Life In New York City: Random Gossip 1885 #7

DISREGARD OF ST. VALENTINE'S DAY has become complete in New York polite society. The custom of mailing one's sentiments, hard or soft, comic or serious, has departed along with New Year's calling. If any Murray Hill girl received a fringed, scalloped and gilded missive of love this year, she was as careful to keep it out of sight as the kitchen domestic might be with a libelous caricature from a secret enemy. The belle of this ceremonious period is a stickler for the niceties of fashionable usage, as revised up to the very latest moment. They tell of a gentle creature who went to her mamma with tears in her eyes and a letter in her hands. "This is an offer of marriage from Alphonse," she murmured, between sobs. "And why are you weeping?" responded the mother; you and he had parental mission for courtship, you have fallen in love with him, and the match is in every way an eligible one." "I know all that," the girl assented. "but he has written his offer on paper that has been out of fashion for more than six months, and suppose some of my friends should see it?"

A CHANGE OF DOG IS TO BE NOTED is to be noted among those girls who keep right up with the fashionable procession. In this matter there is a close race all the while between society and the stage. Belles and actresses are alike given to the canine gaining of distinction whenever they take their walks or drives abroad; and, as the belle abhors above all things a likeness to the actress, she shifts the fashion in dogs as often as possible, in the hope of maintaining a dissimilarity. But it is vain. A style in pets cannot be copyrighted, and the doors of the dog stores are open to all buyers. The pug is now losing caste rapidly. It is a dreadful strain on the female heart to discard her favorite four legged plaything, but she has nerved herself to the ordeal, and the King Charles spaniel is now her companion. What becomes of the out of date dogs? I know a young woman who harbors on the parental promises seven back numbers in dogs that have had their day. The series runs back to a decrepit old poodle, and leads up to a brand new spaniel. It was one of this breed, by the way, that made a commotion at the Fifth Avenue Theater the other night. Edwin Booth was playing in "The Fool's Revenge." In the role of the hunchback jester, you will remember, he is a frightful object; and when he rushed past the unaccustomed new dog in the arms of Miss Thompson, who stood in the wings waiting for her cue, it was no wonder that the limping gait of the actor, coupled with his cries for dramatic vengeance, terrified the brute, whose  bow wow spoiled the scene for the actor but made it amusing for the audience.

  It makes no difference that the movement has for its cardinal principle the doctrine that Caesar ought to be as free of reproach as Caesar's wife in other words, that men's lives should be as pure as those of the women with whom they associate nor is the ribald jest silenced by any consideration of the high religious countenance which the organization enjoys. The idlers and loungers of the town have chosen the White Cross for ridicule. Everywhere one goes he hears the coarsest comments and allusions. Boys are peddling white crosses which, while outwardly symbolical of goodness, are a cover for an atrocity. I am pained to find, too, that some of the best of our girls, while, of course, quite modest in their language, are inclined to guy rather than sustain the White Cross Society.

IINQUIRY AMONG THE LEADING MANUFACTURERS of roller skates, so far as they are represented by agencies for the wholesale trade in this city, elicits the news that the religious opposition will be combated to some extent. Some of these firms are owners of patents, and the rivalry between them is rather bitter, but they have so far combined as to order for distribution great quantities of a tract which is being prepared in their interest. The opinions of a number of medical, gymnastic and theological experts will be given to prove that, unless indulged in to excess, roller skating is in every way beneficial. These tracts will be sent free to all the rinks in the land for distribution.

THE ABOUT TOWN FELLOWS WHO AFFECT ruder pastimes than skating have been neatly taken in. A dealer in pugilists gave it out that he could command two "good 'uns" for a rattling glove fight, but they were deadly foes and sure to slug so brutally that perfect secrecy would have to maintained lest legal prosecution should ensue. He could manage it handsomely if twenty gentlemen, and no more, would pay $25 each for the rare privilege of becoming spectators. The tickets were eagerly bought by young clubmen on those terms. And what they got for their money was the sight of about as tame and unskillful a flight as can be imagined.

PAULINE HALL AND LILLIAN RUSSELL, much alike in perfection of beauty, excellence of vocalism and awkwardness of movement, are now to be rivals again on the New York stage. All the dancing masters on earth and many have tried couldn't enable either of these shapely creatures to take a graceful step, except at a walking gait. Lillian is back from London. I don't imagine that her marrying of Ted Solomon, as ugly a little chap as could be found in a day's search, destroyed the ardent admiration of the dudes for her. They said to themselves that Lillian couldn't possibly be in love with him, but had mated with him for a freak, or business, or anything else than affection. On Thursday came the shock of her downfall. she walked boldly down Broadway, and then up again, with a bouncing baby trundled at her side in a perambulator pushed by a natty nursemaid. A wife might be empress of the dudes, but a mother, never!

IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A DAUGHTER or sweetheart inclined to fall in love with stage heroes, I can give an infallible recipe for a perfect cure. Take her to Daly's Theater and show John Drew and George Parkes to her. These two actors have shaved off their mustaches for the purposes of an old comedy revival, and the effect is disenchanting__even horrible. Drew isn't handsome at his best, though an admirable and popular actor, but with no hair on his face to improve the outlines, and his head surmounted by a powdered wig, he is mistaken for an aged character by those who don't know better. And you remember Parkes__his perfect trousers, his society department and especially his love of a mustache! His mouth, as now fully revealed, is such a wry, convulsive, uncontrolled and vaguely expressive gap that spectators keep their glasses morbidly leveled at it.

Website: The History
Article Name: Life In New York City: Random Gossip 1885 #7
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Brooklyn Daily Eagle February 15, 1885
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