Hash House Slang (1888)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Nov 1 01:09:11 UTC 2002

   The NEW YORK HERALD has an index, but it's not complete nad not very good.
 Nevertheless, it's better than nothing....The bottom part of this copy has
been torn, and words are missing.
   From the NEW YORK HERALD, 1 April 1888, pg. 9, col. 6:

_A Feast Fir for the Gods for_
   _Twenty-five Cents._
_Scenes in a Restaurant Where a Curious_
   _Volapuk Is Spoken_
   Or they can get a cup of coffee and some cakes for ten cents.  The
facetious patrons of the restaurant call these cakes "sinkers," because if
they were thrown overboard they wouldn't float.
   While the HERALD reporter sat in this restaurant the other day he remarked
that the customers did not, as a rule, speak the ENglish language.  They had
a dialect of their own, not very different from trhe volapuk that has become
such a fad in certain very high circles.
   A young man with a very "tough" air threw himself in the chair as the
oppsoite side of the table at which the reporter was sitting, and when the
waiter sidled up to him said, with a drawl:--
   "Cup o' cough an' three off!"
   The reporter wondered what he meant, but soon found out when he heard the
waiter call to one of the cooks:''
   "A cup of coffee and three cakes off the griddle."
   Another young man called for "ham an':" this meant ham and beans.
   "Beef an'" meant corned beef and beans.
   When a very hard looking man said he wanted "boot leg and chuck" the
reporter expected to... (Copy breaks up here--ed.) the waiter knock him down,
but he didn't.  ...turned on his heel and returned in about two-minutes with
a cup of coffee and a hunk of bread.
   Another young man sat at the table behind the reporter, and when the
waiter asked, "What...order?" he replied very laconically, "Eh...chicken."
   "Two fried eggs turned over!" cried the waiter to the cook.
   During his stay in the restaurant the reporter learned several things he
never knew...sides the above the following:--
   That "pluck" meant beef stew.
   That "cough in the dark" meant coffee...(Without?--ed.) milk.
   That "sleeve buttons" meant fish cakes.
   That "pig iron" meant fried sausages.
   That "quail" meant chicken stew.
   That "heavy weights" and "sinkers" meant...  (Cakes?  Doughnuts?--ed.)
   That "hot water" meant tea.
   That "Stars and Stripes" meant pork and...  (Beans?--ed.)
   That "dyspepsia in a snow storm" meant ...pie with powdered sugar.
   That "Murphy with his coat off" meant...(Potatoes?--ed.) peeled.
   That "old friend and shamrock" meant (Corned?--ed.) beef and cabbage.
   That "pallbearers" meant crackers.
   That "a tenement house in Greenwich Village" meant a plate of soup with
plenty of greens in it.
   And that "mystery" meant hash.

(The RHHDAS has 1877-1878 on "mystery."  It was found by me and posted here
six years ago--ed.)

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