An Autumn Leaf Entertainment: 1910


Invitations for a pretty Autumn function in the open were written on cards shaped (from a sheet of cardboard) to represent Autumn leaves.

One side of each card was daintily tinted in yellow, scarlet or green, while on the reverse was written an informal bidding worded like this:

“Come and enjoy the splendor of the Autumn leaves on the lawn at Hollywood, next Thursday fortnight, from 3 till 6.

Autumn leaves of red and yellow,

Autumn leaves of gold and scarlet.”

When the guests arrived on the appointed date it was discovered that the entertainer had contrived to have an exactly equal number of men and women present. Each guest was given a wooden rake tied with ribbon of some color, and men and girls whose ribbons matched were partners for the games of the afternoon.

The first of these was where guests were conducted to the leaf strewn lawn and were assigned to the task of raking up the leaves. Two small prizes were offered for the largest heap of leaves collected by any pair of partners during the next ten minutes, guests ranging at will over the greensward, but respecting, of course, any little piles gathered up by other players. The man and girl who succeeded best in this endeavor, in the judgment of their hostess, won little enameled pins for collar or cravats, representing scarlet and yellow Autumn leaves.

During the next half hour the leafy masses raked up in the preceding game were used as the basis of another contest. The entertainer explained that each rake was ornamented with ribbon in a hue that might be duplicated in the Autumn leaves. She announced prizes in waiting for those who during the next ten minutes should discover in the pile raked up by them the largest number of leaves of the color used on their rakes. Some of the wooden implements, it was found, had scarlet, some a paler red, some lemon yellow, others green, others dull ochre, etc. Those holding these colors accordingly went in search of them. The best collections won for their makers sofa pillows embroidered in a design of Autumn leaves.

After the awarding of these prizes the company adjourned to the porch for a round at progressive cards. Each little card table was decorated with a colored faience bowl containing some beautifully tinted ivy with blue berries and the tally cards were leaf shapes which the hostess punched with a ticket chopper to indicate progress won. The prizes were blotters and penwipers representing colored maple leaves.

Later on the cards and other appurtenances of the game were removed and the guests enjoyed a dainty Indian Summer refreshment at the little card tables.

San Francisco [CA] Chronicle 30 October 1910

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil must applaud the ingenuity of the “entertainer” who contrived to have her guests clear the lawn of “Hollywood” of the surplus autumn foliage under the guise of a “game.” Little enamelled leaf pins and sofa-cushions embroidered with leaves are a small price to pay for a clean swath of greensward. The pairing of the couples was a clever touch, designed to disguise the true motives of the hostess. One wonders if she also managed to win enough at the card game to pay for the dainty Indian Summer refreshments and the penwipers.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.




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