or, Killed off
by a Ballet Girl
by Jonathan F.
Shakspeare has writtenlet him that's robbednot wanting what is
stolen, not know it, and he's not robbed at all! Now this fact
often becomes very apparent, especially so in the case of Mrs.
Pompaliner,a lady of whom we have had occasion to speak before, the
same who sent Mrs. Brown, the washerwomen, sundry boxes of perfume to
mix in her suds, while washing the pyramids of dimity and things
of Mrs. P. There never was a ladyno member of the sex, that ever
suffered more, from dread of contagion, fear of dirt, and the
contamination of other people, than Mrs. Pompaliner.
Olivia, said she, one morning, to one of her waiting maids, for
Mrs. Pompaliner kept three, alternating them upon the principle of
varying her handkerchiefs, gloves and linen, as theyin her
double-distilled refined idea of things, became soiled by use, from
time to time. Olivia, come hereJessamine, you can leave: she was so
intent upon odor and nature's purest loveliness, that she either sought
sweet-scented cognomened waiting-maids, or nick-named them up to the
fanciful standard of her own.
Olivia, here, take this handkerchief away, take the horrid thing
away. I believe my soul somebody has touched it after it was ironed. Do
take it away, and the poor victim of concentrated, double extract of
human extravagance, almost fainted and fell back upon her lounge, in a
fit of abhorrence at the idea of her mouchoir being touched,
tossed, or opened, after it entered her camphorated drawers in her
Yes'm, was the response of the fine, ruddy, and wholesome looking
Olivia, put on your gloves.
Go down to Mrs. Brown's, she faintly saystell her to come here
this very day.
Yes'm, replied the fine-eyed, real woman.
Got your gloves on?
Well, take this key, go to my boudoir, in the fifth drawer of my
papier mache black bureau, you will find a case of handkerchiefs.
Take out three, yes, four, close the case, lock the drawer, close
the boudoir door, and bring down the handkerchiefs upon my rosewood
tray. Do you comprehend, Olivia?
Yes'm, said the girl.
But come here; let me see your hands. O, horror! such gloves! touch
my handkerchiefs or bureau drawers with those horrid gloves! Poison
me! cries the terrified woman.
Olivia, she again ejaculates, after a moment's pause, from
Yes'm, the blushing, tickled blonde replies.
Go call Vanilla, you are quite soiled now. I want a fresh servant,
Ah, Vanilla, girl, have you got your gloves on?
Yes'm, the yellow girl modestly answers.
Then do go and bring me six handkerchiefs from my boudoir, in the
fifth drawer of my black papier mache bureau. Let me see your
Ah, Vanilla, you are to be depended upon; your gloves are
cleannow run along, dear, for I'm suffering for a fresh, new, and
Ah, that's well. Now, Vanilla, go to Mrs. Brown's, my
laundresssay that I wish her to come here, immediately.
Yes'm, says the bright quadroon, and away she spins for the
domicil of democratic Mrs. Brown, the laundress.
Now what's up, I'd like to know? quoth the old woman.
Dunno, missus wants to see youguess you better come, says
Deuce take sich fussy people, says Mrs. Brown; I wouldn't railly
put up with all her dern'd nonsense, ef she wa'n't so poorly, so weak
in her mind and body, and so good about paying for her work. No, I
declare I wouldn't, said the strong-minded woman.
Bring the creature up, said Mrs. Pompaliner, as one of her fresh
attendants announced the washerwoman.
Ah, you are here?
Yes, said the fat, hardy, and independent, if awkward, Mrs. Brown,
as she stood in the august presence of Mrs. Pompaliner, and the
gorgeous trappings of her own private drawing-room.
Yes, I believe I am, ma'am! says the she-democrat.
Vanilla, tell Olivia to bring Jessamine here.
Now Mrs. awhat is your name?
Brown, Dorcas Brown; my husband and I
Never mind, that's sufficient, Mrs. aBrown, said the reclining
Mrs. Pompaliner. I wish to know if anybody is permitted to touch or
handle any of my wardrobe, my linen, handkerchiefs, hose, gloves,
laces, etc., in your house?
Tetch 'em! echoes the rotund laundress; why of course we've got
to tetch 'em, or how'd we get 'em ironed and put in your baskets,
Do you pretend to say, Mrs. aBrownO dear! dear! I am afraid you
have ruined all my clothes!
Ruined 'em? quoth Mrs. Brown, coloring up, like a fresh and lively
lobster immersed in a pot of highly caloric water.
I want to know if the things ain't been done this week as well as I
ever did 'em, could do 'em, or anybody could do 'em on this mighty
yeath (earth), ma'am!
Come, come, don't get me flustered, woman, cries the poor, faint
Mrs. Pompaliner. Don't come here to worry me; answer me and go.
So I can go, ma'am! said Mrs. Brown, with a vigorous toss of her
Stop, will you understand me, Mrs.a
Brown, ma'am, Brown's my name. I ain't afeard to let anybody know
it! responded the spunky laundress.
The arrival of Olivia, who ushered in Jessamine, turned the current
Jessamine, your gloves on, dear?
Then go to my boudoir, open the rose-wood clothes case,
bring down the skirts, a dozen or two of the mouchoirs, the
laces and hose.
The girl departed, and soon returned with a ponderous paper box,
laden with the articles required.
Now, said Mrs. Pompaliner, now, Brown, look at those articles;
don't you see that they have been touched?
Tetched! lord-a-massy, ma'am, how'd you get 'em ironed, folded and
brought home, ma'am, without tetching 'em?
Olivia, Vanilla, where are you? Jessamine, dear, bring me a fresh
handkerchief, ignite a pastile, there's such an odor in the
room. Do you smell, Mrs. aBrown, that horrid lavender or rose,
or, or,do you smell it, Brown?
Lord-a-massy, ma'am, said the old woman of suds, I ollers smell a
dreadful smell here; them parfumeries o' yourn, I often tell my
Augusty, I wonder them stinkin'
O! O! dear! cries Mrs. Pompaliner, going off into a spell;
recovering a little, Mrs. Pompaliner proceeds to state that for some
time past, she had been troubled with a presentiment, that her
fine clothes had been tampered with after leaving the smoothing iron,
and how fatal to her would be the fact of any mortal daring to use, in
the remotest manner, any fresh garment or personal apparel of hers!
Suspicion had been aroused, the articles before the parties were now
diligently examined, when, lo! a spot, not unlike a slight smear of
vermilion, was discovered upon a splendid handkerchiefit gave Mrs. P.
an electric shock; but, O horror! the next thing turned up was a
spangle, big as a half dime, upon one of Mrs. P.'s most superb
skirts! This awful revelation, connected with the smell of vile
lavender and worse patchouly, upon another piece of woman gear, threw
Mrs. Pompaliner into spasms, between the motions of which she gasped:
You have a daughter, Mrs. Brown?
Yes, I have.
How old is she?
About seventeen, ma'am.
And she a?
Dances in the theatre, ma'am!
The whole thing was out: the sacred garments of Mrs. P. had not only
been touched by sacrilegious hands, but had had an airing, and
smelt the lamps of the play-house! Mrs. Pompaliner was so shocked, that
four first-class physicians tended her for a whole season.
Mrs. Brown lost a profitable customer, and well walloped her
ballet-nymph daughter Augusty, for attiring herself in the finery of
her most possibly particular and sensitive customer! It was awful!