Good Sense About Washerwomen

I found this story in the Carlisle Journal, 4 January, 1856.

This would have been a complete Cinderella story, had it not been for the premarital sex. And the fact that Cinderella was already married. And the fact that there’s a murder.

“Rumours, widely circulated and extensively believed, assert that a young Duke, bearing one of the most celebrated historical titles of France, was found murdered upon the bridge of Asmieres, the other evening. He had entered into an intrigue with a washerwoman, whose husband, in the rage of a surprise, stabbed the ducal paramour of his wife, and chased him undressed until he fell dying upon the bridge.

Figaro is the only Paris journal which has alluded to the event. The allusion is truly French, advising young noblemen, when they choose their mistresses, not to choose, like M. de N–, their laundress.

British good sense sends … women of a certain age as laundresses, while the Parisian washerwomen are the youngest, prettiest, freshest, the most tempting, and most tempted girls in this debauched metropolis.

“Judging from his portrait, which I have seen in the shop windows, the Duc de N– was one of the handsomest young fellows of his time. No jury would convict as an assassin the husband, who was in the right, according to French morality, opinion, and law; and the family of the noble Duke will not prosecute, to avoid scandal, and to conceal his pitiful end.”

The anti-French sentiment is STRONG in this article, you guys. We’re in that good ole xenophobic mid-century period.

I also love the deeply ingrained sexism and ageism going on here. They’re basically saying that if you’re going to employ someone to work for you in a relatively intimate capacity (being allowed in your home to collect or wash your intimate garments), then you’d be an IDIOT to employ a young and beautiful girl, who is clearly going to tempt you. Only employ older women who, almost by definition, are ugly and completely asexual.


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One Response to Good Sense About Washerwomen

  1. Pingback: BizarreVictoria: Celebrating 3 Years | BizarreVictoria

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