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NOTHING TO WEAR.

209

Of muslins, embroideries, worked under-clothes,
Gloves, handkerchiefs, scarfs, and such trifles as those;
Then, wrapped in great shawls, like Circassian beauties,
Gave good by to the ship, and go by to the duties.
Her relations at home all marveled, no doubt,
Miss Flora had grown so enormously stout

For an actual belle and a possible bride;
But the miracle ceased when she turned inside out,

And the truth came to light, and the dry-goods beside;
Which, in spite of Collector and Custom-House sentry,
Had entered the port without any entry.
And yet, though scarce three months have passed since

the day

This merchandise went, on twelve carts, up Broadway,
This same Miss M'Flimsey, of Madison Square,
The last time we met was in utter despair,
Because she had nothing whatever to wear!

Nothing TO WEAR! Now, as this is a true ditty,

I do not assert—this, you know, is between usThat she 's in a state of absolute nudity,

Like Powers' Greek Slave, or the Medici Venus;
But I do mean to say, I have heard her declare,

When at the same moment she had on a dress
Which cost five hundred dollars, and not a cent less,
And jewelry worth ten times more, I should

guess, That she had not a thing in the wide world to wear!

I should mention just here, that out of Miss Flora's
Two hundred and fifty or sixty adorers,
I had just been selected as he who should throw all
The rest in the shade, by the gracious bestowal
On myself, after twenty or thirty rejections,
Of those fossil remains which she called her “ affections,”
And that rather decayed, but well-known work of art,
Which Miss Flora persisted in styling her "heart.”
So we were engaged. Our troth had been plighted,

Not by moonbeam or starbeam, by fountain or grove,
But in a front parlor, most brilliantly lighted,
Beneath the gas-fixtures, we whispered our love.
Without any romance, or raptures, or sighs,
Without any tears in Miss Flora's blue eyes,
Or blushes, or transports, or such silly actions,
It was one of the quietest business transactions,
With a very small sprinkling of sentiment, if any,
And a very large diamond imported by Tiffany.
On her virginal lips while I printed a kiss,
She exclaimed, as a sort of parenthesis,

And by way of putting me quite at my ease, “You know I'm to polka as much as I please,

And flirt when I like—now, stop, do n't you speak-
And you must not come here more than twice in the

week,
Or talk to me either at party or ball,
But always be ready to come when I call;
So do n’t prose to me about duty and stuff,
If we do n't break this off, there will be time enough
For that sort of thing; but the bargain must be
That, as long as I choose, I am perfectly free,
For this is a kind of engagement, you see,
Which is binding on you, but not binding on me.”

Well, having thus wooed Miss M'Flimsey and gained her,
With the silks, crinolines, and hoops that contained her,
I had, as I thought, a contingent remainder
At least in the property, and the best right
To appear as its escort by day and by night;
And it being the week of the Stuckup's grand ball, —

Their cards had been out a fortnight or so,

And set all the Avenue on the tiptoe,-
I considered it only my duty to call,

And see if Miss Flora intended to go.
I found her—as ladies are apt to be found,
When the time intervening between the first sound

NOTHING TO WEAR.

211

Of the bell and the visitor's entry is shorter
Than usual—I found; I won't say—I caught her,
Intent on the pier-glass, undoubtedly meaning
To see if perhaps it did n't need cleaning.
She turned as I entered, “Why, Harry, you sinner,
I thought that you went to the Flashers' to dinner!”
“So I did," I replied, " but the dinner is swallowed,

And digested; I trust, for 't is now nine and more,
So being relieved from that duty, I followed

Inclination, which led me, you see, to your door;
And now will your ladyship so condescend
As just to inform me if you intend
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 ?”
The fair Flora looked up, with a pitiful air,
And answered quite promptly, “Why, Harry, mon cher,
I should like above all things to go with you there,
But really and truly—I 've nothing to wear.”
“Nothing to wear! go just as you are;

Wear the dress you have on, and you 'll be by far,
I engage, the most bright and particular star

On the Stuckup horizon—" I stopped, for her eye,
Notwithstanding this delicate onset of flattery,
Opened on me at once a most terrible battery

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 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!”

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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.''

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Your rose-colored, then, the best of the batch." “I have n't a thread of point-lace to match.” “Your brown moire antique"—“Yes, and look like a Qua

ker;"

"The pearl-colored "_"I would, but that plaguy dress

maker 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 would n'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, that 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 by all the grand court were so very much courted."

The end of the nose was portentously tipped up, And both the bright eyes shot forth indignation, As she burst upon me with the fierce exclamation, “I have worn it three times, at the least calculation,

And that and most of my dresses are ripped up!" IIere I ripped out something, perhaps rather rash,

Quite innocent, though; but, to use an expression More striking than classic, it “settled my hash,”

And proved very soon the last of our session. “Fiddlesticks, is it, sir ? I wonder the ceiling Does n't fall down and crush you,—you men have no feel

ing;

NOTHING TO WEAR.

213

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You selfish, unnatural, illiberal creatures,
Who set yourselves up as patterns and preachers,
Your silly pretense, -- why, what a mere guess it is!
Pray, what do you know of a woman's necessities?
I have told you and shown you I 've nothing to wear,
And it 's perfectly plain you not only do n't care,
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;
You 're a brute, and a monster, and I do n't know what."
I mildly suggested the words IIottentot,
Pickpocket, and cannibal, Tartar, and thief,
As gentle expletives which might give relief;
But this only proved as a spark to the powder,
And the storm I had raised came faster and louder;
It blew and it rained, thundered, lightened, and hailed
Interjections, verbs, pronouns, till language quite failed
To express the abusive, and then its arrears
Were brought up all at once by a torrent of tears,
And my last faint, despairing attempt at an obs-
Ervation was lost in a tempest of sobs.
Well, I felt for the lady, and felt for my hat, too,
Improvised on the crown of the latter a tattoo,
In lieu of expressing the feelings which lay
Quite too deep for words, as Wordsworth would say;
Then, without going through the form of a bow,
Found myself in the entry, I hardly knew how,
On door-step and side-walk, past lamp-post and square,
At home and up-stairs, in my own easy-chair ;

Poked my feet into slippers, my fire into blaze,
And said to myself, as I lit my cigar,
“Supposing a man had the wealth of the Czar

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

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