Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Senora Paxodol treats herself for injury, Madrid, 1897

Back with the Illustrated Police News (Dec 11th, 1897) and a rather less grim duel in prospect between 'the notorious mistress of Senor Donvaldez and the well known Spanish dancer, Carmen Paxodol'. The former threw a bunch of onions on stage during a performance by the latter. That's not really anything anyone could forgive and forget, and it led to more than tears.

I have included the write-up, as it is priceless, with its 'great laxity of morals is prevalent here' (says our panting correspondent in Madrid) - "duelling, bull-fighting and assassination are by no means uncommon" (sometimes all three at once) alongside this latently pornographic image ("interesting", as the paper puts it) of Senora Paxodol practising (she's the implausible tiny-footed hourglass on the right), which the newspaper claims to have based on a photograph.

Again, one has to suspect publicity-seeking, and that the duel itself (despite Senora Paxodol's stated eagerness to avoid the police) may never have taken place.

The Illustrated Police News is by this date a fruity source for those who might want to seek evidence of the secret lives of late Victorians: adverts for 'Rubber Specialities' ('the Capote Anglaise' is described in one small ad as 'the most wonderful appliance of the 19th Century for Married Ladies only', at a pricy five shillings and sixpence 'complete in box'), 'Spicy Books', imports of French and American 'specialities' for 'those about to marry', and bottled cures for (implicitly) venereal disease. No wonder the illustrations are so dubious.

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