from Fashion; or, Life in New York
Anna Cora Mowatt
New York: Samuel French, 1849



A splendid Drawing Room in the House of MRS. TIFFANY. Open folding doors C. F., discovering a Conservatory. On either side glass windows down to the ground. Doors on R. and L.U.E. Mirror, couches, ottomans, a table with albums, &c., beside it an arm chair. MILLINETTE R. dusting furniture, &c. ZEKE L. in a dashing livery, scarlet coat, &c.

  Zeke. Dere's a coat to take de eyes ob all Broadway! Ah! Missy, it am de fixins dat make de natural born gemman. A libery for ever! Dere's a pair ob insuppressibles to 'stonish de colored population.

  Millinette. Oh, oui, Monsieur eke (very politely). I not comprend one word he say! (aside.)

  Zeke. I tell 'ee what, Missy, I'm 'stordinary glad to find dis a bery 'spectabul like situation! Now as you've made de acquaintance ob dis here family, and dere you've had a supernumerary advantage ob me—seeing dat I only receibed my appointment dis morning. What I wants to know is your publicated opinion, privately expressed, ob de domestic circle.

  Mil. You mean vat espece, vat kind of personnes are Monsieur and Madame Tiffany? Ah! Monsieur is not de same ting as Madame,—not at all.

  Zeke. Well, I s'pose he ain't altogether.

  Mil. Monsieur is a man of business,—Madame is lady of fashion. Monsieur make de money,—Madame spend it. Monsieur nobody at all,—Madame everybody altogether. Ah! Monsieur Zeke, de money is all dat is necessaire in


dis country to make one lady of fashion. Oh! it is quite anoder ting in la belle France!

  Zeke. A bery lucifer explanation. Well, now we've disposed ob de heads ob de family, who come next?

  Mil. First, dere is Mademoiselle Seraphina Tiffany. Mademoiselle is not at all one proper personne. Mademoiselle Seraphina is one coquette. Dat is not de mode in la belle France; de ladies, dere, never learn la coquetrie until dey do get one husband.

  Zeke. I tell 'ee what, Missy, I disreprobate dat proceeding altogeder!

  Mil. Vait! I have not tell you all la famille yet. Dere is Ma'mselle Prudence—Madame's sister, one very bizarre personne. Den dere is Ma'mselle Gertrude, but she not anybody at all; she only teach Mademoiselle Seraphina la musique.

  Zeke. Well now, Missy, what's your own special defunctions?

  Mil. I not understand, Monsieur Zeke.

  Zeke. Den I'll amplify. What's de nature ob your exclusive services?

  Mil. Ah, oui! je comprend. I am Madame's femme de chambre—her lady's maid, Monsieur Zeke. I teach Madame les modes de Paris, and Madame set de fashion for all New York. You see, Monsieur Zeke, dat it is me, moi-meme, dat do lead de fashion for all de American beau monde!

  Zeke. Yah! yah! yah! I hab de idea by de heel. Well now, p'raps you can 'lustrify my officials?

  Mil. Vat you will have to do? Oh! much tings, much tings. You vait on de table,—you tend de door,—you clean de boots,—you run de errands,—you drive de carriage,—you rub de horses,—you take care of de flowers,—you carry de water,—you help cook de dinner,—you wash de dishes,—and den you always remember to do everting I tell you to!

  Zeke. Wheugh, am dat all?

  Mil. All I can tink of now. To-day is Madame's day of reception, and all her grand friends do make her one petite visit. You mind run fast ven de bell do ring.

  Zeke. Run? If it was 'nt for dese superfluminous trimmings, I tell 'ee what, Missy, I'd run—


  Mrs. Tiffany. (outside) Millinette!

  Mil. Here comes Madame! You better go, Monsieur Zeke.

  Zeke. Look ahea, Massa Zeke, does 'nt dis open rich! (aside).

[Exit ZEKE, L.

  Mrs. Tif. . . . But where is the new valet? I'm rather sorry that he is black, but to obtain a white American for a domestic is almost impossible; and they call this a free country! What did you say was the name of this new servant, Millinette?

  Mil. He do say his name is Monsieur Zeke.

  Mrs. Tif. Ezekiel, I suppose. Zeke! Dear me, such a vulgar name will compromise the dignity of the whole family. Can you not suggest something more aristocratic, Millinette? Something French!

  Mil. Oh, oui, Madame; Adolph is one very fine name.

  Mrs. Tif. A-dolph! Charming! Ring the bell, Milinette! (MILLINETTE rings the bell). I will change his name immediately, besides giving him a few directions.

Enter ZEKE, L. U. H. MRS. TIFFANY addresses him with great dignity.

  Mrs. Tif. Your name, I hear, is Ezekiel.—I consider it too plebian an appellation to be uttered in my presence. In future you are called A-dolph. Don't reply,—never interrupt me when I am speaking. A-dolph, as my guests arrive, I desire that you will inquire the name of every person, and the announce it in a loud, clear tone. That is the fashion in Paris.

[MILLINETTE retires up the stage.

  Zeke. Consider de office discharged, Missus. (speaking very loudly).

  Mrs. Tif. Silence! Your business is to obey and not to talk.

  Zeke. I'm dumb, Missus!

  Mrs. Tif. (pointing up stage) A-dolph, place that fow-tool behind me.

  Zeke (looking about him). I hab 'nt got dat far in de dictionary yet. No matter, a genus gets his learning by nature.

[takes up the table and places it bebhind MRS. TIFFANY, then expresses in dumb show great satisfaction. MRS. TIFFANY, as she goes to sit, discovers the mistake.

  Mrs. Tif. You dolt! Where have you lived not to know that fow-tool is the French for arm-chair? What ignorance! Leave the room this instant.

MRS. TIFFANY draws forward an arm-chair and


MILLINETTE comes forward suppressing her merriment at ZEKE'S mistake and removes the table.

  Zeke. Dem's de defects ob not having a libery education.

[Exit L. 3 E.