Once there was a kittenish Senorita condemned to dwell in a Piccolo Town out on a Spur Division of the Dinkusville Short Line.
It was one of those not-dead-but-sleeping Settlements with a Sheet-Iron Cornice on every Store Building and the Hack in which Gen. Sherman once rode still meeting the Trains.
All the older Residents were sitting back on their Surplus trying to hatch out 7 per cent. Any one suggesting a Public Improvement was led into Court House Square and publicly Beheaded.
A Girl with real Jamaica Ginger coursing through her Arteries did not have a Look-In so long as she was hung up at this Whistling Post, where every Meeting of the Research Club was a Poultry Exhibit and the local Astor played a Brown Derby in conjunction with the extreme Soup and Fish.
So the Senorita, by name Madeline, used to burst into Tears every time she saw a Train pulling away from the Depot, for she certainly had laid the Soubrette’s Curse on Home, Sweet Home.
She had read those large explosive articles in the Family Department of the Sunday Paper telling how the Smart Set hang by their Toes from Chandeliers and jump into Public Fountains, and she panted for the wild free life of the Idle Rich.
Now it happened that Madeline had a married Female Cousin living at the corner of Easy Street and Epicurian Avenue up in the Big Town where People hated the sight of a Brass Bedstead.
Cousin invited Madeline to come and see her, out of mere Politeness, for she had the Country Lass sized up as a Myrtle Killjoy, whose Limit probably would be a Burton Holmes Lecture or a rollicking Afternoon at the Tea Shop.
Madeleine saw that she was down to Class B and would have to make an immediate Demonstration of Form to avoid being permanently Benched or sent back to the Bush League.
Consequently, as soon as she found herself in the Main Drawing Room among the Ruperts and Rosalinds, she began to break Furniture and do Head-Spins on the Bokharas. Thereupon she was elected a full Sister of the gladsome Bunch known as the Young Married Set.
She sent Home for all of her Things and more Coin and applied for an advanced Degree in the Grand Lodge of the Knights and Ladies of Insomnia.
In one month she had entirely remodeled her Figure and landscaped her Hair into a new Design and carefully picked each broad Western “R” out of her Vocabulary, and she could walk right up to a French Bill of Fare without the quiver of an Eye-Lash. Also she could hand out that Dear Boy line of Polite Guff to all of those rugged and self-made Bucks who get back to Earth every day at 5 P. M. and begin calling feebly for Barbers and Masseurs and Manicures and Nerve Specialists and Barkeeps.
She learned that Rough House lost all Social Stigma if pulled off at 2 A. M. in a Private Resort with a Striped Awning in front and a Carpet leading down to the Landing Stage.
Her Folks kept writing her to come back Home because the Ladies of the Guild were about to have a Bazaar, but she Stalled as long as she could, and when she finally packed up the Wardrobe Trunks and the eight kinds of Massage Cream, she extracted a promise from Cousin and several other Desperate Characters that they would come out into the Wilderness and give the Rummies a Touch of High Life.
It was the first time that Madeleine had spread her Wings and hit the rarified Strata. For a Beginner she was there with the Spread. She made the American Eagle look like an English Sparrow.
As soon as she arrived back in Sleepy Hollow she began to turn the Old Family Residence upside down and get it stocked up, just like a Club, for the Hot Babies from the Metropolis.
The Real Things arrived on a Special Car with their Hats down over their Ears and were more or less obscured by Dogs and English Help and Cigarette Smoke. As they rode up Main street there was a Pale Face at every Window. Just as the Parade passed the High School, the tall Smoke-Stack over at the Hominy Mills fell with a Loud Crash.
That Afternoon there was a smell of Moth Balls in many a Refined Home, for all who had learned to take Soup from the side of the Spoon were under Royal Command to come up and get a private Peek at the imported Gentry.
It was to be a Dinner followed by a Small Dance. If it had been a full-sized Affair, no doubt Father would now be working by the Day.
Instead of the customary 3 Carnations and 1 Maiden-Hair Fern gracing the center of the Board, the terrified Guests saw a Wagon-Load of tropical Bloom which pleased them very much as soon as each had secreted a new kind of Cocktail, served in a Goblet, with a Stick of Dynamite substituted for the Olive.
The Orchestra did a lot of those “Oh! Oh!” Rags, while strange Foods kept descending to the Table and a Special Corps of waiters tried to give an Imitation of the Johnstown Flood.
Conversation became epidemic and many Local Characters who had remained in Obscurity for Years came out of their Pods and began to hop about and sing in the Sunlight.
Members of the Married Woman’s Safety League were hanging out Signs of Distress and trying to give Warning Signals, but Madeleine would not permit them to crab her Little Party. She wanted to show the Boobs just how these Recherche Functions are stage-managed in Upper Circles.
Accordingly they all felt their Way to the Front Room, where they Found awaiting them a Bowl of Artillery Punch about the size of Lake Erie, and no more Harm in a full Bumper than there is in a Rattle-Snake.
Madeleine headed off a Two-Step and told Friends and Neighbors to sit back close to the Wall with a Piece of Ice in each Hand and get Wise to the latest Stuff.
The She and her Friends pinned up their Garments and put Resin on their Hands and cut loose. They did the Grizzly Bear and the Mountain Goat and the Turkey Trot and the Bunny Hug and the Kangaroo Flop and the Duck Waddle and the Giraffe Jump and the Rhinoceros Roll and the Walrus Wiggle and the Crocodile Splash and the Apache and the Comanche and the Bowery Twist and the Hula Hula Glide, etc., etc., etc.
The Fire Department began carrying out Bodies at 12:30 A. M.. Some of the Survivors were hurrying Home through the Alleys, wondering if they could fix up Alibis. At Daybreak many Prominent Citizens were found Miles from their Homes wandering aimlessly in Roadways and shouting, “Take it away!”
Next afternoon the Male Parent of Madeleine crawled out from under the Wreckage and said to his Only Daughter: “You are too Progressive for us Farmers. Take your Trained Troupe of Society Acrobats and get out of Town. The White Caps are now gathering in the Outskirts.”
Madeleine simply retorted that the Dances were being done in the most Exclusive Homes.
An Exclusive Home is one from which the Police are Excluded.
Of course she never dared to return to her Birthplace after this Scandalous Performance.
She had to remain in the Cruel City as the free and unrestricted Wife of a Cotillion Leader with an Income of $22.00 a Minute.
Moral: The Pioneer must ever brave Hardships.
The Galumptious Girl – Knocking the Neighbors