Bouncing as a Fine Art

by Gaz Regan · Friday, April 13th, 2012 · Quotes

In Valentine’s Manual of Old New York, a 1923 book, edited by Henry Collins Brown, there’s a whole chapter written by William F. Mulhall, a bartender at New York’s Hoffman House from 1882 until the early 1900s.  Mulhall had great stories to tell about his days behind the stick.  Take, for instance, the tale of Billy Edwards, bouncer at the Hoffman House. (That’s Billy on the right)

Edwards, an Englishman by birth, had retired from the boxing ring.  He dressed well, had a quiet disposition, and as far as anyone knew, Edwards was a strict teetotaller.  Mulhall saw Edwards in action only once in all his years at this celebrated bar–apparently he was one of those guys who just looked too tough to mess with, so people behaved themselves in his presence.  One night, though, a “big burly” man got out of control, and Edwards had to deal with him:

“As he stood with both hands flat on the bar swaying his big body back and forth and pouring out a stream of abuse, Billy Edwards stepped over and in a twinkling brought both fists down hard on the man’s hands–you could almost hear the bones crack!  That was the surprise.  Then, before the brute could realize it, he grabbed him and literally ran him out of the side door–I remember distinctly he pushed the man so hard and so swiftly that he had to run to keep up the pace he had made.  That was ‘bouncing’ as a fine art.'”

2 Responses to “Bouncing as a Fine Art”

  1. Steven Dean Lauria says:

    And the portrait of Billy Edwards looks like he was someone that you didn’t want to mess around with!

  2. Gaz Regan says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

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