Soft and Hard--These two antithetical words, besides their ordinary meaning, have, in Missouri, a political signification. In that State the democratic party are divided into hards and softs. The former advocate an exclusively metallic currency ; the latter are in favor of a State Bank. Mentally and physically, no doubt, there are many softs among the hards, and many hards among the softs.
Yesterday a young six-footer from Missouri was strolling carelessly along the Levee, whistling Jenny, get your hoe-cake done, looking at the sights that passed in panoramic view, as it were, before him, though not taking of anything a very minute view, except it was a dandy with his face covered over with black hair, who passed along, and at whom he laughed outright, ejaculating, Well, I swar, if I didnt take that ere critter when I saw him first to be a bar in breeches !
He had not gone far, flinging out his legs as he would the oars of his flatboat, when he was accosted by one of those fellows who go about seeking for green ones to fleece. This fellow, looking very mysterious, put his hand inside the breast of his coat and pulled out what seemed to be a flashy, emerald, double breastpin, set in gold. He motioned the Missourian to him with a kind of confidential, stage gesture, and asked him, in a semi-suppressed voice, if he would not buy that--he would get the greatest kind of a bargain of it.
The materials of the pin, or pins, we need not tell our readers, instead of being emerald and gold, were stained glass and lacquered brass. This fact the Missourian knew at a glance, although he affected to be quite unconscious of it. He went on to bargain for it, till the sharper consented to give it for five dollars, though if he were not hard up, he said, and if his shirts were not seized for his board, he would not give it for forty.
Well, I haint got less than a ten dollar bill of the Missouri Bank, said the Missourian ; its good as gold, though--never suspended--and, as Im a soft, you see, I prefer it to specie.
O, youre a soft, are you ? said the sharper.
I reckon I am, said the young Missourian.
Well, do you know, I thought you were, said the sharper ; now isnt that strange ?
Very ! said the Missourian, handing over the ten dollar bill, and receiving the brass pin and five silver dollars.
They parted. The sharper carried away a counterfeit ten dollar bill--for such was the one given him by the Missourian--the latter returned to his boat, told how he bit the biter, and treated all hands out of the profits of the trade.
The cussed scamp, said he, took me to be a soft ; but I reckon he found me a hard.
N. O. Picayune.
Source: New York Spirit of the Times 15.7 (12 April 1845): 71. University of Virginia Alderman Library.
Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.
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