Who was that
Poor Woman? by
I do not know a femininefrom the piney woods of Maine to the
Neucesso given to popularity, newspaper philippics, and city item
bombards, as Aunt Nabby Folsom, of the town of Boston. The name and
doings of Aunt Nabby are linked with nearly all popular cabals in
Faneuil Hall, the Temple, Chapel, or Melodeonfrom funeral
orations to political caucussesTemperance jubilees to Abolition flare
ups; for Aunt Nabby never allows wind, weather or subject, time,
place or occasion, to prevent her full attendance. The police, and
over-zealous auditors, at times snake her down or crowd her old
straw bonnet, but Aunt Nabby is always sure of the polite attention of
the Reporters, and shines in their notes, big as the biggest toad in
Indeed, Aunt Nabby is one of 'em!a perfect she-male Mike Walsh.
She will have her say, though a legion of constables stood at
the door; her principal stand-point is the freedom of speech and
woman's rights, and she goes in tooth and nail agin law, Marshal
Tukey, and the entire race-root and rind of the Quincysparticularly
strong! Aunt Nabby is subject to a series, too tedious to mention, of
sells by the quid nuncs and rapscallions of the day, and one
of these sells is the pith of my present paper.
It so fell out, when Jenny Lind arrived here, about every fool
within five-and-fifty miles ran their heels and brazen faces after the
Nightingale and her carriage wherever she went, from her bed-chamber to
her dinner table, from her drawing-room to the Concert Hall. It took
Barnum and his whole private secretary force and equal number of
policemen and servants, besides Stephens himself, of the Revere, and
his bar-keeper, to keep the mob from rushing pell-mell up stairs and
surrounding Jenny as Paddy did the Hessians.
Now and then a desperate fellow got inhad an audience, grinned,
backed down and went his way, tickled as a dog with two tails. Others
were victimized by notes from Barnum (!) or Miss Lind's private
secretary, offering an interview, and many of these transactions were
rich and racy enough, in all conscience, for the pages of a modern
Joe Miller. But Aunt Nabby Folsom's time was about as rich as the
raciest, and will bear rehearsingeasy.
Good morning, sir, said a pleasing-looking, neatly-dressed,
elderly lady, to the two scant yards of starch and dickey behind
Stephens' slab of marble at the Revere.
Good morning, ma'am, responded the clark, who, not knowing
exactly who the lady was, jerked down his well-oiled and brushed
wig and whiskers to the entire satisfaction of the matronly lady, who
went on to say
I wish to see Miss Lind, sir.
Guess she's engaged, ma'am.
Well, but I've an invitation, sir, from Miss Lind, to call at 9 A.
M. to-day. I like to be punctual, sir; my time is quite precious; I
called precisely as desired; Miss Lind appointed the time; and
Oh, very well, very well, ma'am, said the clark, with a
flourish, if Miss Lind has invited you
Why, of course she has! Here's her
O, never mind, ma'am; all correct, I presume.
The pipes and bells soon had the attendance of a gang of
white-jacketed, polish-faced Paddies, and the elderly lady was
marshalled, double-file, towards the apartments of the Nightingale.
Jenny had but just turned out, and was feeding on the right wing
and left breast of a lark, the leg of a canary, a dozen fried humming
bird eggsher customary fodder of a morning.
The servants passed the countersigns, and the elderly lady was
admittedthe Nightingale, without disturbing the ample folds of her
camel's hair dressing-gowna present from the Sultan of all the
Turkies, cost $3,000motioned the matron to squat, and as soon as she
got her throat in talking order, said
How do you do? responds the old lady.
Pooty well, tank'ees. You have some breakest? No!
No, ma'am. I've had my breakfast three hours ago.
Yes? indeed! you rise up early, eh?Well, it is goot for ze hels,
So my doctor says, responded the matron. But I like to get up and
be stirring around.
Ah! yes; you stir around, eh? What you stir around?
Well, Miss Lind, I'll tell you what I stir around.
I-stir-the-monsters (Miss Lind looks sharp)
who-try-to-trample-on-the-universal-rights-of-woman! (The matron
'up' and gesticulating like the brakes of an engineMiss Lind drops
her eating toolseyes of the two servants bulge out!) A-n-d
I-stir-the-demagogues-who-assemble-in-Faneuil-Hall (down with the
brakes!), to prevent-the-freedom-of-speech (rush upon the brakes!),
It was evident that the appetite of the Nightingale was getting
spoiledshe looked suspicious, and, just in time to prevent the female
oratorwho was no other personage, of course, than Aunt Nabby Folsom,
from ripping into a regular caucus fanfaronade of gamboge and gas, a
knock upon the door announced a call for Miss Lind, to dress and
appear to a fresh lot of boresyclept the Mayor and his suit of
Deacons, soup, pork and bean-venders.
Ah! yes; I will be ready in one min't. Madame, you will please come
again; once more, adieugood morninsadieu!
And Aunt Nabby, in spite of her ancient teeth, found herself
bowedhalf way down stairsinto the hall, and clean out doors, before
she caught her breath to say another word upon the interminable subject
of the freedom of speech and woman's rights!
But Aunt Nabby blowedO! didn't she blow to the various
tea and toast coteries, scandal and slang express womenand the
various knots of anxious crowds who stood about Bowdoin Square during
the Lind mania! Aunt Nabby had had a genuine tete-a-tete with
the Nightingaleand, ecod, an invitation to call again! But Jenny
Lind, and her cordon of sentinels, secretaries and suckers, were fly
for the old screech owl, when again and again she beset the clark
and the stairways of the Revere. Though Aunt Nabby hung on and growled
dreadfully, she finally caved in and kept away.
When Jenny Lind gave the proceeds of one concert to charitable
purposes, among the items set down in the list wasA poor woman
one hundred dollars!
Why, it's you, of course, said a quid-nunc, to Aunt Abby,
as she held the Evening Transcript in her hands, in the store of
Redding &Co., and observed the interesting item above alluded to.
Well, so I think, says Aunt Nabby. If I ain't a poor woman, and a
var-tuous woman, and a good and true woman (down came her brakes
on the book piles), I'd like to know wherewhere, on this
univarsal yearth (down with the brakes), you'd find one! One
hundred dollars to a poor woman, she continued, reading the item. I
must be the personyes, Abigail, thou art the man! she
concluded in her favorite apothegm.
The quid gave Abby the residence of the Agent (!) who was to
disburse the Lind charities, and away went Abby to the Agent, who
happened to be an amateur joker; knowing Aunt Abby, and smelling a
sell, he told the old 'un that Mr. Somerby, of No. Cornhill, the
joker of the Post, was the Agent, and would shell out next morning, at
nine o'clock. At that hour, S. had Aunt Nabby in his sanctum. He knew
the ropes, so assured Abby that there was a mistake; Charles Davenport,
of Cornhill, rear of Joy's building, was the man. Charles D. informed
Aunt Nabby, that he had declined to disburse for Miss Lind, but that
Bro. Norris, of the Yankee Blade, had the pile, and was serving it out
to an excited mob. Norris declared that she was in error. She was not,
by a jug full, the only, poor woman in town, and didn't begin to be
the poor woman set forth in Miss Lind's schedule! But Aunt Nabby
wasn't to be done! She besieged Miss Lindfollowed her to the
carsmounted the platformJenny espied her, and to avoid a harangue
on the freedom of speech and woman's rights, hid her head in her cloak.
The last exclamation the Nightingale heard from the screech owl, was
Miss Jane Lindwho was that poor wom-a-n?