ABSTRACT

"Pies kill us!" . . . "On to Glory!" . . . "Blood!" . . . "Zwie Lager!" ... "Lincoln and Seward Assassinated!" ... "Grant for President!" ... "Brodie Leaps from Brooklyn Bridge!" ... "Mrs. Astor requests the pleasure . . .!" "Don't come back till you get the recipe!" ... "Paint my face and I'm off to Rector's and to hell with the rest!" . . . "Will you listen to that elevated!" . . . "There's death in the pot!" . . . "God, Nell, ain't it grand!" . . . "What this town needs is a little hatchetation!" From the Civil War until the turn of the century New York behaved as if everything it did or said or even repeated should be followed by an exclamation point. Feelings had been decidedly mixed about the prospect of war. New Yorkers vacillated between apathetic procrastination, abolitionist rallies, and pro-Southern commercial panic—large debts owed by the South to New York would be canceled by the event of war. There was even illogical talk of the city's secession from the state of New York in order to maintain neutrality. But war jitters were briefly dispelled by the arrival in 1860 of two extraordinary social sideshows from abroad—the first from Japan, the second from England.