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Tin-Types Taken in the Streets of New York A Series of Stories and Sketches Portraying Many Singular Phases of Metropolitan Life

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Mr. Ricketty is composed of angles. From his high silk hat worn into dulness, through his black frock coat worn into brightness, along each leg of his broad-checked trowsers worn into rustiness, down into his flat, multi-patched boots, he is a long series of unrelieved angles.

Tipped on the back of his head, but well down over it, he wears an antique high hat, which has assumed that patient, resigned expression occasionally to be observed in the face of some venerable mule, which, having long and hopelessly struggled to free herself of a despicable bondage, at last bows submissively to the inevitable and trudges bravely on till she dies in her tracks.

Everything about Mr. Ricketty, indeed, appears to have an individual expression. His heavily lined, indented brow comes out in a sharp angle over his snappy black eyes, which, sunk far within their sockets, look just like black beans in an elsewise empty eggshell.

His nose is sharp, thin, pendent, and exceedingly ample in its proportions, and it comes inquiringly out from his face as if employed by the rest of his features as a sort of picket sentinel.

It is that uncommonly knowing nose to which the prudent observer of Mr. Ricketty would give his closest attention. He would look at the acute interior angle which it formed at the eyes, and think it much too acute to be pleasant and much too interior to be pretty. He would look at the obtuse exterior angle which it formed on its bridge, and wonder how any humane parent could have permitted such a development to grow before his very eyes when by one quick and dexterous strike with a flat-iron it might have been remedied. He would look at the angle of incidence made by the sun's rays on one side of his nose and then at the angle of reflection on the other, and find himself lost in amazement that anything so thin could produce so dark a shadow.


It is a most uncomfortable nose. It had a way of hanging protectingly over his heavy dark-brown mustache, which, in its turn, hangs protectingly over his thin, wide lips, so as to make it disagreeably certain that they can open and shut, laugh, snap, and sneer without any one being the wiser.

Upon lines almost parallel with those of his nose, his sharp chin extends out and down, fitting by means of another angle upon his long neck, wherein his Adam's apple, like the corner of a cube, wanders up and down at random. Under his side-whiskers the outlines of his square jaws are faintly to be traced, holding in position a pair of hollow cheeks that end directly under his eyes in a little knob of ruddy flesh.

Mr. Ricketty is walking along the Bowery. His step is light and easy, and an air pervades him betokening peace and serenity of mind. In one hand he carries a short rattan stick, which he twirls in his fingers carelessly. His little black eyes travel further and faster than his legs, and rove up and down and across the Bowery ceaselessly. He stops in front of a building devoted, according to the signs spread numerously about it, to a variety of trade....