Mrs Daffodil Takes a Holiday

With the Family away and only a skeleton staff at the Hall, Mrs Daffodil will be taking a brief holiday, returning early in September. Doubtless she will return, refreshed, rejuvenated, and relentlessly informative as always. Those in need of immediate advice or amusement, may wish to consult Mrs Daffodil’s archival postings.

Mrs Daffodil wishes her readers a happy ending to their summers.

Even though on a short holiday from this venue, Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.



The Corpse Stiffed the Barber: 1892


And Got Very Much the Best of the Barber.

Wanted a Funeral Shave, and Went For It Himself.

An Arizona Story, Which Need Have No Doubts Cast Upon Its Entire Authenticity.

[San Francisco Call.]

“Yes, I’ve shaved more than one corpse in my time,” said a Geary-street barber as the reporter sank into the luxury of the big velvet-cushioned chair and said, “shave.”

“Yes, and I’ve shaved more dead men than I ever got pay for,” said the barber, as he tucked in the towels about the reporter’s neck. “You know the price is $5 for scraping a ‘stiff.’ Well, I never got a cent for one ‘stiff’ that I handled once.

“Tell you about it? Well, if you really want to hear it, though it ain’t a pleasant story.

“It happened down in Arizona, where I had a shop. A tall, lean fellow, looking as pale as milk, came in one day and climbed up into the chair.

“I fixed the towels around him and put on the first dash of lather when in walks an old friend who wanted to pay a bill.

“’Are you in a hurry, sir?’ I asked the big man in the chair. He said he was not in a tone that sounded like a funeral bell. So I talked with my friend who came in to pay the bill and went out to take a drink with him.

“When I came back something else happened that kept me from shaving the big fellow in the chair for fully fifteen or twenty minutes. But some other customers came in and I began to get a move on me. I only ran one chair in Arizona.

“I thought the stranger’s face was awfully cold and damp to the touch as I went about shaving him, now in dead earnest, for there were two waiting.

“I was feeling in a good humor and tried to be pleasant to the big fellow, talking about this and that and the other thing. But he never let on he heard a word I said.

‘Razor hurt, mister?’ I asked him as I always ask everybody, for sometimes, you know, the razor may be a little dull and me not know it.

“Well, the stranger never answered a word.

“Shampee, sir?’ I says.

“He never let on he heard me.

“I tried him again: ‘Hair trimmed a little?’

“No answer.

“’Bad weather we’re having,’ I said after a pause, but he never said a word.

“Thinks I, ‘he’s a mute, I guess,’ but I didn’t think twice about it, for when a man wants a quiet shave and he’ll only say so, I never bother him. So I went to shaving and talking to the other customers who were waiting their turns and never said ‘beans’ to the tall stranger under me.

“Well, I got the job done, and bay-rummed, washed and dried him and had put the powder on his face. Then I waited for him to get up so I could comb is hair.

“But he never budged.

“I knew he hadn’t gone to sleep, for his eyes were wide open and he was staring at the ceiling. I thought he must be an awful jay not to know enough to raise his head up to get his hair combed.

“’Rise up, please,’ I said.

“But he didn’t rise for a cent.

“Then I got frightened and remembered how cold his face was. ‘Hello,’ I said, ‘he’s’ fainted!’

“I dashed a cup of water in his face, but it didn’t bring him round.

“Then I sent after the doctor, who had his office right across the street, meanwhile leaving him, just as he was in the chair.

“”Hwy,’ said the doctor when he got out there, ‘that’s my patient. Not more than an hour ago I told him I couldn’t save him and he’d be liable to die any moment. It’s that fellow Rocks who struck the big lead last week and got a ball in him for trying to jump “Fatty’s” claim. I couldn’t get the bullet out, and I told him so.’

“Maybe you can imagine how I felt when I heard that I had been shaving a dead man. I was young in the business then and had never struck that kind of a job before.

“’Yes,’ said the doctor, ‘Rocks has been dead for the last half hour. He must have  given up the ghost right after he got into the chair, for he’s getting stiff now.’

“And what do you suppose brought that living-dead man into my shop. He came over to get shaved while he was alive so it would only cost him two bits. He knew he was going to kick right off, and the idea do his heirs paying $5 for a shave went against his grain. And you’d believe this if you knew old Rocks. He was the closest and tightest man in Arizona.

“No, I never got a cent for that job. I wouldn’t take the two bits the heirs offered me and they kicked about paying the regular fee.”

The Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 24 September 1892: p. 10

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The barber who shaved the dead was a mortuary service-person little remembered today. The subject seemed to titillate journalists of the nineteenth century, as stories about “Dead Man’s Razor,” involving secret journeys to shave the faces of dead ladies and odd requests from relatives about facial hair stylings, were commonplace in Victorian papers. Some barbers had custom razors made with a skull-and-crossbones moulded into the handle so they would not use that razor on a living man. All of the barbers interviewed in the press emphasised the lucrative aspects of the funerary trade: $5 for a corpse as opposed to 50 cents for the living, hence the barber’s chagrin at being “stiffed.”

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.

There will be more on “dead men’s razors” as well as undertakers, grave-diggers, and shroud-makers in The Victorian Book of the Dead, coming soon.

A School for Hairdressing: 1890



A New York Barber Who Teaches Maids How to Use the Brush and Comb.

Perhaps the latest thing in the educational line in this city was inaugurated Monday. It is a school for hairdressers. It started with a big class of ambitious young women, and the indications are that many more will join. Women only are to be admitted to these classes, and the subjects of instruction will be limited to the dressing of ladies’ hair. The pupils will be taught how to comb, brush, shampoo, crimp, curl, singe, plait and arrange the hair of women. They will be instructed by experienced hair-dressers, and when they are graduated they will be able to do all that a competent “ladies’ barber” can. The course will cover two weeks, and will comprise twelve lessons. The tuition is to be $10 for the course.

“So many young women have asked me to teach them the art of dressing hair,” said the owner of the place the other day, “that I was forced to open the school or use up all my time teaching them separately. Most who wish to learn are ladies’ maids. You see, it greatly adds to their value when they are able to dress their mistresses’ hair properly. I do not think that there will be any difficulty in teaching them in two weeks’ time all that is necessary for them to know. I have several competent assistants and I shall superintend the work. The pupils will practice first on dummy wooden heads fitted with wigs. They are just as good to learn upon as the real head.”

“And can the girls become artistic hairdressers in so short a time?” “That depends entirely upon how much natural taste they may have. It is like any other art; to excel in it one must have a natural aptitude for it. Hairdressing requires taste. I may be able to teach a young woman the mechanical arrangement of a coiffure, but I cannot teach her just what coiffure is best suited to a certain face. That requires a natural taste and many years of observation and practice. But I will give my pupils much technical knowledge and such hints for self-instruction that they may practice to advantage after they leave the school. The school is my own idea. I do not know of another one in New York. I believe that it will prove a success and that its influence will be felt.”

“Will you teach to bleach and dye hair?”

“If the pupils wish to learn the higher branches of the art they may do so of course after they have mastered the regular course. But that is something for after consideration; the main thing now is to start the school and begin the work. I have now about thirty pupils to begin with.” New York Sun.

Jackson [MI] Citizen Patriot 25 October 1890: p. 11

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil smiles nostalgically at the idea of ladies’ maids dressing their mistresses’ hair properly. One of her first acts when employed in that office by an intolerable American heiress was to accidentally singe off the young woman’s back hair in its entirety—on the eve of her debut into London society as a new bride. This contretemps might have been avoided entirely had Mrs Daffodil had access to a school such as above. However, Mrs Daffodil is nothing if not resourceful and an improvisation, represented as the latest Parisian novelty: a flounce of lace attached to the remaining hair and a tiara set with emeralds the size of pigeon’s eggs, saved the day. The coiffure was the subject of much favourable comment at Lady Wormwood’s ball.

Singeing hair or “blistering the head” for cosmetic or medicinal purposes has been mentioned before in an interview with a well-known French hairdresser in New York.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.


The Dog-Caddie: 1904

The lady narrator and her dog-caddie, Ben.

The lady narrator and her dog-caddie, Ben.

The Caddie’s Rival

The Tatler We have all heard of dogs being trained to field a ball at cricket and to retrieve lost tennis balls, but the innovation of the dog caddie has been reserved for a member of the Bala Golf Club of Philadelphia. This enterprising young lady has trained a Russian deerhound to track with unerring certainty missing golf balls, and in other respects to prove himself a capital substitute for the mere human caddie. Ben, as the dog is called, enjoyed golfing from the first. He would watch his mistress tee off and drive with immense interest. His eye would follow the ball’s flight, and then away he would go after it, and when the caddie and the golfer caught up to him, there he would be standing patiently beside the ball. “I came out to golf one morning alone,” said Ben’s mistress, “alone, that is to say, except for Ben. I had told my caddie to meet me and he had promised positively to be at hand, but he broke his appointment, and I found that I had either to abandon the morning’s golf or to carry my heavy clubs myself. Suddenly I had an idea. Why should not Ben carry the clubs? Ben was always glad to do anything he could for me, why then should not the clubs be fastened on his back? I found a ball of twine, and emptying the bag I fastened it on Ben’s back. The opening was at the back of his head, and thus the bag sloped downwards to the left, overhanging his side a little. In this position there was no fear of the clubs falling out.” At first Ben apparently did not care for his new office—he shook himself uneasily and rolled on the grass-but after a little petting and soothing he took very kindly to his new employment, and within less than  a week he had learned to carry his mistress’s clubs with a dignity and proficiency which would have done credit to the finest caddie in the country.

After a while, however, an improvement was made in the burden for the dog, and now instead of a bag for the clubs he carries a kind of harness with loops on each side to support the clubs. This harness is simple and light, and consists of a strap that follows the line of Ben’s backbone from neck to tail, fastening at the neck to a collar. Then there are attached to this strap two loops, one on the breast and one on the loins, which buckle about the dog’s body. The clubs pass through these loops, of which there are three on each side—one for the driver, one for the lofter, one for the brassie, one for the mashie, and two for the irons. The Tatler 1904

Ben’s mistress explains the advantages of the scheme further:

“The boy caddie costs from fifteen cents to twenty-five cents an hour. An afternoon’s golfing with a boy eats a big hole in a dollar. But a dog caddie costs nothing. With the boy caddie you are constantly losing balls. Balls cost three and four dollars a dozen, and, when one disappears, your boy is not too anxious to help you find it, for, it he finds it later himself, he can sell it at a good price. But with the dog caddie you never lose a ball. The dog, with his fine sense of smell, will trail a golf ball as he would a rabbit. Boy caddies break appointments. But the faithful dog caddie never fails. The dog caddie, to sum up, is more industrious, more obedient, more sympathetic than the boy, and he is many times cheaper.”

The young woman, on a sunny April morning, was golfing. Ben stood beside her, silent, respectful, sympathetic— boys are not always so. She took her driver from Ben’s back, and she made a good, long drive, but the ball flew a little wild. It lighted in a tuft of tall Ben, with long, easy bounds, made after it. He nosed through the tall weeds, found it, and stood with it in his mouth.

“Now.” said the young woman.  “I would have been ten or fifteen minutes finding that ball, and perhaps I’d never have found it. As for the average caddie. I’m sure he would never have found it. He wouldn’t even have looked for it. He would only have pretended.”  The Argonaut [San Francisco, CA] April 25, 1904.

A gentleman in Golf Illustrated offers some handy training tips if you wish your own dog-caddie:

As raw material, almost any sort of dog will do—a half-crown dog or the first cayoute you meet in the street. First train him to come to heel. To do this you don’t pound the dog with a niblick, or he may become link-shy. Talk to the beast gently, and when he is at heel give him a bit of biscuit.

Secondly, teach him the bread-and-butter trust trick, until he will even drop a piece of biscuit. After this, let him run after a golf ball, which he must drop on hearing the word “trust,” or its equivalent.

Lastly, and this is the most important, give the dog something to smell: before you tee your ball wipe it on a cleaner on which you have placed a few drops of oil of aniseed.

Do this, and you will save money, save time, save your temper, save invectives, play more golf, get better health, improve the morality of caddies, and destroy incentives to trifle with the eighth commandment. Golf Illustrated, Vol. 16, 1903

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Dogs simply cannot resist the scent of aniseed, which acts upon them like catnip on cats.  Mrs Daffodil would fear that an over-ecstatic dog-caddie might actually swallow a ball so treated. In such a case it is unclear whether the course steward would rule it a “Ball at Rest Moved by Outside Agency” (no penalty) or a “Ball Not Found Within Five Minutes.” (one-stroke penalty).

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.


A Chat with a Boot-black: 1897

Must Have All Colors Now.

“Shine ‘em up, sir? Polish?”

He was one of the bright old-fashioned boot-blacks we read about, and as keen as a steep trap, says the Pittsburg Dispatch.

“Haven’t tan shoes hurt your business a great deal?” I asked.

“Naw! Y’see, it’s this way, mister. When everybody wore black shoes a good many men kep’ blacking kits in their bedrooms, and use to get hot in the collar every morning doing their own shines, and doing us out of the job. But when it come to tan and oxblood and pale yaller and green and veaswy kids, why, they just give it up. No man whose time is worth anything in his own business is going to have seven or eight different kinds of pastes and polishes on hand. yes, and lots of ‘em even forget to keep stocked up with blacking. Honest, I think we get more nickels than before. In good neighborhoods, I mean. Mebbee business is dull in some parts, where the men aren’t very flush. I’ve seen times in Wall Street when brokers would give a quarter for a shine, and times when they’d play the limit–go without as long as they could, you know.”

“And do you bootblacks have polishes to fit all the different kinds of shoes?”

“Naw! Of course there’s stuff made for every color. The shoemaker sees to that. And some fellows who have stands in barber shops and places like that keep a good many kinds. But the kids on the ferryboats and on the street have oil and yellow paste and blacking. I keep a good many myself, though: it doesn’t cost any more in the long run; but if I get out of any of them I don’t put up my shutters. I never seen the boots yet I couldn’t do with either blacking or plain oil–if the owner is a real gentleman.

The Ypsilanti [MI] Commercial 12 August 1897: p. 5

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: “Veaswy Kid” is a mis-heard rendition of “Vici Kid,” the “Trade name for chrome-tanned, glazed-kid leather,” according to the American Leather Chemists Association.

Mrs Daffodil does not altogether approve of these “swell” colours of shoe polish. It makes the boots-and-knife boy’s life–never a sinecure–ever so much more difficult. With blacking, you always know where you are.  Mrs Daffodil recalls with pleasure a former B-and-K boy who, in the early morning hours, “mistook” brown polish for blacking while polishing the riding boots of a visiting Major of a boorish and exacting temperament. Sadly the Major missed his point-to-point while his boots were being cleaned and repolished. He had, it was later learned, had a substantial wager placed on himself, bribed a stable lad to nobble the favourite, and expected to romp home. He lost his little all and had to go out to India where he married an heiress who keeps him on a tight rein and an inadequate allowance. How different life would have been, had there been no brown polish at the Hall.

Many thanks to Al Saguto, Master Shoe and Bootmaker and Valentine Povinelli, Journeyman Shoemaker of The Shoemakers’ Shop, Colonial Williamsburg for their assistance.

How a Spirit Sat For Its Photograph: 1894

An example of a "spirit photograph."

An example of a “spirit photograph.”


Once, upon a time, a gentleman who lived in St. Louis was happy enough to have a good and beautiful wife, whom he loved fondly.

However, while she was yet a young woman, she died, and he was left desolate.

After his first grief was a little softened, he began to regret very bitterly that he had no portrait of her. The fine picture by some famous artist, which they had decided to have painted in Paris, would now never exist, and his lost wife had always refused to sit for her photograph.

The poorest representation of her features would have been valuable to him now, and he blamed himself for not having urged her to have one taken.

One night, when he had fallen asleep thinking of this matter, he dreamed that a hand touched his, that he opened his eyes and saw his wife sitting beside him, dressed in a very beautiful white lace dress, which he greatly admired. She smiled and leaned across the pillow to kiss him:

“I should have done what you asked, my dear,” she said. “I am sorry now, because you fret over it; but I have done what I could to please you. You will find my photograph in New Orleans; I sat for it to-day—I wore this dress.”

She kissed him again and he awoke.

He was much agitated and moved to the point of shedding tears; but as he knew that his wife had not visited New Orleans since her childhood, though she was born there, merely supposed that the dream was the natural result of his thoughts. However, a few weeks later, he dreamed the same thing again, and this time heard his wife mention the street in which he would find her portrait.

“I have been trying in vain to make you dream of me, for nights,” she said. And he thought he answered: “But I do dream of you very often.” “Yes, in the dreams of sleep,” she replied. “But this is a vision, a dream of the soul. It is I, myself, who tell you to go and get my picture, which you will find in ___ street, in the city of New Orleans.”

Again he awoke, this time much impressed; but as he believed that he knew that there was no portrait of his wife in existence, had no thought of going to New Orleans, or anywhere else, to find one.

Time passed on—his wife had been dead more than two years—when again he dreamed the same dream. This time he was awake, or believed himself to be so, and he took his wife’s hands and held them.

“Dearest, I shall not come again,” she whispered. “You will come to me one day, but never shall I return to you. If you want my portrait, you will find it where I have told you that it is.” This time the hands seemed to melt in his; he saw the figure fade and believed that his wife’s spirit had visited him. The next day he was on his way to New Orleans, and, on arriving, turned his steps toward the street mentioned. As he walked slowly along, a photographer’s show-case caught his eye, and from it his wife smiled upon him in all the beauty of her prime. There could be no mistaking the fact. Besides, she wore the white evening-dress he knew so well, trimmed with lace of a peculiar pattern, and on her throat a necklace which he had had made to order for her.

He stood gazing upon it for a long while; then hastened up-stairs and questioned the photographer. The result was that in a little while they were exchanging confidences.

The widower had told his dream; the photographer had narrated his experience—it was this:

Some time before, he had fallen asleep in his studio, and had awakened to find that a lady had posed herself for a sitting. She was dressed in white, and as if for the evening; but he fancied that she had left her wraps in the dressing-room.

Starting to his feet, he apologized, and felt that a conversation must have ensued; for, afterward, he remembered the size desired, and that the lady had said that her husband would come for the pictures; but he was sure that he must have been curiously confused, for he never could think just how all this was said, and sometimes fancied that not a word was spoken.

Also, he was unable to say when the lady left the studio. He waited for some time for her to return from the dressing-room, and was surprised when the young woman in attendance declared that no lady dressed in white had been there that day.

However, he finished the pictures, had a crayon head made and framed, and, coming to the conclusion that the lady who posed so well was an actress, took special pains that the work should be perfect. At last, however, he decided that all this had been in vain; that no one would ever come for the pictures, and placed the large crayon portrait in his show-case.

The picture had been taken about a year before. The lady had been dead more than two years, and had never been in New Orleans since she was five years old; but the husband not only paid for the photographs and the crayon head, but subsequently sent the photographer a check for a large amount.

Not half the value, he declared, of his inestimable treasure. People have tried to explain this story in several ways, but those most interested have always believed that, for once, at least, a spirit returned to earth to sit for its portrait.

Another photographer, having taken a portrait of a baby, whose mother died at its birth, found behind the little bald head the face of a young woman, which was declared by those who had known her to be a perfect likeness of the child’s mother.

He was greatly excited and deeply interested at the time, for he was sure that the plate was entirely clean and new. But, though he made many experiments afterward, he never had any other experience of the same sort.

The Freed Spirit: or Glimpses Beyond the Border, Mary Kyle Dallas, 1894

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Spirit photography began in the 1860s with Boston jeweller William H. Mumler, who found the “ghost” of his dead cousin in a self-portrait. Mumler was quite successful with his photographs, but was eventually  accused of fraud by P.T. Barnum in a breathtaking example of the pot calling the kettle black. It was said that Mumler sometimes broke into the houses of the bereaved to steal photographs which he could use in his work. He also used living models who were then recognized as actresses or other non-ghostly persons. He was acquitted of fraud, but was effectively put out of business as a spirit photographer.  Many others followed in his train, some sincere and some rank charlatans.

In spite of this exposure, spirit photography flourished, even up into the 1920s, fueled by the casualties of the Great War. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a great believer in spirit photography, used to show his audiences a photograph of the Cenotaph on Armistice Day with the following commentary:


[By The Associated Press]

drew gasps of astonishment from a large audience in Carnegie Hall last night when he gave a lecture on Spiritism.

“Do you see the dead creeping through?” Sir Arthur asked, pointing to the spectral faces on the screen. “You can see them everywhere.”

There were two photographs, described as taken by Mrs. Dean, an English medium. The first, a snapshot, showed the great crowd standing bareheaded before the cenotaph. A faint luminous patch appeared over the throng.

The second picture showed countless heads of sad visaged soldiers floating above the memorial. The spectators were blotted out.

Sandusky [OH] Register 8 April 1923: p. 2

Unhappily for Sir Arthur, the faces were recognized as those of living football players and boxers by investigators of The Daily Sketch.



Shopping in Paris: The National Vice of American Women: 1892



“Sybilla ” discusses the National Vice of American Women

A long residence in Europe, spent in different continental cities, wherein I have mixed with many women of many minds and nationalities, has led me to the conclusion that the pastime — if so it can be called — of shopping per se is a peculiarity of the American woman. I do not mean to say that Frenchwomen, for instance, do not devote a great deal of time to it. But, although they are the best-dressed women in the world, it is only when they really want new clothes. Twice a year, in the autumn and spring, the Parisienne devotes a certain time to shopping. If she be rich, she repairs at once to her dressmaker attitrié, Worth, Doucet, Morin-Blossier — Worth’s new and formidable rival — Felix, Rouff, etc., and there selects her winter or spring gowns and mantles. In the same manner does she resort to her modiste for bonnets, to her lingère, bootmaker, etc., and this over, excepting for new, unexpected occasions, when she wishes ball and dinner-dresses, her shopping, like the girl’s spinning in Mrs. Browning’s poem, “is all done.” If she be not favored by fortune, then in like manner will she go to the Louvre, to the Bon Marche, the Printemps, and other shops of like description, and will get her winter outfitting, and both of them doubtless will then feel what Ralph Waldo Emerson writes a woman told him, “that the sense of being perfectly well-dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquillity which religion is powerless to bestow.”

But, “to go out shopping” just to see things, to turn and toss them over, to weary the already tired clerks, when they have not the slightest idea of buying anything, is essentially American and an ” unknown quantity ” in the French female character. Those Americans who live in Paris have constant back-breaking and head-splitting proofs of this fact when their American cousins and friends come over to pay a visit to the “Ville’ Tenniere.” Only this autumn I had an experience of the kind. A fair friend arrived and claimed my assistance to help her buy ten thousand francs’ worth of “pretty things,” her “pa” having given her a check for that amount and purpose. She had hardly uttered the words when visions of aquarelles, bronzes, rare bits of antique silver, tapestries, and china danced before my eyes, and, as she had never been to Paris before, that very night I made out a plan for visiting the capital from its most intellectual and artistic point of view, and early the next morning I started off with Miss Smith for a first bird’s-eye glimpse of the city of cities.

I took her at once to the Place de la Concorde, and showed her the great stone statues, seated round in glorious array and representing the principal commercial centres and strongholds of la belle France. I made her notice the wreaths of immortelles and the veils of crape that shrouded the statue of Strasbourg in proof of the nation’s devoted patriotism. I stood with her at the foot of the old Egyptian obelisk, and told her how, on that very spot, rose the bloody guillotine of yore, where fishwives sat knitting warm socks for their “Sans Culottes,” and dropping stitches to count the noble heads that fell in rapid succession under this wave of revolutionary madness. I made her turn and see Napoleon’s Triumphal Arch on the distant hill that crowns the Avenue of the Champs-Elysees, and pointed out to her, in the opposite direction, the Louvre’s grim, gray walls, beyond the Tuileries’ fair gardens. To our right, across the river, stood the Chamber of Deputies; to our left, at the end of the Rue Royale, the Madeleine, that new Parthenon which should have been built on the heights of Montmartre; and, finally, the endless arcades of the Rue de Rivoli, beginning under the Ministere de la Marine, which framed in the picture.

We went sight-seeing for several days, and visited many interesting places, and, though my friend was pleased, I thought I detected an expression of weariness in her face; but I put it down to physical fatigue. One morning I said: ” To-day we will go to the Louvre.” And her whole countenance expressed such joy that I said to myself: “She was probably more fond of art than of architecture.” As we entered the long gallery of sculpture, I was struck by such a peculiar expression of almost horror on her face, that I asked her what was the matter. Seizing my hand with a gesture of despair, she exclaimed: ” Oh, take me away ! I can’t bear these historical things and museums any longer. I tried not to tell you ; but what I want is the Louvre — the real Louvre — or the Bon Marche, if you prefer.”

Need I add that from that day Miss Smith spent her time shopping, untiringly and unremittingly ? Our apartments — for she was our guest — came soon to look like a shop itself. Every nook and corner was filled with boxes and packages, until the servants thought she was a “Commercente Américaine” come to buy things to replenish her shop in America.

She had a trunk — indeed, I should say, a small house — built, in which to lay her dresses full length; she had boxes made expressly for her twenty-odd bonnets and hats, and no end of others to suit the shapes of the innumerable presents she was taking home to everybody she knew.

When she arrived in America, she wrote me that “Pa and Ma had gone to the steamer to meet her, and that her father was glad to get off with one thousand dollars’ duty on the precious trash she had taken home.”

Of course every American woman who comes to Paris is not a Miss Smith. But every second one is; and, as the Herald informs us that fifty thousand Americans, on an average, swarm over to Paris every summer, this would give us about twenty thousand shopping maniacs to overhaul the Louvre and the Bon Marche.

Not later than last month I accompanied another American friend to the Bon Marche. We left her hotel at ten o’clock in the morning and got back at six in the afternoon. During the seven hours we spent in the shops, Mrs. J. bought only a spool of black silk for mending her gloves; but she tried on fifty-four cloaks (I counted them); she examined laces, priced ready-made dresses, looked at every species of underclothes, tossed things over in a way to excite the displeasure of the clerks and head men; carried things from one counter to another, which is expressly against the rules, and naturally looked so suspicious that I soon perceived we were followed by a detective, when I emphatically refused to stay a moment longer, and left the place, glad not to have been arrested and searched on suspicion. This mortification was equaled on another occasion, when I caught my companion — a very pretty Western girl — deliberately flirting with the man who was trying on her gloves at the glove-counter! No wonder resident American ladies in Paris complain of the impertinence of these clerks, who do not always distinguish American ladies from American parvenues. And, indeed, as far as shopping goes, there is almost as much of it done by the higher class of Americans as by the nouveaux riches. In fact, it would be difficult to avoid it, as it has become an established fashion that all Americans should take home a European souvenir to every soul they know.

I remember hearing the late Mrs. J. J. Astor say that “her summer visits to Paris were often spoiled by the drag and fatigue of choosing presents.” For a woman of her highly cultivated tastes, shopping had no attraction. Yet she was forced to it by this necessity of carrying back a present to every servant, relative, and friend that she possessed. Besides, Mrs. Aster’s artistic tastes only increased her fatigue, as she could not be satisfied with such commonplace fancy articles as are bought wholesale by her compatriots. She always sought artistic trifles, and we all know what a difficult task that is. Besides, as a woman of such great wealth, she felt that she ought to take to her friends something that was new and that had not been seen before in New York, and this was a still more difficult point. On one occasion, she discovered some exquisite bits of china, manufactured by a new process. It was the week before her departure, and she bought a little cargo of them, composed of specimens of different models. As Mrs. Astor drove up Broadway from the wharf, she espied her own new porcelains in Tiffany’s window. She stopped her carriage, got out, and bought one for herself as a souvenir of that summer’s tour.

Another important shopping point to be noticed is the outlay at the dressmakers’. Here women almost die, and, this is not an exaggeration, “Les armes a la main!” At all the swell couturieres salts, and fans, and even brandy are ever in readiness, lest one or another of our delicate American beauties faint away while standing by the hour trying on the numberless dresses, cloaks, and tea-gowns they are to carry home. To be sure, they are in Paris for only a few weeks, and must take everything back themselves to avoid custom-house duties, and, as Parisian gowns keep fashionable for several years, our shoppers wish to have sufficient to last until they can return to Europe again.

But by the time they have made their provision of clothing, they are sure to see some new gowns and cloaks which they immediately declare, with emphsis, they must have, and so it continues till the very eve of their departure, when Worth’s, Laferriere’s, and Doucet’s bills and boxes come pouring in nearly all night long. And, besides, dressmakers, who have an excellent scent for detecting “good pay,” tempt their customers with a “Madame need not mind about money–madame will send it when she gets home,” which temptation throws down the last barrier to prudence, and nothing stops our shoppers after this. They continue spending to the last minute, until they grow intoxicated with it all, and do not recover their senses until they feel the first qualms of seasickness, when they are apt to declare they will dispose of the greater part of the unnecessary things they are taking home as soon as they reach their native heath.

Paris, December 16, 1892. Sybilla.

The Argonaut [San Francisco, CA] 9 January 1893

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Le Bon Marché is still one of the most famous department stores in Paris, although its claim to be the first such store in the world is erroneous. (Britain points with pride to Bainbridge’s for that distinction.) M. Worth and Doucet are too well-known to need an introduction. Laferriere’s was a particular favourite of Queen Maud of Norway. Printemps was an exceedingly up-to-date merchandiser, boasting electric lights and lifts, and selling items at fixed prices rather than allowing haggling. “The real Louvre” was Grands Magasins du Louvre, another de luxe department store.

And although Mrs Daffodil is shocked at the one young visitor’s behaviour–flirting with a glove clerk is really quite beyond the pale–one does have a certain amount of sympathy for Miss Smith, who, when longing to see the shops in the City of Lights, was instead dragged about and given lectures about guillotines and tricoteuses.