“A Sad Mistake”


NewspaperslogoEach January I renew my subscription to Ancestry.com.  This year my annual fee increased by nearly 30 percent.  However, two additional tools were incorporated into my Worldwide subscription: full access to Fold3.com (the web’s premier collection of original military records) and also newspapers.com (digital access to 2,200 U.S. Newspapers dating from 1700 to current day).  And, I really liked the integration of features, options, and navigation across all of the tools now at my fingertips. The user experience was consistently good, so little to no learning curve needed to adapt to and navigate between applications. So naturally, with these new tools and toys in my research and documentation wheelhouse–along with Findagrave and Family Tree Maker at my disposal–I set out to see what I could discover and ultimately produce into a new and interesting story for this blog post.

The silly story spoke to me…

After creating a search and browsing its results for a few minutes I came across an article from an 1886 Greenville, Pennsylvania Newspaper.  The names of the people in the article initially got my interest, then the silly story that unfolded spoke to me and I surmised…”Regardless of the age or era, people will always be people–some rich, some poor, some fashioning their lives through clever and creative choices–and some just making stupid or sad mistakes that prohibit them from moving forward.”  The article follows:

A Newspaper Clipping from The Greenville AdvanceArgus, Greenville, PA,
11 March 1886Page 1

Greenville Advance Argus

A Sad Mistake

Why Gus Snobberly Failed to Negotiate a Loan

gentleman attire 1886Gus Snobberly make a good appearance on the streets of New York, but most of the time he is really hard up.  He often has to borrow a few hundred dollars from his friends to help him pull through, although none of his friends are aware of his distress.  He has been in the habit of sending flowers to his lady friends, and this has been a heavy tax on his feeble finances.  He mentioned his embarrassment to the florist from whom he has been purchasing his floral tributes.  The latter said:

“Mr. Snobberly, I think I can suggest a plan to help you over the difficulty.  You can get your flowers regularly and not pay any cash for them.”

“Let’s have it.”

“You wear a good many fine clothes, but you don’t wear them entirely out– We are about of a size.  Don’t you catch on?”

“Well, no.”

“You give me your clothes when you are through with them, and I’ll let you have a bouquet every week.  I’ll send it to your room.”vintage floral bouquet

“That’s a splendid idea.  You will save money and so will I.”

The arrangement was kept up from some time to the mutual satisfaction of both the contracting parties.

One day Gus sent a beautiful bouquet which he had just received from the florist to a married lady living on Fifth avenue, Mrs. Montgomery Chamwhooper, with whose husband, Sam Clamwhooper, he was on very friendly terms.  Gus’ object was to take Clamwhooper for a hundred dollars or so, hence the floral tribute to Mrs.Clamwhooper.

That same evening Gus called at the Clamwhooper mansion.  Mr. Clamwhooper was at home, but he received Gus with freezing dignity.

“What’s the matter” asked Gus, “got the toothache?”

“No sire, I’ve not got the toothache; but I’m very much disgusted, to say nauseated, with your conduct in sending my wife the bouquet.”

“But, my dear fellow, I’ve often sent your wife bouquets, and you never raised any objections.”

“I don’t object to any gentleman, who is my friend, sending my wife a bouquet, but I do object to you sending her notes in the bouquet.”

“Note!  I didn’t put a note in the bouquet.  “Twasn’t me.”  “I’ll swear to goodness it wasn’t me!” howled Gus.

“Here, sir, is the note that was in the bouquet,” said Clamwhooper, holding a note under the nose of the bewildered dude.  It was in the handwriting of the accommodating florist.

“Please send me that pair of stockings you promised me.  How do you like these flowers?”

“That’s a pretty note to send a lady.  If I didn’t think you were drunk when you wrote it, I’d twist your nose for you.”

Mrs. Clamwhooper stuffed her handkerchief in her mouth and turned away to conceal her emotion.

Gus got out into the street, but how he got there he doesn’t know.  He left his hat and cane in the house.

Next day he called at the office of Clamwhooper and explained the matter in strict confidence, but the latter was never afterwards sufficiently affectionate to justify Gus in attempting to borrow the hundred dollars.

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