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Old November 28th, 2012 #5
Alex Linder
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,342
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder

[Jethro post in other thread]

Here's how the James Fenimore Cooper illustrated the cultural differences between Southerners and Yankees back in 1821. Harvey Birch could be Greg Johnson:

Quote:"While taking the measure of the American gentlemen, Cooper had the happy sense to introduce Harvey Birch. Harvey possesses all the traits which characterized the Yankee in folklore. He is shrewd, acquisitive and mysterious in his movements. He always travels alone, pack on back. He is thought to be in league with the devil. His superior intelligence, Cooper hints, might mean that his family "had known better fortunes in the land of their nativity," but he arrives on the scene devoid of gentility. He spits tobacco juice into the fireplace, talks straight and bargains hard, even with his "friends" the Whartons. He has "the common manners of the country." In particular, he is characterized by his overt and unabashed love of money. He receives payment for a sale of tobacco in a fetishistic ritual:

Quote:"Harvey's eyes twinkled as he contemplated the reward; and rolling over in his mouth a large quantity of the article in question, coolly stretched forth his hand, into which the dollars fell with a most agreeable sound; but not satisfied with the transient music of their fall, the peddler gave each piece in succession a stepping stone on the ring of the piazza, before he consigned it to the safe keeping of a huge deer-skin purse, which vanished from the sign of the spectators so dexterously, that not one of them could have told about what part of his person it was secreted."

"I am afraid," Mr. Wharton commented sadly, "[Harvey's] love of money is a stronger passion than love of his kin."


"Toward the end of the novel he attempts to pay Harvey for his services, but Harvey refuses the money without hesitation. "Does your excellency think," he asks, "that I have exposed my life, and blasted my character, for money?' Mr. Harper expresses amazement. "If not for money," he asks the acquisitive Yankee, "what then?" Harvey terminates the conversation with another question. "What has brought your excellency into the field"?