Encyclopedia Titanica

LADY DUFF GORDON SEES CHNIATOWN

New York Times

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Ciceroned by Chuck Conners, "an Admirable Character in His Place"
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COMPLIMENTS BY BOTH
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Mr. Conners Says He Always Did Like Socialist Hair and Mrs. Glyn Reminded Him of "Her Nobs"
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Lady Duff Gordon of London, her sister, Mrs. Elinor Glyn, and eight other men and women well known in New York society "did" Chinatown on Saturday night as the guests of James Kidder. "Chuck" Conners was the happy cicerone of this interesting slumming party.

Lady Duff Gordon was one of the pioneers among the real thing social leaders in England to "go into trade." She operated a shop in Regent Street with marked success. She is in this country for five weeks to amuse herself. Last night she was the guest at dinner of Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish.

Yesterday at the Hotel Plaza Lady Duff Gordon talked about her slumming expedition. She described Mr. Conners as an "admirable character."

"Naturally the visit we paid to that curious little nook in the city interested me vastly," said Lady Duff Gordon. "I was most insistent that we see everything.

"Of course, the opium smokers were shown to us. Poor wretches, they looked so ill. We were very sympathetic with them in their misery, but on the way back to the Plaza one of the men suggested that they exhibit themselves for money. Fancy that! They merely imitated that horrible degradation. But if they were actors, they were marvelously clever.

"We went to the Chinese theatre and saw behind the scenes, and Mr. Conners seemed so kind to the players.

The Admirable Mr. Conners

"Mr. Conners is quite an admirable character. We could not understand him--his English you know. was not ours---but we had an interpreter to tell us what he said. He had an odd way of speaking with his teeth
clinched. Then some of his phrases were unintelligible, though he behaved with a great deal of civility. He is an excellent man in his place. Can you tell me why his Christian name is Chuck?

"One of the men in our party offered Mr. Conners five or six cigars, and he replied, 'I rather think one will he about enough.' I think that proves he has rather a nice spirit.

"Then we went to the joss house and had our fortunes told. There was a very quaint priest in charge. He reminded me so much of a neighbor of ours in Scotland---a dear little old woman.

"Then we bought some souvenirs in some of the shops. We were dressed very plainly in cloth clothes and the people paid absolutely no attention to us. One is not stared at so much there as in the hoteIs.

"Now, I am in America for fun, so please don't mention my ideas about clothes and color and how they affect the emotions. Before I sail on Jan. 25, I may talk about these things, but I couldn't bear so much publicity, while I am still in the country. My husband told me to be very careful and he will come over on the next steamship, if I have very dreadful things printed about me. Here is his photograph.
Mr. Connors [sic] Returns Compliments
A TIMES reporter found Chuck Conners last night in the back room of the Old Tree Inn, at Pell Street and the Bowery, and explaining that the ladies had been heard from in a way complimentary to Mr. Conners, sought his views of the English slumming visitors. Mr. Conners at once said emphatically that they seemed to be "all to de prunes," which Lady Duff Gordon may like to know means very nice indeed.

"Dere was one of de ladies wot didn't weigh more'n t'ree ounces," said Mr. Conners.  "Dat was de one wid de Socialist hair. I always did like dem reds. I told her she reminded me turr'ble of me dead wife, Her Nobs. You know Her Nobs, dat's me wife, had red hair and didn't weigh more'n an ounce and a half.

"Every time I looked at dat English gal---Miss Glyn dey called her---I couldn' help but chin. I says to her, 'Miss, y're a dead rap for Her Nobs.' And she says 'Fawncy.' And I says, 'Yes, and I'll bet you're de same sort. You'd stand acid.'

"'Fawncy!' says she again. 'What does dat mean?'

"Says I, 'It means y're true blue and yer'll stand de test.'

"Den she got person'ly conversin' wit' me while de guy wit de light flogger pays attention to de other bundle, de big one. While he was loadin' her on to de truck, de little package, she says, 'Ave yer been livin' here all yer loife?'

"'Sure,' I says.

"'What do youse do fer rockryation?' says she.

"'Drink,' says I.

"'Don't youse ever travel?' says she.

"'Sure,' I says, 'when I have me carfare, but if I haven't a check I'm a walkin' delegate.'

Reminiscences of "de Bundles"

"And den when I told her again she looked like me old chummy wot's dead, she says she'lll send me a copy of her book for me Christmas.

"I met de bunch at de Joss House be appointment from de Police Capt'n. Dey had two bulls" ["Bulls," Lady Duff Gordon may like to know, are detectives. 'Bundles,' in Chinatown, are women, or ladies as you
please.] "wit dem. De bulls insisted on showin' de party lookin' glasses, an' doors, an' wouldn't stand fer goin' in de hop joints, because de bundles got sick when dey got a whiff of de dope.

"De middle bundle was talkin' to a fine old bloke from Chicago, a feller named Stone. He's a pubiishin' bloke, jest de same as Leslie's Weekly. I met him here before, when de Squarehead Prince was here from
Swede. He's de straight goods. He did all de spendIn' when we went 'round Chinatown. De odder fellers what was wit' de bundles stayed in de safe. Dey didn't even come out when we visited Barney Flynn's.

"At Barney's de party all drinks water, 'ceptin' me. I took booze. De ounce says ter me, 'Do youse get all dat whisky fer 5 cents?'  'Sure,' says I. 'How much can you drink?' says she. 'Well,' says I, 'if yer keep
buyin' it fer me while yer here you'll go out witout a nickel.'

"I introduces dem to Paddy the dancer, and de Blackbird. Paddy dances a reel fer dem an' dey stakes him to t'ree checks. De Blackbird rung in fer a few elephants of mixed ale, and so did de rest of de gorillas in
Barney's.

Met Mr. Jerome, Who Ducked

"'Round in de Joss house we meets Jerome, de Rapper. I mean de Districk Returney. De Rapper says, 'Hello, Chuck,' and him an' me chews de fat about old times in de districk down here, but after awhile he ducks.  De Rapper's me frien'. Dat guy can see twenty feet under water.

"I told him de ounce wit' de red hair, was a dead rap for me dead wife, only dat de little bundle had on white kid gloves. Well, after de Rapper ducked, de rest of de party went around a few places, but as I said,
de bulls only showed 'em lookin'glasses an' doorknobs. I wanted to show dem a rusty latch or two, an' we beat it to one joint where de bundles got sick, an' de bloke in de light flogger led de big bundle out.
"But none of de bunch spent, only Stone.  De oders seemed like dey hated even ter spend deir time.  De best I got out of dem was, 'How do youse do,' an' 'good-night.'"

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2005) LADY DUFF GORDON SEES CHNIATOWN (New York Times, Monday 23rd December 1907, ref: #4658, published 11 August 2005, generated 29th November 2022 04:02:51 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lady-duff-gordon-sees-chniatown.html