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The St. Louis Republic. [volume] (St. Louis, Mo.) 1888-1919, June 05, 1904, Magazine Section, Image 71

Image and text provided by State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1904-06-05/ed-1/seq-71/

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THE man stood helplessly before the
counter in a large department store
He didn't know what was on the shelves
behind the counter All he knew was what
he had come to the place for, and already he
was wondering why he had ever been per
suaded to come. The young woman who
presided over that particular department saw
the man, and pausing in her conversation
with a fellow clerk she asked him what he
" I want a dress for a lady," he said quickly,
as though he might forget.
"Third aisle to the right and back three,"
she responded, and resumed her conversation
without giving him a second look.
The man stood irresolute
"Where?" he asked in such an appealing
tone that the clerk took pity on him, and told
it over, pointing out the way. He thanked
her and hesitatingly started off.
When he thought that he had reached the
right place he approached another clerk. She
smiled at him as at one who might be easy.
" I want a dress for a lady," he said phono
graphically. "What kind of a dress?" inquired the clerk.
" Silk," he replied briefly.
" This is the flannel counter," explained the
clerk. " Silk over at the other side."
" Which .side?" he asked, observing that the
store had four sides, not counting the top
and the bottom.
" Over yonder by the pillar," said the clerk.
"Thank you verv much," he said, and
went toward the spot.
The clerk was busy there, and he waited
until she was ready to attend to him. He
mopped his face several times, and bumped
into six women while trying to keep out of
the way of sixty.
" I want a dress for a lady," he said, coming
back to the original proposition
"What kind of a dress?" she asked, en
couragingly. "A silk dress," he replied, gathering a little
"What kind of silk?"
"I don't know," he said, utterly helpless
in the face of details
"About how much do you want to pay?"
she inquired, hoping to get some idea of his
"Well, they said I could get silk at from
twenty-nine cents up, and I don t care to
pay too much, as it goes to my sister-in-law
in the country," he explained with so much
effort that he mopped his face vigorously.
"This isn't the cheap silk counter," sniffed
the clerk with considerable disdain. "Cheap
silks over in the corner," nodding in a north
westerly direction.
He didn't dare to go behind that imperious
nod, and set off toward the only corner visible
from where he stood. He stopped at a
counter that seemed favorable.
"I want a dress for a lady,' he repeated
slowly to a red-haired clerk.
"Ready-made dresses on second floor,"
began the clerk, when he found courage to
break in:
'I don't want a ready-made dress," he
asserted boldly.
Oh, she said, you want a dress pattern.
No; I want a dress," he insisted. "I
guess the lady's got a pattern at home. '
The girl looked at him with a half-scornful
"Well," she said, "a pattern means the
goods. You want the goods, don't you?"
"I guess so," he ansnered, meek as a
whipped school-boy.
"What kind of a dress do you want?" she
inquired in a dictatorial tone.
"A silk dress." he replied, dropping easily
into the accustomed form of speech.
"Well, this ain't the silk counter," she
snapped. "If you want gingham or calico,
"But I don't," he interrupted. "I want
a silk dress."
"Very well, go over yonder to that counter
where you see the girl in the blue shirt-waist."
This was an explicit direction to follow,
and he went straight to the spot. The girl
appeared to be waiting for his arrival, and
she was quite pleasant of manner.
"What can 1 do for you?" she asked,
smiling at him.
"1 want a dress for a lady," he said for
the thousandth time, it seemed to him. He
had tried to think of a different form of
expression, but his mind refused to depart
from custom.
"What kind of a dress?" inquired the clerk.
"A silk dress something from twenty-nine
cents up," he said in the haste of desperation.
"What color?" asked the clerk kindly,
because his face showed signs of care.
"Does it come in colors?" he exclaimed,
appalled at the thought of more detail.
"Oh, yes, we have it in red, blue, green,
gray, pink, cerise "
"I want black silk," he said confidently,
after taking a letter from his pocket and
looking over it.
" We don't keep the black at this counter,"
the clerk told him. "You will find it at the
third counter down the aisle and to the left."
There was a stool before him, and he sat
down to think. The girl watched him sympa
thetically She knew that he was in deep
distress, but she didn't know what caused it.
"That way?" he asked after a minute,
pointing aimlessly in front of him
"Yes" she said, and he rose feebly and
moved off. A floor-walker met him wandering
about and took him to the counter.
"I want a dress for a lady " he almost
choked on the stereotyped words. "Some
thing from twenty-nine cents up," he added
The clerk, a motherly sort of woman, took
down two or three pieces of silk and spread
them before him.
"This is twenty-nine," she said gently,
"but this other, at fifty, will give you much
more satisfaction. It is really quite ser
viceable." "Well, give me fourteen yards," he said
promptly. "That's seven dollars, isn't it?
You ship it from here, don't you?"
" Yes, if you want it to go out of town."
" Here's the address, and here's the money,"
he said, handing out four two-dollar bills and
started away.
"Wait for your change," suggested the
"Keep it," he said. "I can't stand this
any longer," and when he got outside he
lifted his tired soul to heaven and breathed
a prayer of thankfulness
SEweweHeslt of Adlveirttisiini
AX LANSUUKOH. venerable and alert.
in a reminiscent mood, narrated an
interesting event concerning the coming of
Jenny Lind, the great Swedish singer, to
America tn 1848. He said
"In addition to making herself rich and
comfortable for life, Jenny Lind brought
wealth to two other men. One of them, as
you know, was Barnum, the showman. It
was Uarnum who brought her to America.
He ventured all that he could raise in adver
tising the wonderful woman, and his successful
management of her tour in this country lifted
Barnum from failure to grand business suc
cess. "But there was another man who got rich
without having anything to do with the
management of the Jenny Lind concert tour.
It was Genin, the New-York hatter. You
probably never heard of him, but his name
and business were advertised by Barnum
wherever the Jenny Lind concerts were ad
vertised, and it didn't cost Genin one penny
for all of the advertising that Barnum did
for him.
"There was no hall in New-York big
enough to accommodate the crowds which
attended the first concert in this country, so
Castle Garden was fitted up for the purpose,
and the seats were sold at auction. Now,
Genin was an unknown hatter, although he
was a good one. He went to the auction sale
of seats at Castle Garden and outbid every
body He ran up the price of the first ticket
until some of his fnends thought he was
going crazy and tried to induce him to desist
But Genin was not crazy by any means. He
kept on bidding until he finally got the first
ticket for seven hundred fifty dollars. He
had outbid the richest men in New-York.
"The next day and every day afterward
for many months it was announced that
'Genin, the New-York hatter, paid seven
hundred fifty dollars for the first jenny Lind I
ticket.' I
"And, wherever Barnum advertised his
co '.cert he advertised that fact, to show,
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As a consequence, Gcnin's hats were in
demand all over this country, and he became
enormously nch.
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