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So being relieved from that duty, I followed
Your beauty, and graces, and presence to lend
(All of which, when I own, I hope no one will borrow)
To the Stuckups', whose party, you know, is to-morrow?"
On the Stuckup horizon-" I stopped, for her eye,
Of scorn and amazement. She made no reply, But gave a slight turn to the end of her nose
(That pure Grecian feature), as much as to say, "How absurd that any sane man should suppose That a lady would go to a ball in the clothes,
No matter how fine, that she wears every day!" So I ventured again: "Wear your crimson brocade;" (Second turn up of nose)-"That's too dark by a shade." "Your blue silk "-"That's too heavy." "Your pink""That's too light."
"Wear tulle over satin"-"I can't endure white." "Your rose-colored, then, the best of the batch""I haven't a thread of point-lace to match."
"Your brown moire antique"—"Yes, and look like a Quaker.” "The pearl-colored"-"I would, but that plaguy dressmaker
Has had it a week." "Then that exquisite lilac, In which you would melt the heart of a Shylock;" (Here the nose took again the same elevation)— "I wouldn't wear that for the whole of creation."
"Why not? It's my fancy, there's nothing could strike it As more comme il faut"-"Yes, but, dear me, that lean
Sophronia Stuckup has got one just like it, And I won't appear dressed like a chit of sixteen." "Then that splendid purple, the sweet Mazarine; That superb point d'aiguille, that imperial green, That zephyr-like tarletan, that rich grenadine""Not one of all which is fit to be seen," Said the lady, becoming excited and flushed. "Then wear," I exclaimed, in a tone which quite crushed Opposition, "that gorgeous toilette which you sported In Paris last spring, at the grand presentation,
When you quite turned the head of the head of the nation,
And that and most of my dresses are ripped up!"
Quite innocent, though; but to use an expression More striking than classic, it "settled my hash,"
And proved very soon the last act of our session. "Fiddlesticks, is it, sir? I wonder the ceiling
Doesn't fall down and crush you-you men have no feeling;
Who set yourselves up as patterns and preachers,
I have told you and shown you I've nothing to wear,
But you do not believe me" (here the nose went still higher).
"I suppose, if you dared, you would call me a liar.
Our engagement is ended, sir-yes, on the spot;
As gentle expletives which might give relief;
But this only proved as a spark to the powder,
Well, I felt for the lady, and felt for my hat, too,
Quite too deep for words, as Wordsworth would say;
Poked my feet into slippers, my fire into blaze,
Of the Russias to boot, for the rest of his days,
On the whole, do you think he would have much to spare,
If he married a woman with nothing to wear?"
Since that night, taking pains that it should not be bruited Abroad in society, I've instituted
A course of inquiry, extensive and thorough,
On this vital subject, and find, to my horror,
That the fair Flora's case is by no means surprising,
But that there exists the greatest distress In our female community, solely arising
From this unsupplied destitution of dress, Whose unfortunate victims are filling the air With the pitiful wail of "Nothing to wear."
Researches in some of the "Upper Ten" districts
In one single house on the Fifth Avenue,
Three young ladies were found, all below twenty-two,
In another large mansion near the same place
Was found a deplorable, heartrending case
The most pressing need of real ermine tippets;
To survive for the want of a new Russian sable;
In which were engulfed, not friend or relation
(For whose fate she, perhaps, might have found consolation,
Or borne it, at least, with serene resignation),
But the saddest, by far, of all these sad features,
Unsupplied with new jewelry, fans or bouquets,
Even laugh at their miseries whenever they have a chance,
Too sad for belief, but alas! 'twas too true,
To permit her to take more than ten trunks to Sharon.
At the end of three weeks she had nothing to wear;
And when she proposed to finish the season