“Ah, Mr Henderson glad you could make it.  It’s your daughter you see.”

“Which one doctor – as you know I have five fine girls. Bit of a houseful yet my lovelies are my pride and joy I can tell you.”

“Oh, sorry old chap I should have been more explicit on the note I sent you.  I was in point of fact referring to your eldest, Marigold she’s how old now?”

“Twenty years at last count. There’s nothing wrong is there?”

“Well sorry to bring you sad tidings yet I do believe the poor child is suffering from the vapours.”

“Crikey, that is serious isn’t it? How so?”

“Well just yesterday morning I was taking my constitutional when lo and behold I spotted young Marigold outside the bakery calling out to her friend on the other side of the road. I am sad to report she was speaking in a raised voice so as to attract her friend’s attention. Not a full bellow mind yet I must add certainly a near ‘shout.’ So, how shall I put it…….un-lady like and a rare thing coming from an established, well connected new money family such as your own Sir.”

“What to do then?”

“Thankfully I do have the answer. I suggest you remove Marigold from the public eye……you know…..keep her housebound, curtains drawn – I do find darkened rooms with only nominal lighting work a treat in cases of the dreaded vapours. And certainly no sunlight, on no account should she come into direct contact with the sun’s rays.  Basically should you take this course of action and after, say, twenty four months all should be well again. I think you will find that the child will be most grateful in the end.”

“I cannot thank you enough doctor – leave it with me and you have my eternal gratitude.”


“Mr & Mrs Moffatt how good to see you both. How can I help you today?”

“It is my wife doctor.  Esmeralda here, she has just returned from the colonies in Western Africa lecturing natives on the miracle of Christianity where……..isn’t that right dear?………..where she tells me she suffered multiple mosquito bites since which she has been running temperatures of such fierce ferocity one could fry an egg upon her bare flesh – not that I’ve ever seen her bare flesh of course…well maybe a glimpse of ankle when we were courting I’m ashamed to say.  Anyway do you think the mosquito bites and the debilitating temperatures are in some way connected?  She is so very poorly aren’t you dearest?”

“No Moffatt my good man you can rest assured there is no link twixt the two.  It is plain to me that Esmeralda is afflicted by none other than the vapours. Look old chap, take a hansom cab home from the surgery, put your wife to bed in a darkened room until at least the decades end and all should be well once more – and remember a diet of just thin broth and weak tea will work wonders I think you’ll find.”

“Thank you doctor.  I am lost for words as to how to express our gratitude.”


“Doctor, thank you for seeing such a lowly music hall artiste such as me at such short notice.”

“On the contrary Felicity not a problem at all. Your rendition of our National Anthem to close last evenings show at the Chiswick Empire will stay with me for an eternity. Now what can I do for you?”

“Well this is very embarrassing all told. You see what with my corsets being so tightened thereby reducing my waist to that of a child’s and, as something of an added bonus, enhancing my bust and cleavage so, I find myself fainting with alarming regularity.  Well I blame the condition on said corset yet I am, of course, no expert on medical matters.”

“Best you undress dear – no need for embarrassment; remember I am a physician.”

“No problem doctor…….look what do you think?”

“Your are Felicity, in your full glory, a perfect specimen of British womanhood I must say. As to the fainting episodes it is in point of fact the simplest of diagnosis. You Felicity are, I believe, suffering from none other than the vapours.”

“Should I get dressed?”

“No not quite yet I haven’t finished examining you.  I just want to make double sure…and the full vista of your entirety is vital to the accuracy of me deducing the malady……yes, I can see now, most definitely the vapours.”

“What should I do?  It will be difficult to take time away from work to recover and I need the money to survive.”

“In the short term I will prescribe a heavy duty whale bone corset. Using this contraption ensures that you are harnessed most tightly therein and you must wear it at all times – night and day – and all should be well with you in a matter of years.  However, I must point out that we need to keep a regular eye on you – we cannot have the vapours developing into the much more serious condition of hysteria can we? Shall we say you return weekly for the foreseeable future?”

“Oh you are my hero doctor – shall I get dressed now?”

“If you feel you must.”



  1. “No not quite yet I haven’t finished examining you. I just want to make double sure…and the full vista of your entirety is vital to the accuracy of me deducing the malady……yes, I can see now, most definitely the vapours.”

    Awesome writing. I’m surprised women haven’t revolted and wiped us men off the planet. It is satire like this, that illustrates the utter cruelness of how men treated women. Thinking like this is behind the Pro-ife movement, I believe. That movement is not about fetal life. It is about society controling women’s bodies. You never know when the vapors will take over, you know. It is the environment you illustrate above the Sigmund Freud came out of. He was big on looking into vapors, he inhaled some, and hysteria in women which, I’m convinced, was anxiety caused by men. Great writing.

    1. Cheers – had to play out the role and stay in character all morning. Shirley obviously beat me around the head for awhile until I returned to normal – mind you I feel sure it was the vapours that caused her act so irrationally!

      1. On a more serious note your comments regarding women were well put. Another worthy cause to fight for – unless, of course, the woman in question was Margaret Thatcher back in the day!

      2. Yes. Thatcher. She and Ronald Reagan were like Mr. and Mrs. Evil. I miss ’em! What makes me angriest, are women Republicans who AGREE with the image their men have of them. You know, the “Family Values” types who are pro-zygote, Christian, and illustrate that they believe in the sanctity of marriage by hating gay people. They bug me. BTW, I know this is an ignorant question, but what is the conservative party in England called? I keep forgetting and making up shit that people know I’ve just made up.

      3. They are officially known as the Conservative Party yet the handle Tories is sometimes applied. Bunch of tossers the lot of them yet things get worse here as the overly nationalistic; protectionist; racist, homophobic, immigrant hating; ‘let’s get out of the EU’ party known as the UKIP are picking up a worrying amount of support. The get out of Europe lobby worries me most. Since the beginning of history every few years France, Germany, Britain, Austria etc have been beating the living shit out of each other – since 1945 and the formation of the European Union no mother has lost a son in wars twixt these specific nations. Should we pull out of the EU; should the EU break up then I will wager we will be at war with Germany within a decade as Germany (now top player in Europe) would flex its muscles elsewhere – Poland comes to mind!

      4. Fuck. That does not sound good at all. Here’s an idea. Let’s do things to pit Germany against Poland once again. The last time wasn’t so bad. We can handle it. People just do not learn anything from history. Well, I guess wealthy, conservative, hate-filled, homophobic, idiots don’t. I had no idea it was that bad.

      5. This summer we have the EU elections – check out and see how well the UKIP lot do. I have a feeling they may even be the biggest UK party in the EU Parliament. By the way should have added sexist to their portfolio yet the average British punter seems to like them!

      6. Yes. It works like that, doesn’t it. These conservative types play on the “patriotic” nature of the average guy, and the average guy helps them gain power even though it is the average guy’s ass getting screwed by them. Ugh!

      7. I’m totally with you on this one…it’s very funny and great satire, but also a great and rather shocking look into how men treated (and still treat) women…Great work!

      8. Thanks for that – oddly as I was explaining to IBTD earlier I had to get into the part to write this small post. Weird yet for once I’m quite pleased with this post!

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