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--THE INTERVENING SEA

- " HUMORS OF HISTORY."

JOHN BULL'S COUSIN

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JOHN BULL'S COUSIN SIDELIGHTS ON AMERICAN LIFE. I BY DAVID WILLIAMSON. II.—THE SHOPS. In every country you always get a different aspect of life when you go shopping. I saw many points about the American shops which arrested my attention or made me smile. For instance, the barbers are ambitious enough to advertise themselves as "tonsorial artists You will see over a barber's shop the grandiloquent words "Tonsorial Studio," and ccrtainly they make more of the ordinary operation of shaving than we do in England. The biggest store I saw in one of the leading streets in Chicago was given up to providing barbers' requisites, from chairs and fittings to shaving brushes and soap. It was a gigantic place, sufficient, one might have imagined, to supply the whole world of barbers with what they wanted for the pursuit of their profession. More than once I noticed these words in a window of a tailor-" DraB. suits to rent. It did not mean that the tailor was prepared to make sad gashes in the dress-suits of his customers, but to loan them out on hire for an evening. The drug stores are much more numerous than in England, and they sell all sortti of things besides drugs. At most drug stores you can get ice- cream soda, the favourite summer drink of Americans; there will be little chairs and tables for children, and bigger tables for adults, where they can sit sipping this sweet aud pleasant liquid, so grateful in broiling heat. Some drug stores sell books, and at one establishment in a town in Iowa I purchased some albums Most of our patent medicines come originally from the United States, and I am afraid the people there pay less heed to the doctors than they should. The sale of drugs is enormous, and nearly everyone seems to take some medicine or other for a supposed ailment. There is no doubt that the strain on the nerves is far greater in America than elsewhere, and this leads to people dosing themselves with drugs. THE ART OF ADVERTISEMENT. In no country has the art of advertisement been carried to such a success as in America. It was on an American tombstone, so the story runs, that this line appeared after an affecting tribute to the deceased: "His business will be carried on as usual by his sons." I saw several very artistic advertise- ments in the cars and overhead railways of New York and Chicago. Let me give one example of the pithy way in which a man advertises his speciality. There is a manu- facturer of lamp chimneys named Macbeth who is very original in his appeal. He prints in clear type in the middle of a big white space a short sentence such as this: "Six out of seven lamp chimneys crack; the seventh is made by Macbeth." That is all, but how succinct and effective it is There is a much- advertised liniment for bruises which prints little philosophical sentences in large type, and then down in the corner of the advertise- ment your eye sees the mention of the lini- ment. As regards the boards which advertise medicines along the railway route, they are very striking. One idea is to have a life-size figure of a man looking over the board; if the advertised goods are pills he is supposed to have tr n them with advantage and to be looking the picture of health. The walls in the 6treet havo huge posters, some more artistic than any I have seen in England. One peculiarity which I noticed was that men painted on the walls the great pictures which we only see in lithographed sheets. The street painter must be a man of real skill, for he produces most effective and, in several instances, artistic pictures advertising foods or other commodities. One medicine which had a gruesome interest for us was called "Aunt Hannah's Death Drops." NOVELTIES IN THE SHOPS. In a great store in Chicago I saw something which I hope will never be transplanted over here in England. On the tables in the refreshment room were telephones, which could ba used by the men at lunch for no fee, and enabled them to be in touch, even during their luncheon, with their business. That is surely going too far, and can only produce dyspepsia and worry at a time when eating should be the sole concern of a busy man. It is quite usual to find in the great stores a large room set apart as a lounge. The place is furnished luxuriously with sofas and settees,and has most of the popular magazines and newspapers, as well as gratuitous writing material. In one store there were stenographers and typewriters ready to do the correspond- ence of the customers gratuitously. So far as I know, we have not got as far as that yet in the Old Country. In this one establish- ment I questioned the manager as to the system of doing business. He told 'me that there were thousands of customers who were given credit, but only after providing three satisfactory references. As a general rule, I believe Americans are more ready to pay cash for their purchases in shops than we English. ¡ The comprehensiveness of stores is remark- able. A friend told me that she had taken her railway ticket for a journey of 1,000 miles, engaged her rooms at a hotel,purchased a ticket for the theatre, and made several appointments in a city 500 miles away—all this in a drapery establishment, in the course of a few minutes. In Wanamaker's vast store in New York I found they sold not fewer than 300 Bibles a day at the book department, and sometimes the sale reached the figure of 1,000 copies a day. That is one instance of the importance of book sales in these general stores. Indeed, the big circulation of a popular novel depends more upon the stores than anything else. If they like the book, and see a chance of selling largely, they will purchase an enormous quantity. They told me that the books of British [authors had lately gone down in demand, except as regards Mrs. Humphry Ward,, whose new story, "Lady Rose's Daughter," had attained extraordinary success. Book-shops, as we understand the term, did not seem to exist in the cities I visited. The publishers themselves sell books retail, and of course they are able to make a finer display than a small shop could do. They are very astute in their methods of attracting atten- tion to some "book of the moment." In one shop I saw a whole window given up to piles of one book, and round the glass of the window were portraits of the author and cuttings from reviews of this volume. The passer-by had to stop and read, and his next step was to go inside and look at the book, and probably purchase a copy. I do not thinh that shop assistants worry customers to buy quite as much as is the habit over here. You are allowed, for instance, to stay in a publisher's store for an hour or so, turning over his books and glancing at the contents, without being asked to buy. I co aid not help remarking the number of laundries which were visible. Whether it is because of the heat, which makes a change of linen very froquent, or whethr- it is that

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--THE INTERVENING SEA