But of Course, Madam

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A woman in a new dress looks at herself in a mirror as the saleswoman wraps up unwanted items
But of course, Madam, we'll settle that any time you please. || Ah! had I known, I would have made her too late for the party.

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The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive

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Description

A woman is seen from the back looking at herself in a mirror while wearing a brand new dress as the saleswoman from the shop is seemingly wrapping up unwanted items.
This series relies, for its comic effect, on the fact that people, sometimes, do not quite mean what they say. The first part of the caption is what the characters actually say, the second is what they really think.

The caption reads in the original French: Comment donc madame, mais nous réglerons ça quand vous voudrez… || Ah ! si j’avais su, je l’aurais fait manquer la soirée…

This book is missing all the usual markers of regular book publishing: it has no title page, no author’s or artist’s name, no publication date, no colophon. It is made of a consistent series of thirty hand-colored and numbered lithographs sorted in ascending order, followed by the publisher’s catalog. It seems possible that they were privately bound together on behalf of Caroline Janetta, Countess of Essex (whose bookplate can be found on the inside cover), but never publicly released in book form. The date we mention (which applies only to the lithographs: the catalog was printed at a later date) is informed by the publisher’s address, which changed during the course of 1841.

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