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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
a greater license of demeanor; they sit, drink and
chat familiarly with the frequenters�always with
an eye to stimulating demands for liquor, which,
if spirituous, proves to be of unusually bad quality.
Like those previously described, they vary in phy-
siognomy from positive beauty to downright
ugliness.  There are girls fat and girls lean, girls
dirty and girls clean, girls with dark hair, light
hair, thick hair, scanty hair, wild hair, curly hair,
hair in braids and tails and tendrils, and no-hair-
to-speak-of altogether; girls in blue, in red, in
scarlet, in yellow, in green, in dresses like bed-
ticking; in wreaths, in bows, in ribbons, in flowers,
in rouge, in pearl-powder, in whiting�the three
last-mentioned articles being especially promi-
nent.  Two sisters are the belles of the establish-
ment, one of whom is more than pretty.  The
average conversational ability of the young ladies
in general appears to be limited to common-
places, pertnesses, and vulgar iterations of the 
dreariest and most melancholy description.
  Listening and wondering what extraordinary
hallucination or perversity of taste could induce
the frequenters of the place to find any pleasure
in their society, we overheard one of them�an
obese female and Balmoral boots and a dress re-
sembling pink blotting paper with ink-spots sprin-
kled over its surface�engaged in conversation
with a dissipated-looking young fellow, about ten
years her junior, inquire �whether he didn�t
want a private box?�  �What for?� he inquired.
The answer was suggestive: �To have some
fun.�  Furthermore, for a bonus of $10 (!) she
proposed to secure to him the felicity of an in-
troduction to one of the female dancers.
  The stage entertainments of the Melodeon com-
prise the usual variety of ballet-dancing, singing, 
posturing, juggling and minstrel buffoonery; also
an exceedingly gross Irish comic vocalist, whose
speedy suppression, as well as that of his pictorial
effigy from the dead walls of the city, would be a
public benefit.  The establishment (which en-
gages �none but stars�) also advertises the 
speedy appearance of a lady �the range of whose
voice is greater than any vocalist (sic) in Ameri-
ca,� who �sings from her soul and moulds the
soulds of her hearers to her will��which, if it be
at all like the will of her probably hearers, must,
we opine, be a very base one.
  This, a second-rate and comparatively smaller
concert-hall than the two described, is on the
other side of Broadway, No. 616, adjacent to Hous-
ton street, on a block prolific of such places.  The
payment of ten cents secures admission and a

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
drink, ten more the limited privilege of an �or-
chestra-seat.�  Its proprietors publish a weekly
bill of entertainment, duly printed by the Herald.
  The hall is a long and rather narrow room
with the usual bar on one side of the entrance;
its walls ornamented with paper of a theatrical
pattern; its area containing rows of transverse
seats, the back of each being accommodated with
a sort of wooden gutter to hold the drinking
utensils.  Owing to the moderate price, the place
is generally crowded, especially on a Saturday
night�so much so, indeed, that a cluster of spec-
tators generally remains standing in the vicinity
of the bar, looking over the heads of those seated
at what is going on in front of the one set scene
on the small stage.
  There are here about a dozen female waiters,
mostly coarse-looking girls, who walk to and fro
with a defiant swing and swagger, drink, smoke
cigars, talk and sit with the audience at pleasure,
no apparent restriction with respect to time being
placed upon them; for we remarked one who
sat with her waist comfortably encircled by a
man�s arm for at least half an hour.  As another
illustration of their free and easy behavior we
may mention an incident.
  There came in, during our visit, a rather drunken
Zouave, the tassel of whose skull-cap being play-
fully twitched by one of the attendant damsels,
induced him to attempt �humors of revenge� by
incontinently kissing her.  This was resisted on
her part, first by striking him in the face with her
waiter, then by discharging that article as a mis-
sile at his head.  The intention was unmistak-
able, the aim indifferent.  In the words of the
young lady, when relating the incident subse-
quently, �the waiter hit another feller over the
snoot��whereupon something of a row ensued.
The ticket-seller espousing the cause of the in-
jured gentleman, the young lady requested him to
go to Pandemonium, following up that remark by
a personal assault terminated at length by the
interference of the bar-men, by whose efforts peace
was presently restored.
  The feature of the evening�s entertainment
seemed to be the performance of a certain �Miss
Louise, the wonderful Lady Drummer, who made
such a SENSATION TEN YEARS AGO as a child (sic
in bill), and more recently in Europe, where she
was honored (like Mrs. Jarley�s wax work) with
the presence and approval of the Nobility and
Crowned Heads, and now returns to her native land
in the blushing bud of lovely womanhood, to en-
trance her hearers as much by her beauty as by
her wonderful powers on the DRUM.�  Of this               
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