This story comes to you courtesy of the Grey River Argus, 13 June 1883.
A lieutenant in the Russian Army, and a Count pardessus le marché, having paid marked attention to the prettiest girl in Moscow, her father, by profession a dyer, asked him if his intentions were honorable or otherwise.
As the young nobleman’s reply was evasive (says an exchange), the worthy dyer naturally concluded that they were otherwise, and requested that he bestow his attentions elsewhere.
The young gallant kept out of the way for some time, but at last passion got the better of prudence, and he re-commenced his flirtation with the dyer’s pretty daughter during the absence of her worthy sire.
The inevitable occurred. Papa surprised the lovers, and without much ado collared the young warrior, doused him in the first handy vat of dye, and then reasoned with him a posteriori.
When the Count got home he discovered that neither cold water nor hot, neither spirits of wine nor benzine, neither soap nor silver sand, would remove his new complexion – a heavenly azure.
The Governor-General of Moscow was informed of the tragedy, summoned the dyer to his presence, and ordered him to remove the stain at once, but the delinquent proudly answered that the azure was his own invention, and a fast colour, which neither he nor anybody else could wash out. He admitted, however, that it could be changed to black, and he would do it gratis. The young Count nearly lost his senses.
Every chemist in Moscow tried his skill, but without avail.
At last the heroine of the story wormed out the secret from her father. The Count’s complexion is restored to its pristine pink, and she is a Countess.
I’m sure it’s complete bunkum from start to finish (no dye will ever stain your skin permanently), but it’s certainly amusing! Also, a posteriori is my new favourite saying.