Alexandra Times at KellyGang 17/1/1874
HAVING A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN
Having a photograph taken is one of the great events in a man's life. The chief desire is to look the very best, and on the success of the picture hinges, in many cases, the most important epoch in life. To work up a proper appearance time enough is used, which, if devoted to catching fleas for their phosphorus, would cancel the entire national debt and establish a daily paper. When you have completed your toilet, you go to the gallery and force yourself into a nonchalance of expression that is too absurd for anything.
Then you take the chair, spread your legs gracefully, appropriate a calm and indifferent look, an d commence to perspire. An attenuated man with a pale face, long hair, and a soiled nose now comes out of a cavern, and adjusts the camera. Then he goes to the back of you, and tells you to sit back as far as you can in the chair and that it has been a remarkably backward spring. After getting your back till your spine interferes with the chair itself, he shoves your head into a pair of ice-tongs, and dashes at the camera again. Here, with a piece of discolored velvet over his head, he bombards you in this manner, "Your chin out a little, please." The chin is protruded. "That's nicely; now a little more." The chin advances again, and the pomade commences to melt and start for freedom.
Then he comes back to you and slaps one of your hands on your leg in such a position as to give you the appearance of trying to lift it over head. The other is turned under itself, and has become so sweaty that you begin to fear that it will stick there permanently. A new stream of pomade finds its way out, and starts downward. Then he shakes your head in the tongs till it settles right, and says it looks like rain, and puts your chin out again, and punches out your chest, and says he doesn't know what the poor are to do next winter, unless there is a radical change in affairs; and then takes the top of your head in one hand and your chin in the other, and gives your neck a wrench that would earn any other man a prominent position in a new hospital.
Then ho runs his hands through your hair, and scratches your scalp and steps back to the camera and the injured velvet for another look. By this time new sweat and pomade have started out. The whites of your eyes show unpleasantly, and your whole body feels as it a had been visited by a enormous cramp, and another and much bigger one was momentarily expected. Then he points at something for you to look at; tells you to look cheerful and composed, and snatches away the velvet and pulls out his watch. When he gets tired, and you feel as if there was but very little left in this world to live for, he restores the velvet, says it is an unfavorable day for a picture, but he hopes for the best, and immediately disappears in his den.
Then you got up and stretch yourself, slap on your hat, and immediately sneak home, feeling mean, bumbled, and altogether too wretched for description. The first friend who sees the picture says he can see enough resemblance to make certain that it is you, but you have tried to look too formal to be natural and graceful.
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