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Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm off to a wedding in Gloucester, MA in a few hours, so again a short post. And the two ads that I found most interesting this fine morning have absolutely nothing to do with romance. Oops! But I liked 'em.



Sallie, Attention. - You are requested to meet us this (Tuesday) evening, at 8 o'clock, at our elegant headquarters of Bobbie Burns.  East river's and Ale you will find good and abundant.  Bring some silver forks along.  Be punctual.
Will the gentleman who relieved a man of his pocketbook on Sunday night, Jan. 5, while under the influence of liquor, please send the note for $120 to J. Bond, No. 5 Chatham square, second floor?

Okay, the first makes absolutely no sense.  I hate to always fall back on the idea of a code when I don't understand an ad, but in this case, I think I have good reason.  "East river's and Ale"?  "Bring some silver forks"?  Whaaa?  How can you find the East River abundant?  Do they mean river's or rivers?  And is it meaningful that river isn't capitalized?  They often didn't capitalize the words for "streets" the way we do now (like, Madison ave instead of Madison Ave), so it's possible that's just normal.  Or it could be full of significance!  And on that note, why is Ale capitalized?  And what's with the silver forks?  Bobbie Burns' elegant headquarters doesn't have any forks?  I have no idea.  Anyone want to take a shot at interpreting?

And the second ad I just find funny.  It reminds me of this ad, which is one of my absolute favorites.  I love that the author calls the thief a "gentleman."  Ha!  What I wonder is if the thief was really drunk, or if he really only stole the pocketbook because he was drunk - or if the author was just saying that.  Like, I'm just going to pretend you didn't really mean to do that, and that really you're honest...and can you give me my $120 back, please?  I guess if you want to convince a thief to return your property, you have to be as polite about it as possible.  But who's going to return a $120 note?  Unless it's a bank note (like a check) that can't be cashed by anyone but J. Bond.

Oh well, I gotta pack, so whatever additional thoughts I have about this will have to wait...


Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge! ©2010 Pam Epstein

5 comments:

Doogie July 9, 2010 at 2:38 PM  

Post 1. They found a den of vampires and they're calling their hunters to the usual location and suggesting they come with a load of silver. East river is an allusion to water, specifically to holy water. The Holy land being to the east, of course. But that they have plenty of, so that's all good. I'm not sure what Ale alludes too. I'm half tempted to wonder if it isn't some variation of cockney rhyming slang, although being American, that seems unlikely. Bobbie Burns could be an allusion to Robert Burns. Perhaps some type of Scottish society. Or identifying the man by nationality, if there was only one Scots vampire hunter.

Liz July 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM  

A bit of judicious Googling reveals that there is a cocktail called the Bobbie Burns that was created at the bar of the Waldorf Astoria - certainly that would count as an elegant location. If there was such a cocktail as the East River, it doesn't seem to have survived, but the Waldorf is certainly closer to the East River than the Hudson.

The silver forks, however, I have no views on.

Amy July 13, 2010 at 9:54 PM  

I googled "silver forks slang" and came up with this interesting Google books page:
http://books.google.com/books?id=kOU_AAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA412&ots=IZSdCuVO3Z&dq=silver%20forks%20slang&pg=PA412#v=onepage&q&f=false

And that led me to look up "silver forks school" which turned up this - and I think this result is probably better - bring some books along?
http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/silverfork.html

Pam July 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

Wow - you guys are amazing!! I can't believe Liz and Amy that you went through all that trouble. And Doogie, Best. Interpretation. Ever.

Serenity February 10, 2011 at 3:11 AM  

Ah ha! "Silver fork" could be in reference to "silver-fork novel" (see http://books.google.com/books?id=43oBE1nJXaMC&pg=PA361&lpg=PA361&dq=bobbie+burns+cocktail+%22silver+fork%22&source=bl&ots=eQirEC4l3d&sig=hzrr5McY7Iohu-SF8cWe0iAjQpw&hl=en&ei=9ptTTbjGMcSAlAfkps3ZCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false). Ale is simply a term for "brewski". Basically, this A.A. dude is asking Sallie on a date. Instead of it being a fashionable affair, he's simply asking her to come to a bar for cocktails and Ale (aka, brewski - it was probably a brand name at the time). East River refers to a brand of beer (Big East River Beer - see http://belfastbrendy.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!834128475888F970!691.entry), hence the "East River's".
... I still like the vampire interpretation best, though :)

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