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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 29a

              Another �Mercury� article
of equal humor and delicacy
by Mortimer Thomson.
The �Curly one, is of course,
Grace Elredge.

[newspaper clipping]
  But I discover that I have wandered from
the subject, so I�ll come back to the original
lady; and, to put those of my readers who
may chance to be of the crinoline gender in
good-humor again, I will state that there is
talk of a wedding, in which the writer hereof
is to be particularly interested�in fact, he is
cast for one of the principal parts�in short,
it is rumored that he is to be the groomsman
�Damphool being the bridegroom, and he is
happy to confirm that impertinent but deli-
cious rumor.
  ANXIOUS YOUNG LADY (eagerly).�When **
  DOESTICKS (serenely).�Well, we�ll say, early
in May.
  Housekeeping things being requisite�car-
pets and tea-kettles, and crockery, and pi-
anos, and pictures, and bedsteads, and sauce-
pans, and extension-tables, and bird-cages,
and clothes-pins, and towels, and music-pa-
per, and sofas, and gas things, and curtains,
and new pantaloons, and writing-desks, and
skewers, and things to cook turkeys in, and
chickens, and hams, and fried fish, and to boil 
keef, and eggs, and buckwheat cakes, and
then paper-weights, and toothpicks, and
pokers, and lounges, and coal-scuttles, and
almanacs, and scissors, and door-plates, and
boxing-gloves, and boots, and butter-boats,
and pepper-castors, and dining-room chairs,
and dumb-bells, and rattle-boxes, and baby-
jumpers, and things�of course it becomes
necessary for Damphool to go forth into the
land and seek.  Damphool, following my
bright example, has also a Curly One, the
idol of his heart, etc., etc.
  Well, the Curly One had seen, somewhere
in a paper, an advertisement of an auction�
a furniture auction�to come of in the after-
noon, and she was certain that she could buy
any quantity off things that they would want,
and could get them cheap.
  Cheap and Auction.  There was never a
civilized woman yet, insensible to the charm
of those two magic words.  Every woman,
whohas got any life, any blood, any vitality,
any anything in her mental composition that
is worth having, has also got a strong infusion
of the Mrs. Toodles spirit.  In some it is a 
mania; in others, it is merely a fancy.  I
haven�t yet decided whether Damphool�s
Curly One is crazy, or only enthusiastic;
from her choosing him for a h*****d, I in-
cline to the former proposition; but time
alone can show.
  To the auction we resolved to go, and
Damphool and I were to call for the young
lady at two o�clock.  The sale was to com-
mence at three, and we had fourteen blocks
to walk, so, as she complacently remarked,
we would have abundance of time to walk
leisurely to the spot, select  our places, get
comfortable seats, and watch closely for the
best bargains.  Damphool, too, thought we
could do it.  Ha, ha!  Deluded man!
  But I won�t anticipate.
  At precisely two o�clock, we rang the bell
at the Curly mansion.  As we enter, we hear
the festive remarks of the gay piano; Curly
is doing a favorite bit from the opera that is
my particular detestation.  At our intimation
that Auction would be ready soon, and that,
as Auction wouldn�t be expecting us, Auction
wouldn�t wait our coming, but would go on
without us, she consented to postpone her
piano practice for a time, a time and a half,
and half a time, and to array herself like
Solomon in all his glory, or more so, and be
ready immediately.  Her precise remark was,
as she skittered up stairs: �I�ll be ready in
two minutes.�
  Looked at my watch, and saw that if we
spared three-quarters of an hour, we could
then, by fast walking, reach Auction before he
had done much.
  Sat down at the piano to pass away the
time till the Curly One should have exhaust-
ed her two minutes.
  Mind you � I�m not a fool � I know, of
course, that when a woman says two minutes,
she means�well, anything you like, from a
quarter of an hour to two hours.  In this
matter, circumstances alter cases in the most
wonderful manner.  If you�re going to take 
her to the infernal Opera, or to the blessed
Theatre, the chances are four to one that she
will have all her manifold things on, and will
be waiting for you in the hall; if you don�t
find her there, as soon as she hears your ring
she will skitter up stairs, without waiting to
see you, will call �Good evening� from the
head of the stairs, or some room contiguous
thereto, hustle her things on, and be with you
before you�ve had a chance to guess, by the
appearance of the room, whether she�s been
doing embroidery all day, or been asleep on
the sofa.
  In our own case, on this special occasion�
well, I must give our experience somewhat in
detail, in order to get at the facts.
  After she went upstairs, I thought I�d do
a little piano myself, by way of passing the
time, till she came down.  Played all the
�gems� of �Trovatore,� �Sonnambula,�
�Lucia,� �Robert le Diable,� and some
choice selections from the �Ballo in Masche-
ra,� arranged by myself.  Then I played a
dozen mazurkas, a few polkas, and twenty
or more different version of the �Lancers�
� still my lady came not.  Time, 1 hour
and 7 minutes.  Played 14 sets of qua-
drilles, and called all the changes at the
top of my voice.  No Curly One�not a sin-
gle curl.  Time, 1 hour and 53 minutes.
Then, as a last resource, played 10 hornpipes,
6 Highland flings, and 21 jigs, in the jiggest
possible quick time.  Still no response from
above.  Time, 2 hours and 14 minutes.  Got
desperate; rolled up my sleeves, and resolv-
ed to do the �Anvil Chorus� in such style as
would bring the C.O. to her senses, or smash
the piano to eternal bits.  This had the de-
sired effect.  I had only broken fourteen
treble-strings, and cracked the sounding-
board, when a voice was heard from the top of
the stairs, saying, in sweetest tones:
  �Haven�t I been quick?  I�ll be down in
three seconds.�
  These three seonds enabled me to play a
couple more hornpipes, 7 polkas, and invent
16 original variations to Dixie.  I was jut
pondering over the 18th, and whether to ar-
range the bass in forgiving triplets, or in indig-
nant octaves, when I heard the voice of the
Curly One, saying, to some person invisible:
  �The gentlemen have hurried me so, An-
nie, and I�ve been so quick that I haven�t
had time to put my room to rights.  Please
pick up my things, and make everything neat
�there�s a nice girl.�
  Then she skipped down to us, declaring I
had hurried her so, that she �didn�t look a
bit nice,� and that we were two �great,
surly, rough, unreasonable bears.�
  At this same Curly One has made the as-
sertion tht no man can properly describe a
woman�s dress, and that I am the most igno-
rant of my sex on such abstruse subjects, I
am going now, here, at once, and forever to 
refute this base slander.
  Hear, then, O Curly!  On the eventful day
when we went to the auction, you had on your
head a magnificent bonnet of plaid satin,
trimmed with five red rushes over the top,
and three red roses, one white one, and a
blue-black marabout feather sticking straight
up.  Your bonnet-strings were, one corn
color, and the other magenta (ha, ha! you
thought I didn�t know that magenta is a col-
or).  Then you had about your neck, and
trailing gracefully over your shoulders, a
splendid lace mauve of rigolette color, with
little purple balls on the ends.  The corsage-
colored coiffure about your waist was nicely
relieved against the victorine tassels, and the
taffeta-shaped crochet that formed the upper
black silk moir� antique of your poplin recher-
ch�and that was all, except your shoes,
which were trousseau-colored stuff, and look-
ed very nicely.  Oh, yes; I beg pardon! you
did have a gown�I remember it perfectly�
berth�-colored velvet, with very fine bien gan-
t�e of the true Honiton shade.  There, there,
what do you think of that?
  Twenty-nine times we reached the door-
steps, and twenty-eight times we rang the
bell, and compelled the wretched servant to
let us in, that the C. O. might get some for-
gotten thing, which she generally found in 
her pocket, after all.  At last, however, we
started, and at last we reached the auction-
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