1838 Observations of Lowell by Thomas Chandler Haliburton
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People talk an everlastin sight of nonsense about wine, women, and horses. I’ve bought and sold ’em all, I’ve traded in all of them, and I tell you, there aint one in a thousand that knows a grain about either on ’em. You hear folks say, Oh, such a man is an ugly grained critter, he’ll break his wife’s heart; jist as if a woman’s heart was as brittle as a pipe stalk. The female heart, as far as my experience goes, is just like a new India Rubber Shoe; you may pull and pull at it, till it stretches out a yard long, and then let go, and it will fly right back to its old shape. Their hearts are made of stout leather, I tell you; there is a plaguy sight of wear in ’em.

I never knowed but one case of a broken heart, and that was in t’other sex, one Washington Banks. He was a sneezer. He was tall enough to spit down on the heads of your grenadiers, and near about high enough to wade across Charlestown River, and as strong as a tow-boat. I guess he was somewhat less than a foot longer than the moral law and catechism too. He was a perfect pictur of a man; you couldn’t falt him in no particular; he was so just a made critter; folks used to run to the winder when he passed, and say there goes Washington Banks, beant he lovely? I do believe there wasn’t a gall in the Lowell factories, that warn’t in love with him. Sometimes, at intermission, on Sabbath days, when they all came out together, (an amasin hansom sight too, near about a whole congregation of young galls) Banks used to say, ‘I vow, young ladies, I wish I had five hundred arms to reciprocate one with each of you; but I reckon I have a heart big enough for you all; it’s a whapper, you may depend, and every mite and morsel of it at your service.’ Well, how do you act, Mr. Banks, half a thousand little clipper clapper tongues would say, all at the same time, and their dear little eyes sparklin,’ like so many stars twinklin’ of a frosty night.

Well, when I last see’d him, he was all skin and bone, like a horse turned out to die. He was teetotally defleshed, a mere walkin’ skeleton. I am dreadful sorry, says I, to see you, Banks, lookin so peecked; why you look like a sick turkey hen, all legs; what on airth ails you? I am dyin, says he, of a broken heart. What says I, have the galls been jiltin you? No, no, says he, I beant such a fool as that neither. Well, says I, have you made a bad speculation? No, says he, shakin his head, I hope I have too much clear grit in me to take on so bad for that. What under the sun is it, then? said I. Why, says he, I made a bet the fore part of summer with Leftenant Oby Knowles, that I could shoulder the best bower of the Constitution frigate. I won my bet, but the anchor was so etarnal heavy it broke my heart. Sure enough he did die that very fall, and he was the only instance I ever heerd tell of a broken heart

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