The Clockmaker


Sam Slick of Slickville, Connecticut, is a Yankee clock-peddler who accompanies a visiting English gentleman on an unforgettable tour of early nineteenth-century Nova Scotia. His shrewd observations and witty commentaries make up the thirty-three sketches of The Clockmaker.

First serialized in 1835 and 1836 and then published together in late 1836 in response to public ...
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Clockmaker: The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville

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Sam Slick of Slickville, Connecticut, is a Yankee clock-peddler who accompanies a visiting English gentleman on an unforgettable tour of early nineteenth-century Nova Scotia. His shrewd observations and witty commentaries make up the thirty-three sketches of The Clockmaker.

First serialized in 1835 and 1836 and then published together in late 1836 in response to public demand, the sketches of The Clockmaker established Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton as a satirical humorist of international stature.

The New Canadian Library edition is an unabridged reprint of the complete original text.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781103005161
  • Publisher: BiblioBazaar
  • Publication date: 1/28/2009
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard A. Davies is Professor Emeritus of English and Theatre at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

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Read an Excerpt

[After these Sketches had gone through the press, and were ready for the binder, we sent Mr. Slick a copy; and shortly afterwards received from him the following letter, which characteristic communication we give entire. — Editor.]

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 of fish I’ve made on it, hav’nt I? I shall never hear the last on it, and what am I to say when I go back to the States? I’ll take my oath I never said one half the stuff he has set down there…. Now folks say you are a considerable of a candid man, and right up and down in your dealins, and do things above board, handsum — at least so I’ve hearn tell. That’s what I like; I love to deal with such folks. Now spose you make me an offer?

You’ll find me not very difficult to trade with, and I don’t know but I might put off more than half of the books myself, tu. I’ll tell you how I’d work it. I’d say, “Here’s a book they’ve namesaked arter me, Sam Slick the Clockmaker, but it tante mine, and I can’t altogether jist say rightly whose it is…. It wipes up the Blue Noses considerable hard, and don’t let off theYankees so very easy neither, but it’s generally allowed to be about the prettiest book ever writ in this country; and although it aint altogether jist gospel what’s in it, there’s some pretty home truths in it, that’s a fact. Whoever wrote it must be a funny feller, too, that’s sartin; for there are some queer stories in it that no soul could help larfin at, that’s a fact. Its about the wittiest book I ever seed. Its nearly all sold off, but jist a few copies I’ve kept for my old customers. The price is just 5s. 6d. but I’ll let you have it for 5s. because you’ll not get another chance to have one.” Always ax a sixpence more than the price, and then bate it, and when Blue Nose hears that, he thinks he’s got a bargain, and bites directly. I never see one on ’em yet that didn’t fall right into the trap.

Yes, make me an offer, and you and I will trade, I think. But fair play’s a jewel, and I must say I feel ryled and kinder sore. I han’t been used handsum atween you two, and it don’t seem to me that I had ought to be made a fool on in that book, arter that fashion, for folks to laugh at, and then be sheered out of the spec. If I am, somebody had better look out for squalls, I tell you. I’m as easy as an old glove, but a glove aint an old shoe to be trod on, and I think a certain person will find that out afore he is six months older, or else I’m mistakened, that’s all. Hopin to hear from you soon, I remain yours to command,

samuel slick.

Pugnose’s Inn, River Philip, Dec. 25, 1836.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Thomas Chandler Haliburton: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
The Clockmaker, First Series
Appendix A: Pre-The Clockmaker Texts
From Thomas Chandler Haliburton, A General Description of Nova Scotia (1823)
From Haliburton's Legislative Speeches (1827-28)
From "The Club," Novascotian (21 May 1829)
From Thomas Chandler Haliburton, An Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia (1829)
Appendix B: Precursors
From Thomas McCulloch, The Mephibosheth Stepsure Letters (1821-22)
From Seba Smith, The Life and Writings of Major Jack Downing, of Downingville (1833)
From Charles Augustus Davis, Letters of J. Downing, Major, Downingville Militia, Second Brigade (1834)
From Matthew St. Clair Clarke, Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. David Crockett, of West Tennessee (1833)
From John Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada (1821)
Appendix C: Comments by Thomas Chandler Haliburton on The Clockmaker, First Series
From a "DINNER TO THOMAS C. HALIBURTON," Novascotian (12 June 1839)
Appendix D: Contemporary Reviews
"Julian" [Alexander Stewart], Acadian Recorder (10 June 1837)
From Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (1837)
Appendix E: Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville
From Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution of France (1790)
From Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)
Select Bibliography

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