Humbug on the Hudson — Crib Sheet — (2 pages)
Humbug was frequently used to mean deception, or nonsense, often involving hypocrisy. Bunk—as in the subtitle, Bunk for Two—can be either a bed or a short form of bunkum, meaning bombast or nonsense. Each of the chapter titles refers to a book of the period, most of them low-brow and likely known to Harry or the other characters.
Taking Chances (1900) is a book of gambling anecdotes by Clarence Louis Cullen.
Women and Economics (1898) was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman before her better-known work on home décor.
Hawk-eye Returns refers to James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (1826). Though from a much earlier time, it was still immensely popular and would have been required reading when Harry was in school.
A Day in Ten Bar-rooms pokes fun at Ten Nights in a Bar-room (1854), a mawkish temperance novel that had become a target of ridicule by 1900.
The Tyranny of Tears (1899) was one of the many frivolous stage comedies of the period.
A Mad Betrothal (1890) by Laura Jean Libbey was a sort of dime novel of the sentimental type.
Madame Butterfly (1898) by John Luther Long was first a weepy short story. In 1900, David Belasco made a one-act play out of it to accompany his too-insubstantial comedy Naughty Anthony. Puccini’s opera came out in 1904.
faro: A card game with a banker and several players, usually fixed.
poolroom: A gambling establishment that receives sporting event results via telegraph.
Mrs. Butler: Proprietress of a colorful boarding house in Glens Falls.
Scott Breen: A lawyer in Glens Falls.
Dwight Chambers: A real-estate agent in Glens Falls.
Estelle (aka Annie): A young woman capable of speedy social evolution.
Mr. Holt: A guest at Mrs. Butler’s establishment.
Samuel Keegan: The proprietor of the Gotham Insurance Bureau.
Ed Ketchum: An insurance investigator who specializes in arson and naïveté.
McGee: A man of unpleasant disposition, but unusual skills.
George Phelps: A young dime novel reader and valuable witness.
William Spier: The wealthy owner of a horse farm in Glens Falls.