“No, ma’am, you do not resemble a daisy”: 1895

The Common Daisy, Wikimedia.

The Common Daisy, Wikimedia.

THEY SLANDERED HER.

On a Subsequent Occasion She Will Be Heavily Prepared.

A woman whose age was not far from 60 and whose avoirdupois was close upon 200 pounds arrived at the Detroit and Milwaukee depot the other morning with a bulky satchel in one hand and a pillow-slip stuffed full of something in the other, and the special policeman standing at the entrance no sooner caught sight of her red face than he realized what was coming.

“Look here!” she began as she halted before him and dropped her baggage to wipe her face, “I want about forty different people arrested.”

“Yes’m. Anything wrong, ma’am?”

“I should say there was. I am going out to Royal Oak to see my sister. I had scarcely left my house when a boy calls out: ‘Ah, there, my fairy!’ Can’t he be arrested for such sass as that?”

“Hardly, ma’am, though it is very ill manners.”

“Of course it is! I’m no fairy! Feel of that arm. Pat me on the back. Am I a shadow of a fairy or a solid chunk of humanity on my way to see my sister, who weighs twenty-five pounds more’n I do?”

“You are no fairy, ma’am,” replied the officer.

“And I hadn’t gone a block before a potato peddler in a wagon sung out: “There’s my daisy!’ Officer, you have seen daisies?”

“Yes’m.”

“Do I resemble that fragile flower? There’s a pair of arms that can lift a barrel of pork.”

“No, ma’am, you do not resemble a daisy not unless they’ve got out a new brand which I haven’t seen. That peddler ought to be arrested, but I’m afraid we couldn’t find him.”

“And a little further on,” she continued, as she wiped at her face, “a man standing in front of a saloon called out to me: ‘Only a Pansy Blossom.’ Officer, you have seen pansies?”

“Yes’m.”

“Do pansies wear No. 6 shoes and tip the beam at 197 pounds?”

“No, ma’am you are no pansy. That man ought to be arrested, but now he is probably safe in Canada. Anything more?”

“Yes; somebody had something to say every few rods, and I’m mad all the way through. So I can’t have nobody arrested?”

“Hardly, ma’am not under the circumstances.”

“Well if the law don’t cover such cases, they want to look out for me! I’ll be back in four days and I shall be carrying a pumpkin, a cat, a bed quilt, half a bushel of apples, a jar of pickles, two squashes, and some other things which my sister is going to give me. I shall walk home; same as I walked down here. Some one will call me his fairy, or pansy or and I’ll drop them things and– ”

“And what, madam?”

She struck her left hand with her right, doubled up her fist and placed it against the officer’s nose, and hoarsely whispered :

“And he won’t forget-me-not, and don’t you forget it.” Detroit Free Press.

The Democratic Press [Ravenna, OH] 9 January 1895: p. 1

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: These sound innocent enough remarks, but obviously they were unwanted by the lady. Oh, to have been a fly on the depot wall when she made her return journey. One suspects heads would—metaphorically or literally—have rolled.

Two decades later, in Chicago, someone decided such hi-jinks were inappropriate and gave the police authority to take charge.

DEALING WITH THE MASHER

A picture of the policewoman at work is given in the “New York Times.” The shopping district was thronged when a woman in sombre attire joined the procession of bargain-seekers.

At Madison Street she paused and glanced at an opposite corner. There stood a nattily-dressed young man, smoothly shaven, and possessed of a bright, alluring smile. Now and then he tipped his hat jauntily and widened his smile to passing women. The woman in black crossed the street and touched the natty youth on the shoulder. He turned upon her with a look of perplexity.

“Say, you beat it,” she ordered firmly.

“W—W—Why, madam,” he stammered.

“I said beat it,” she repeated, never taking her eyes off his face.

“I am a member of the Chicago Police Department—a policewoman, to be exact,” she replied. “And I am out to do my duty. You are a masher, I take it, and have no business here. Now you just move on as fast as you can or—“

It was unnecessary to finish. The young man “beat it.”

Auckland [NZ] Star, 2 October 1913, Page 8

It was a start, but, alas, women still report cat-calls, street harassment and much worse language than “my daisy” from men who seem to be utter cads. Plus ça change

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

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

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