A Naughty Story
A New York correspondent writes: Shall I tell you a naughty story? Let its veracity excuse it.
Some time ago a carnival came off on one of the Brooklyn ponds. Everybody was expected to wear fancy dress and mask, and the affair being very select, good folks by scores, resolved to go. Among them were Mr. Folie—I see that you demand all the names—and his handsome lady, of Clinton Avenue. Clinton avenue is the Madison Square, the West Green street of Brooklyn, and Mrs. Folie is the most admired mistress of its most sumptuous dwelling. She was quite a good figure upon steel, having practiced upon the Capitoline—not to speak of parlor skating, which teaches one the motion quite as well—every good afternoon. But unfortunately, Mr. Folie, who must necessarily make one of the party, did not know the use of patins, though to gratify his wife, who was much too “proper” to go anywhere by night, unaccompanied by her husband, he consented to attend the carnival. Folie had never seen his wife on ice. Being a close business man, though something of a gallant, so he acknowledged her to be a nice thing, when gliding off so excellently, and “rolling” so elegantly. Poor fellow! Must he patter around like a cripple while she could skim like a racer? However, they masked at last in the separate buildings provided for the sexes, and put on their distinct costumes. Mr. Folie wore a dress of the time of Cosimo the First, and Mrs. Folie appeared as a fair Bretoness, with a Starched cap and skirt gown, which gave her graceful limbs free circulation. Folie, being absorbed in business had forgotten to ask what his wife’s garb would be; but Mrs. Folie, to be well protected, had betrayed her domino to a gentlemen whom she made promise not to reveal her incognito, and particularly to introduce no gentleman to her who was not absolutely fastidious and honorable. So they shot out for the pond; the ice was smooth as crystal; Drummond lights threw wide splashes of brightness to and fro, but here and there were dark, isolated covers and corners, secure from intrusion. The people were numerous and the costumes so mostly that the angel of the Plague would not have known whom to spare. So for an instant Mrs. Folie’s friend disappeared, being a poor skater and unable to keep up with her, till returning, he made her acquainted with Mr. Dromio. Bowing merely, but not unmasking her, the new arrival glided to Mrs. Folie’s side, took her hands in his, as couples on ice do, and they “rolled” off like two marvelous automatons. Dromio wore a splendid Florentine dress: plumed cap, long ringlets, dark hose over shapely limbs, with sword, jeweled dagger, and the cross of the order of St. John. He was the best gymnast on the pond—raced backward, forward, High Dutch, wriggle, inside out, heel up, squirm, turn over, swallow himself! Mrs. Folie was in ecstasies. She was animated to a generous rivalry, and surpassed her own previous agility. Warmed by exercise and contact, their tones grew softer, their speech less formal; poor Mrs. Folie once slipped, when Dromio supplely caught her by the waist, and, bold man! Kept his hand around her when they were again alert.
“Withdraw your arm!” whispered Mrs. Folie; “my husband is here—he may know me.”
“Say not so,”exclaimed the ardent Dromio; “let us ourselves withdraw.”
They glided off to the far angles of the Pond, where, unobserved, their conversation sweetened. At last the supple Florentine seized Mrs. Folie’s hand and swore that it was the fairest on Long Island.
“Flatterer!” she answered. “If this were not the Carnival , I should be indignant.”
“But since it is the Carnival, give me one kiss—you will not refuse me?”
She did not. They lingered a luscious moment on the margin of the word moral and the demi-monde , and then the bell at the great gate rang—the Carnival was over —it was time to unmask.
“I fear to uncover,” said the lady; “you men are so seldom honorable!”
“But you must, the hour has arrived. Come! We must, we shall meet again! Let us draw!”
They slipped off the dark visages instantaneously, and looked into each other’s faces.
“Good heavens! It is Folie!”
“My wife! My wife! said the strong man, and they wilted.
This closed the tableau.
I may add that Folie was a good skater, but, wishing to have some fun on his own account, had not told wife so.
The Weekly Vincennes [IN] Western Sun 24 June 1865
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: A familiar story and one which has furnished a plot for many an operetta and play. One is uncertain as to the earliest version of this naughty tale, but here is another:
At Cornely’s Masquerade , last Monday, a pretty Fruit Wench attracted so forcibly the Attention of Lord Grosvenor that for two Hours she was the sole Object of his Flattery and Admiration. At length, worked up into an irresistible Want of forming an Alliance with her, he told her his Name, offered a Carte Blanche, and begged she would not delay his Happiness. The Lady whispered her Consent, but insisted upon continuing masked. The amorous Lord, overjoyed at the Conquest he had made, conducted his fair Inamorata to the Nunnery in Pall Mall, where, having praised and re-praised every Charm he beheld and enjoyed, he obtained Leave to untie the odious Mask that concealed the Beauty who had made him happy. What Pen, or Pencil, could paint or describe the ghastly Astonishment of his Lordship at the Sight of that Woman! What! my Wife, muttered he, shaking in every Limb! Lady Grosvenor burst into Laughter and left the Room, thanking him ironically for the Right he had given her to taste with Impunity of the forbidden Fruit.
The Virginia Gazette 14 May 1772
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.