Egg Pedler by
We have been, frequently, much amused with the man[oe]uvring of some
folks in trade. It's not your cute folks, who screw, twist and twirl
over a smooth fourpence, or skin a flea for its hide and tallow, and
spoil a knife that cost a shilling,that come out first best in the
long run. Some folks have a weakness for beating down shop-keepers, or
anybody else they deal with, and so far have we seen this infirmity
carried, that we candidly believe we've known persons that would not
stop short of cheapening the passage to kingdom come, if they thought a
dollar and two cents might be saved in the fare! Now the rationale
of the matter is this:as soon as persons establish a reputation for
meannessbeating down folks, they fall victims to all sorts of shaves
and short commons, and have the fine Saxony drawn over their eyesfrom
the nose to the occiput; they get the meanest bargains, offals, &c.,
that others would hardly have, even at a heavy discount. Then some
folks are so wonderful sharp, too, that we wonder their very shadow
does not often cut somebody. A friend of ours went to buy his wife a
pair of gaiters; he brought them home; she found all manner of fault
with them; among other drawbacks, she declared that for the price her
better half had given for the gaiters, she could have got the
best article in Waxend's entire shop! He said she had
better take them back and try. So she did, and poor Mr. Waxend had an
hour of his precious time used up by the lady's attempt to get a more
expensive pair of gaiters at a less price than those purchased by her
husband. Waxend saw how matters stood, so he consented to adopt the
maxim ofwhen Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war!
Now, marm, said he, here is a pair of gaiters I have made for
Mrs. Heavypurse; they are just your fit, most expensive material, the
best article in the shop; Mrs. Heavypurse will not expect them for a
few days, and rather than you should be disappointed, I will let
you have them for the same price your husband paid for those common
Of course Mrs. took them, went home in great glee, and told her
better half she'd never trust him to go shopping for her againfor
they always cheated him. When the husband came to scrutinize his wife's
bargain, lo! he detected the self-same gaitersmerely with a different
quality of lacings in them! He, like a philosopher, grinned and said
nothing. That illustrates one phase in the character of some people who
go it blind on bargains and now, for the pith of our storythe way
some folks have of going round Robin Hood's barn to come at a thing.
The other day we stopped into a friend's store to see how he was
getting along, and presently in came a rural-district-looking customer.
How'd do? says he, to the storekeeper, who was busy, keeping the
Pretty well; how is it with you?
Well, so, so; how's all the folks?
Middlingmiddling, sir. How's all your folks?
Tolerableyes, tolerable, says the rural gent. How's trade? he
ventured to inquire.
Dull, ray-ther dull, responded the storekeeper. Come take a seat
by the stove, Mr. Smallpotatoes.
Thank you, I guess not, says the ruralite. Your folks are all
stirring, eh? he added.
Yes, stirring around a little, sir. How's your mother got? the
storekeeper inquired, for it appeared he knew the man.
Poorly, dreadful poorly, yet, was the reply. Cold weather, you
see, sort o' sets the old lady back.
I suppose so, responded our friend; and here, think's we, if there
is anything important or business like on the man's mind, he must be
near to its focus. But he started again
Ain't goin' to Californy, then, are you? says Mr. Smallpotatoes.
Guess not, said our friend. You talked of going, I believe?
Well, ye-e-e-s, I did think of it, said the rural gent; I did
think of it last fall, but I kind o' gin it up.
Here another hiatus occurred; the rural gent walked around,
viewed the goods and chattels for some minutes; then says he
Guess I'll be movin', and of course that called forth from our
friend the venerated expression
What's your hurry?
Well, nothing 'special. Plaguy cold winter we've got!
That's a fact, answered the storekeeper. How's sleighing out your
First rate; I guess the folks have had enough of it, this winter,
by jolly. I hev, any how, says the rural gent. Trade's dull, eh?
Dullest time of the year, I reckon, ain't it?
Pretty much so, indeed, says the storekeeper.
I don't see's Californy goold gets much plentier, or business much
To this bit of cogent reason our friend replied
Not muchthat's a fact.
I 'spect there's a good deal of humbug about the Californy goold
mines, don't you?
The wealth of the country or the ease of coming at it, said the
storekeeper, is no doubt exaggerated some.
That's my opinion on't too, said the agriculturist. Some make
money out there, and then agin some don't; I reckon more don't than
does. To this bright inference the storekeeper ventured to say
I think it's highly probable.
All your folks are lively, eh? inquired Smallpotatoes.
Pretty much so, said the storekeeper; troubled a little with
influenza, colds, &c.; nothing serious, however.
Well, I'm glad to hear it.
All your folks are well, I believe you said? the storekeeper, in
apparent solicitude, inquired, to be reassured of the fact.
Ye-e-e-s, exceptin' the old lady.
Another pause; we began to feel convinced there was speculation in
the rural gent's eyes, and just for the fun of the thingas we were
up to such dodgeswe determined to hang on and see how he come out.
Well, I declare, I must be goin'! suddenly said the rural gent,
and actually made five steps towards the handle of the door.
Don't be in a hurry, echoed the storekeeper. When did you come in
I come in this mornin'.
Any of the folks in with you?
No; my wife did want to come in, but concluded it was too cold;
'spected some of your folks out to see us durin' this good
sleighingwhy didn't you come?
Couldn't very well spare time, said the storekeeper.
Well, we'd been glad to see you, and if you get time, and the
sleighin' holds out, you must come and see us.
I mayI can't promise for certain.
Now another pause took place, and thinks wethe climax has come,
surely, after all that small talk. The country gent walked deliberately
to the door; he actually took hold of the knob.
You off? says the storekeeper.
B'lieve I'll be offopening the door, then rushes back
againsemi-excited by the force of some pent up idea, says the rural
gentO! Mr. , don't you want to buy some good fresh eggs?
Eggs? Yes, I do; been looking all around for some fresh eggs; how
many have you?
Five dozen; thought you'd want some; so I come right in to see!
We nearly catapillered! After all this circumlocution, the man came
to the pint, andsold his eggs in two minutes!