I was walking through the city the other day when I came upon a small shop I hadn’t noticed before. Piled high on the sidewalk were silver serving dishes, rickety furniture and dusty quilts. I made my way inside. The aisles were narrow and the space was overwhelmingly cluttered, and there were treasures everywhere. For a long while, I was stuck in front of large chest that resembled an oversized card file with dozens of small drawers. Every one that I opened held a different collection of small things: antique shaving brushes, silver lighters, sewing supplies, pipe cases. I talked to the owner for a little, who told me that they’d been there for years, but weren’t open very often. “Pretty much Saturday afternoons, only,” he said. “Usually.”
I could have explored for hours, and I could have bought so many things, but I tried to exercise a modicum of restraint. I only bought three antique elixer bottles:
The middle one says, “Balm of Life”. Also, the inscription on the back of the large bottle is amazing:
Since 1892 works wonders. This is not a polite way of drinking. Nothing in this remedy will grow on anyone. No danger of contracting the drink or any other kind of habit.