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Source: Mammy ’Mongst the Wild Nations of Europe
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “‘Madame Too-So’s Wax-Wu’ks’” [chapter 15]
Author(s): Bibbins, Ruthella Mory
Publisher: Frederick A. Stokes Company
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1904
Pagination: 146-51 (excerpt below includes only pages 148-50)

Bibbins, Ruthella Mory. “‘Madame Too-So’s Wax-Wu’ks’” [chapter 15]. Mammy ’Mongst the Wild Nations of Europe. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1904: pp. 146-51.
excerpt of chapter
William McKinley; William McKinley (waxworks); William McKinley (popular culture); William McKinley (compared with Henry VIII); McKinley assassination (personal response: fictionalization); anarchism (personal response: fictionalization).
Named persons
Henry VIII; Peyton Davenport Irving; Mammy; William McKinley.
From title page: Illustrated by Francis P. Wightman.


“Madame Too-So’s Wax-Wu’ks” [excerpt]

     “Mammy, here’s your old friend, Henry the Eighth, with all his wives about him.”
     “What, dat ole Blue Beard!” exclaimed Mammy, astonished.
     “Should think he’d be ’shamed to ’pear in publick, wid all dem relics. How many haid o’ wives did dat man hab, Mist’ Dav’npo’t? Le’s see, six, warn’t it?” and Mammy began a careful count of the much-married sovereign’s affiliations.
     “My! I’d jes’ like to say sump’n comfortin’ an’ consolin’ to ’em—one o’ my pardners warn’t all he’d oughter been!—but I reckon, arfter all dey been through, dey wouldn’ sense it now, an’ take it in,” and Mammy looked sadly sympathetic at their stolid waxen countenances.
     A few minutes later we crossed over to a group of Presidents of the United States, and Mammy immediately paused before the dignified form of the late President McKinley.
     “Ain’ he gran’-featured, dat martyr-man?” she said admiringly. “Dey ain’t a finer-’pearin’ man ’mongst all dem king-folks put togerr, wid all dey gewgaws on, an’ him in a simple pa’son’s coat an’ white neck-tie. He looks as ef he was mo’ useter chu’ch an’ Sabbath-school ways den eny ob ’em. Wid dat coat on, he could ’a’ stood up in de pu’pit, er’ led de prayer-meetin’ at a moment’s warnin’, an’ [148][149] dat’s mo’n dat wicked ole Blue Beard ovah yonder could say fer hisse’f.
     “An’ to think he should ’a’ been cut down in de flower ob his youth, wid not a gray hair in his haid, nur a wrinkle on his noble brow! Look, now, is dey, Mist’ Dav’npo’t?” she said admiringly.
     “Well, no, it appears not,” he answered. But, not wishing to be over-sanguine, he tempered it with:
     “But you must remember, Mammy, these are wax-works, and wrinkles could hardly be expected to show in the circumstances.”
     “I knows dat, Mist’ Dav’npo’t, suh; but dat gran’ man was mighty young-’pearin’, enyhow, an’ good reason. I knowed a man what was clost frien’ to de Pres’dint’s groomsman, what druv’ his coach, an’ he say he war dat kind to his fambly, ’twar a pleasure to lib un’er de same White-House roof wid him. He nuver flowed into a rage nur a temper, an’ it’s dat what meks wrinkles an’ crow’s feet.
     “Keep yo’ temper, an’ you keeps yo’ looks, wherr it’s wax-wu’ks er de flesh. De Pres’dint done lef’ dat message to prosperity, an’ hit’s wuth rememb’rin’!
     “Look on dat pickshure, an’ den on dis’n,” said Mammy, eloquently, “an’ tell me which ob dem two men looks fittes’ to set on a th’one an’ rool a lot o’ trustin’ people,—dat old Blue Beard wid all his wives an’ chillun, er dis noble spirit’yal man devoted to his one lady-wife an’ his big fambly ob You-nited States orphants.
     “An’ to think,” Mammy went on in true Mark Antony fashion, “to think dat gran’ man was cut down wid all his honors thick-set on him, by an or’n- [149][150] ary no ’count furriner we took in, an’ done fer. Dat’s gratitood! An’ we’d oughter l’arn de lesson to oncst, befo’ we all’se sent to an airly grave by dem flighty ongratefu’ arnychists, dat ain’ got nuthin’ to call dey own but what’s urr people’s; dat ain’t nuver done an hones’ lick o’ wuk les’n dey was druv to it;—an’ yit we hangs de latch-string out, an’ ’vites ’em in, an’ gibs dem de right han’ ob fel’ship. I wusht dey’d mek de Pres’dint quit dat fel’ship biznis—enyhow tell dey’s in full an’ reg’lar stan’in’. Jes’ let ’em git dey grip on a pump-han’le er sump’n cool an’ frigid fer a time. When we greets ’em warm an’ co’dial, it gits in dey blood, an’ tu’ns dey haids, arfter de cool things dey been used to ovah heah—thumb-screws an’ haid-axes an’ all dat. Dey ain’ used to it.
     “No, we’d oughter receive ’em on probation, an’ let ’em wuk out dey salvashun wid fear an’ tremblin’, an’ arfter dey done prove dey’s in love an’ char’ty wid dey neighbors, an’ ’tend to lead a noo life, den it’s all right to ’stend de right han’ ob fel’ship, but not one minit befo’. We’se proved it by two martyr pres’dints, an’ dat’s enough!”
     To take Mammy’s mind off the afflictions we have endured as a nation, the Professor took her into the Chamber of Horrors, where are exhibited the gruesome relics of the French Revolution.



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