A Fallen Woman, 1904

“His amusement at the kittenish behemoth on the stage was increased by her successor, a woman of a homely and spinster type of countenance, one of those whom we think of as virtuous by compulsion. She was what they call in the Bowery concert halls a ‘classic’ singer, for down there any song that is not ‘rough house’ is classic.

“In the hope of preventing further music, Joyce called a waiter and said: ‘The girls look very thirsty; perhaps they’d like some beer up in the balcony.’ The waiter surrounded the affair with an air of great mystery and danger, but the girls, after slipping on long skirts over their short ones, found their way to a table in the gallery running around the hall. Joyce lost little time in asking the usual question: ‘How did you come to this?’

“The homely spinster explained with chin still tremulous, ‘You see, I was born in Skaneateles, and my parents is very respectable. Oh, they’re right in the push in Skaneateles. Paw is the best sign-painter in town. They give me a splendid education— oh, I was educated grand! But one day along come a handsome traveling man — oh, but he was a handsome devil! — and he stole my young affections, and asked me to run off with ‘um. He promised to marry me — honest he did — and then we come to New York, and then he deserted me cruel. And that is how I come to this. Maw would be broken-hearted if she knowed I was in this business.’ ”

— From The Real New York (1904) by Rupert Hughes

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