July 31, 2012

Pawnbroker Maxims, 1861

From the Providence Evening Press in Providence, RI on April 8, 1861:

The Pawnbroker's Golden Rule.--"If you expects to get on in this here world," said Mr. Cramp to Lorn, "you must look at both sides of everythink.  Man's natur is prone to deceive.  It ain't the gloss on a coat that makes it new; threadbare clothes is always the shiniest.  Handle folks as if they were the weskits and trowsies they comes to pop; hold 'em well up to the the light, try the strength of their scams and stitches, take care the moth ain't in 'em.  The uman art is full of wickedness, and all's not gold as glitters.  A man comes to you and says--so and so; don't trust him; plated goods ain't silver; if you wants to get at the real thing, test it with a strong mind and aquafortis.  Men's words is mostly outside show; they don't mean what they expresses; paste looks like diamonds till you gets at the foil that's under.
Never believe arf a man tells you, and don't offer more than a quarter what's asked.  Snakes often lies 'hid in the grass; they raises their painted 'eds and smiles; when a female puts a pledge in your 'and, look at the harticle, not 'er hies; think of the valley of the hobject, not of the 'oney that trickles from her tongue.  Charity begins at 'ome; 'arts is soft and 'eds is 'ard; you owes your duty to your 'ed; else what are you there for?  The simble of our profession is three gold balls, two at top and one at bottom.  When a man is in want, the world is two to one agin 'im; keep that in mind, when parties pops the necessaries of life--fire irons, bed furnitur', and all kinds of warrin' apparel--the more he wants, the less he's able to git.  Them's my maxims, and them's the pawnbroker's golden rule."-- Dudley Costello, in Bentley's Miscellany for February.

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