Oliver Onley” was a Boston subscriber to Robert Merry’s Museum; he served in the Army during the American Civil War. Like several subscribers, Oliver became a friend of the Museum’s editors, traveling with one to Nova Scotia for a temperance meeting. “Hiram Hatchet” was editor William C. Cutter, whose love of puns and quips made him a popular opponent for subscribers indulging in word battles. “Willie Coleman” was William Hoyt Coleman, one of the most popular of the Museum’s subscribers.

“How the Boston Boys Talk,” by Oliver Onley (from Robert Merry’s Museum, February 1859; p. 52)

South Boston, Mass., and Christmas day;

Dear Hatchet, may I have my say?

I will be short, for dinner waits,

And after that, the girls and skates.

“The girls and skates,” now you will say,

“That’s pretty cool, sir, any way.”

Of course it is, and so’s the air;

But not the girls, they’re pretty fair.

And skating will true pleasure yield;

When, gliding o’er the icy field,

With joyous shout and laughter gay,

We drive each thought of care away.

Dear Uncle, did you ever go

A skating with the ladies, though?

[Of course I did—you need not doubt;

I am a Yankee, out and out.—H.H.]

And Willie Coleman, how with you?

Are you O. K., the real "true blue?”

[Don’t twit poor Willie, just because

He hails from where they make blue laws.


Well, Gotham is an awful place—

Mud and water, silks and lace;

Omnibuses, hacks, and ferries,

Boats, from packets down to wherries.

Though one good thing I there did meet

At a certain place, in Nassau Street.

Now what it was, I think you know,

And thus, with love to all, I’ll go.

[NOTE: The “certain place, in Nassau Street” was 116 Nassau, the office of Merry’s Museum, where subscribers were always welcome.]

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