The Queen of Servia

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The Queen of Servia

NOTES: The 'Hummer' referred to must be Singer, can the 'Fireside' be Vesta? There was a 'Ne Plus Ultra' made by O. L. Reynolds Company, or do they mean White's Peerless?


From: The Sewing Machine News, September 1886


The following yarn has been going the round of the press. It is a highly sensational and amusing item; but we should be sorry to vouch for its absolute veracity. It is, however, quite worthy re-production :


Some time since it was publicly announced that Queen Natalie had purchased forty sewing machines, and set women to work in the royal palace making clothes for the Servian army. An agent for a machine of another manufacturer secured an interview with Her Majesty, on the pretence that he brought news of "another Servian victory," and immediately proceeded to business.


"Your most gracious Majesty," he began, "I know you will pardon this intrusion when I inform you that some unprincipled agent, taking advantage of your ignorance relative to the merits of the various sewing machines, has induced you to purchase a perfectly worthless article, but our company has resolved that this great wrong shall be righted. I am therefore authorised to remove the forty Hummer machines now in the royal palace, and replace them with an equal number of the world-renowned Fireside machine, which embodies all the best features of all other machines, besides possessing many merits of its own - a machine provided with an able-bodied feller, an electric hemmer, a board gauge reaper and binder, a self-acting quilter - using a double-extension needle, warranted not to cut in the eye, and the whole business running so lightly that a child ten years old can turn out forty army suits in one day."


Before the Queen had recovered from the dazed condition into which the effrontery and volubility of her visitor had thrown her, the agent had summoned a dozen of his accomplices, and inside of twenty minutes the forty Hummers were standing on the pavement and the same number of Firesides occupied their places in the palace.


Next day another stranger sought an audience of the Queen, declaring that his mission was most important.


"A messenger from the King," thought her Majesty, who ordered him to be admitted.


"I have fortunately learned," said the messenger, "that some unconscionable person in the guise of a man, has by actual force, as it were, placed in the royal palace forty sewing machines which are not worth the room they occupy, and which cause more dissatisfaction in the house than a cold dinner; but you shall not suffer because of your lack of knowledge in such matters. I have the honour (handing the Queen his business card} to represent the latest improved and only perfect machine ever invented, the Ne Plus Ultra, which is a marvel of simplicity and a multum in parvo of usefulness. Its sales last year kept our factory running night and day, and the 1st of January found us with 12,000 unfilled orders on hand.


The New Plus Ultra has a magic fluter, revolving washer and ironer, and self-regulating alarm clock attached, the whole forming the most complete and desirable household article the ingenuity of man ever conceived. I am ordered to remove the Firesides now in the palace, and substitute forty of our peerless Ne Plus Ultra; and the only compensation we ask is a certificate over your own signature, stating that our machine is the best in the market, and permission to use your portrait in our advertisement."


And before the Queen could enterpose a word of objection, the Fireside machines were hustled out on to the pavement, and a corresponding number of Ne Plus Ultras were hurriedly lugged into the palace.


Early the next morning the harassed Queen locked up the palace and went over to spend a week with her Aunt Rachel, and, by the last accounts, twenty-seven agents were shadowing the royal residence, awaiting an opportunity to evict the Ne Plus Ultra!