Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/A Prospect of a Fashyonable Haberdasher hys Shope.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 2.

A Prospect of a Fashyonable Haberdasher hys Shope.


A Prospect of a Fashyonable Haberdasher hys Shope.

[Tueſday, Auguſt 7, 1849.]

FINDING Fault with my Wife, for that ſhe do not uſe enough Exerciſe; whence her continual Headach, and Faddell, the 'Potticary his Bill of £5. She replying that I would never take her out, I ſaid I would, whenever ſhe liked; whereupon, we agreed to go a Walk forthwith, and my Wife did propoſe Regent Street. So we thither, pleating ourſelves with obſerving the Paſſers-by and the Carriages, and the Streets blazing with fine Ladies and flaming Liveries. Going by Lindsey and Woolsey, my Wife's Eye taken with a Scarf in the Window, and would ſtop to look at it with a Crowd of other Women gazing at the Finery, which Mr. Skitt do call Baits, and a Draper's Shop a Lady-Trap. Preſently fhe recollected that ſhe wanted a Collar; ſo we into the Shop, where ſome ſixty or eighty Ladies fitting before the Counters, examining the Wares, buſy as Blue-Bottle Flies at a Sugar Caſk. Behind the Counters the Shopmen and Aſſiſtants, ſhowing off the Goods, and themſelves alſo, with mighty dainty Airs, every one of them, almoſt, Narcissus his Image. But I fear me they owe their pale delicate Looks and languid Ways in Part to the Want of ſufficient Air and Exerciſe; which is a ſad Conſideration. One of theſe dapper young Sirs did help my Wife to her Collar, coſt 3s. 6d.; when ſhe thought ſhe had better get another while about it, coſt 3s. 6d. more. Then, ſays he, in his ſoft condoling Voice, "What is the next Article?" as though taking for granted that another was wanted—which was too true. For hereupon, my Wife bethought her of lacking ſome Lace Cuffs, four Pair: coſt 12s. "And now, Mem," (meaning Madam) ſays the young Fellow with a Simper, "allow me to ſhow you a Love of a Robe, a Barège, Double Glacé, brocaded in the Flouncings, and reduced to Twenty-One-and-Six from Forty-Five." But ſhe profeſſed that ſhe needed it not: whereat I was glad; when he did tell her he would do it at One-and-Four leſs: and ſhe then ſaying that it was indeed a Bargain, which I find is a Woman's Word for anything cheap whether wanted or no, I let her have it: coſt £1 0s. 2d. But, to be ſure, the Pattern was pretty, and my Wife being well-dreſſed do pleaſe my Taſte, and alſo increaſe my Conſequence and Dignity. The Robe bought, it comes into her Head that ſhe could not do without a new Shawl to match it, blue and ſcarlet, coſt £2 2s., but will look mighty fine, and, I hope, laſt. Here I thought to hale her at once by Force away; but ſeeing a ſtout middle-aged Gentleman doing the very Thing, and how mean it looked, did forbear; and in the Meanwhile the Shopman did beg, as he ſaid, to tempt her with a ſuperior Aſſortment of Ribbons. She rummaging over this Frippery, I to gaze about the Shop, and with Fellow-Feeling did mark an unhappy ſmall Boy, while his Mother was comparing ſome three-ſcore different Pieces of Satin, perched on a Stool, out of Patience. My Wife would have 5s. worth of Ribbons, and here I hoped would make an end; but the Shopman did exhibit to her ſome Silk Stockings; and I telling her they were unneceſſary, ſhe declared that then ſhe muſt wear Boots, which ſhe knows I utterly hate; and concluded with buying half a Dozen Pair, coſt 24s.: with this my Martyrdom finiſhed; and we away, bowed out of the Shop with Congees by the smirking Shopwalker, rubbing his Hands and grinning, as obſequious as could be; and ſo Home; I mighty ſerious, having laid out £5 10s. 2d.; and the next time I take out my Wife for a Walk, it ſhall be in the Fields and not in Regent Street.