Category Archives: Saturday Snippets

Saturday Snippets: 10 August 2013: A chimney-sweep panic, mourning playing cards, a Woman in Black spectre, canine furniture, telephone girl hair fashions


Lately, while two men were employed in the interior of a family vault, a strange figure, black from head to foot, glided into the sepulchral mansion; the man whose eye first caught the spectre became instantly petrified with horror, his speech forsook him, and it was only by a vigorous effort that he could job the elbow of his fellow, and point to the object of alarm. Like the shock from the electric spark, the terror was communicated by the touch, but the symptoms were not so strong in the second as the first subject; taking courage, he addressed the ghost in a faltering accent, and said, “in the name of God, what is your errand to this world?”

“I have no errand: I was going past, and thought I would just look in.”

These grateful sounds instantly dispelled the illusion, and the workmen recognized in him the well-known voice of a neighboring chimney sweeper. Steubenville [OH] Herald 18 July 1817: p. 4 

The newest thing in mourning is that girls whom death bereaves of their accepted lovers may wear mourning. It consists, however, of no more than a black ribbon, where it loosely fastens her pretty gown in front, or it may appear in any part of the toilet. Another dainty fancy of these almost-not-quite widows it to dye their hair black. At all events, it was done in one case—that of a comment-courting actress. She had for several years bleached her hair to a light yellow, but on the death of her affianced husband she turned her hair to jet by means of dye, and in the same way blackened her eyebrows. Ah, well, if women were not peculiar, their mere beauty might become insipid to their adorers. Whimsicality makes them piquant. I saw two girls seated together and they wore such pretty dresses! One had an open album, and was gazing in sentimental grief at a photograph of her lately-deceased cousin.“Oh, I loved Jim very dearly,” she said, “and I mourn him as for a brother.” “Why don’t you put on mourning for him?” the other asked.“Because,” and she turned her tear-dimmed eyes on her friend, “my eyes are a light gray, and black would surely spoil their effect. Jim had exquisite taste in colors, and he would not, I’m sure wish me to wear anything unbecoming to my eyes.” St. Paul [MN] Daily Globe 22 January 1888: p. 12


Lock Haven Bug-a-Boo Met Its Match in a Plucky Girl

Special to The Inquirer.

Lock Haven, Pa., Oct. 3 For two weeks or more hundreds of men and boys, armed with revolvers, guns, dirks, and clubs, have been watching nightly for the human Will-o’-the-Wisp, called the Woman in Black, which has been bobbing up in dark places to frighten women and girls, and the police force has been augmented by several specials with the hope of catching the “spectre.” But it remained for a demure miss of sixteen to put the ogre to flight, and all she used was a hat pin.

When the “Woman in Black” stepped from a dark place last night and confronted a trio of girls, this miss stood her ground, and when she seized her hat pin the “Woman in Black,” who is believed to be a man, fled in the other direction. Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 4 October 1899: p. 6

 An infantry private in a Delaware regiment has been “devilled” into quitting his company and wants redress, but cannot find a method. An indictment for militia’s mischief might lie. The Mt. Sterling [KY] Advocate 31 March 1891: p. 7 


Also They Must Quit Chewing Gum and Enunciate More Distinctly.

Chicago, Dec. 18. Puffs, rats, curls and also transformations—whatever they are—will be shorn from the heads of the thousands of telephone girls under a new rule just promulgated. They are also forbidden to chew gum during business hours.

The branch managers had reported that the operators spent too much time replacing loosened wisps of tresses when their fingers should have been busy with the plugs.

Here is the way the operators were instructed not to talk over the telephone:

“Numberpleeze.” “Phone’s takenout.” No fault is found with their enunciation of “Drop a nickel, please.” Fort Wayne [IN] Journal Gazette 19 December, 1909: p. 49 

Boston Mourning Cards.

The other day a very dainty young woman in black, with mourning veil so draped as to set off her shapely head and neck to advantage, entered a large stationery store on Washington Street, and said sweetly to a clerk behind the counter:

“Do you have all kinds of mourning cards?” “Yes’m; we have the cards, and can get them engraved for you.” “Oh, I don’t want the kind they get engraved—I want playing cards, you know.”

“Mourning playing cards!”

“Why, yes; don’t you think they would be real nice and tasty?”

The clerk was obliged to confess that the trade hadn’t yet reached the point of supplying playing cards with mourning borders for bereaved lovers of whist and poker, and the lady left the store disappointed. Boston Record Fresno [CA] Republican Weekly 11 March, 1887: p. 2


It is told of Charles Lamb, that one afternoon, returning from a dinner-party, having taken a seat in a crowded omnibus, a stout gentleman subsequently looked in, and politely asked, “All full inside?”

“I don’t know how it may be with the other passengers,” answered Lamb, “but that last piece of oyster-pie did the business for me.” Cyclopædia of Literary and Scientific Anecdote, edited by William Keddie, 1859 

Footstool May be Used as Dog Kennel

Paris, Jan. 2. The Parisienne’s love of canine pets has led to the invention of a pretty little piece of furniture. This is a small footstool of gilt wood, upholstered in material in keeping with the hangings of the apartment. The stool is hollowed and padded inside and is furnished with a small door in one side, and serves for a comfortable nook for a small dog. Parisian hostesses can thus keep pets with them when receiving friends. St. Louis [MO] Republic 3 January 1904: p. 12 

English Sparrows at A Dollar Apiece

Delaware, N.J. The residents of this section have been investing heavily in French canary birds, and now have as fine a lot of English sparrows on hand as they could wish for.

A couple of men came through here at few days ago and sold the birds at $1 apiece. They promised to return in ten days and refund the money if the birds were not satisfactory.

They left explicit directions not to give the birds a bath under a week, for fear they would take cold. When the bath was given, the coloring matter washed off, and a fine lot of sparrows was the result. New York World. Cleveland [OH] Leader 18 October 1903: p. 24

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The story of the Woman in Black “bug-a-boo” put to flight by a plucky girl reminds Mrs Daffodil of the “Woman in Black” panics so often found in the American papers and occasionally in those of the better-regulated British press. These panics were the result of sightings or visions of ghastly females in widow’s weeds, gliding around in the dark. They were often described as unnaturally tall (leading to a suspicion that they were really men) and had the ability to disappear inexplicably. There were a great many of them terrifying the populace in Pennsylvania in the 1880s through the 1910s.  Those scientists who study social movements would probably say that the apparitions were some visual manifestation of  financial crashes and coal-mining disasters. If one asked the inhabitants of Pennsylvania who had experienced these panics, they would delicately suggest that such scientists were talking through their hats and that everyone knew that the black-clad  creatures were actually modern banshees.

There is a chapter on the Women in Black in the upcoming book, The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past.

You will find the two-part post about a Woman in Black panic in Massillon, Ohio here and here.

Saturday Snippets: 3 August 2013: Spiritualist contretemps, ghostly chignon, a widow’s propriety, Bishops and bloomers

Victorian fake hair chignon

A chignon of “grave hair?”

The feminine sense of propriety is keen, but erratic. There is in town a delicious young widow, rich and independent enough to indulge herself in whims. She is an amateur artists, and two forenoons in the week she spends with a brush and palette. Her easel is set up in a room of her residence, and there she receives some of her intimates while painting. She costumes herself very picturesquely for these occasions and delights to have her visitors put on easy, Bohemian airs of artistic life. The gentlemen smoke and the ladies lounge, writes Clara Belle, in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Well, the other day she was found in a black jacket of mourning widowhood and her slipper feet were in jet stockings, but her skirt was light.

“How is it that your dress is not black?” a fellow asked. “I thought you adhered very strictly to mourning yet.” “So I do, gosling,” the pretty widow replied.

“But your dress skirt—“ “I haven’t any on. This is only a petticoat. Do you suppose I would commit such an impropriety as to wear any other dress than black?” She could appear in a petticoat nonchalantly enough, but in any violation of mourning—horror! St. Paul [MN] Daily Globe 22 January 1888: p. 12


Weird Form Terrifies Audience Until the Hoax is Discovered, Then Laughter of One of the Spectators is Taken for Mad Fit.

Berlin. Feb. 7. The invocation of the spirit of Napoleon at a séance held at the Spiritist club, known as the “Green Phantom,” had a ludicrous termination. A large audience was assembled in the darkened, purple-draped room when in deep bass tones a voice asked one of the guests, mentioning him by name, whom he desired to see.

The man, a lawyer’s clerk named Schwalbheim, replied with much trepidation, “Napoleon.”

Fifteen minutes’ tense silence followed. Then a weird form approached the platform with measured tread and in a sepulchral voice thus addressed Schwalbheim:

“Behold! I am Napoleon! Draw nigh, O mortal, and tell me what is thy desire!”

At these words the women in the audience shrieked with terror, clinging to their male escorts who themselves were trembling in every limb.

Schwalbheim, however, approached the platform with shaking knees and was just stammering “Illustrious spirit of the great Napoleon,” when he made a remarkable discovery.

On the neck of the uncanny apparition he observed a small shield on which were distinctly visible the words, “B. Schulze, laundry loan institute.”

Schwalbheim burst into loud laughter and leaped at the ghost, who, however, escaped him, disappearing amid horrible imprecations, beneath the flooring.

The terrified guests, who mistook Schwalbheim’s laughter for an outburst of madness, made a wild rush for the door and were only calmed by the man’s explanations. Denver [CO] Post 8 February 1920: p. 60


“Mamma, what is the “difference between a divided skirt and bloomers?”

The tender, thoughtful face of the proud mother lighted up with intense pride as she gazed lovingly into the eyes of the precocious little daughter who had displayed such interest in a great subject, as she replied:

“There is really no great difference, darling, but among the really select the bloomer is generally considered to be more manly.” The Clothier and Furnisher, Volume 24, 1897 


RATIONAL costume seems to have gotten a set-back in Paris; it is rumored that the Cardinal Archbishop has declared that he will not administer the sacrament to any woman who dons bloomers while riding a bicycle. When a woman once becomes emancipated, neither the fulminations of the church nor the ridicule of the public has any effect upon her.

While bloomers cannot be considered as immoral or indecent, they are so monstrously ugly that any woman who has a regard for her good looks will refuse to wear them. Rational dress does not necessarily mean a costume which is ungraceful and unbecoming; and while the tight corset and the long skirt is hampering to those who engage in bicycling, or any exercise where freedom of movement is desirable, it would seem that some style of costume might be invented which was comfortable and at the same time womanly and becoming. Godey’s Lady’s Book January 1896

Revolving Heels to Boots. —We yesterday examined a beautiful boot, made by Robt. T. Harman, to which he has attached what is called the Revolving Heel, an invention of his own, for which he is about to take out a patent. The heel is put on by means of a screw, and can be taken off or put on by a single turn of the hand. A great many persons usually wear one side of the heels off in a few days, and thus, although ‘as good as new,’ make them set uneven and assume an ugly shape. By this invention, it is only necessary to give the screw a slight turn with the hand, and one side of the heel not worn off is made to take place of the one which is gone, so that the boot soon again sets evenly, as well as easily, on the foot. It appears to us to be an excellent invention. —[Balt. Clipper.] The Merchants’ Magazine and Commercial Review, Freeman Hunt, et al, 1848

An Irish gentleman was visited by a friend, who found him a little ruffled, and being asked the reason of it, said he had lost a new pair of black silk stockings out of his room, that had cost him eighteen shillings; but that he hoped he should get them again, for that he had ordered them to be cried, and had offered half a crown reward. The other observed that the reward was too little for such valuable stockings. “Pho,” said the Irish gentleman, “I ordered the crier to say they were worsted. The New London Jest Book, edited by William Carew Hazlitt 1871

Pert miss (in bloomers): “You stare at me, sir, as though you expected to see me wearing horns!”

Innocent young man: “Yes, I thought you might be the gnu woman!” Plain Dealer [Cleveland, OH] 2 October 1895: p. 4


A SPIRITUALIST came to our house some time ago and claimed to be able to locate our lost friends if we desired. We had an old horse which we had sold years ago, and my mother wanted to know where he was.

Mother began, “We had a very good friend who always did all our work. He passed from us several years ago and the last we ‘heard of him was that he was in Los Angeles. I would like to know if he is still living.”

The spiritualist made certain motions and knocked on the table, and then said, “Your friend is in Los Angeles and is married to a rich young woman.”  Judge’s Library: A Monthly Magazine of Fun, Volumes 202-213, 1906


The fashion of wearing more hair than nature ever permitted to grow on the head of woman, has provoked some exceedingly unpleasant revelations. At the time we are told stories of horrid creatures fattening and luxuriating on the scalps of the lovely creatures, on whose heads are piled jute enough to cover a cotton bale. At others, the mind is shocked with stories of grave-yard hair, for which there is but one expressive word in all the dictionary—nasty. Now we have a story more horrid than all. A Boston lady, bent on cutting a shine, purchased a form of hair which is technically called a “switch” whatever that is. On wearing it, she experienced a peculiarly choking sensation that was terrible. Every time the hair was on her head her windpipe was squeezed, and that when no coat sleeve was within sight. A medium was consulted. The fearful story was soon told. The switch was cut from the head of a hanged woman. It had got the gallows kink, and would always choke.

Nor did the revelation end here. Switches always partake of the personality of the one on whose head they grew. If in these days we find a lady with any peculiarities specially strange, all that we have to do is to look after the switch for an explanation. A switch from off a prim old maid may transform a gay coquette into a very staid and proper person. What a pity it is that the fashion of masculine switches is not in vogue. How we might improve our councilmen, aldermen and officials generally by merely changing chignons? Suppose, for instance, that the flowing curls of the beautiful blonde, made into a switch, should grace the head of the chairman of the city finance committee, how would the snail-like progress of the latter be accelerated into a happy medium between speed and safety? How valuable would be a chignon from the head of Aristides surmounting the cranium of Alderman Patton? What would not the reporters give for a switch from the head of Seabrook, or some other glibly-talking auctioneer, to place on the pate of the late acting secretary of the council?

Query—Would not a switch of birch applied a little lower down be equally effective in accelerating speech? We might continue the suggestions ad infinitum, and we have a fancy that much good would result from budding one man’s switch on another man’s pate. Galveston [TX] Tri-Weekly News 10 March 1871: p. 2

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  “Grave-yard hair” was that taken from corpses, perhaps procured by the Resurrection Men. “Live hair” was much more desirable, but also much more expensive. It was often procured by agents scouring the villages of Germany for fair-haired maidens and it was also gotten from Roman Catholic convents where novices’ hair was cut off when they took the veil. A popular, cheaper option than genuine hair was jute–yes, the rope material–but it was subject to insect infestation.

Saturday Snippets: 27 July 2013: Royal Baby Edition, Czarevitch conspiracy, spoilt son of the Kaiser, Queen Wilhelmina baby watch and royal pram.

royal baby of England

The young English prince, Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, later King Edward VIII. One is relieved that the new royal baby has a less exhausting name.

A round-up of stories about (mostly) royal infants to celebrate the happy advent of young Prince George.


Revolutionists Say Peasant Child Was Put in Royal Cradle.

Paris, Aug. 19. Russian revolutionists here declare positively that the Empress of Russia really gave birth to a female child, for whom another birth, a male child, was substituted—a peasant woman’s baby.

The Nihilists say that the internal condition of Russia is such that had the people been disappointed again in their hope of the birth of a czarevitch, a revolt would have been imminent.

Improbable as this story appears, it must be remembers that the revolutionists have extraordinary underground means of intercommunication all over Europe. No one can doubt that men who are revolutionists at heart have access to the innermost recesses of the czar’s palaces. Plain Dealer [Cleveland, OH] 20 August 1904: p. 2  [An ingenious conspiracy theory, such as we have seen in the case of the Princess Royal of England, but knocked firmly on the head by what we now know about the czarevitch’s hereditary medical condition.]


The Czarina is determined that nothing regarding her son’s birth and progress shall be forgotten. In one album articles are collected from all the papers of the world, congratulating Russia upon having an heir, while in another are kept interesting newspaper clippings relating to the child’s life.

One of her majesty’s secretaries is always engaged in studying new literature on the subject of baby-rearing published in every part of the world.

Most of these books come from America, Germany, England, and France. A summary is prepared of any new theory of dieting or treatment, and these the empress reads, making notes in her own handwriting of any point which interests her. The Minneapolis [MN] Journal 15 July 1905: p. 2 

What Happens in Berlin When the Crown Prince’s Baby Goes Out of Doors

At the guard-houses there is considerable fuss made whenever any royalty passes that way. It is the duty and the only duty, of the sentry on guard to keep his eye open for royalty. When he sees it—and he seems to have a remarkably long range of vision—he yells at the top of his by no means musical voice. The rest of the guard drop their cards and pipes, rush precipitately out, fall in, and present arms with drums beating. This sort of thing is gone through with every time any royalty passes. Even the infant children of the Crown Prince receive the same homage. There is something strange in seeing a lot of grown men present arms to a year-old infant. But they do it every time the nurse of the Crown Prince’s family takes the children out for an airing. But this “isn’t a circumstance,” as Chicago says, to what, according to the story of one of the American colony, happened here once. The nurse had a little child of the Crown Prince out for a walk, and happened to pass one of the guard-houses. The sentry on duty yelled, the guard turned out and present arms, while the drums beat. Just as the nurse and child got in front of the line of soldiers, the child espied a heap of nice, clean sand suitable for the manufacture of mud-pies. The instinct of the child got the better of its training; it broke away from its nurse and began to play in the sand. The nurse protested, entreated, begged—but it was of no use. That child was bound to indulge in a little plebeian amusement. It had its own way, and played in the sand until it had satisfied its royal mind, and all this time the guard stood at “present arms,” while the drummer nearly wore his drumhead out. Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 27 May 1882: p. 9 


Baby Thrown Out Found Later to Have $10,000 Pinned to Clothing

A smart motor car with a young man and a pretty woman in it rove up to a tiny fishing village on the Brittany coast this week and stopped at a road mender’s cottage, which was empty for the time being. The young man sprang out with a large bundle, left it in the house, jumped in to the car again and drove off rapidly in the direction of Brest. The road mender’s wife, on reaching home opened the bundle and found therein a healthy baby about eight days old. Having babies enough of her own, she put the unwelcome infant out of doors and calmly left it there. A peasant woman passing by, hearing the child cry took pity on it and carried it to her home. Undressing the baby, she found $10,000 in bank notes pinned to its clothes, but not the slightest indication as to its identity. She is going to be a devoted second moth to the child, while the road mender’s wife bitterly repents her uncharitableness. Mexico Missouri Message 7 December 1905: p. 7 


Dutch Women and Princess Awaiting an Interesting Event.

A probable interesting event in the household of young Queen Wilhelmina draws the polite attention of all Holland and all Europe, says the Paris Messenger.

Every woman in Holland looks toward the coming event with as much interests as if it were going to happen in the house of her own sister or daughter.

As is usual in such cases, there is a universal desire that the new baby should be a boy. Some of the Queen’s relatives urged that she should consult the celebrated Dr. Schenk of Vienna, who tried with so little success to secure a son to the Czarina of Russia, but Queen Wilhelmina showed the wise conservatism for which the Dutch are justly celebrated, and trusts to her luck.

Most of the queens and princesses of Europe are at this moment engaged in preparing some article for the layette. In nearly every case they are decorating their gifts with blue ribbon that being the color appropriate for a boy.

Even busier than the queens and princesses are the good wives, or vrouws, of Holland. Such a stitching of little dresses, nightgowns, pillow cases, coverlets, and so on was never before heard of in the history of that exceptionally industrious country. The leading women of every city in Holland are going to contribute some article to the layette. The women of Amsterdam, for instance, will present a Dutch baby’s linen cap, with the big ear-pieces sticking straight out at the sides. This will be encrusted with pearls and diamonds. Around it will run a tiny strip of blue ribbon to indicate that the wearer will be a king and not a mere princess. [Unlike its “mere” mother, the Queen.]

One of the most interesting presents is the cushion which the wives of the cabinet ministers are preparing. Immediately after its birth the baby will be placed on this cushion and the cushion on a silver salver, will then be offered for inspection to the cabinet ministers, who will certify to its sex and that it is a genuine member of the royal family.

A beautiful christening robe is to be the present of the women of The Hague, where the royal wedding took place. This will be of white silk, figured and trimmed with eiderdown. It will have diamond buttons. [One hopes those buttons were sewed on firmly given the infant propensity for ingesting anything attached to their person.]

A magnificent cradle of beaten silver will be the gift of the ladies of the Dutch nobility. A life-sized angel hovers over the head of the cradle, while at the foot is an equally life-sized baby. The sides are decorated with the arms of Holland and Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 13 October 1901: p. 8 

A Royal Baby Carriage

Princess Juliana of Holland has joined the ranks of the caravanners. A marvelous construction—should it be called a “carambulator” or a “car spram” has been devised for the little Dutch princess wherein, when the weather is cold and the sun shines only in certain parts of the Het Loo, she can be conveyed from the palace to the sunshine.

It is, as a matter of fact, a giant covered perambulator containing a stove and seats for nurses, besides the bassinette for the royal baby; and it is, of course, drawn by a horse. If she were an English princess she would at once be nominated patroness of the Caravan Club.

The Queen of Holland herself is said to have invented this new baby carriage for her daughter. It is not the first time she has displayed ingenuity of an inventive character. Tensas Gazette [St. Joseph, LA] 8 July 1910: p. 6 

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The Crown Prince’s baby in the anecdote above was Friedrich Wilhelm Victor Augustus Ernest , the eldest son of Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor. Just as the Kaiser disliked his mother, young Wilhelm was constantly at odds with his father: over the young man’s many entanglements with women, over his marriage, over the conduct of (or the necessity for) the Great War, and over post-war politics. The Kaiser was an overbearing tyrant, but perhaps if the nurse had done less entreating and the child had not had his way so often, things might have turned out differently.

Saturday Snippets: 20 July 2013: Butter colour poison, 1910 tattoo removal, coffins on a shaving mug, a blighted bride, refreshing summer drink receipt.


Saturday Snippets for a Sultry Saturday

Saturday Snippets for a Sultry Saturday

The following laconic epistle may be seen in the window of a London cofeeshop: “Stolen from this window a china cup and saucer; the set being now incomplete, the thief may have the remainder at a bargain.” Brooklyn [NY] Eagle 11 April 1863: p. 4


Medical man. “Come, come, my dear madam, there is evidently something wrong; make a confidant of me.”

Blighted bride: “Well, doctor, it was always my great ambition (sob) to be the wife of a dry-goods (sob) merchant, and now I have thrown myself away upon a hardware (sob) dealer, and, although the dear fellow is as kind as he can be, (sob) and brings me home any quantity of scissors and files, and door-knobs and things, yet what are these to the (sob) wounded spirit that expected oceans of brocade and point lace?” (sob, sob, sob.)The Alleghenian [Ebensburg, PA] 9 August 1860: p. 1

Coffins on His Shaving-Cup

A young man in want of a shave recently went into a little barber-shop in Harlem, sat down in a chair, leaned back, and was about to shut his eyes to keep the lather out, when they fell upon an array of wonderfully decorated shaving-cups. On one was the picture of a hearse flanked by two upright coffins; on another was a dummy engine standing on a section of the elevated road, and others displayed pictures of a milk-wagon, a tombstone, a saw or a trowel. The barber explained that the hearse-and-coffin cup belonged to an undertaker with an eye to business, who had got enough custom from his novel advertisement to pay his shaving bill for the next ten years. An engineer on the elevated road owned the cup with the dummy engine on it. The other cups belonged to a milk-dealer, a stone-cutter, a carpenter, and a bricklayer. The barber said he had an order for a cup from a neighboring shoemaker which would eclipse all the other cups. It would contain a tiny photography of the shoemaker on a swinging sign bearing his name and the legend, “Repairing Neatly Done.” Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 19 July 1885:  p. 11.

What Bad Butter Color Can Do

Another case of fatal poisoning from swallowing “less than a teaspoonful” of a butter color supposed to contain some preparation of coal tar is recorded. The victim was a 2-year-old boy of Chippewa County, Wis., who was discovered in the act of tasting the contents of a bottle containing the color. It was taken away from him almost instantly, but the mother was not greatly alarmed (supposing that a material sold for use in butter could hardly be dangerous), and did not send for a physician until four hours later, when the child began to vomit. Collapse and coma followed, succeeded by an agonizing death in the afternoon of the next day.  Am. Cheesemaker. Logansport [IN] Pharos 30 August 1898: p. 7


St. Louis, March 6. Claude Chappell has had two square inches of skin covered with tattoo marks removed from the back of each hand at a hospital here. Skin from another part of the body was grafted on the hands. Chappell is an accountant and has trouble in getting work because of the tattoo marks, which were pricked in while he was making the trip around the world in the battleship squadron. Boston [MA] Journal 7 March 1910: p. 4 


From the receipt book of a Western member of Congress.

The following is said to make a pleasant beverage: Take one pint of whiskey, stir in one spoonful of whiskey; add one pint of whiskey and beat well with a spoon.

Take one gallon of water and let a servant carry it away beyond your reach; then put two spoonfuls of water in a tumbler, immediately throw it out and fill with whiskey. Flavor with whiskey to suit your taste.

When it is to be kept long in warm climates, add sufficient spirit to prevent souring. The Alleghenian [Ebensburg, PA] 9 August 1860: p. 1

 Love may be blind, but no one has as yet discovered that its hearing is impaired. Girls who have given themselves up to the habit of warbling Pinafore airs should line their seal hats with this. Cincinnati [OH] Daily Gazette 2 January 1880: p. 4

 A Few Errata.

  A number of errors crept into the story on the first page of last week’s issue, writes A. W. Bellew, in The Yankee Blade, the printer being intoxicated and the editor being off, that is to say, off on a hunting expedition:

  For “she fell into a river,” read “reverie.”

  For “he wore red headed hair,” read “he was an hereditary heir.”

  For “in front of the mansion he had the bull pup,” read “to pull up.”

  For “darling, this is your nasal morn,” read “natal.”

  For “I never was awfully hungry in my life,” read “angry.”

  For “you say she ate me with a smile,” read “satiate.”

  For “she did not for a moment cease her violent trombone,” read “trembling.”

  For “he gently threw her played out shawl around her, “read “plaid.”

  For “some said it was the spinage meningitis,” read “spinal”

For Herbert, I know you rascal,” etc., read “risk all.”

  For “she saw his lip grip ale,” read “grow pale.”

  For “is it possible! And me owe for board, with nothing to sustain me,” read “overboard”.

  For “he threw both arms around her ancient maiden aunt,” etc.; period after “her.”

  For “but my age must be renumbered,” read “remembered.”

  For “her heart was filled with et ceteras,” read “ecstasies.”

  For’ You are my last darling,” read “lost.”

  For “I am thin, I am wholly thin,” read “thine.” Newark [OH] Daily Advocate  28 November 1888: p. 4


The most impudent occurrence that we have ever yet heard of in the art of robbery is thus related in a Paris paper:—A lady went the other day into a shop in the Rue Richelieu to buy a cashmere shawl, and, having arranged the price, took from her purse a bank-note, and was in the act of handing it to the cashier’s counter, when a man, who had been observed watching her at the shop door, rushed in, struck the lady, and snatching the note from her hand, exclaimed, “I have already forbidden you to buy a shawl, but will watch you, and you shall not have one.” He then went out of the shop, and the lady fainted away. On her revival, the master of the shop began to condole with her on this scene of violence, and regretted she had so brutal a husband. “My husband!” cried the lady, “I never saw the man before.” It turned out that she had been robbed; pursuit was instantly made after the audacious rogue, but it was all in vain; he had got clear off. Ballou’s Dollar Monthly Magazine, Volume 13, 1861

THE latest thing in bon-bons are wink-drops, which appear innocent enough to the uninitiated, but are dainty little sugared receptacles for holding such stimulants as wine, brandy, or French liqueur. It is said that their consumption is growing to an alarming extent, fashionable women being the principal consumers. Godey’s Lady’s Book January 1896

Dog Trained to Steal

A woman was arrested in Paris for shoplifting not long ago, and it was noticed that she carried a bright looking King Charles spaniel on her arm. The police happened to examine the pup rather carefully, and were surprised to find that it was trained to help the woman at her trade. The dog was schooled to snatch a piece of lace in its mouth and then hide its head under the woman’s arm.  Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 22 October 1905: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil fervently hopes that her readers have serviceable fans and cakes of ice to recline upon in this beastly summer heat. Over at the Haunted Ohio blog you will find a suggestion for telling when the weather is about to break by using the Leech Barometer, a handy prognosticating tool which one can make at home. The necessary blood-sucking creatures may be acquired by consulting one’s medical man or by standing bare-legged in a farm pond or lake.

Saturday Snippets: 13 July 2013: Corsets in court, naked gentlemen, naughty little kings, the Will tattoo, canine sagacity

From the V&A touring exhibition: Undressed: 350 Years of Underwear in Fashion.

From the V&A touring exhibition: Undressed: 350 Years of Underwear in Fashion.

 Slander Case. James Gosling, a dry goods merchant, doing business on Market Street, was mulcted in $1300 on Wednesday, by a jury in the District Court. Mr. G. sold two corsets to a Miss Lucy Morgan, and permitted her, as is the custom, to take them home that she might see if they would answer. It was found, on examination, that they would not suit, and they were sent back, but before they got to the store Mr. Gosling saw Miss Morgan in an omnibus at Hares’ Hotel, on her way to the railroad station, and , believing that she intended defrauding him, he called her a “rascal,” and said she had the corsets in her truck on the top of the vehicle. When he got back to the store he found them there, and Miss M. bringing suit against him for slander, obtained a verdict as above stated. Pittsburg Chron. Boston [MA] Traveler 16 November 1857: p. 2


The Small Monarch of Spain is Imperious and Obstreperous

If all the stories are true which are told about the little King of Spain, he must be a very willful little boy, indeed, and quite determined to have his own way in everything. One cannot greatly blame the little king for his waywardness, because the rules of his country are such that the word of the king is law, in many things, whether that same king be young or old, little or big. So little Alphonso must be pardoned if he is a “spoiled” child.

One day Alphonso and his governess were out driving, when suddenly the governess noticed that the little king was not acknowledging the salutes of his subjects.

“I am too tired to bow to them,” exclaimed he, pettishly, “and I am not going to do it.”

“But you must acknowledge their salutes,” insisted the governess, “because you are their king, and it is one of the customs for a king to bow to his subjects.”

“I shall not bow to them!” exclaimed Alphonso, loudly. “Then you cannot drive in the carriage with me,” replied the governess, kindly, but firmly for she feared that Alphonso would offend his subjects.

“Then you may get out and walk!” exclaimed the naughty little king. Then, calling to the coachman, he cried:

“Halt, Carlo! This lady wishes to go on foot.” Evening Star [Washington, D.C.] 12 November 1892: p. 9


 It is said that a woman, who had but a short time to live, had a five-hundred-word will tattooed upon her back to prevent any misunderstanding and to safeguard against forgery. The will was read before the woman was buried, by her attorney, in the presence of the relatives. Needless to say, there was no litigation, and the wishes of this astute Englishwoman were carried out. NZ Truth, 27 December 1924: p. 6

The Cat-o’-Nine-Tails in New York

Part of an east side family’s equipment is a small cat-o’-nine-tails. Not quite the instrument of torture used at Delaware’s three whipping posts, but a small affair, consisting of a short wooden handle and a few leathern thongs. The implement is designed for family discipline, and waved threateningly when east side children misbehave in the presence of their parents. All east side house furnishers sell the domestic cat-o’-nine-tails at 15 cents or less – New York Letter The Wichita [KS] Daily Eagle 15 July 1890: p. 6 

WHALEBONE CLOTH. – M. Schultz, of Prague, has taken out a patent for the manufacture of a kind of cloth from whalebone. We are informed that the cloth obtained by this process bears a strong resemblance to silk, and is particularly adapted for making cravats, under waistcoats, ribbons, &c. Freedom’s Journal [New York, NY] 1 August 1828

A little cake dipped in sherry wine will, it is said, restore the lost voice of a canary bird. That’s nice medicine. Albany [NY] Evening Journal 15 February 1870: p. 2


A frightful accident happened to the “Female Blondin” at Highbury Barn on yesterday evening. She has for some time past been engaged at this place of amusement, and was last night performing on the high rope, when she fell to the ground. She had gone through the greater part of her performance, having walked across the rope with a pole, wheeled a barrow along it, and walked across in a sack, when she started holding a pole loaded with fireworks, and Catharine wheel at each end. She had got three parts of the way across the rope, when the fireworks at one end of the pole seemed to give way and destroy her balance. She fell, but caught on the rope with her leg. Unfortunately, she was unable to support herself and the next instant she came down with a heavy thud on to the gravel walk beneath. She was of course taken up immediately, but was perfectly insensible, and when our reporter left not the slightest hopes were entertained of her recover.


This morning at eight o’clock Mr. Claremont, Mr. Saul, and Mr. King, met in consultation at Highbury Barn, and it was discovered that her chief injury is fracture of the neck of the femur (thigh-bone), but there are others. She was sensible, and at her own request has since been removed to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, where she now remains an inmate. The unfortunate woman was to have performed tonight at Wolverhampton. There was but one feeling prevailed, which was, that the sooner these dangerous sensation exhibitions are put a stop to the better. Evening Star [London, England] 15 August 1862: p. 3  [Later reports stated that she could no longer practice her profession because of the injury.]


“Have you any children, madam?” inquired a sharp landlord of a lady in modest black who was looking at one of his houses, just finished and in perfect order.

“Yes,” said the gentle mother. “I have seven, sir, but they are all in the churchyard!”

A sign and the dew of a tear gave impressiveness to the painful remark, and without further parley the bargain was closed.

Her little flock were waiting for her in the churchyard around the corner, and were delighted to hear that she had found a snug house so speedily. The landlord says he shall never trust a woman in black after this. Anti-Slavery Bugle [New Lisbon, OH] 6 October 1855: p. 4 

CANINE SAGACITY The truth of the following instance of the sagacity of a dog, we can substantiate in every particular, and it is, we think, well worthy of notice. A little daughter of one of our prominent citizens has a well arranged baby house upon which she bestowed much care, tastefully dressing the various doll occupants thereof in the morning, and divesting them of their clothing at night. This practice she has followed for some months. The pet dog usually set by her at night, and superintended the work of preparing the dolls for bed. One evening last week the girl was away to tea, and did not return in season to perform the practical duties to the babies. The dog awaited her arrival until the dolls’ hour of retiring had passed, and knowing that they ought to be taken care of, he carefully went to work and undressed them—five in number—without injuring the dresses in the least. How he did it we know not, but it is a fact. [Nantucket Inquirer.] Mineral Point [WI] Weekly Tribune 5 July 1859: p. 1

“What impudence !” exclaimed Mrs. Shoddy. “Here is a man applying by letter for a situation as coachman, who signs himself ‘ Your obedient servant,’ and I have not even thought of hiring him yet.” Household Words Vol. 5, Charles Dickens, 1882

 The gentlemen disrobing for the bath in the evenings in the basement of the new Y.M.C.A. building, are certainly ignorant of the treacherous transparency of the ground glass windows by electric light, or they would hang a few curtains. Cincinnati [OH] Post 14 January 1892: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Even if it would have brought her into the clutches of the Holy Inquisition, Mrs Daffodil believes that she would have used the family cat-o-nine-tails on his insufferable little Majesty. The young King was Alphonso XIII [1886-1931], under the regency of his mother Queen Maria Christina of Austria, whom we have previously met in a post about a cursed opal ring.  King Alphonso lost his throne to a Prime Minister and a Republic, which perhaps would not have happened had he not offended his subjects by refusing to bow to them.

Saturday Snippets 6 July 2013: Dead men’s teeth, fishing with crinoline, a Suffragette spanked, Princess Charlotte in a temper

Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, from the collection of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.

Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, from the collection of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.

Dead Men’s Teeth. — Dead Englishmen’s teeth, collected on the battle-fields in the Crimea, are now in great demand by the London and Paris dentists  The price current of human ivory has greatly fluctuated recently, owing to the quantities of deceased soldiers’ masticators put into the market. It is stated the idea first entered the heads of some Londoners to send voyaging clerks to the seat of war in search of teeth. The harvest was a good one, apparently, and promises to yield a remarkable price, as connoisseurs vaunt the superiority of Englishmen’s and Higlander’s teeth over all others. The Medical World: A Journal of Universal Medical Intelligence, Volume 2 20 May 1857: p. 131 

Large fortunes sometimes have queer beginnings. The Gardiner (Me.) News says that one of the wealthiest firms in that state began business on $5,000, which a sister of the partners got in a breach of promise suit for damages against a rich man. Evansville [IN] Courier and Press  30 October 1889: p. 2  

The editor of the Plum Creek Gazette furnishes a practical illustration of woman’s rights. The foreman of the shop is a girl, the printer a girl, and the devil a girl, and such doubt exists as to the sex of the editor that a committee of citizens threaten to make an examination. Omaha [NE] Daily Bee 17 May 1886: p. 5 

A Princess of Spirit

The Princess Charlotte, daughter of George the Fourth, was a young woman of great spirit and originality. One day, one of her teachers chanced to enter the room when the princess was reviling one of her attendant ladies, in great wrath, and after giving her a lecture on hasty speech, he presented her with a book on the subject. A few days later he found her still more furious, and using language even more violent. “I am sorry to find your royal highness in such a passion,” said he; “your royal highness has not read the book I gave you.”

“I did, my lord!” cried she tempestuously; “I both read it and profited by it. Otherwise I should have scratched her eyes out!” – Argonaut

Youth’s Companion, Vol. 64, 1891: p. 485 

[Here is admirable post with many illustrations, about  Princess Charlotte of Wales, only daughter of George IV, her wedding gown and wardrobe. And a fascinating post on a royal reward for one of the ladies who tried hard to keep the “spirited” Princess in check, from the Two Nerdy History Girls.]


A Human Being Who Flirted at His Dead Child’s Funeral.

New York Dispatch, 27th

A statement alleged to have been made on her death-bed by Mrs. V. Woodward was to-day read to Justice Bartlett, in the Brooklyn Supreme Court. In it she declared that her husband, George S. Woodward, carried his amours so far that while going to the cemetery to bury his dead child, he tore off the apple blossoms that the mother had put on the coffin and tossed them to flirtatious young women whom they met on the way. The dying declaration was read to convince Justice Bartlett that Mr. Woodward, who is a theatrical man, is not entitled to the custody of his little girl Lillian, aged 3. A number of affidavits were read, in which Woodward is accused by various persons of such crimes as larceny, embezzlement, bigamy, seduction, criminal malpractice, conspiracy, cruelty and extortion .The case was not concluded. Charlotte [NC] Observer 30 June 1893: p. 3


He put his arm around her waist,

And closer drew her head

Unto his own with tender clasp,

And looking downward said:

“You haven’t got the right man, dear;

He’s not quite onto it.

You should have had my tailor, for

Those bloomers do not fit.”

The Clothier and Furnisher, Volume 24, 1897

The militant branch of the Suffragettes has been making the most desperate efforts to hush up the outrageous assault recently made by a gang of medical students at one of the Liverpool Colleges on Miss Christabel Pankhurst, one of the youngest, pluckiest and handsomest of the Suffragettes.

Miss Pankhurst had been attending a meeting and was lured away from her companions after the speeches were over by a band of students, who numbered about ten. Having got her in their power in a small room they locked the door and having submitted her to various, not serious, but humiliating indignities they each deliberately spanked her in turn and then let her go.

Miss Pankhurst was for sending for the police, but her friends dissuaded her as they said it would harm, rather than advance the cause. So the medical students have escaped all punishment and the Suffragettes never even mention Liverpool. Winston-Salem [NC] Journal 26 February 1908: p. 2 

THE yachting craze has been succeeded by the equine mania, which is one of the results of the recent horse show. The girls are wearing belt buckles engraved with horses’ heads, crossed whips, and jockey caps, while the tops of umbrellas consist of ivory, gold, or silver hoofs. Card-cases and portfolios, silver-mounted brushes and dash-board clocks are ornamented with the insignia of the stable, and are lavishly displayed as Christmas presents. Silver and gold brooches, sleeve-links and stick-pins, consist of tiny jockey caps, horses’ heads, whips, etc.; leather belts with harness straps are very stylish—in fact, anything that savors of horsey tradition is quite the thing with the swell women of today. Godey’s Lady’s Book [Philadelphia, PA] January 1896  

Shad Caught in a Crinoline Trap.

A few weeks ago a lady of Rocky Hill, Ct., while passing a brook which runs into the Connecticut, saw two find shad sunning themselves in the stream. The shad looked tempting; the lady coveted them, but had no fishing tackle with her. She finally bethought her of her hoops, took them off, and having tied the upper end, set the contrivance in the brook and drove the unsuspecting shad into the net, when they safely drawn to land, the most cruelly deceived victims of crinoline. Richland County Observer [Mansfield, OH] 9 July 1861:  p. 1


A well sinker got up early to his work one morning, and found that the shaft he had been making had “folded in.” Desirous of knowing how much he would be missed, he hung his jacket and waistcoat upon the windlass (as if he had gone down to his digging) and hid himself behind a hedge. Presently, quite a crowd of people gathered around the place–among them his wife–and they all “concluded up” that he was buried alive. The question arose, should they go to the trouble of digging him out, or should they leave him where he was, and save the expense of burial in the proper form? The wife said that, as he had left his jacket and waistcoat behind, it did not much matter. So they abandoned him, as they supposed, to his fate. In the evening he slipped away from the place, a sadder, and a wiser man. In three months he returned home, dressed precisely as he was when he went away, and without a word, took his old place by the fireside. “Why, Jabes,” exclaimed his wife, “where did you come from?” “Wal,” he replied, “I found that none o’ you critters would dig me out, so I set to work myself; and if it hadn’t bin that I got astray in the dark, and dug myself six miles away, I should ha’ bin here afore.” Moral: When you want anything done, don’t die waiting for friends, but go at it yourself!  The Christian Recorder [Philadelphia, PA] 17 April 1869

  Less to Carry and less to Count.—A chimney-sweeper’s boy went into a baker’s shop in the Strand for a two-penny loaf, and conceiving it to be diminutive in size, he remarked to the baker, that he did not believe that it was weight. Never mind that, replied the man of dough; you will have less to carry.— True, rejoined the lad, and throwing three-halfpence on the counter, left the shop. The baker called after him, that he had not paid money enough. Never mind that, hallooed young sooty, you will have less to count.

A Thousand Notable Things, Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquise of Worcester

Saturday Snippets: 29 June 2013: Bridal stockings, a Southern bride’s wedding outfit, strange elopement, trigamy, and bridesmaids’ favours

Queen Victoria in her wedding veil, painted for her anniversary.

Queen Victoria in her wedding veil, painted for her anniversary.

As we come to the close of June, the month of the Bride and the Groom, Mrs Daffodil has collected one last assortment of wedding snippets and other oddments.

Bridal Stockings.

The daintiest stockings to be worn by a bride are of fine white silk with a medallion of Valenciennes lace set in the instep, the design being one of orange blossoms. They are as frail as the proverbial cobweb, however. When one is going to save one’s wedding gown and wedding fan, it is just as well to have the beautiful stockings to go with it, so that the next generation may see just what mamma wore on her wedding day. Jacksonian [Heber Springs, AR] 30 July 1891: p. 2


“One of our fair countrywomen,” says a correspondent, “the daughter of a rich and independent farmer of Rockingham, was married, the other day, to a gentleman who may congratulate himself upon having secured a prize worth having. She was what we should call ‘an independent girl,’ sure enough. Her bridal outfit was all made with her own hands, from her beautiful straw hat down to the handsome gaiters upon her feet! Her own delicate hands spun and wove the material of which her wedding dress and travelling cloak were made; so that she had nothing upon her person, when she was married, which was not made by herself! Nor was she compelled by necessity or poverty to make this exhibition of her independence. She did it for the purpose of showing to the world how independent Southern girls are. If this noble girl were not wedded, we should be tempted to publish her name in this connection, so that our bachelor readers might see who of our girls are most to be desired. If she were yet single, and we were to publish her name, her pa’s house would be at once thronged with gallant gentlemen seeking the hand of a woman of such priceless value.” Richmond Sentinel,  Anecdotes, Poetry, and Incidents of the War: North and South: 1860-1865, Frank Moore, 1867


Bride-to-be Arrives as Women Fight for Body

Hammond, Ind., Jan. 18. When Miss Cora Guthrie of Allegheny, Pa., arrived here today to wed James S. Snyder of the Inland Steel CO. plant at Indiana Harbor, she found that her fiancé was dead, and that two women, claiming to be Snyder’s wives were fighting for his body. Mrs. Harry Thomas of Lorain, O., and Mrs. J.S. Snyder of Moundsville, Pa., were the women. Plain Dealer [Cleveland, OH] 19 January 1911: p. 1

The girls attending college at Columbia, Mo., have organized a sort of marriage mutual aid society that is working very satisfactorily. Every time one of the members has a gentleman escort to whom she is not engaged she pays twenty-five cents into the treasury. When a member becomes engaged she pays in five dollars. When a member gets married the club makes her a wedding present of $100. Patriot [Harrisburg, PA] 24 April 1891: p. 2 


A curious phase in elopements was developed last week in Brooklyn, N.Y., the particulars of which are given as follows:

A married woman has for some time past frequently visited New York under pretense of seeing her sister. On the 23d of last month, on returning from one of these visits, she brought a lady with her, who was introduced to her husband as Mrs. Cleveland, an old schoolmate of the wife, who wished to stay with the family for a few days. The generous husband acquiesced in everything his good wife wished, and no objection was made.

The visitor was very timid and not used to the noise of the city, and was afraid to sleep alone, so the wife retired with her to the room assigned her, while the husband slept with his children. This programme continued until Monday of the last week, when the visitor, who had exceedingly enjoyed her visit to her friend and neighbor, departed for home. On election day the wife took advantage of her spouse remaining home, to have him assist her in getting carpets up and shaking of the same, preparatory to cleaning house for the Winter. Then on Wednesday morning the house was in the most imaginable confusion. On the husband’s return in the evening he found his wife, family and household articles all gone. Thursday developed the fact that the wife had shipped her children to Norwalk, Conn., to her husband’s sister; and she took tickets for a tour Westward with the above-mentioned Mrs. Cleveland, who turns out to be a young man of effeminate characteristics. One of the children remarked, on Mrs. Cleveland entering the house that she acted something like a man; but it was not then noticed. The furniture, money and valuables taken amounts to nearly $400. The family has enjoyed a good reputation and this unlooked-for incident has shocked the sensibilities of the neighbrhood. Boston [MA] Herald 9 November 1868: p. 2 

Mermaid With Cork Soles

[Salt Lake Letter in Ogden Pilot]

Writing of the lake reminds me to say, for the benefit of my Ogden sisters, be warned in time and don’t’ do when you go bathing as one of my lady friends did. She said the pebbles on the lake bottom hurt her feet, so she had a pair of sandals made with cork soles. She put them on and went into the water. She’s not a vain woman, but she has a pretty foot, and she showed it that day with less effort than she ever did before in her life. Her feet went up and her head (heavy, of course, with the weight of a brain that could originate cork soles for sea-bathing) went down—on somebody’s broad shoulders—or I might have been under the painful necessity of elaborating on ‘another case of strangulation from sea-water.” Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 24 September 1881: p.12 

There is an interesting couple in Cincinnati who have been engaged to be married for the last five years, but no time has occurred within that period when they were both out of prison at the same time. Patriot [Harrisburg, PA] 25 April 1891: p. 2

An Exhibition of Vanity

The most glaring exhibition of human vanity that I ever saw was a young man as he stood admiring the reflection of his well-dressed figure in the glass of a hearse. The hearse stood in front of an undertaking establishment, and, being heavily draped on the inside, it made a first rate mirror. There he stood for several minutes adjusting his neck-tie and turning his head in an admiring way from side to side, as unconcerned as if he had been standing in front of a pier glass instead of a carriage for the dead. And this wasn’t all. There was a casket in the hearse, and his face was really reflected in one side of it. Buffalo News. Muskegon [MI] Chronicle 11 May 1888: p. 3  

ANNE OF AUSTRIA, queen of Louis XIII., was extremely delicate in all that concerned the care of her person; it was scarcely possible to find lawn or cambric sufficiently fine for her use. Cardinal Mazarin used to say that her punishment in purgatory would be her being obliged to sleep in Holland sheets. Godey’s Lady’s Book October 1854 

Burned Up a Marriage License

Terre Haute, Feb. 7. Madison Bryant, a wealthy farmer of this county, prevented the marriage of his 16-year-old daughter to Ferd Little, a young farmer, by burning the marriage license just as the clergyman was preparing to perform the ceremony in the presence of fifty guests. Mr. Bryant, without displaying the slightest emotion, requested Mr. Little to accompany him to an adjoining room. When they were alone Bryant asked to examine the marriage license. Little produced the paper, which was seized by Bryant, who darted into the parlor where the guests were assembled and threw it into the blazing grate. He then ordered Little from the house and dismissed the guests. It is said that Little broke a pledge to Bryant to quit drinking. Little has obtained a new license. Elkhart [IN] Daily Review 7 February 1895: p. 1  

A Wedding Fancy.

If you are to be the bride, here is a novelty which will delight your bridesmaids and be in its prophecies after the gracious grandmother fashion in its sweet simplicity. Laid around the cake are five white satin bags exactly alike, holding either a ring, a thimble, a silver dime or a button. The bride takes the bags off during the breakfast and presents them to her principal bridesmaids. She who gets the ring will be married first, the young lady who finds the button in her bag must make up her mind to remain single, and she who takes the silver piece will be wealthy. Sometimes a very valuable ring is sent by the future bride to be included in her bridesmaids’ bags. St Louis Globe-Democrat. Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune [Knoxville, TN] 6 April 1894: p. 6

Saturday Snippets: 22 June 2013: Satin shoes filled with flowers, an 1858 honey trap, a bride killed by lightning

A victorian bride in veil

Celebrating wedding fads and fancies and the battle of the sexes in today’s Saturday Snippets.

The Balloon Case Decided. CINCINNATI, April 26. Judge Evans has decided the divorce suit of Sam. C. Young against Laura Schwarzel by annulling the marriage. They are the people who were parties to a mock marriage in a balloon at Pittsburg. The judge decided that inasmuch as marriage is a civil contract in which the consent and intent are both necessary, the ceremony was not binding. The couple had no intention of marrying, did not consummate the union, and were as strangers after the mock proceedings. Although the person performing the ceremony was qualified by law, the marriage had the force of an illegal contract and he therefore annulled it by desire of both the principals. Newark [OH] Daily Advocate 26 April 1888 

A peculiar and romantic episode occurred recently at a wedding ceremony in Cleveland. Above the bride’s head was an elaborate device, with her name in small electric lights. Above the groom appeared a similar decoration, save that it was his name that sparkled there. All through the ceremony the lights burned brilliantly, but at the words: “I pronounce you man and wife,” the bride’s name was “turned off.” Omaha [NE] World Herald 10 November 1900: p. 11


Fiancée Killed By Lightning – Midst of Trousseau

Geneva, Sept. 25. Sophie Gugnite, aged 22, the pride and beauty of the village of Chatillens, near Lauzanne, was seated in her room at home alone in the midst of her trousseau, presents and jewelry yesterday when she was killed by lightning during a violent thunderstorm. Her parents were unharmed in a neighboring room. They found their daughter dead, with her head resting on her table, with love letters from her fiance, and her wedding gown on fire.

The girl was to have been married to a Geneva lawyer, who is heart-broken. The church had been decorated and the bridesmaids appointed.  St. Albans [VT] Daily Messenger 25 September 1919: p. 1 

The Latest Wedding Fad

London life

The latest novelty at fashionable weddings is for the bridesmaids to carry satin shoes filled with flowers, and the result is charmingly pretty. At one wedding the shoes were of eau de Nil satin and were filled with blush-pink roses. At another there was a very effective combination of pink satin and maize-colored roses, while the delicate structure depended from the bridesmaid’s arm by pink satin ribbons, like a veritable miniature hanging garden. At a third the shoes were pink satin and the flowers were golden-brown chrysanthemums, toning from dark brown to pale yellow. In some cases these shoe bouquets take the place of ordinary posies; in others they are merely supplementary to huge clusters of flowers carried in the hand; sometimes, however, by way of intensifying the novelty of the innovation, the bridesmaids are divided into two detachments, half carrying shoes filled with flowers, and the other half being supplied with bouquets of the regulation pattern. Kansas City [ MO] Times 24 January 1889: p. 6

 It is alleged that a London  money lender has a $2,500 note which he lends to aristocratic brides to be exhibited as a wedding gift along with other presents. The Stark County Democrat [Canton, OH] 9 June 1899: p. 7

 Singular Marriages.—When the Rev. J. Clark, late master of the charter house in Hull, was curate of St. Trinity there, four couple were married by him at the same time, and the following odd circumstances attended each, viz. With regard to the first couple, the bridegroom had forgot to bring a ring, in consequence of which he was obliged to borrow one; the bride of the second had lost that finger upon which the ring is commonly put; a man, violently shaking the iron gates leading into the choir, said aloud, that the third bride had already a husband; and with regard to the fourth, one of the bridegrooms implored the parson to be quick, as the bride was in labour! Sporting Magazine, Vol. 41, 1813, p. 132


Winsted, Conn., May 27. When Civil War Veterans decorate graves in New Milford Memorial Day they will not overlook that of Miss Elvira Morehouse. When she was buried a few days ago her shroud was the wedding gown she had made before the war. Her fiancé went to the front and never came back. Trenton [NJ] Evening Times 28 May 1916: p. 3

 “INTERESTING CASE OF CRIM. CON. IN DECATUR.—The Decatur correspondent of the Springfield Journal gives the following account of a little affair that recently occurred in that miniature city, the parties being a well known ex-hotel keeper, and the wife of a saloon keeper”:

One night last week the husband of this woman, returning home from his saloon at an earlier hour than usual, was startled by his wife’s screams, proceeding from within the house. On endeavoring to open the front door, he found it locked, and rushing around to the back door, forced it open, and succeeded in making his entrance. On entering, he found the personage aforesaid in back room, and his wife in the front, who proceeded to inform him how the grain dealer had forced his way into the house, and endeavored by his threats, force and persuasion, to accomplish his object. The “infuriated husband” immediately caught the gentleman by the coat collar, and drawing out an extremely disagreeable-looking and most provokingly-sharp knife, proceeded to inform him that if he did not pay him for his wounded honor, he would cut his throat, and chop him up into mince meat. Whereupon a note for $2,000, payable six months after date, was drawn up and handed over to the husband, and the gay Lothario allowed to depart with a whole skin, but nearly frightened to death.

But the drama does not end here. The grain merchant, not feeling quite willing to pay this little amount of $2,000, has brought suit against the saloon keeper for conspiracy to extort money from him. The case will be before our Circuit Court at its next session. Weekly Vincennes [IN] Gazette 10 February 1858 

What is the sort of paper to write love-letters on?


[You ought to have known that, you folio!]

More Puniana, Hugh Rowley, 1875

Saturday Snippets: 15 June 2013: A voice from the grave, indulgent papas, the Vendor of Paternity, fathers’ ghosts


Mrs Daffodil has scoured the papers for items for Father’s Day week-end, finding tales of fathers good, bad, and ghostly.


How a Young Woman Heard Her Father’s Speech in a Phonograph

A pathetic story is that told in connection with the phonograph. A judge in a southern state came to Cincinnati not long ago, says a writer in the Commercial. He had never heard the phonograph. When he visited an office he spoke into the funnel and was amazed and amused to hear his own voice repeated afterward through the tubes of the machine.

Two days after he returned home he died suddenly. His daughter came to Cincinnati on business, and while here a friend took her to hear a phonograph. It was a curious coincidence that she should have been escorted to the very office her father had visited but a short time before. The young woman, who was in deep mourning, was very much entertained by some of the musical selections the phonograph repeated.

The operator afterward picked up a cylinder from a pile, placed it in the phonograph and said: “listen to this.” The young woman placed the tubes again to her ear, the bar was pulled out, and the cylinder began to revolve. Before a dozen words had been repeated the woman in black swooned. Not until she recovered was the cause of her fainting known.

The voice that had come to her ears from the phonograph was that of her dead father. It was as a voice from the grave. She afterward purchased a phonograph and the cylinder containing her father’s speech was given to her. It is carefully cherished in her southern home. Chicago Herald (Chicago, IL) 25 February 1891: p. 6 

IDENTITY ASCERTAINED.— The identity of the dead soldier who was found on the bloody field of Gettysburg, with the picture of his three pretty little children tightly clasped in his hands, has been ascertained within a day or two. The wide publicity given to the touching circumstances through the medium of the press produced the desired result. The name of the deceased was Hummiston, and his widow and three children reside at Portville, Cattaraugus County, New York. Large numbers of photographic copies of the picture upon which the dying eyes of the warrior-father closed have been sold, and the profits realized from their sale will be appropriated to the benefit of the children. It is hoped that a sufficient sum may be realized in this way, and by future sales, to aid materially in the education of the little ones who were made orphans at Gettysburg. Godey’s Lady’s Book [Philadelphia, PA] March 1864 

An Unnatural Father.

“My dear,” she said, as he finally laid down his paper, “how did your last deal in wheat come out?”

“Lost about $20,000,” he growled.

“Why you said you were sure of making $50,000.”

“So I was, but I didn’t.”

“That’s a downright shame. You know that Nellie is to marry the Count Italiani, and that he wants $50,000 for his title.”

“Can’t help that.”

“Well, it’s awful mean. Nellie is waiting for her count, and the count is waiting for his money, and here you drop $20,000 as if your daughter’s happiness was the last thing to be thought of. I don’t think you have a father’s heart in you.”

Evening News [San Jose, CA] 12 January 1886: p. 4

For a curious profession, and one which is little known, commend us to the Parisian Vendor of Paternity. He appears to be an individual who takes upon himself the risk of severe punishment if detected in the carrying out of his business, which is to stand in the place of a father to young men who wish to marry and cannot get the sanction of their parents. The Vendor of Paternity here steps in and goes through all the formalities at the Mayor’s office. Marion [OH] Daily Star 13 May 1901 

In one of our sleeping-cars in American there was an old bachelor who was annoyed by the continued crying of a child and the ineffectual attempts of the father to quiet it. Pulling aside the curtain and putting out his head, he said: “Where is the mother of that child? Why doesn’t she stop that nuisance?” The father said very quietly: “The mother is in the baggage-car in her coffin; I am traveling home with the baby. This is the second night I have been with the child, and the little creature is worrying for its mother. I am sorry if its plaintive cries disturb any one in this car.” Wait a minute,” said the old bachelor. The old man got up and dressed himself, and compelled the father to lie down and sleep, while he took the babe himself. The old bachelor stilling the cry of that babe all night was a hero. And the man who for the sake of others, gives up a lawful gratification in his own house in the social circle, is as great a hero as though he stood upon the battlefield. J.B. Gough. Elkhart [IN] Weekly Review 22 January 1880: p. 6

Equal to the Occasion.

She is a cute little Detroit girl of 7, and the proprietor of the store at which she called is a great friend of the family, says The Free Press.

“How much for one of these picture books?” she inquired of him.

“Just two kisses,” for he wanted to make her a present.

“I’ll take six,” she said in a cool, businesslike way as she tucked them under her arm and started for the door. “Papa will call and settle.”

The proprietor would like to have discharged have a dozen clerks that appreciated the scene, but it was the busy season. Sandusky [OH] Star 22 February 1899: p. 2


New York, July 13. Mrs. Ida Shaper of Brooklyn told a magistrate her father’s ghost had appeared and whispered that Mrs. Clara Steiner had stolen her diamond ring. Mrs. Steiner was held. Trenton [NJ] Evening Times 12 July 1913: p. 3 

What Van Left Off

Van is 4 years old and very proud of the fact that he can dress himself in the morning, all but the buttons “that run up and down ahind.”

Van isn’t enough of an acrobat yet to make his small fingers thus do duty between his shoulder blades. So he backs up to papa and gets a bit of help.

  One morning Van was in a great hurry to get on to some important work he had on hand—the marshaling of an army or something of the sort. So he hurried to get into his clothes, and of course they bothered him, because he was in a hurry and didn’t take as much pains as usual. Things would get upside down, “hind side ‘fore,” while the way the arms and legs of these same things got mixed was dreadful to contemplate. So I am afraid it was not a very pleasant face that came to papa for the finishing touches.

“There, everything is on now,” shouted Van.

“Why, no, Van,” said papa soberly. “You haven’t put everything on yet.”

Van carefully inspected all his clothes, from the tips of his small toes up to the broad collar about his neck. He could find nothing wanting.

  ‘You haven’t put your smile on yet,” said papa, with the tiny wrinkles beginning to creep about his own eyes. “Put it on, Van, and I’ll button it up for you.”

  And if you will believe me Van began to put it on then and there. After that he almost always remembered that he couldn’t really call himself dressed for the day until he had put a sunny face atop the white collar and the necktie. Sandusky [OH] Star February 22, 1899 p. 2 

A Hungarian boy, believing his father’s ghost was stoning the home at night, dug up and burned the corpse. Denver [CO] Post 7 November 1902: p. 12 


Muncie, April 5. Terrorized, as he said, by the nightly visits of his father’s ghost to his bedside, the father having committed suicide three years ago, Edward Wilson, 11, drank a quantity of laudanum, and was found apparently dying, but his life may be saved. He fought those who tried to save him. The boy complained that his father’s spirit has been coming to his bedside and laying its icy hand upon his brow. Cincinnati [OH] Post 5 April 1909: p. 2 

The Apparition in the Elevator

Some years ago a young man came to Chicago from Germany. His father had cut him off from his annuity. He lived in the same house where I lived. He finally obtained a place in one of the big grain elevators here. I do not know what the place was except that he had something to do on the top floor, away up under the roof.  Several men were employed with him in the same place. One day while he was dusting he suddenly stopped and asked his assistants who that nicely dressed old man was that was standing back there by the shaft. Strangers are never allowed in these big elevators, and to see one there well dressed was enough to excite comment. His companions looked in the direction indicated and said they saw no one. He insisted, and when they laughed at him he went to the place where he saw the figure standing. On his approach it vanished.

The young man fainted. He recovered and then asked his companions to make a note of the occurrence, the date and the time of day. He said the figure he saw was that of his father. In twelve days he received a letter from the old country telling him of his father’s death. The date and time agreed with the date and time of the occurrence I have described. The letter informed him that his father had forgiven him and remembered him in his will. He returned to the fatherland, got his portion of the estate and is living there now. You may say what you please, but I have never felt like scoffing from the time I heard this story. The spirit of that boy’s father appeared to him on the top floor of that elevator. Eugene Field in Chicago News. Idaho Statesman [Boise, ID] 25 December 1891: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: For a story of the mysterious image of a father and his favourite child who appeared in the window-glass of a house of mourning, please visit the Haunted Ohio blog for today. Mrs Daffodil wishes for her readers the fondest and most indulgent of Papas and extends the compliments of the day to all such gentlemen.

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.


Saturday Snippets: 7 June 2013 A parson’s perplexity; love found in a pair of men’s drawers; wedding gown box fad

Bride and very dapper groom.

Bride and very dapper groom.

More snippets today about weddings, courtship, and the relations between the sexes.

The Wedding Gown Box

The wedding gown box is a recent fad for the well-to-do bride to adopt, and it bids fair to have quite a vogue. That every bride possessed of any sentiment wishes to keep her wedding gown in a state of preservation is a foregone conclusion, and this elegant receptacle is admirably suited to the purpose of which it was designed, says the Philadelphia Telegraph. It is made of light wood, enamelled white, and having the bride’s initials in silver letters on the outside. A lining of tufted white satin is revealed on opening the box and locks of silver and white leather straps fasten it. A photograph of the wedding gown is often taken by the modiste before sending it home, and making a collection of the photographs of wedding gowns or any other distinctive costumes is one of the present fads, the idea being to preserve the pictures as mementoes for future generations and also as illustrations of present day fashions. Boston [MA] Herald 1 June 1902: p. 32

A Singular Occurrence. An exchange paper says that a young lady moving in the upper circles at Chicago was betrothed at the beginning of the war to a lieutenant in the army. He was killed in battle, and his body taken home and buried by his nearest friend and comrade, who was with him when he fell. To this young man the lady’s affections were very naturally transferred in time, and she engaged to marry him. When the happy day arrived, and just as the clergyman was about to pronounce them man and wife, the lady fainted, and being revived forbade any further procedure, as she said she had seen the spirit of her former lover, and he was opposed to the match. She persisted in her decision, and has since retired to a convent. Cape Ann Advertiser [Gloucester, MA] 1 September 1865: p. 2  

There is a rich man in the Black Hill,s says the Bismarck Times, who dates the beginning of his fortune from the day when he sold his wife for $4,000. Osgood Ripley [IN] Journal 14 April 1887: p. 6 

 Not Her Husband After All. A young married woman has just lost her life at Lyons by a curious mistake. She was returning from Vaise, where she had been to spend the day with a young man, when, in passing the quay, she exclaimed, on seeing a person approach: “Heaven, here is my husband!” and running to the river, jumped in and was drowned. The man who had unintentionally caused her alarm was a stranger to her Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 19 July 1885: p. 11. 

News comes from Vienna of a new idea at weddings—the wearing of a wreath of roses by the mother of the bride. Upon arriving home after the ceremony, the bride’s mother removes her hat and puts on a half circle of roses, composed of buds with silver petals and foliage. The Van Wert [OH] Daily Bulletin 5 November 1909: p. 7


Judge C., a well-known, highly respectable Knickerbocker, on the shady side of fifty, widower with five children full of fun and frolic, ever ready for a joke to give or take—was bantered the other evening by a miss of five and twenty for not taking a wife. She argued that he was hale and hearty and deserved a matrimonial mess-mate. The Judge acknowledged the fact, admitted that he was convinced by the eloquence of his fair friend that he had thus far been remiss, expressed contrition of the fault confessed, and ended with offering himself to the lady, telling her she could not certainly reject him after pointing out his heinous offense. The lady replied that she would be most happy to take the situation so uniquely advertised, and become bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, but there was one—to her—serious obstacle.

“Well,” said the Judge, “name it. My profession is to surmount such obstacles.” “Ah! Judge, this is beyond your powers. I have vowed if I ever married a widower, he must have ten children.”

“Ten children! Oh, that’s nothing,” says the Judge. “I’ll give you five now and my notes on demand in yearly installments for the balance.” Iowa State Reporter [Waterloo, IA] 18 September 1872: p. 7 

Hired altars for use at home weddings is one of the more recent fashionable fads of the upper ten-dom of New York society. Fashion has some queer freaks.Western Kansas World 23 July 1892: p. 5 

A Singular Death-bed Scene [Montreal Dispatch to New York Times]

At a late hour last night a man named Alphonse Mousset went to the Civic Hospital, rang the door-bell, and on being asked who was there answered that it was a new patient. As soon as the door was opened by a nun he rushed into the hospital and upstairs into the women’s ward. There he knelt by the bedside of his dying wife and implored her before leaving him forever to sign some sort of a contract by which after her death he should be recognized as the sole possessor of some $500 she owned in bank shares. The gardener was called in, and by his aid Mousset was very quickly shown outside the door. The woman died to-day. The couple had been married only six weeks. Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 19 July 1885:  p. 11. 

Three years ago a young woman in Nashua wrote a few sensible words of devotion to the Union and put the paper with her name in a pair of soldiers’ drawers she was making for the Nashua Manufacturing Company. The soldier who drew the drawers wrote to her, and the correspondence was kept up. He was promoted to a Lieutenancy, and was lately discharged; and later still the couple were married. Cape Ann Advertiser [Gloucester, MA] 1 September 1865: p. 2  

ANECDOTE A certain Macaroni bien peudre et bien frize, with a feather hat under his arm, perfumed like an Egyptian mummy, and who had all the appearance of a modern puppy, went to church with his bride, to receive the nuptial blessing, when the Parson, struck with wonder at the strange apparition, for fear of a mistake, thought proper to ask before the ceremony, which of the two was the Lady? Spooner’s Vermont Journal [Windsor, VT]  7 April 1784: p. 3 

“Never write letters, young man, that you’ll regret in after life.” “You speak as from experience.” “I do. In early correspondence with her who is now my wife I signed myself, ‘Your obedient servant.’” The Day Book [Chicago, IL] 6 January 1913: p. 28

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  A previous post for this week contained18th-century suggestions for choosing an agreeable husband. You might also enjoy a post from last Valentine’s Day on vintage advice to select a worthy spouse.