Douglas G. Wilson
douglas at NB.NET
Sat Apr 3 19:35:17 UTC 2004
Here is a passage which turned up while I was 'researching' "jinks".
_Washington Star_, 22 Jan. 1855: p. 1, col. 6:
<<A CURIOUS FACT. -- Second-hand clothes dealers, are the only operators
benefitted by a stringent money market. "Cos why?" Last year Julius Jinks
was a regular "quil," he got $30 a week. He then sported artistic drapery,
took an hour to adjust a neck-tie, _a La Brummell_, crowded his figure in
Mercer street, and took $3 swigs of "silver top." One day old Bullion
discovered he had too many clerks and as a consequence, Julius Jinks was
last week seen enrobing himself in a shiny suit of second-handers,
purchased in Centre street.>>
"Julius Jinks" apparently = "a representative citizen". Apparently he was a
clerk, as was Dickens' character Jinks (coincidence?). His employer was
apparently a plutocrat with the name Bullion.
At first glance I took "quil" to mean "dandy" or so ... but apparently it's
"quill", old slang for "clerk"/"penman", also "quill-driver" etc. ... from
This is a relatively early use of [Beau] Brummell's name.
I see "in Mercer street" (I suppose mostly a non-US usage now) rather than
"on Mercer Street".
"Cos why?" is rather cute, I think.
What is/was "silver top"? Brandy, maybe?
-- Doug Wilson
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