Daguerreian Society

On this day (January 15) in the year 1857, the following tale appeared 
in "The American Journal of Photography" (New York) Vol. 4, No. 4 (15 
January 1857) pp. 74-76:
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   Miss Hobbs was a spinster.  Miss Dobbs, by some years her junior, 
was her bosom friend.  The twain were Damon and Pythias in the feminine 
gender, David and Jonathan reproduced in calico and crinoline.  Miss 
Hobbs confided in Miss Dobbs, and Miss D. returned the sweet confidence 
with a fervor which met Miss H. rather beyond the half-way line.
   Of course Miss Hobbs showed Miss Dobbs "all her things," never would 
have omitted doing so "for worlds," or for any other equivalent 
whatever.  The twain were well known at the counters of dry good stores 
in Lake street, for never did they go shopping save in one another's 
company.  They read from the same book, were together by day and by 
night, thought the same thoughts, and such was their sweet close 
compact of friendship, would doubtless have worn the same bonnet but 
for obvious reasons, for an appreciation of which the anxious inquirer 
is referred to some fashionable milliner.
   Time will sour the sweetest milk, thunder storms have been known to 
turn to acid the mildest and smallest beer.  It is not known what 
changed to gall the brimming honey of the affection of Angelina Dobbs 
and Seraphina Hobbs.  Probably it was only a miff at first, then they 
tiffed, and finally they wouldn't speak when they met.  Months have 
passed since all love died out between the pair.
   In the heyday of their fondness, Miss Hobbs missed a bracelet, a 
valued and valuable ornament of a peculiar pattern.  Miss Dobbs wept 
with her at her loss--"Never was so sorry in her life" as on that 
occasion--"would rather have lost her right hand than have her dear 
Seraphina so afflicted" all of which was taken by the bereaved Hobbs 
with a small per centage off, convincing her fully, of the reality and 
depth of Miss Angelina's sympathy.  Summer yielded to frost, July 
became December, and December died with the year.  On New Year's day 
Miss Hobbs resolved to be daguerreotyped.  She made choice of Hesler, 
the wall of whose gallery are hung with gems of his art.  Miss Hobbs, 
in quest of means to decide the details of style and price, looked 
closely through Hesler's show rooms.  Pictures met here eye at every 
turn.  Life size, half size, quarter size and miniature, in oils, in 
water, India ink, in gilt frames, and without frames, photographic, 
stereoscopic, there they hung, and there stood Miss Hobbs and screamed.
   It was only a little scream, and created no disturbance in 
Metropolitan block, but it relieved Miss Hobbs' feelings, while she 
continued gazing at a modest ambrotype which lay on the counter waiting 
to receive its case.  It was the picture of Miss Angelina Dobbs, the 
long lost friend, and on her arm--shade of past amity!--the long lost 
bracelet!  Hesler had done his work well, he always does.  The picture 
was complete.  That was not more truly the countenance of Miss Dobbs, 
which seemed to blench even behind its glass, and gather a glow not 
borrowed from carmine beneath the angry eye of the awakened and 
horrified Seraphina--that was not more truly the very mantilla which 
Miss Hobbs had helped her price and buy, than was the bracelet which 
stood out fully relieved on her arm, the identical missing bracelet 
lost by the mourning Hobbs, and lamented by faithless Angelina Dobbs.
   Miss H. sought an interview with Miss D.--it was refused;  wrote her 
a letter--it was returned.  It was all up with Miss Hobbs, all over 
with the bracelet.  Once resource remained, the law.  An interview with 
Justice ---- on Thursday of last week resulted in placing a search 
warrant in the hands of a constable.  The worthy official, it is 
supposed, did his duty, and got covered with glory, certain parts of 
his countenance excepted, where the deficiency has since been supplied 
by court plaster.  From this it is to be inferred that Miss Hobbs only 
yielded to the search warrant under protest, sustained by a vigorous 
application of that decalogue of irate feminity, her ten digital nails.
   The bracelet has been found.  Miss Dobbs refuses to prosecute.  The 
parties have compromised.  The reporter is silent as to true names and 
localities, for he has been paid for his silence.  There was, however, 
a point where his sense of duty to the public rose superior to 
mercenary considerations.  Though offered a full package of tickets in 
the last drawn Chicago Joint Stock Association, (the next highest 
number to one of which drew the river front of lot 5, block 16, on the 
Calumet,) he cannot be hired to entirely suppress the narrative.
   The moral of the tale is obvious.  Young ladies, don't go to 
Hesler's to be daguerreotyped in stolen ornaments.  Hesler would have 
exposed the daw who borrowed the peacock's feathers, had he sat for a 
miniature.  Hesler's camera was the Pinkerton & Co. which detected the 
guilty Miss Dobbs.  Allah il allah, great is photography.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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