Clockmaker: Series One, Two and Three

Thomas Chandler Haliburton
Edited by George L. Parker
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 974
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In 1835 Thomas Chandler Haliburton introduced Samuel Slick of Slicksville, Connecticut, into the pages of the Novascotian in order to awaken his fellow citizens to the economic opportunities of their province.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7382-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)

    The Centre for Editing Early Canadian Texts (CEECT) at Carleton University was established to prepare for publication scholarly editions of major works of early English-Canadian prose that were either out of print or available only in corrupt reprints. Nine of these editions, Frances Brooke’sThe History of Emily Montague, Catharine Parr Traill’sCanadian Crusoes, James De Mille’sA Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, John Richardson’sWacousta, Susanna Moodie’sRoughing It in the Bush, Rosanna Leprohon’sAntoinette De Mirecourt, Thomas McCulloch’sThe Mephibosheth Stepsure Letters, Julia Catherine Beckwith Hart’sSt. Ursula’s Convent, and John Richardson’sThe Canadian Brothers, have...

  5. Editor’s Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    George L. Parker
  6. Editor’s Introduction
    (pp. xvii-cii)

    Relishing the humour of a new book from British North America, an anonymous reviewer in the November 1837 issue ofBlackwood’s Edinburgh Magazineobserved that the unknown author, “an Englishman, writing in Nova Scotia the happiest of all burlesques, with the best of all intentions,” is able “to raise an imperishable, but not ill-tempered laugh at the Yankees, and to excite the languor of his Nova Scotian friends.”¹ The work that was the subject of this review wasThe Clockmaker; Or The Sayings And Doings Of Samuel Slick, Of Slickville,written by Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865). The first twenty-one sketches,...

  7. Illustration: Map of Eastern Seaboard drawn by Ross Hough
    (pp. ciii-civ)
  8. Illustration: Map of the Maritimes drawn by Ross Hough
    (pp. cv-cvi)
  9. The Clockmaker, Series One
    • Middle Matter
      (pp. 1-2)
    • Table of Contents
      (pp. 3-4)
      (pp. 5-7)

      To Mr. Howe,

      Sir.—I received your letter, and note its contents. I aint over half pleased, I tell you; I think I have been used scandalous, that’s a fact. It warn’t the part of a gentleman for to go and pump me arter that fashion, and then go right off and blart it out in print. It was a nasty dirty mean action, and I don’t thank you nor the Squire a bit for it. It will be more nor a thousand dollars out of my pocket. There’s an eend to the Clock trade now, and a pretty kettle...

      (pp. 8-12)

      I was always well mounted—I am fond of a horse, and always piqued myself on having the fastest trotter in the Province. I have made no great progress in the world, I feel doubly therefore the pleasure of not being surpassed on the road. I never feel so well or so cheerful as on horse back, for there is something exhilirating in quick motion, and, old as I am, I feel a pleasure in making any person whom I meet on the way put his horse to the full gallop, to keep pace with my trotter. Poor Ethiope, you...

      (pp. 13-16)

      I had heard of yankee clock pedlars, tin pedlars, and bible pedlars, especially of him who sold Polyglot Bibles (all in English) to the amount of sixteen thousand pounds. The house of every substantial farmer had three substantial ornaments, a wooden clock, a tin reflector, and a Polyglot Bible. How is it that an American can sell his wares, at whatever price he pleases, where a blue-nose would fail to make a sale at all? I will enquire of the clock-maker the secret of his success. What a pity it is Mr.Slick(for such was his name,) what a...

      (pp. 17-20)

      Do you see them are swallows, said the Clock-maker, how low they fly, well I presume we shall have rain right away, and them noisy critters them gulls, how close they keep to the water, down there in the Shubenacadie; well that’s a sure sign. If we study natur, we don’t want no thermometer. But I guess we shall be in time to get under cover in a shingle-maker’s shed about three miles ahead on us. We had just reached the deserted hovel when the rain fell in torrents.

      I reckon, said the Clock-maker, as he sat himself down on...

      (pp. 21-24)

      It was late before we arrived at Pugnose’s Inn—the evening was cool, and a fire was cheering and comfortable. Mr. Slick declined any share in the bottle of wine, he said he was dyspeptic; and a glass or two soon convinced me, that it was likely to produce in me something worse than dyspepsy. It was speedily removed and we drew up to the fire. Taking a small penknife from his pocket, he began to whittle a thin piece of dry wood, which lay on the hearth, and after musing some time said, I guess you’ve never been in...

      (pp. 25-28)

      In the morning the Clockmaker informed me that a Justice’s Court was to be held that day at Pugnose’s Inn, and he guessed he could do a little business among the country folks that would be assembled there. Some of them, he said, owed him for clocks, and it would save him a world of travelling, to have the Justice and Constable to drive them up together. If you want a fat wether, there’s nothing like penning up the whole flock in a corner. I guess, said he, if General Campbell knew what sort of a man that are magistrate...

    • No. 6 ANECDOTES
      (pp. 29-31)

      As we mounted our horses to proceed to Amherst, groups of country people were to be seen standing about Pugnose’s inn, talking over the events of the morning, while others were dispersing to their several homes. A pretty prime superfine scoundrel, that Pettifog, said the clockmaker; he and his constable are well mated, and they’ve travelled in the same gear so long together, that they make about as nice a yoke of rascals, as you’ll meet in a day’s ride. They pull together like one rope reeved through two blocks. That are constable was een almost strangled tother day, and...

    • No. 7 GO AHEAD
      (pp. 32-36)

      When we resumed our conversation, the Clock Maker said “I guess we are the greatest nation on the face of the airth, and the most enlightened too.” This was rather too arrogant to pass unnoticed, and I was about replying, that whatever doubts there might be on that subject, there could be none whatever that they were the mostmodest; when he continued “we go ahead,” the Novascotians go “astarn.” Our ships go ahead of the ships of other folks, our steam boats beat the British in speed, and so do our stage coaches; and I reckon a real right...

      (pp. 37-42)

      I guess, said the Clock-maker, we know more of Nova-Scotia than the blue noses themselves do. The yankees see further ahead than most folks, they can een a most see round tother side of a thing; indeed some on em have hurt their eyes by it, and sometimes I think that’s the reason such a sight of them wear spectacles. The first I ever heerd tell of Cumberland was from Mr. Everett of Congress; he know’d as much about it as if he had lived here all his days, and may be a little grain more. He is a splendid...

      (pp. 43-48)

      Did you ever heer tell of Abernethy, a British doctor? said the Clockmaker. Frequently, said I, he was an eminent man, and had a most extensive practice. Well, I reckon he was a vulgar critter that, he replied, he treated the honble. Alden Gobble, secretary to our Legation at London, dreadful bad once; and I guess if it had been me he had used that way, I’d a fixed his flint for him, so that he’d think twice afore he’d fire such another shot as that are agin—I’d a made him make tracks, I guess, as quick as a...

      (pp. 49-53)

      As we approached the Inn at Amherst, the Clockmaker grew uneasy. Its pretty well on in the evening, I guess, said he, and Marm Pugwash is as onsartin in her temper as a mornin in April—its all sunshine, or all clouds with her, and if she’s in one of her tantrums, she’ll stretch out her neck and hiss, like a goose with a flock of goslins. I wonder what on airth Pugwash was a thinkin on, when he signed articles of partnership with that are woman; she’s not a bad lookin piece of furniture neither, and its a proper...

      (pp. 54-59)

      The ‘soft sawder’ of the Clockmaker had operated effectually on the beauty of Amherst, our lovely hostess of Pugwash’s Inn—indeed, I am inclined to think, with Mr. Slick, that ‘the road to a woman’s heart lies through her child,’ from the effect produced upon her by the praises bestowed on her infant boy. I was musing on this feminine susceptibility to flattery, when the door opened, and Mrs. Pugwash entered, dressed in her sweetest smiles and her best cap, an auxiliary by no means required by her charms, which, like an Italian sky, when unclouded are unrivalled in splendor—...

      (pp. 60-66)

      Jist look out of the door, said the Clockmaker, and see what a beautiful night it is, how calm, how still, how clear it is—beant it lovely?—I like to look up at them are stars, when I am away from home, they put me in mind of our national flag, and it is generally allowed to be the first flag in the univarse now. The British can whip all the world, and we can whip the British. Its near about the prettiest sight I know of, is one of our first class Frigates, manned with our free and...

      (pp. 67-73)

      The next morning was warmer than several that had preceded it. It was one of those uncommonly fine days that distinguish an American Autumn. I guess, said Mr. Slick, the heat to-day is like a glass of mint Julip, with a lump of ice in it, it tastes cool and feels warm—its real good, I tell you—I love such a day as this dearly. Its generally allowed the finest weather in the world is in America—there ant the beat of it to be found anywhere. He then lighted a cigar, and throwing himself back on his chair,...

      (pp. 74-78)

      I reckon, said the Clockmaker, as we strolled through Amherst, you have read Hook’s story of the boy that one day asked one of his father’s guests who his next door neighbour was, and when he heerd his name, asked him if he warnt a fool—no, my little feller said he, he beant a fool, he is a most particular sensible man, but why did you ax that are question, why, said the little boy, mother said tother day you were next door to a fool, and I wanted to know who lived next door to you. His mother...

      (pp. 79-84)

      I wish that are black heifer in the kitchen, would give over singing that are everlastin dismal tune, said the Clockmaker, it makes my head ache. Youve heerd a song afore now, said he, havent you, till you was fairly sick of it, for I have, I vow. The last time I was in Rhode Island (all the galls sing there, and its generally allowed, there’s no such singers any where, they beat theEye-talians a long chalk, they sing so high, some on em, they go clear out o’ hearin sometime, like a lark) well, you heerd nothin but...

      (pp. 85-91)

      What success had you, said I, in the sale of your Clocks among the Scotch in the eastern part of the Province? do you find them as gullable as the blue noses? Well, said he, I suppose you have heerd tell that a Yankee never answers one question, without axing another, havent you? Did you ever see an English Stage Driver make a bow? because if you hante obsarved it, I have, and a queer one it is, I swan. He brings his right arm up, jist across his face, and passes on, with a knowin nod of his head,...

      (pp. 92-98)

      I met a man this mornin, said the Clock Maker, from Halifax, a real conceited lookin critter as you een a most ever seed, all shines and didos. He looked as if he had picked up his airs, arter some officer of the regilars had worn ’em out and cast ’em off. They sot on him as like second hand clothes, as if they had’nt been made for him and did’nt exactly fit. He looked fine, but awkward, like a captain of militia, when he gets his uniform on, to play sodger; a thinkin himself mighty handsum, and that all...

      (pp. 99-105)

      I think, said I, this is a happy Country, Mr. Slick. The people are fortunately all of one origin, there are no national jealousies to divide, and no very violent politics to agitate them. They appear to be cheerful and contented, and are a civil, good natured, hospitable race. Considering the unsettled state of almost every part of the world, I think I would as soon cast my lot in Nova Scotia as in any part I know of. Its a clever Country, you may depend, said he, a very clever Country, full of mineral wealth, aboundin in superior water...

      (pp. 106-111)

      The descendants of Eve have profited little by her example. The curiosity of the fair sex is still insatiable, and, as it is often ill directed, it frequently terminates in error. In the country this feminine propensity is troublesome to a traveller, and he who would avoid importunities, would do well to announce at once, on his arrival at a Cumberland Inn, his name and his business, the place of his abode and the length of his visit. Our beautiful hostess, Mrs. Pugwash, as she took her seat at the breakfast table this morning, exhibited the example that suggested these...

      (pp. 112-117)

      There goes one of them are everlastin rottin poles in that bridge; they are no better than a trap for a critter’s leg, said the Clockmaker. They remind me of a trap Jim Munroe put his foot in one night, that near about made one leg half a yard longer than tother. I believe I told you of him, what a desperate idle feller he was—he came from Onion County in Connecticut. Well, he was courtin Sister Sall—she was a real handsum lookin gall; you scarce ever seed a more out and out complete critter than she was—...

      (pp. 118-126)

      I never see one of them queer little old fashioned tea pots, like that are in the cupboard of Marme Pugwash, said the Clockmaker, that I don’t think of Lawyer Crowningshield and his wife. When I was down to Rhode Island last, I spent an evening with them—arter I had been there a while, the black House Help brought in a little home made dipt candle, stuck in a turnip sliced in two, to make it stand straight, and sot it down on the table. Why, says the Lawyer to his wife, Increase my dear, what on airth is...

      (pp. 127-132)

      Its a most curious unaccountable thing, but its a fact, said the Clockmaker, the Blue Noses are so conceited, they think they know every thing; and yet there aint a livin soul in Nova Scotia knows his own business real complete, farmer or fisherman, lawyer or doctor, or any other folk. A farmer said to me one day, up to Pugnose’s inn at River Philip, Mr. Slick, says he, I allot this aint “a bread country;” I intend to sell off the house I improve, and go to the States. If it aint a bread country, said I, I never...

    • No. 23 THE BLOWIN TIME
      (pp. 133-139)

      The long rambling dissertation on conceit to which I had just listened, from the Clockmaker, forcibly reminded me of the celebrated aphorism “gnothi seauton,” know thyself, which, both from its great antiquity and wisdom, has been by many attributed to an oracle.

      With all his shrewdness to discover, and his humor to ridicule the foibles of others, Mr. Slick was blind to the many defects of his own character; and, while prescribing “a cure for conceit,” exhibited in all he said, and all he did, the most overweening conceit himself. He never spoke of his own countrymen, without calling them...

      (pp. 140-146)

      To morrow will be Sabbath day, said the Clockmaker; I guess we’ll bide where we be till Monday. I like a Sabbath in the country—all natur seems at rest. There’s a cheerfulness in the day here, you don’t find in towns. You have natur before you here, and nothin but art there. The deathy stillness of a town, and the barred windows, and shut shops, and empty streets, and great long lines of big brick buildins, look melancholy. It seems as if life had ceased tickin, but there had’nt been time for decay to take hold on there; as...

    • No. 25 TAMING A SHREW
      (pp. 147-152)

      The road from Amherst to Parrsboro’ is tedious and uninteresting. In places it is made so straight, that you can see several miles of it before you, which produces an appearance of interminable length, while the stunted growth of the spruce and birch trees bespeaks a cold thin soil, and invests the scene with a melancholy and sterile aspect. Here and there occurs a little valley with its meandering stream, and verdant and fertile intervale, which, though possessing nothing peculiar to distinguish it from many others of the same kind, strikes the traveller as superior to them all, from the...

      (pp. 153-159)

      This Country, said Mr. Slick, abounds in superior mill privileges, and one would naterally calculate that such a sight of water power, would have led to a knowledge of machinery. I guess if a Blue Nose was to go to one of our free and enlightened citizens, and tell him Nova Scotia was intersected with rivers and brooks in all directions, and nearly one quarter of it covered with water, he’d say, well I’ll start right off and see it, I vow, for I guess I’ll larn somethin. I allot I’ll get another wrinkle away down east there. With such...

      (pp. 160-165)

      One of the most amiable, and at the same time most amusing traits, in the Clockmaker’s character, was the attachment and kindness with which he regarded his horse. He considered “Old Clay” as far above a Provincial Horse, as he did one of his “free and enlightened citizens” superior to a Blue Nose. He treated him as a travelling companion, and when conversation flagged between us, would often soliloquize to him, a habit contracted from pursuing his journeys alone. Well now, he would say, “Old Clay,” I guess you took your time a goin up that are hill, ’spose we...

    • No. 28 FIRE IN THE DAIRY
      (pp. 166-171)

      As we approached within fifteen or twenty miles of Parrsboro, a sudden turn of the road brought us directly in front of a large wooden house, consisting of two stories and an immense roof, the heighth of which edifice was much increased by a stone foundation, rising several feet above ground. Now, did you ever see, said Mr. Slick, such a catamaran as that; there’s a proper goney for you, for to go and raise such a buildin as that are, and he as much use for it, I do suppose, as my old waggon here has for a fifth...

      (pp. 172-177)

      I allot you had ought to visit our great country Squire, said the Clockmaker, afore you quit for good and all. I calculate you don’t understand us. The most splendid location atween the Poles is the United States, and the first man alive is Gineral Jackson, the hero of the age, him that skeered the British out of their seven senses. Then there’s the great Danel Webster, its generally allowed, he’s the greatest orator on the face of the airth, by a long chalk, and Mr. Van Buren, and Mr. Clay, and Amos Kindle, and Judge White, and a whole...

      (pp. 178-183)

      Mr. Slick, like all his countrymen whom I have seen, felt that his own existence was involved in that of the Constitution of the United States, and that it was his duty to uphold it upon all occasions. He affected to consider its government and its institutions as perfect, and if any doubt was suggested as to the stability or character of either, would make the common reply of all Americans, “I guess you don’t understand us,” or else enter into a labored defence. When left, however, to the free expression of his own thoughts, he would often give utterance...

      (pp. 184-189)

      I allot, said Mr. Slick, that the Blue Noses are the most gullible folks on the face of the airth—rigular soft horns, that’s a fact. Politicks and such stuff set ’em a gapin, like children in a chimbly corner listenen to tales of ghosts, Salem witches, and Nova Scotia snow storms; and while they stand starin and yawpin, all eyes and mouth, they get their pockets picked of every cent that’s in ’em. One candidate chap says, “Feller citizens, this country is goin to the dogs hand over hand; look at your rivers, you have no bridges; at your...

      (pp. 190-197)

      We had a pleasant sail of three hours from Parrsborough to Windsor. The arrivals and departures by water, are regulated at this place by the tide, and it was sunset before we reached Mrs. Wilcox’s comfortable inn. Here, as at other places, Mr. Slick seemed to be perfectly at home; and he pointed to a wooden clock, as a proof of his successful and extended trade, and of the universal influence of “soft sawder,” and a knowledge of “human natur.” Taking out a pen knife, he cut off a splinter from a stick of firewood, and balancing himself on one...

      (pp. 198-202)

      The next morning the Clockmaker proposed to take a drive round the neighborhood. You hadn’t ought, says he, to be in a hurry; you should see thevicinity of this location; there aint the beat of it to be found anywhere. While the servants were harnessing old Clay, we went to see a new bridge, which had recently been erected over the Avon River. That, said he, is a splendid thing. A New Yorker built it, and the folks in St. John paid for it. You mean of Halifax, said I; St. John is in the other province. I mean...

  10. The Clockmaker, Series Two
    • Middle Matter
      (pp. 203-204)
    • Table of Contents
      (pp. 205-207)
      (pp. 208-211)

      Whoever has condescended to read the First Series of the Clockmaker, or the Sayings and Doings of Mr. Samuel Slick, of Slickville, will recollect that our tour of Nova Scotia terminated at Windsor last autumn, in consequence of bad roads and bad weather, and that it was mutually agreed upon between us to resume it in the following spring. But, alas! spring came not. They retain in this country the name of that delightful portion of the year, but it is “Vox et preterea nihil.” The short space that intervenes between the dissolution of winter and the birth of summer...

      (pp. 212-225)

      The day after our arrival at Windsor, being Sunday, we were compelled to remain there until the following Tuesday, so as to have one day at our command to visit the College, Retreat Farm, and the other objects of interest in the neighbourhood. One of the inhabitants having kindly offered me a seat in his pew, I accompanied him to the church, which, for the convenience of the College, was built nearly a mile from the village. From him I learned, that independently of the direct influence of the Church of England upon its own members, who form a very...

      (pp. 226-233)

      In the evening we sauntered out on the bank of the river, Mr. Slick taking his rifle with him, to shoot blue-winged duck, that often float up the Avon with the tide in great numbers. He made several shots with remarkable accuracy, but having no dogs we lost all the birds, but two, in the eddies of this rapid river. It was a delightful evening, and on our return we ascended the cliff that overlooks the village and the surrounding country, and sat down on the projecting point of limestone rock, to enjoy the glories of the sunset.

      This evenin’,...

      (pp. 234-246)

      We left Gaspereaux early in the morning, intending to breakfast at Kentville. The air was cool and bracing, and the sun, which had just risen, shed a lustre over the scenery of this beautiful and fertile valley, which gave it a fresh and glowing appearance. A splendid country this, squire, said the Clockmaker; that’s a fact; the Lord never made the beat of it. I wouldn’t ax no better location in the farmin’ line than any of these allotments; grand grazin’ grounds and superfine tillage lands. A man that know’d what he was about might live like a fightin’ cock...

      (pp. 247-257)

      Did you ever drink any Thames water, squire? said the Clockmaker; because it is one of the greatest nateral curiosities in the world. When I returned from Poland, in the hair spekelation, I sailed from London, and we had Thames water on board. Says I to the captain, says I, I guess you want to pyson us, don’t you, with that are nasty, dirty, horrid stuff? how can you think o’ takin’ such water as that? Why, says he, Mr. Slick, it does make the best water in the warld—that’s a fact; yes, and the best porter too;—it...

      (pp. 258-265)

      What would be the effect, Mr. Slick, said I, of elective councils in this country, if government would consent to make the experiment? Why, that’s a thing, said he, you can’t do in your form o’ government, tryin’ an experiment, tho’ we can; you can’t give the word of command, if it turns out a bunglin’ piece of business, that they use in militia trainin’,—“as you were.” It’s different with us—we can,—our government is a democracy,—all power is in the people at large; we can go on, and change from one thing to another, and try...

      (pp. 266-276)

      The road from Kentville to Wilmot passes over an extensive and dreary sand plain, equally fatiguing to man and horse, and after three hours’ hard dragging on this heavy road, we look’d out anxiously for an inn to rest and refresh our gallant “Clay.”

      There it is, said Mr. Slick; you’ll know it by that high post, on which they have jibitted one of their governors ahorseback as a sign. The first night I stopt there, I vow I couldn’t sleep a wink for the creakin’ of it, as it swung backwards and forwards in the wind. It sounded so...

      (pp. 277-289)

      Do you see them are country galls there, said Mr. Slick, how they are tricked out in silks, and touched off with lace and ribbon to the nine’s, a mincin’ along with parasols in their hands, as if they were afear’d the sun would melt them like wax, or take the colour out of their face, like a printed cotton blind? Well, that’s gist the ruin of this country. It ain’t poverty the blue noses have to fear, for that they needn’t know, without they choose to make acquaintance with it; but it’s gentility. They go the whole hog in...

      (pp. 290-298)

      Whoever has read Haliburton’s History of Nova Scotia (which, next to Mr. Josiah Slick’s History of Cuttyhank, in five volumes, is the most important account of unimportant things I have ever seen,) will recollect that this good city of Annapolis is the most ancient one in North America; but there is one fact omitted by that author, which I trust he will not think an intrusion upon his province, if I take the liberty of recording, and that is, that in addition to its being the most ancient,—it is also the most loyal city of this Western Hemisphere. This...

      (pp. 299-307)

      It was our intention to have left Annapolis this morning after breakfast, and proceeded to Digby, a small but beautiful village, situated at the entrance of that magnificent sheet of water, once known as Port Royal Bason, but lately by the more euphonious appellation of the “Gut.” But Mr. Slick was missing, nor could any trace of him be found; I therefore ordered the horse again to the stable, and awaited his return with all due patience. It was five o’clock in the afternoon before he made his appearance. Sorry to keep you awaitin’, said he, but I got completely...

      (pp. 308-316)

      The next morning we resumed our journey, and travelling through the township of Clements, and crossing Moose and Bear rivers, reached Digby early in the afternoon. It was a most delightful drive. When we left Annapolis the fog was slowly rising from the low grounds and resting on the hills, to gather itself up for a flight into upper air, disclosing, as it departed ridge after ridge off the Granville Mountain, which lay concealed in its folds, and gradually revealing the broad and beautiful basin that extends from the town to Digby.

      I am too old now for romance, and,...

      (pp. 317-326)

      Digby is a charming little town. It is the Brighton of Nova Scotia, the resort of the valetudinarians of New Brunswick, who take refuge here from the unrelenting fogs, hopeless sterility, and calcareous waters of St John. About as pretty a location this for business, said the Clockmaker, as I know on in this country. Digby is the only safe harbour from Blowmedown to Briar Island. Then there is that everlastin’ long river runnin’ away up from the wharves here almost across to Minas Basin, bordered with dikes and interval, and backed up by good upland. A nice, dry, pleasant...

      (pp. 327-335)

      One amusing trait in the Clockmaker’s character was his love of contradiction. If you suggested any objection to the American government he immediately put himself on the defensive; and if hard pressed, extricated himself by changing the topic. At the same time he would seldom allow me to pass a eulogy upon it without affecting to consider the praise as misapplied, and as another instance of “our not understanding them.” In the course of our conversation I happened to observe that the American government was certainly a very cheap one; and that the economy practised in the expenditure of the...

      (pp. 336-347)

      When we have taken our tower, said the Clockmaker, I estimate I will return to theU-nited States for good and all. You had ought to visit our great nation, you may depend: it’s the most splendid location atween the poles. History can’t show nothin’ like it; you might bile all creation down to an essence, and not get such a concrete as New England. It’s a sight to behold twelve million of free and enlightened citizens, and I guess we shall have all these provinces, and all South America. There is no eend to us; old Rome that folks...

      (pp. 348-356)

      Since I parted with you, squire, at Windsor, last fall, I’ve been to home. There’s been an awful smash among the banks in the States,—they’ve been blowed over, and snapped off, and torn up by the roots like the pines to the southward in a tornado:—awful work, you may depend. Everything prostrated as flat as if it had been chopped with an axe for the fire; it’s the most dismal sight I ever beheld. Shortly after I left you I got a letter from Mr. Hopewell, a tellin’ of me, there was a storm abrewin’, and advisin’ of...

      (pp. 357-367)

      The next day we reached Clare, a township wholly settled by descendants of the Acadian French. The moment you pass the bridge at Scissiboo, you become sensible that you are in a foreign country. And here I must enter my protest against that American custom of changing the old and appropriate names of places, for the new and inappropriate ones of Europe. Scissiboo is the Indian name of this long and beautiful river, and signifies the great deep, and should have been retained, not merely because it was its proper name, but on account of its antiquity, its legends, and,...

      (pp. 368-376)

      Wherever natur’ does least, man does most, said the Clockmaker. Gist see the difference atween these folks here to Liverpool and them up the bay of Fundy. There natur’ has given them the finest country in the world,—she has taken away all the soil from this place, and chucked it out there, and left nothin’ but rocks and stones here. There they gist vegetate, and here they go a-head like anything. I was credibly informed, when Liverpool was first settled, folks had to carry little light ladders on their shoulders to climb over the rocks, and now they’ve got...

      (pp. 377-388)

      There are few countries in the world, squire, said the Clockmaker, got such fine water powers as these provinces; but the folks don’t make no use of ’em, tho’ the materials for factories are spread about in abundance everywhere. Perhaps the whole world might be stumped to produce such a factory stand as Niagara Falls; what a ’nation sight of machinery that would carry, wouldn’t it?—supply all Birmingham a’most.

      The first time I returned from there, minister said, Sam, said he, have you seen the falls of Niagara? Yes, sir, said I, I guess I have. Well, said he,...

      (pp. 389-398)

      The road from Chester to Halifax is one of the worst in the province; and daylight failing us before we made half our journey, we were compelled to spend the night at a small unlicensed house, the occasional resort of fishermen and coasters. There was but one room in the shanty, besides the kitchen and bed-room; and that one, though perfectly clean, smelt intolerably of smoked salmon that garnished its rafters. A musket, a light fowling-piece, and a heavy American rifle, were slung on the beams that supported the floor of the garret; and snow-shoes, fishing-rods, and small dip-nets with...

      (pp. 399-408)

      The next morning, the rain poured down in torrents, and it was ten o’clock before we were able to resume our journey. I am glad, said Mr. Slick, that cussed critter that schoolmaster hasn’t yet woke up. I’m most afeerd if he had aturned out afore we started, I should have quilted him, for that talk of his last night sticks in my crop considerable hard. It ain’t over easy to disgest, I tell you; for nothin’ a’most raises my dander so much as to hear a benighted, ignorant, and enslaved foreigner, belittle our free and enlightened citizens. But, see...

      (pp. 409-417)

      Halifax, like London, has its tower also, but there is this remarkable difference between these two national structures, that the one is designed for thedefenders of the country, and the other for itsoffenders; and that the former is as difficult to be brokenintoas the latter (notwithstanding all the ingenious devices of successive generations from the days of Julius Cæsar to the time of the schoolmaster) is to be brokenout of. A critical eye might perhaps detect some other, though lesser, points of distinction. This cis-Atlantic martello tower has a more aristocratic and exclusive air than...

      (pp. 418-428)

      It is painful to think of the blunders that have been committed from time to time in the management of our colonies, and of the gross ignorance, or utter disregard of their interests, that has been displayed in the treaties with foreign powers. Fortunately for the mother country the colonists are warmly attached to her and her institutions, and deplore a separation too much to agitate questions, however important, that may have a tendency to weaken their affections by arousing their passions. The time, however, has now arrived when the treatment of adults should supersede that of children. Other and...

      (pp. 429-438)

      Having now fulfilled his engagement with me, Mr. Slick informed me that business required his presence at the river Philip, and that, as he could delay his departure no longer, he had called for the purpose of taking leave. I am plaguy loth to part with you, said he, you may depend; it makes me feel quite lonesum’ like: but I ain’t quite certified we shan’t have a tower in Europe yet afore we’ve done. You have a pair of pistols, squire,—as neat a little pair of sneezers as I e’en a’most ever seed, and―They are yours, I said;...

  11. The Clockmaker, Series Three
    • Middle Matter
      (pp. 439-440)
    • Table of Contents
      (pp. 441-442)
      (pp. 443-450)

      The communication by steam between Nova Scotia and England will form a new era in colonial history. It will draw closer the bonds of affection between the two countries, afford a new and extended field for English capital, and develope the resources of that valuable but neglected province. Mr. Slick, with his usual vanity, claims the honour of suggesting it, as well as the merit of having, by argument and ridicule, reasoned and shamed the Government into its adoption. His remarks upon the cruelty of employing the unsafe and unfortunate gun-brigs that constituted the line of Falmouth packets, until they...

      (pp. 451-461)

      I had lingered so long about these grounds, that the day was too far spent to think of reaching Windsor before night, and I therefore determined upon wiling away the afternoon in examining, by the aid of a diving-bell, the hulls of several ships of a French fleet, which at an early period of the history of this country took shelter in Bedford Basin, and was sunk by the few survivors of the crews to prevent their falling into the hands of the English. The small-pox, at that time so fatal a scourge to the human race, appearing among them...

      (pp. 462-471)

      It is not to be supposed that Mr. Slick had ever made such an absurd exhibition of himself in the Legislative Hall of Slickville, as he thought proper to pourtray in the anecdote related in the last chapter. He was evidently a man of too much tact and natural good sense, to have rendered himself so ridiculous; nor must we, on the other hand, attribute his making himself the hero of the tale to an absence of vanity, for few men had a greater share of it than himself. It probably arose from his desire to avoid personalities, and an...

      (pp. 472-479)

      Yes, squire, said the Clockmaker, there is nothin’ like lookin’ “behind the scenes” in this world. I rather pride myself on that lesson of Major Bradford. It came airly in life, and was, as he said, the best lesson I ever had. It made me an obsarvin’ man. It taught me to look into things considerable sharp. I’ve given you a peep behind the scenes in assembly matters, so that you can judge how far patriots and reformers show the painted face; and at the theatre what devils little angels of dancin’ galls turn out sometimes; and now I’ll tell...

      (pp. 480-491)

      Well, squire, said the Clockmaker, I’m glad you are goin’ to England too. I can guide you thro’ Britain as well as I can thro’ the States, or the Provinces, for I’ve been there often; I know every part of it. They are strange folks them English. On pitikilars they know more than any people; but on generals they are as ignorant as owls. Perhaps there ain’t no place in the world such nonsense is talked as in parliament. They measure every one by themselves as father did about his clothes.He always thought hisn ought to fit all his...

      (pp. 492-501)

      On our arrival at the inn at Windsor we were shown into a spacious apartment, in some respects answering in appearance and use to an English coffee-room. At the upper end, near the window, sat a stranger, looking at rather than reading a newspaper.

      Look there now, said Mr. Slick in an undertone, jist look there now, for goodness gracious sake! Did you ever see the beat of that? That is a Britisher; I know him by the everlastin’ scorny air he wears—for them benighted English think no one can see in the dark but themselves. He is what...

      (pp. 502-510)

      As soon as the conversation related in the preceding chapter had ceased, I committed the heads of it to paper, and as I intended to proceed on the following day to New Brunswick, I retired early, in order to secure a good night’s rest. In this expectation, however, I was disappointed. The bar, which adjoined my bedroom, now began to fill with strangers, travelling to and from the capital, and the thin wooden partition that separated us was insufficient to exclude the noise of so many voices. After awhile the confusion gradually subsided, by the greater part of the persons...

      (pp. 511-518)

      Instead of embarking at Windsor in the steamer for New Brunswick, as we had originally designed, Mr. Slick proposed driving me in his waggon to Horton by the Mount Denson route, that I might have an opportunity of seeing what he pronounced to be some of the most beautiful scenery in the province. Having arranged with the commander of the boat to call for us at the Bluff, we set out accordingly a few hours before high-water, and proceeded at our leisure through the lower part of Falmouth. Mr. Slick, as the reader no doubt has observed, had a good...

      (pp. 519-528)

      Talkin’ of that young bride of Bill Dill Mill, and phrenology, continued the Clockmaker, puts me in mind of a conversation I had with minister about women, jist afore I came down here the last time. The old man was advisin’ of me to marry, and settle down to Slickville, into what he called “a useful member of society.” Poor old crittur! he is so good himself, he thinks no harm of no one, and looks on a gall as a rose without a thorn, or an angel in petticoats, or somethin’ of that kind; but book-larned men seldom know...

      (pp. 529-539)

      No person on entering the harbour of St. John, for the first time, could suppose that it was the outlet of one of the largest rivers on the American continent, as it is in no way to be distinguished in appearance from any of those numerous inlets of the sea that render the coast of the British provinces everywhere accessible to ships of the largest class. As soon, however, as he gets a view of this noble stream, and becomes acquainted with its magnitude, he feels that Saint John is destined by nature, as well as the activity and intelligence...

      (pp. 540-551)

      It was late at night when we arrived at one of the frontier towns of the state of Maine, which, to avoid local offence, I shall designate as Quimbagog. There was so much noisy disputation relative to politicks and religion in the coffee-room of the inn, that I retired early to bed, with a bad headache, and not without some misgiving, that by visiting Maine first I had entered the States, to use an expression of the Clockmaker’s, by the wrong door. In order that the sketch which I am now about to give may be fully understood, it may...

      (pp. 552-563)

      During one of our former journeys a circumstance occurred, that I did not understand at the time, but which Mr. Slick now explained to me. On our return from Chester in Nova Scotia to Windsor, we stopped at a small house on the road-side, near a sawmill, for the purpose of feeding our horse, and in the course of a conversation which it appeared to me was designedly introduced, relative to the stream and the adjoining timber-land, Mr. Slick extolled the “water power” “mill privilege” betterments and convenience and value of the place in terms of such extravagant praise, that...

      (pp. 564-574)

      The reckless speculation occasioned by an equally reckless issue of paper money, which has of late years appeared in the United States, has had a far more injurious operation than any one who has not carefully watched its progress and effects could possibly suppose. The first apparent change it produced was to raise the price of real and personal property far beyond their value, and to cause the unhappy delusion, that this feverish excitement was a healthy condition. That a great alteration had taken place was obvious to all; and those who were profiting by it, found it by no...

      (pp. 575-583)

      Having travelled this day from Parnassus to Thebes,¹ a distance of thirty-five miles, we concluded to remain where we were, although there were some two or three hours of daylight yet to spare, and to resume our journey on the following morning. Thebes is a small town, nor does there appear to have been any grounds whatever for supposing that it could, by any possible contingency, ever attain the size or imitate the splendour of that whose name has been thought so appropriate as to be transferred to this little assemblage of wooden houses and log huts. The town appeared...

      (pp. 584-592)

      As we approached Boston, Mr. Slick said, Ah, squire! now you will see as pretty a city as we have this side of the water. There is a good many folks worth seein’ here, and a good many curosities of natur’ too. There’s the State House, and Old Funnel, and Charleston College, and the Market-place, and the Wharf they give to the British steamer (an act of greater liberality p’raps than you’ll find, I estimate, in the world), and ever so many things. Then there is Mount Auburn. Lord, the French may crack and boast as much as they please,...

      (pp. 593-602)

      On our arrival at Boston we drove to the Tremont House, which is not only one of the first of its kind in the United States, but decidedly one of the best in the world. As our time was limited we proceeded, as soon as we could, to visit the several objects of interest in the city and its neighbourhood, and among the rest Bunker’s Hill, where, Mr. Slick observed, “the British first got a taste of what they afterwards got a belly-full.” The hill was surmounted by an unfinished monument, which, he said, it was intended should exceed in...

      (pp. 603-611)

      The Clockmaker had an extensive and accurate knowledge of human nature. The wandering life he had led, and the nature of his business, which sent him into every man’s house, afforded him a favourable opportunity of studying character, a knowledge of which was the foundation of his success in life. Like most clever men, however, he prided himself less upon what he did, than what he did not, know, and was more ambitious of being considered a man of fashionable manners, than a skilful mechanic, an expert salesman, or a shrewd, intelligent man. It was one of his weak points,...

      (pp. 612-622)

      As we approached Slickville, the native town of the Clockmaker, he began to manifest great impatience and an extraordinary degree of excitement. He urged on old Clay to the top of his speed, who, notwithstanding all the care bestowed upon him, and the occasional aid of a steam-boat whenever there was one running in the direction of our route, looked much thinner for this prodigious journey than when we left Halifax. Come, old Tee-total, said he, you are a-goin’ home now, and no mistake. Hold up your old oatmill, and see if you can snuff the stable at minister’s, if...

      (pp. 623-633)

      Such is the charm of manner, that it often happens that what we hear with pleasure we afterwards read with diminished satisfaction. I cannot now give the words of the Minister, for the memory seldom retains more than the substance, and I am quite aware how much these conversations lose in repeating. He was, as Mr. Slick observed, “the best talker I ever heard,” and I regretted that my time was so limited I had it not in my power to enjoy more of his society at this place, although I am not altogether without hopes that as I have...

      (pp. 634-645)

      This was the day fixed for our departure, and I must say I never felt so much regret at leaving any family I had known for so short a time as I experienced on the present occasion. Mr. Slick, I am inclined to think, was aware of my feelings, and to prevent the formality of bidding adieu, commenced a rhodomontade conversation with aunt Hetty. As soon as we rose from the breakfast-table, he led her to one of the windows and said, with a solemnity that was quite ludicrous,—He is very ill, very ill indeed; he looks as sick...

      (pp. 646-656)

      This being the last day at my disposal at New York, I went on board of the Great Western and secured a passage for myself and Mr. Slick; and, as there were still several vacant berths, had the gratification to find there was room for my worthy friend Mr. Hopewell, if he should incline to accompany us, and arrive in time to embark. I then sauntered up through the Broadway to a coach-stand, and drove to the several residences of my kind and agreeable fiends to bid them adieu. New York is decidedly the first city of the western world,...

  12. Explanatory Notes
    (pp. 657-750)
  13. Bibliographical Description of Copy-texts
    (pp. 751-770)
  14. Published Versions of the Text
    (pp. 771-820)
  15. Emendations in Copy-texts
    (pp. 821-838)
  16. Line-end Hyphenated Compounds in Copy-texts
    (pp. 839-842)
  17. Line-end Hyphenated Compounds in CEECT Edition
    (pp. 843-846)
  18. Historical Collation
    (pp. 847-866)
  19. Appendix: Advertisement, First Edition
    (pp. 867-870)