
Ex-honorable John Buck, once the representative of a district
out West, a lawyer originally, and finally a gentleman at large, and
Jeremy Diddler generally, took up his quarters in Philadelphia, years
ago, and putting himself upon his dignity, he managed for a time,
sans l'argent, to live like a prince. Buck was what the world would
call a devilish clever fellow; he was something of a scholar, with the
smattering of a gentleman; good at off-hand dinner table oratory, good
looking, and what never fails to take down the ladies, he wore hair
enough about his countenance to establish two Italian grand dukes. Buck
was an awful blower, but possessed common-sense enough not to waste
his gas-conadeergo, he had the merit not to falsify to ye
The Honorable Mr. Buck's manner of living not being
seconded by a corresponding manner of means, he very
frequently ran things in the ground, got in debt, head and heels. The
Honorable Mr. B. had patronized a dealer in Spanish mantles, corduroys
and opera vests, to the amount of some two hundred dollars; and, very
naturally, ye fabricator of said cloth appurtenances for ye body, got
mad towards the last, and threatened the Western member with a course
of legal sprouts, unless he showed cause, or came up and squared the
yards. As Hon. John Buck had had frequent invitations to pursue such
courses, and not being spiritually or personally inclined that way, he
let the notice slide.
Shears, the tailor, determined to put the Hon. John through; so he
got out a writ of the savagest kindarson, burglary and false
pretenceand a deputy sheriff was soon on the taps to smoke the
Western member out of his boots. Upon inquiring at the United States
Hotel, where the honorable gentleman had been wont to put up, they
found he had vacated weeks before and gone to Yohe's Hotel. Thither,
the next day, the deputy repaired, but old Mother Yoherest her
soul!informed the officer that the honorable gentleman had stepped
out one morning, in a hurry like, and forgot to pay a small bill!
John was next traced to the Marshall House, where he had left his
mark and cleared for Sanderson's, where the indefatigable tailor and
his terrier of the law, pursued the member, and learned that he had
gone to Washington!
Done! by Jeems! cried Shears.
Hold on, says the deputy, hold on; he's not off; merely a dodge
to get away from this house; we'll find him. Wait!
Shears did wait, so did the deputy sheriff, until other bills,
amounting to a good round sum, were lodged at the Sheriff's office, and
the very Sheriff himself took it in hand to nab the cidevant M.
C., and cause him to suffer a little for his country and his friends!
Now, it so chanced that Sheriff F., who was a politician of popular
renowna good, jolly fellowknew the Hon. Mr. Buck, having had the
pleasure of his acquaintance some months previous, and having been
floored in a political argument with the Western member, was
inclined to be down upon him.
I'll snake him, I'll engage, says Sheriff F., as he thrust the
documents into his pocket and proceeded to hunt up the transgressor.
Accidentally, as it were, who should the Sheriff meet, turning a corner
into the grand trottoir, Chestnut street, but our gallant hero
of ye ballot-box in the rural districts, once upon a time!
Ah, ha-a-a! How are ye, Sheriff? boisterously exclaims the Ex-M.
C., as familiarly as you please.
Ah, ha! Mr. Buck, says the Sheriff, glad (?) to see you.
Fine day, Sheriff?
Elegant, sir, prime, says the Sheriff.
What do you think of Mr. Jigger's speech on the Clam trade? Did you
read Mr. Porkapog's speech on the widening of Jenkins's ditch?
For which general remarks on the affairs of the nation, Sheriff F.
put some corresponding replies, and so they proceeded along until
they approached a well-known dining saloon, then under the supervision
of a burly Englishman; and, as it was about the time people dined, and
the Sheriff being a man that liked a fat dinner and a fine bottle,
about as well as any body, when the Hon. Mr. Buck proposed
What say you, Sheriff, to a dinner and a bottle of old Sherry, at
? We don't often meet (?), so let's sit down and have a quiet talk
Well, Mr. Buck, says the Sheriff, I would like to, just as soon
as not, but I've got a disagreeable bit of business with you, and it
would be hardly friendly to eat your dinner before apprizing you of the
Ah! Sheriff, what is it, pray? says the somewhat alarmed Diddler;
nothing serious, of course?
Oh, no, not serious, particularly; only a writ, Mr. Buck; a
writ, that's all.
For my arrest?
Your arrest, sir, on sight, says the Sheriff.
The deuce! What's the charge!
Ha! ha! that is a good one! says the slight'y cornered Ex-M. C.;
well, hang it, Sheriff, don't let business spoil our digestion; come,
let us dine, and then I'm ready for execution! says the Western
member, with well affected gaiety.
Stepping into a private room, they rang the bell, and a burly waiter
Now, Mr. F., says the adroit Ex-M. C., call for just what you
like; I leave it to you, sir.
Roast ducks; what do you say, Buck?
Oyster sauce and lobster salad?
Good, again echoes the Ex-M. C.
And aWell, waiter, you bring some of the best side dishes you
have, says the Sheriff.
Yes, sir, says the waiter, disappearing to fill the order.
What are you going to drink, Sheriff? asks the honorable gent.
Oh! ah, yes! Waiter, bring us a bottle of Sherry; you take Sherry,
Yes, I'll go Sherry.
The Sherry was brought, and partly discussed by the time the dinner
They keep the finest Port here you ever tasted, says the Diddler.
Do they! he responds; well, suppose we try it?
A bottle of old Port was brought, and the two worthies sat back and
really enjoyed themselves in the saloon of the sumptuously kept
restaurant; they then drank and smoked, until sated nature cried
enough, and the Sheriff began to think of business.
Suppose we top off with a fine bottle of English ale, Sheriff!
Well, be it so; and then, Buck, we'll have to proceed to the
Waiter, bring me a couple of bottles of your English ale, says the
Hon. Mr. Buck.
And I'll see to the bill, Sheriff, while the waiter brings the
ale, said the Ex-M. C., leaving the room for a moment, to speak to
Landlord, says the Diddler, do you know that gentleman with whom
I've dined in 15?
No, I don't, says the landlord.
Well, continues Diddler, I've no particular acquaintance
with him; he invited me here to dine; I suppose he intends to pay for
what he ordered, but (whispering) you had better get your money
before he gets out of that room!
Oh! oh! coming that are dodge, eh? I'll show him! said the burly
landlord, making tracks for the room, from which the Sheriff was now
emerging, to look after his prisoner.
There's for the ale, says the Diddler, placing half a dollar in
the waiter's hand; I ordered that, and there's for it. So saying, he
Say, but look here, Buck, I say, hold on; I've got a writ, and
Hang the writ! Pay your bill like a gentleman, and come along!
exclaimed the Ex-M. C., making himself scarce!
It was in vain that the Sheriff stated his authority, and
innocence in the pecuniary affairs of the dinner, for the waiter swore
roundly that the other gentleman had paid for all he ordered, and the
landlord, who could not be convinced to the contrary, swore that the
idea was to gouge him, which couldn't be done, and before the Sheriff
got off, he had his wallet depleted of five dollars; and he not only
lost his prisoner, but lost his temper, at the trick played upon him by
the Hon. Jeremy Diddler.