ePub 版

who, at the head of his regiment, ro- was liberally educated, accomplished, ceived and escorted Washington on the and of graceful manners. fond of the day of his reception. He is well re- fine arts, and of much generous culture. membered, and was equally at home Ho appreciated talent in others, and on the floor of a ball-room as in the was himself a ready and elegant writor. field. He was courteous and dignified, Discriminating and enthusiastic in his and could gracefully lay aside his dig- friendships, and sensitive almost to a nity on social and appropriate occa- fault, in all that pertains to the honor of sions. He was easy in conversation, of & gentleman, ho would have made a ready and playful wit, with tact and ur- model hero for a romance of the eightbanity of manner. The second name eenth century.

He had been but a on my list is that of Mr. Joseph Russel. short time married, and had that proThis gentleman was descended, I am minence and weight in society which told, from a Rhode Island family. He the control of great wealth is usually was wealthy, liberal, hospitable, and supposed to confer on its possessor. fond of society. His first place of resi- The three gentlemen I have mendence appears to have been too narrow tioned were frequently brought together for him, and he had removed to the to preside on convivial occasions, and metropolis of New England, apparently were at one time managers of a sepjes for the enjoyment of a wider range of of elegant assemblies given at Concert social privileges. He was showy and Hall, such as were famous in the social handsome, frank, gay, and jovial. A annals of the time. certain quaint drollery and humor about While these gentlemen are making him, with bis genuine kindliness of heart, all requisite previous arrangements, that made him a decided and general favor- the festivities committed to their charge ite in society. His ancestors were should be worthy of the distinguished Friends; from this circumstance, with guests, we shall again glance at the bis still pertinaciously clinging to the more personal preparations of our shadowy broad-brimmed bat-last relic youthful bello. of his early associations-and, perhaps, Two little clouds have slightly shad also to distinguish him from another owed the scene. A full set of ostrich gentleman bearing the same name, he feathers, suitable for a lady's head-dress, was familiarly known in Boston as was at this time very costly and diffi“Quaker Joe." In an old poem, still cult to procure. I have somewhere remembered and quoted by the older met with a letter of Franklin's from inhabitants of his native place, and abroad, in which be declines complying which notices the prominent gentlemen with the request of a relative to purof that day, his name rhymes with. chase such articles for her use, con"bustle." I have not seen the lines, sidering them not in keeping with our and fancy they may be more graphic republican simplicity of manner. Notthan elegant, but record the slight cirwithstanding the opinion of the philosocumstance, as, though trifling, it gives pher, however, they continued in high an idea of the cheery, active, animated favor and great demand. They were

long and large, and worn high upon the The third master of ceremonies was head in order to add to the

height, and Mr. Jonathan Freeman, who was ac- give a more stately effect. counted one of the handsomest men of A marked distinction haid in the last bis time. His portrait, still in exist century been sedulously observed beence, would seem to authorize such tween the dress of the matron and the an opinion. Being destined to fill a youthful maiden. The young debutanto conspicuous place in this narrative, I was permitted, within certain bounds, hasten to present him to my readers, and great elegance of garb, but might not the more readily, as I claim for him a assume that expanse of hoop, that degree of representative significance, length of train, in a word, that expense considering the individual to be a fair and pomp of costume, claimed excluspecimen of the fine gentleman of that sively by the married lady. But the period.

older generations,

with their more stately Some of his family papers have pass- manners and old-fashioned notions, were ed through the hands of the writer, already passing away, and the fair and while preparing this sketch. From these youthful Americans, with the new ideas and other sources, it is gathered that he and expansive natures, which seem al


most indigenous to the soil, began to sash was not satisfactorily supplied. tire of being thus kept in the baok. This day, however, some gentlemen from ground, overshadowed by their elders, the foreign squadron were visiting in and to claim some of those immunities this housebold, and entered, with and privileges hitherto held so invio- French bienséance, into the little emlate. On this point-the wearing of barrassment. One of them stated that feathers as a decoration for the evening Madame bis wife-who was accomplishhead-dress-matrons of the old school ed as an artist-had awused her leisure were especially tenacious. It was one with ornamenting these ribbons for herof their last strong-holds, and had, with self and party, and insisted that the them, more than a feather's weight. lady's talents should again be called in

Innovations, nevertheless, were creep- requisition to relieve the anxiety of the ing in, and some young and daring young. Bostonian. He carried away spirits had already asserted their right with him the garniture, and punctually to decide on their own adornment. On returned it, most exquisitely painted, the this occasion, finding she would be coun- ensuing morning. tenanced by various cotemporaries and The important day at length arrives. friends, our youthful aspirant would fain Molly, in unusual excitement, with flushhave assumed the envied head-dress— ed cheeks and sparkling eges, hovers ingeniously adducing the plea, that, as around the trunk,

endeavoring, by many her mother, from delicate health, would a wile, to induce her young mistress to not probably appear at the ball, she, as raise the lid. Successful at length, she her representative, would be expected to watches with ill-suppressed glee, the sustain the dignity of the family. The surprise and doubt-merging in grativeto placed upon this ambitious little fication and delight--with which a deliproject, after some pleading and demur, cate parcel, lightly folded in tissue-pawas very quietly acquiesced in. Not per, is lifted and examined. It tells its 80 with the youthful attendant.

own story-its size, its lightness, and the Molly had set ber heart on her young protruding quills, all declare it contains mistress appearing to the greatest ad- the much desired ostrich plumes. The vantage; and to that end she considered direction is in an unknown hand, and this unusual embellishment as all-im- many and odd are the surmises while portant. Her ambition was fired. She the snowy plumes find their way from endeavored in vain to incite to a rebel- drawing-room to kitchen; for all the lion; and. energetic and persevering, household most heartily enter into the would not give up the point.

little excitement. There were three of Another little difficulty was, that each great beauty, and graduated in size. lady, was expected to wear a sash, one Molly could not keep ber own counsel; flowing end of which should display a at least her intelligent and tell-tale wreath of laurel encircling the initials smiles declared she could find a clue to G. W.; and, in compliment to our the mysterious gift—at length traced allies, so many of whom were expected to one of the gentleman managers. to grace the occasion, on the other was A prophetic eye can behold, across to be delineated the fleur-de-lis of the broad Atlantic, a little cloud, not at France.

this time very threatening, but which Many ladies preferred to embroider shall expand till it reaches our distant these ribbons with gold or silver thread, coasts, to fall on the heads of those who spangles, or colored silks, slightly shall live to mature years—not in rovarying the design, though all retained freshing dews, but in snowy or faintthe initials. A limited number were tinted powders, or, perhaps, in fine prepared for sale, displaying, on the golden grains. Shade of Franklin forfront of the sash, in addition to other bid, however, that this last extreme of exembellishments, an impress in gold of travagant fashion should be countethe American eagle. One of these badges nanced by his fair young countrywomen! appears to have been secured by our Listen, now, attentively, young damyoung lady, but afterward presented to sels, who will probably assist in reviving some stranger who was not supplied. a long exploded fashion. Mr. Rowe, In the press of many engagements, va- faithful to his pledged word, arrived at rious mishaps ocourred to those in pro- the appointed hour. The lady, envecoss of domestic preparation, and so loped-excepting the head-in a linen late as the day previous to the ball the wrapper, was placed in a central position

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


in a large apartment, where the operator vided with a little mask, to hold before had plenty of elbow-room, and could oc- the face and protect the eyes. casionally retire to a convenient distance The head-dress, which was now to be to study effects. The attendant stood attached, was raised and commented on. near, prepared to hand, at the proper It was of the ligb test and most transpamoment, pins, crimping-irons, and curl- rent gauze, probably the French maing-tongs, with other various imple- terial known as souffle--its poetical name ments used in his vocation. The grace implying it was light as a vapor, airy as ful little head-dress lay near, with its a sigh. It appears to have been somechoice of ornaments. The hair was not what like a cap or turban, but very strained over a cushion, but lightly small, and intended to be worn low on folded back from the forehead, and the back of the head. From it depended, craped on the under-surface, so as to on each side, large loose folds or bows give it fullness and height. The effect of gauze, while two long ends floated was easy, and apparently natural. back so lightly as to be lifted and susFurther back it was arranged

in separate tained by the air in dancing. It was folds or waves, turning occasionally decorated by a wreath of minute roses into rolls or curls, and terminating in a -a spray of larger ones falling on ono few large detached ringlets to fall upon side. This was a trying moment; for the shoulder. No supporting comb was no regular permission had yet been visible, but pomade was freely used, in accorded that the feathers should be order to give tenacity to the pow

The fair owner was silent, but dor.

turned a pleading oge on the dispenser When fully charged and prepared, of fate. Molly, who was forbidden to the downy puff was not shaken over speak, was biting her lip, and pretendthe hair, as we sometimes see it upon ing occupation at a distance, but watchthe stage, but the operator, standing at a ed closely each word and movement. convenient distance, and aiming at a Mr. Rowe was partial to plumes, and particular fold or curl of hair, struck celebrated for his artistic skill in their lightly upon the bard wood or ivory graceful adjustment. He very quietly back of his puff, when a light stream of detached the surrounding wreath. The fine powder flew directly to its appoint- mother as quietly withdrew the longest od place.

feather, and a compromise was thus One might almost fancy each little effected. One spray of depending shower was directed by a bevy of such roses was retained, as matching the airy sylphs as presided over the toilet of trimmings of the dress, though partially the unfortunate and aggrieved Belinda,

shaded or hidden by the gauze. On Ho accurate was the aim, so nice the the other side drooped the smallest calculation of force and dist ce. feather, while the larger one lightly

When the bead of a very young lady waved over the whole superstructure, was dressed with powder, as there were giving some additional height, while the po naturally wbito bairs to conceal, the end drooped towards the shoulder. The intention appears to bave been merely whole arrangement, when completed, to soften the coloring and give what was pronounced very tasteful and elewas then considered a becoming and gant, giving entire satisfaction to all delicate effect. The mother soon stayed parties. Mr. Rowe hurried away to his band. But "Permit me, madame,' his next engagement, and we also are “Ono more little puff,” “This curl shows in haste to look into the preparations too much color ;' and the skillful artiste, of one of the masters of ceremony. He practiced in arranging lights and shades, has been neglected too long. We brought out, with careful band, some new would on no account set foot in the effect. Through all this, I am told, no gentleman's dressing-room, or go out particle of powder had fallen


of our way to inquire into the mysteries face, or missed its original destination. of his toilet. But this particular But now-the least agreeable part of the evening, it so happens, that a door has process, the victim's eyes must be been left ajar, and, while quietly sitting closed-while the head is fanned or blown at our writing-table, wo glance in from upon, to dislodge, at once, any powder the distant seat, and hasten to communi. which may not properly adhere. Those, cate the result of our observutions. He with whom the powdering process was is clad in a suit of light blue silk, and is an everyday affair, were usually pro- seated, for the greater 'convenience of


his wife, who kindly assists at his ed with silver spangles. The buttons toilet. She appears to be occupied are of silk, ornamented with silver. A in tying ribbons, the color of the dress, light wreath of colored embroidery, which either secure it at the knee, or mixed with silver, surrounds the whole, are placed there for ornament in lieu and, intermingled, are many little spark of buttons, or the usual buckles. These ling gems, each set on a plate of motal, bows of ribbon, with their flowing ends, 80 perforated as to be easily attached being arranged to her satisfaction, the with the needle. The large pockets are gentleman rises.* He is strikingly

He is strikingly outlined with spangles, and lightly and handsome. The dress is becoming, but tastefully ornamented with colored and something is evidently wrong, and he silver embroidery: is altogether uncomfortable. As the It is worn and dark with age, but, evening approaches, I shall take this when pure and white, and while silver opportunity of informing my readers and gems were fresh and lustrous, it sub rosa ---that he has been requested must have been quite elegant, though by his colleagues to open the ball in a by no means 80 gorgeous and elabo. minuet with a distinguished French la- rate as the custom of the time would dy, who had promised to honor the bave sanctioned. occasion by her presence. The circum- If I venture to offer a fuller sketch of stance has been kept quite a secret till this gentleman's appearance, it is benow, and hardly whispered beyond the cause details are always more interesthousehold, though there were various ing than generalities, and this one piopreliminary discussions, and I believe ture may be considered a type of

many practicings with the lady herself. To in the ovening ball-room. He wears this day, people are fond of such little his own hair, which bears evidence, mysteries. Most forms of the minuet however, of the skill of the perruquier. --certainly the particular one to be It is powdered, and worn behind in what danced this evening-require a very was familiarly styled & club. It is free use of the arm, which is lifted con- quite long, gathered in the neck, and tinually to the head; the dress, of tightly braided—this braid is folded course, must be an easy fit, and our back, and neatly and completely secured friend's coat, intended as an evening in one thick plait, concealed by a large dress, was cut with reference to this, bow of black or brown ribbon. The and altered, again and again, till there hose, of course, are of white silk, the was no ground for complaint. But the dancing pumps are either of black vel. embroidered and spangled vest-there vet or Spanish morooco, I am sorry I is the rub. The coat is bastily dashed cannot quite discern, but both materials off, and all usual arrangements made are in vogue, and there is no uncertainfor giving more ease. It will not do- ty as to the large and brilliant buckles. scissors are called into requisition, and Rich lace and embroidery decorate the deep incisions made in the rich material, cravat and shirt-front, on which rowhile, to try the size, the arm plies up poses a costly gem, and the last kind and down, as making salutes with attention of the wife is, to attach costly imaginary hats. I have dwelt on this lace to his wrists, which (I whisper a little circumstance, because, bearing secret, handed down from those old testimony to the writer's truthfulness days), being new and not possessing of detail, the marks of scissors are yet that much desired saffron tint which visible about the arm-boles of the old. marks and distinguishes the heir-loom, fashioned garment which, tradition says, giving its value to really old lace, has was worn on this occasion. It still re- been bathing for some days past in a mains, and, had I not kept before me this weak decoction of-coffee. tangible link with the past, I should have So far as externals go, I have now felt at times I was recording an almost presented you with a finished gentleforgotten dream.

Nor is ho deficient in more im. The antiquated garment is of thick portant requisitos—that old-fashioned white silk, nearly three-quarters of a politeness, for instance, springing from yard in depth, and with no collar. The kindly feeling and a just estimation of edge and button-boles are neatly border- one's own claims, while recognizing I pro


* Times bad changed since “ribbon-garters, tied in bowB," were forbidden by the civil aphorities of Boston.

those of others. Witness the courteous the edge, at frequent intervals, to the rothanks to his wife, and listen to—no, quisite depth ; each festoon or scallop close the door, no outsider shall listen being held in place by a small clustor to the courtly compliments which ac- of Italian roses, no larger than the company bis expressions of regret that prairie roses of our Western forests. she cannot accompany him, her health The sboo is of white kid, surmounted not admitting exposure to the even- by an oval buckle of chased gold, with ing air. Give him his embroidered a setting of Bristol stones. The heels and fragrant handkerchief, and the are high as they can possibly be worn. spuff-box, important to a gentleman as I should probably be discredited, did I the fan to a lady. Ho must hasten venture to name the number of inches away:

they would measure. They are faced Very early bours were then observed with white to match the shoe, and, taperboth in going to and returning from a ing to a point no larger than a New ball. And ho must be punctually on York shilling, are, therefore, not conthe spot, for some last consultations spicuous; in fact, they are hidden from with his brother managers.

view by the descending train, which As a pendant to this little sketch, I lightly sweeps the floor, but is not of an would like to present a finished lady. inconvenient length for dancing: That But, with suspended pon, I pause at the most important article of attire, the threshold of her apartment, hesitating hoop, is not large, probably no larger to enter into further detail.

than the whale-bone apparatus worn at mise, however, this shall be my only the present day. portrait of a young gentlewoman of that The bodice is cut square, long and perioda

When we reach Concert Hall, tapering, and trimmed with gauze. The will deal only with the matrons. slooves fit the arm, and are worn below

I have lingered so long in doubt, that the elbow. They are partially covered the toilet is quite completed. A with gauze, and, above some trimmings young sister running lightly before, to of this material, is a band of ribbon, the open and close the doors, and Molly long floating ends of which pass through carefully lifting and guarding the train, a small slide or buckle of the same patthe lady descends from upper

tern with those worn in the shoe. An. apartment, where she has kindly re. tique lace decorates the neck, and falls deemed a promise by displaying the in a double frill from the edge of the pretty dress to her aged nurse, now sleeve. A bow of white ribbon is worn crippled and infirm. We find her in

We find her in in front or at the side ; it is long and the drawing-room, the centre of an ad- flowing, and finished by those painted miring group. With the exception of emblems I have before described. The the decrepit and invalid dependent, all golden eagle bas been omitted on this of the bousehold are collected to com- sash, and, to hide the deficiency and mont and admire. Mother and aunt supply a missing decoration, the anlook with approving eyes, and young tique chatelaine is worn, from which are sistors with unenvious pride. Dusky suspended the enameled watch and acforms linger modestly at the door-waycompanying ornaments. and even Irish Thomas loiters and gentlewoman holds in hor band a fan of gazes, while arranging the wood-fire delicately painted kid, mounted in carv. upon its antique irons. Molly holds a od ivory, in which is executed ber light, and, quite entranced, forgets the cypher. proprieties of place and presence, while One moro little item, it is so strongly uttering exclamations of delighted ap- in contrast with our modern fashions : proval.

the dress is cut high on the shoulder, The dress is made and trimmed ac. while the glove is of a length which cording to the last received accounts of meets and passes under the sleeve-any Parisian modes. It is ornamented with separation from which was considered three white flounces of gauzy tissue. to show such deficiency of neat arrangeCut very long, they are gathered from ment that it was usually attached by


The young

* This poculiar fashion of the time satisfactorily accounts for the airy and very, elegant carriage of the women

of that day, the credit of which is usually given to the habit of sitting in high-backed chairs. The beight of the boel inclining the person forward, there was a natural impulse to counterbalanoo this tendency, by throwing back the bead and shoulders.

« 上一頁繼續 »