Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jilted Parties in the Surf - Coney Island

A little story--a bit challenging for the modern reader to follow (or at least it was for me), but probably worth it to get the flavor of the era. (It, or a substantially similar story, was also published in the Brooklyn Eagle August 27, 1850.)

A Surf Scene.

A correspondent of the Springfield Republican at Coney Island, gives the following killing incident of the surf:

During my passage down the bay I had caught several glances of a familiar face. I knew I had seen it before, but where? The lady as evidently had been subject to a jog of memory. The exchange of a few glances satisfied us both that we only wanted a proper opportunity, or a disposition to speak. Ten long years before, we had parted in a huff, and considering myself at the time the aggrieved party, I was not particularly anxious to renew the acquaintance--the jilt. As soon as the boat touched the pier, I was on it, and off for a bath. The lady for the time was forgotten, and issuing from the bath house in my rough bathing dress, I plunged into the breakers. I had been frolicking some time, laying my hand on the "ocean's mane," and the ocean laying his hand on mine, when I saw two or three other bathers edging up towards me between the swells. There was a lady evidently, in advance. Her company apparently forgot her, at last, and still she approached me. I went farther out. She followed and I found she was determined to speak to me.--I knew who she was of course. A huge wave came in, and knocked the woman down, but sticking her head out of the water, she gave one scream, and that brought me. I was on the spot as soon as I could get there, and grasping her arm raised her to her feet.

'Oh!' said the lady, 'wha--wah--waht a meet--meet--meeting, after such a parting."

'Well--yes,' said I, bluntly.

She now undertook to look the grateful and the interesting, when a huge wave struck her as she looked up to me with parted lips, and crammed her dear mouth with salt water. She dropped again, and again I pulled her out, and she was either very weak or she thought I was certainly very strong.

'Mary,' said I, 'have you been happy since we parted?'

She answered me with a sigh, and then looking up to me put the same question.

Says I, 'ho hum--ho hum--ho hum--Mary don't talk about it.'

'I have learned some things since then,' said she.

'Yes,' says I, 'I believe you have: you married a learned man I think.'

'Me married !'

'What did you jilt a very good looking man for ten years ago, but to marry a certain learned man?' asked I fiercely.

'I beg you will not allude to the foolishness of a school girl,' replied the lady, and then changing the subject, she wanted to know how she should have felt if, in saving her from a watery grave, I had drowned myself. I told her it would probably have made less difference with her and me than with my wife and child. She gave me but one look, and rose to her feet, and put.

"I saw her but a moment,
But methinks I see her now,"

as she walked off with her bathing-dress sticking to her, and her little bare feet indenting the sand with the spitefulness of her step.

--Hartford Weekly Times, August 31, 1850

In subject matter it almost reminds me of Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg. (My dad kind of likes that song; I'm' not really a fan. Though the concept of celebrating the holidays with some "car beer" amuses me...I don't really drink so it's not plausible for me though!)

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