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[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 the Yankees 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,
Pugnose’s Inn, River Philip, Dec. 25, 1836.