The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Number 550

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From the Bulletin of Pharmacy published by E. G. Swift, 1912


Editor's note: This is an excerpt from The American Scholar in Professional Life by George Gluyas Mercer, 1877 graduate of Haverford College. The paper was presented at the thirty-third annual meeting of the Alumni Association on June 24, 1889.

"American newspapers are beginning to claim attention abroad. A New York Daily unsurpassed for its lavishness of expenditure for news—a paper which many a man will purchase because of its excellence in that respect although its editorials and sensational articles are a daily disgust to him—has lately begun the publication of a London and also a Paris edition. A few weeks ago I happened to purchase a copy of the Paris edition of the New York Herald. It was a single sheet paper containing twenty-four columns. One-third of it consisted of advertisements. There was one editorial covering half a column. Two columns were devoted to personal intelligence, and two more to a comic woodcut taken from a New York illustrated paper. The piece-de-resistance covered nearly two and one-half columns and occupied a prominent place on the editorial page. It was a scholarly (?) article on 'London Barmaids' and was illustrated by seven woodcut pictures of those bewitching creatures showing their varying styles of beauty, from that of 'Jummy who hangs out at the Bay Tree Tavern and fascinates the financiers of Lombard Street,' to that of 'Home Rule Bridget who doles out liquid refreshment every evening—Sundays excepted—to visitors at the Royal Aquarium, Irish M. P.'s having the preference.' 'A barmaid,' said the article, 'is a decorative female cork extractor, capable of standing on its feet for twelve hours a day, and smiling automatically upon the youth and manhood of great Britain.'

'News for the servant's hall,' Matthew Arnold would indignantly exclaim, but therein he would wrong the servants, for they do not, although some of their American masters may, take an interest in the barmaids of London, and the paper from which I have quoted is not the Police Gazette. On the contrary, it is 'the only paper in London that publishes an edition seven days a week,' and it is the first thing distinctively American that is 'delivered on board every passenger steamship arriving at a foreign port from America;'' it is the paper which Andrew Carnegie said the other day he had been reading 'with admiration,' and it is the paper which this summer will be in the hands of the American scholar and the American millionaire and their sons and daughters as they view with delight the wonders of the Paris Exposition. There can be but one opinion as to the reproach it casts upon the nation, and we must feel the infamy."

Got a Pataug?

Reported in the Sioux County Herald (Orange City, Iowa) on June 19, 1911: "They were smoking rented nagilehs at the Cedars of Lebanon cafe in the Syrian section on Washington Street. Suddenly the friend cried "Pataug, Pataug" and waiter brought out an ordinary corkscrew. "I was just testing" said the friend to his companion, "the truth of the story that the first corkscrew in Bayreuth was brought there by a Yankee. It was a patented American contraption, and the Syrians were amaze at its convenience. They spelled out on it the mystic words 'Pat. Aug., '76' and took that to be the name of implement. Now I believe the story that 'pataug' is its name all over Levant"

A slightly different tale was spun by the Urbana Daily Courier (Illinois) November 5, 1927: "The first corkscrews ever seen in Palestine were taken there by a Yankee trader. They were a patented type and their hardiness delighted everyone. Etched on them was the legend 'Pat. August, 1858'. The natives took these words for the corkscrew's name and all over Palestine today when a man wants to open a bottle he shouts, 'Pataug.'

Napoleon's Corkscrews

This was reported in the Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York Corrector on November 11, 1854: " We are told, that when the Empress of the French [Eugenie] visits England, she will appear in a shawl worth forty thousand francs, with the arms of England and France woven in lace. This to be typical of the coming free trade in thread and cotton. Punch's own correspondent observes, in addition, that the Emperor's dress waistcoat will be ornamented with a border of corkscrews and grape vines, as emblematic of his intentions of throwing open France to English steel, that England may, in return, take cheap French wine."

Editor's Note: Revisit the Napoleon Face "Corkscrew" in the March 6, 2003 issue.

Gimlet vs Corkscrew

Editor's Note: From The Reading Club and Handy Speaker: Being Selections in Prose and Poetry, Serious, Humorous, Pathetic, Patriotic, and Dramatic, for Readings and Recitations edited by George Melville Baker Published by Lee & Shepard, 1877.

A Connubial Controversy

The bolt on the back door had needed replacing for a long time, but it was only the other night that Mr. Thornton had the presence of mind to buy a new one and take it home. After supper he hunted up his tools, removed the old bolt, and measured the location for the new one. He must bore some new holes, and Mrs. Thornton heard him roaming around the kitchen and woodshed, slamming doors, pulling out drawers and kicking the furniture around. She went to the head of the stairs and called.

"Richard do you want anything?"

"Yes I do," he yelled back, "I want to know where in Texas that corkscrew is."

"Corkscrew, Richard?"

"Yes corkscrew, Richard! I've looked the house over and can't find it."

"Why, we never had one Richard."

"Didn't, eh! We had a dozen of 'em in the last two years, and I bought one not four weeks ago. It's always the way when I want anything."

"But you must be out of your head, husband," she said, as she descended the stairs. "We've kept house seven years, and I never remember of seeing you bring a corkscrew home."

"Oh, yes, I'm out of my head, I am," he grumbled as he pulled out the sewing machine drawer, and turned over its contents. "Perhaps I better go to the lunatic asylum right away."

"Well, Richard, I know that I have never seen a corkscrew in this house."

"Then you are as blind as an owl in daylight, for I've bought five or six. The house is always upside down, anyhow, and I never can find anything."

"The house is kept as well as any of your folks can keep one," she retorted, growing red in the face."

"I'd like my mother here to show you a few things," he said, as he stretched his neck to look on the top shelf in the pantry.

"Perhaps she'd boil her spectacles with the potatoes again," answered the wife.

"Do you know who you are talking to!" he yelled, as he jumped down.

"Yes, I do."

"Well, you'll be going for York State, if you don't look out!"

"I'd like to see myself! When I go this house goes."

"Look out, Nancy!"

"I'm afraid of no man that lives, Richard Thornton!"

"I'll leave you."

"And I'll laugh to see you go!"

Going close up to her he extended his finger, shook it to emphasize his words, and slowly said:

"Nancy Thornton, I'll apply for a divorce to-morrow! I'll tell the judge that I kindly and lovingly asked you where the gimlet was, and you said we'd never had one in the house, which is a falsehood, as I can prove!"

"Gimlet!" she gasped.

"Yes, gimlet!"

"Why, I know where there are three you four. You said corkscrew."

"Did I?" he gasped, sitting down on the corner of the table; "well, now, I believe I did!"

"And you went and abused my like a slave because I wouldn't say a gimlet was a corkscrew!" she sobbed, falling on the lounge.

"Nancy," he said, tenderly lifting her up.

"Oh, Richard," she chokingly answered.

"Nancy, I'll go right out doors and kill myself."

"No, you needn't - I love you still! only - only - you know a gimlet is not a corkscrew."

"It ain't - it ain't, Nancy, forgive me and lets be happy."

And that household is so quietly happy that a canary bird would sing its head off if hung up in the hall.

For more on Gimlets see November 21, 2003, November 22, 2003, November 23, 2003, November 25, 2003, November 26, 2003, November 29, 2003, and November 30, 2003.

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©2009 Don Bull, Editor


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