Category Archives: Summer Frolics

Tips for the Summer Guest: 1920

Ten Commandments for the Summer Visitor.

By Dorothy Dix

The World’s Highest Paid Woman Writer

First: Never invite yourself to anybody’s house. When you desire to graft a hotel bill do not write to one friend that you yearn to behold her beauteous countenance, and the seraphic faces of her offspring or to another acquaintance that your doctor has recommended sea baths, or mountain air for you, and will it be convenient for her to have you come and make her a little visit. Bear in mind that the United States mails are still running and pen paralysis is a rare disease. Also that the telegraph and telephone perform their accustomed functions and that those who desire your presence will have no difficulty in making it known to you.

There are many pests that go up and down in the land seeking whom they may devour, but none is so pestiferous as the self-invited guest.

Second: When you go to make a visit go at the appointed hour and on the designated train. Also take with you a small amount of baggage. Nothing gives a hostess such a sinking of the heart as for a guest to arrive with a mountain of trunks that looks as if she had come to stay to the judgment day.

Third: Don’t take your angel child with you, or your Pomeranian, pup, or your cat, or your parrot, or any pet whatsoever. For the child that draws pictures with a pin on the best mahogany table, and plays cars on the Persian rugs, and spoils things at table, and the strange dog that howls by night, and the parrot that wakes sleepers at dawn by its screeching, cause a hostess to curse her who brought these afflictions upon her, and to write “Never again” against her in her visitors’ book

Fourth: If you are a food faddist, and have to live on any sort of diet, for heaven’s sake stay at home, or go to a hotel where you can pay for the trouble you make. It’s sheer brutality to inflict a bum stomach or unstrung nerves on your friends, and If, you have to live on stale bread and skimmed milk, or have everything kept quiet while you sleep of an afternoon, win the eternal gratitude of those who ask you to visit them by saying “no.”

Fifth: Play cricket. Be a sport. When you are in Rome do as the Romans do. Fall in with every plan that has been made for your amusement, and help push things along. If a picnic has been arranged, don’t say you loathe sitting on the ground and eating messy things with ants and bugs in them, and that you will stay at home and write letters while the others go. If your hostess is a golf fiend who lives on the links, golf with her. If she plays bridge, sit in the game no matter how weary it makes you, for an unadaptable guest is even as a bull in a china shop. It upsets everything and messes up the whole place.

**

Never forget that the only way that a guest can pay her way is by making herself as agreeable as she can. Therefore pull all your little parlor tricks and go thru your repertoire. And, above all, can the argument. If you differ with your hostess on politics and religion, and the proper length of skirts, and what is going to become of the youth of the present day, keep your views to yourself. Nobody’s ideal of an agreeable guest is one with whom they were fighting all the time.

Sixth: Put the soft pedal on your attainments and possessions, and swell the chorus in praise of all that your hostess does and has. Rave over her views. Take a real heart interest in her tomato plants. Let her descant to you by the hour about her Minnie and her Johnny. Pat her doggie on the back, and keep silent about your own.

It was to get a sympathetic audience and to show off before you that you were invited. You can get even with her when she comes to see you. Anyway, it’s the price one must pay for visiting in country places, for a country home seems to bring out the vanity in people as a hot poultice brings out the measles. Seventh: Always make your hostess feel that you are having the time of your life. Wear the smile that won’t come off, and whoop up the Glad-I-Am-Here stuff, and when you feel the smile beginning to crack and that there isn’t another cheer in your system, get a telegram that calls you suddenly away.

Eighth: Never be one of the crape hangers who sits and tells what a grand time she had last summer, when she visited the Milllonbucks and what a splendid limousine they had, and how many servants they kept. It makes a hostess think bitterly of her tin Lizzie and her one maid of all work, and wonder why she is putting herself out to entertain you.

Ninth: Never flirt with your hostess’ husband, nor her son, nor her brother. It’s against all the rules of the game. It’s hitting below the belt. Even a savage respects the bread he has eaten, and as long as you are under a woman’s roof, all of her possessions are sacred to her.

Tenth: Make short visits. That is the secret of being a popular and much sought after visitor. There are so many people we would like to have come, if we could be certain when they would go. Never extend a visit, no matter how much you are entreated to do so. After-climaxes always fall flat. Never forget that it is better to go while people weep to see you leave than it is to stay when they shed tears because you refuse to depart.

(Copyright. 1920, by the Wheeler Syndicate, Inc.)

The Topeka [KS] State Journal 25-26 July 1921: p. 4

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Miss Dix, whose byline frequently contained the phrase, “The World’s Highest Paid Woman Writer,” had much to say about the summer visitor. One can only conclude that her immense wealth gave her entrée to a delightful selection of summer resorts and country houses and, consequently, to the summer parasites infesting these earthly paradises.

She adds two other Commandments to the ones above, in other syndicated articles:

Don’t sponge. Provide yourself with the things you are liable to need before you leave home. There are no other guests in the world so afflicting as the borrowers. Take along your own stationery and stamps, your own toilet articles and sewing things. There isn’t a hostess who hasn’t been driven wild by the insatiable demands of girl guests who had forgotten to bring along needles and thread, and scissors and writing paper, and stamps, and curling irons, and who could have kept a relay of servants on the run supplying them with the things they had to borrow. Nobody loves a dead beat.

Mrs Daffodil is pursing her lips dubiously over this dictum. She flatters herself that she runs a well-regulated household. No guest at the Hall would ever be made to feel a “dead beat” if they forgot their sewing kit or curling iron. The maids would look askance at a guest who brought her own writing paper and stamps.  The guest rooms at the Hall, as well as the morning room, factor’s office, and library, are amply stocked with both.

Still, Miss Dix adds a final commandment that will warm the hearts of servants everywhere.

Don’t make any unnecessary trouble for the servants, and don’t withhold the tip from the maid to whose burdens you are adding. Keep your own room tidy. Hang up your clothes. Straighten up your dresser, and be not sparing of small change to faithful Mary who hooks you up, and obliging Eliza who presses out your chiffons. Chief among those who are never asked a second time are those nickel-nursing guests who keep the maids on a trot doing chores for them and who think they have sufficiently rewarded such service by handing out a few words of thanks and a dinky pocket handkerchief upon their departure. The servants determine the invitation list oftener than you think, so if you want to be a popular guest who is much sought after, be not one of those whose coming makes Hilda and Dinah threaten to give notice.

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.

 

Miss Bonnington’s Bathing Boots: 1907

Digital Capture

Perhaps at a more fashionable watering place Miss Bonnington’s boots would not have created the slightest stir, but at Silver Beach the first question asked the newcomer on the piazza was “Have you seen Miss Bonnington’s boots?” and a negative reply was to admit a truly recentness of arrival.

There was nothing remarkable about the boots save that they were of nile green waterproof material laced high upon the calf. At a resort where stockings, or at the best the sort of canvas slipper to be had at the drug store for a quarter, were considered sufficient, the appearance of Miss Bonnington on the sands at the bathing hour was the signal for the gathering of a crowd of the curious.

Natalie Bonnington professed an indifference to the curious gaze of the hotel patrons and the natives. She could not help being aware of the excitement she created, yet she did not discard the boots.

Ridley told himself a dozen times that he did not love Miss Bonnington because of her boots. In honest truth, he could not tell whether or not he loved the girl.

Aside from these odd bathing boots, her attire was most demure. She affected the simplest dresses— and looked better in them than the women who wore silks and satins all out of harmony with the weather.

Her manner matched her garments, for she was demure almost to a point of affectation and never a roguish twinkle marred the calm serenity of her full, lustrous brown eyes.

Those eyes were Natalie’s greatest charm. Ridley loved to lie on the warm sands in the afternoon, sounding the placid depths of her liquid orbs. At such times he was sure that he was in love, and he was — until he remembered the boots.

It was in this uncertain frame of mind that he took to dressing early for his bath, and then running up the sands, around the point well out of sight of the crowd around the boots. Not until he felt sure that she had gone back to her dressing room did he venture to return, but even with this expedient his heart continued to be torn by uncertainty.

But it was to the boots that he owed the final answer to his questioning heart. He was running along the sands on his way back to the bathhouses when, on the turn of a point he discerned a huge sun umbrella.

Projecting below the edge he could see Miss Bonnington’s boots beside a mound of sand that covered the extremities of her companion. Just as he passed, scarcely making a sound in his bare feet, he heard a kiss; a loud, undeniable smack.

It was not the sort of a kiss he imagined some day bestowing upon the arched curve of those red lips when he should have at last decided to speak.

He had mentally rehearsed the scene over and over again, now in a dark comer of the piazza, again under the sunshade, but always in his dreams the scene had ended in her whispered “Yes” and his lips had touched hers, tenderly, reverently, in the first kiss of love.

That Miss Bonnington should seek a secluded part of the beach on which to indulge her osculatory tendencies was intolerable. He was a man easily swayed by little things and the loudness of the smack had sickened him, while at the same time his loss told him how truly he had loved the girl.

He dressed as rapidly as possible and sought his room. He was too miserable to mix with the others. He wanted to be alone where he could think it all over.

His room seemed blurred with images of the past. He could see the yellow sands and himself beside Natalie questioning the limpid clearness of her eyes. He could see the piazza in the soft moonlight and the wrapt look upon her face as he quoted poetry to her.

Then he vanished before the image of the afternoon with the boots beneath the sunshade and that smack reverberating like the noise of thunder in the solitude of his soul.

By evening he had pulled himself together and he even dressed for the regular Wednesday night hop, but he kept carefully away from Natalie until late in the evening, when he ran across her standing pensively in a corner of the piazza, watching the reflection of the moon across the broken waters.

Her face brightened at his approach and she impulsively put out her hand to stop him.

“I have not seen you all day,” she cried. “Have you been ill?”

“I was a little upset,” he answered, constrainedly.

“Is it trouble?” The soft eyes beamed their sympathy.

“In a way,” he agreed. “I saw something this morning that rather upset me. Around the point,” he added, meaningly.

“Ah, yes,” she mused. “You go far up the beach to bathe.”

“Way beyond the crowd,” he confirmed. “I like it better there.”

“You must take me some morning,” she said. I have never been to the point. Is it not absurd?”

“You have not been to the point?” His lip curled in scorn. Probably she would deny the scene of the morning.

“I should like a quiet swim,” she said, softly. “Do you know that I have just found out why the beach is so crowded.”

“Yes?” He wondered what she would tell him now.

“It is because of my boots,” she said, with a rippling laugh. “Do you know that people came to see my bathing boots. Of all the foolish things of which I have ever heard. It seems they were almost what you call a sensation.”

He smiled in spite of himself. Her mother was a Russian, and at times her odd expressions were delightfully quaint. One might almost believe that she was sincere in her declaration of the new discovery.

“The boots are a little—individual,” he agreed. “I could recognize them anywhere.”

Natalie did not observe the emphasis upon the last word. “They were very comfortable,” she said, musingly. “And the people were so disappointed when I did not wear them this morning.”

“You did not wear them this morning?”

“I gave them to the maid, who makes the bed. With $100 I could not give her as much pleasure. Is it not odd, her love of color?”

With beaming face he caught her hand.

“Natalie,” he cried.

The rest of the scene passed off as he had planned it, even to the whispered “Yes,” and that reverential first kiss. Miss Bonnington’s boots had served their turn.

Los Angeles [CA] Herald 6 October 1907: p. 29

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has nothing but scorn for a young man with such a vivid imagination and no appreciation for bespoke footwear. First he builds a sand-castles-in-the-air romance despite having never spoken to the girl, then his hopes are dashed to bits by a beach umbrella and a “smack.”  One imagines Shakespeare rewriting the plot of Othello with bathing boots instead of a handkerchief.

Exotic European novelties for the beach were often reported, but seldom seen in the States, so perhaps Miss Bonnington’s boots did cause a sensation.

Brilliant Bathing Boots Please Paris

Silk on Velvet Footwear Impracticable, of Course, or It Wouldn’t Be Attractive

Paris Fashionable shoemakers are already being besieged with orders for the new bathing boots which have been the rage at the Riviera and Monte Carlo baths. These silk and velvet boots are brilliant in color, the most conspicuous being orange boots lined with purple, white lined with red, and green lined with yellow.

In accordance with the theory that whatever is fashionable must be unpractical these boots are not laced, but are of the slip-on kind, so that once in the water they are sure to slip off.

Bootmakers contend that the bathing boot must be wide and baggy around the leg, so as to permit freedom of movement, while fitting the foot like a glove, and while the impartial spectator may agree with their arguments he is obliged to doubt the practicability of the principle.

Wisconsin State Journal [Madison WI] 26 March 1920: p. 10

Mrs Daffodil has written before on the theory and practice of bathing footwear in Shoes for the Surf.

 

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.

A Story Successfully Told: 1875

A STORY SUCCESSFULLY TOLD

Pretty, plump Mrs. Archibald Steele wrote the following paragraph in one of her letters to her husband the other day:

“John must come down here at once, whether you can spare him or not. Our dear little Laura is greatly taken with a tall, thin young man, with a hooked nose and thin lips, called Stuyvesant.  It is whispered about the hotel that he is a very good match, and has the veritable blue blood of the old Dutch governor in his reins. I must say it has a queer way of showing itself, for the young man is as pale as a specter; and dressed in that white duck, with his sunken eyes and bilious skin, is enough to frighten one. I have grown to hate him, while Laura is growing to be quite the contrary, I am afraid. All the evening he leans up against the wall, never dancing or opening his mouth, save to give vent to some hateful, sarcastic criticism upon the scenes around him, and yet dear little Laura’s eyes–as, indeed, all the other pretty eyes about–are perpetually beseeching him for attention. In the daytime he is always with a long black horse, that covers more ground with its legs while it is going than any other animal that I ever saw. When Laura goes out to drive behind it, and vanishes out of sight with the bony creature, I tremble to think how dreadful it would be if our dear little girl would ever be part and parcel of this wretched man and his beast. So I think John had better come down at once. I quite long to see his handsome face and hear his honest voice, and I think it is about time that John should tell his little story to Laura and have thing settled comfortably.

Mr. Archibald Steele smiled when he put the letter of his wife in his waistcoat pocket, and, picking up the morning paper, scanned through his gold-rimmed spectacles the news of the day. Finding nothing therein to refine the exceedingly satisfactory condition of his affairs, he put it down, smiling as only a prosperous, contented down-town merchant can smile. He was one of those happy exceptions to the ordinary rule of mortals, with whom everything went well. His whole experience was an exclamation point to that effect. If he ventured a little hazardously in trade, fortune trimmed her sails to favor him. If he set his heart upon anything relating to domestic felicity, all the elements of art and nature conspired to bring it about. So when he stepped to the door of his office and beckoned to a young man with a strip of commercial paper in his hand and a pencil behind his ear, with the general air of briskness and shrewdness about him that betokened a successful down-town merchant embryo, Mr. Steele smiled the third time, with the air of one who was not at all afraid of any bilious, blue-blooded obstacle that might be thrown in the path of  domestic happiness which he firmly agreed had been arranged by an Omnipotent hand.

“John,” said Mr. Steele, closing the door of his private office, and looking upon his young clerk benevolently, “I’ve got an order from Mrs. Steele which I wish you would attend to.”

“Certainly, sir,” said John; “shall I go out and get the articles myself?”

“Why, the fact is, John,” said the merchant, enjoying his joke more and more, “it’s only one article–a rather bulky one. It was bargained for a long time ago. I think you will have to go down with it, John.”

“Down to the seashore!” said John, getting a little hot and flustered; “is it a very valuable parcel, sir?”

“Well, perhaps your natural modesty may depreciate its worth, John. Mrs. Steele and I think a good deal of it, and Laura, too, I am sure does. The commodity is yourself, John. Mrs. Steele wants you to go down and take a little holiday there.”

When the name of Laura was mentioned the young man’s face grew more flustered and hot than before.

“You are very kind, sir,” he said, “and Mrs. Steele is more like an angel than a woman.”

“Rather solid and plump for that,” interposed Mr. Steele, but liking the phrase nevertheless.

“But it is a simple madness,” pursued John, “to dream of further happiness than I enjoy now–your affection and that of your wife–my position here; I don’t dare, I can’t hope for anything more. Oh, Mr. Steele, I can’t tell her my story. She would turn from me with horror and aversion. She is so young, so beautiful. Let me at least enjoy the present.”

“And in the meantime some cadaverous, bilious, blue-blooded scoundrel will carry her off from us all.”

Then John’s face grew pale and stern. “If there is the slightest feeling upon her part for–for any one else, then, indeed, Mr. Steele, my case is hopeless.”‘

The commercial paper fluttered from his hand, the pencil fell from his ear, and he leaned his head against the desk and trembled.

“Why, who would suppose you could be such a coward?” said Mr. Steele, impetuously. “You shall go down with me this very day.”

All the way to the seashore John’s face wore the look of one who had resolved to storm a deadly breach, but who did not hope to survive the attempt.

Even the ocean, when it confronted them, wore a threatening look. Upon the horizon a pile of clouds formed a background, wan and gloomy, a great black mist lay in the zenith, and a dense, red vapor almost touched the water.

“A very nasty sea,” said Mr. Steele.

John snuffed it in, his eyes dilating and his head high in the sea-scented air. A tramp on the hard, wet sand, and, like a meteor, a long black horse swept by, disappearing in the mist, leaving for John the memory of a charming head, crowned with blonde curling hair, two kind eyes bent upon his own, and a white waving hand extended in salutation.

“John,” said Mr. Steele,” did you see the face of that man? I count upon your saving Laura. Did you see his thin, cruel lips and treacherous eyes?”

“I only saw Laura, sir,” said John, simply.

Later on Mr. Archibald Steele and his plump, pretty wife were alone together in their private parlor. Her dimpled hand lay lovingly in his, and her shapely head, fresh from the hands of the coiffeur, rested recklessly on his shoulder.

Suddenly the door opened, and there was heard the rustle of silken drapery.  A still shapelier little head, and fresher from the hands of the coiffeur, all unrumpled by the audacious hands of mortal, peeped in at the door. Laura was pale: her little white hands were clasped together and her musical voice trembled.

“Oh, papa, mamma, come directly! Mr. Stuyvesant ventured too far, and—and–”

“Was drowned?” said Mr. Steele, with a queer combination in his voice of pity and relief.

“No, no; how can you suppose so dreadful a thing? He was rescued, but is very weak and ill. He has asked for me, and may I go? Will you not come with me, mamma? Oh, do, I beg of you. Can’t she, papa?”

Her blue eyes filled with tears: her little feet seemed wanting to fly through the corridors.

“Certainly not,” said Mr. Steele. “Let him wait till he is able to come to you or me. Either the man was drowned or he isn’t. Because he was imbecile enough to risk his life, that is no reason for your being the talk of the hotel.”

Laura raised her eyes proudly.

“No danger of that, papa; and besides, every one is occupied now with the one that rescued him.”

“And what madman was that?” said poor Mr. Steele, who could not reconcile himself to the present condition of affairs.

“I don’t know–a stranger, I believe. I was so interested in Mr. Stuyvesant I forgot to ask.”

“Bah!” said Mr. Steele, getting upon his feet and walking to the door. “I’ll go and find out all about it. Do you stay here till I return.”

Before he had gone far, Mr. Steele heard from the excited guests several different versions of the affair; but one and all agreed that the rescuer could be nothing less than a champion swimmer.

“A regular water-dog!” said one to Mr. Steele; and as the merchant had heard this epithet but once before in his life, and that on an occasion of vital interest to himself, he sought out the hero of the hour, and found, to his unbounded astonishment, it was John Waters himself! He was quite enveloped in the flounces and furbelows of pretty and sympathetic women, who insisted upon knowing every half second if he was sure he felt strong and well, and how in the world could he buffet those dreadful waves in that grand, heroic way, and how I he manage to drag poor Mr. Stuyvesant to the shore?

John, like any other hero of the hour, enjoyed this adulation, but looked anxiously at Mr. Steele when he approached.

“Hum,” growled that worthy merchant; “a pretty fellow, you, to interfere with other people’s plans! How do you know he wanted to be rescued?”

“He appeared anxious that way, sir,” said John. “He wrapped himself about me like a devil-fish. I thought at one time we’d both go down together. There ought to be a school for teaching people how to be saved. It’s the easiest thing in the world; the water itself is an accessory if you manage it right.”

“Oh, do tell us how, Mr. Waters, please,” chorused the pretty and women; and as John began his lesson Mr. Steele slipped away.

“Oh, papa,” began Laura, “how is Mr. Stuyvesant?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask,” he replied “I was interested in the fellow that dragged him ashore. He’s an old friend of ours. The way we made his acquaintance was on. such an occasion; he saved a lady from drowning.”

“Why, papa, “said Laura, “he must be a splendid fellow.”

“Magnificent!” said Mr. Steele. “You see, we had traveled over considerable of the world together, your mother and I, while you were yet a baby; and we found it rather odd one morning to discover that having crossed the ocean and the Alps, loitered in the Highlands, traveled thence down the Mississippi valley, across the American desert to California, and back again by another route, your mother had never been up the East river as far as Morrisania. It seemed so absurd to have neglected this home excursion, that we determined upon it at once. The morning was wet, but we didn’t mind it. Your mother looked prettier in a water-proof and with a shovel hat tied down under her chin, than most women would in a ball gown. She wasn’t a bit afraid of rain or mud. She was a little too reckless; for, getting ashore to see the institution for vagabond boys, her foot slipped off the plank, and she disappeared.”

Mr. Steele stopped a minute; his voice faltered; the plump little hand of his wife slipped into his own; he clutched it, and went on again.

“One minute I saw her as neat and trim a little figure as ever graced a waterproof and shovel hat, and the next she was gone.”

“Gone!” cried Laura. “Gone where?”

“Into the water, child: into the hungry green waves that surged up to take her away from the fondest heart in the universe; and if it had not been for one of those very vagabond boys, who had been lurking there for a chance to escape from the island, you would have lost us both, my dear; for I made an agonized plunge after her, though I am ashamed to say I cannot swim a stroke, and should only have gone to the bottom like a plummet of lead: but an official standing by caught and held me, and cried out that Johnny Waters had her safe; and presently that vagabond boy came up with your sweet mother on the other side of the boat, and the officer cried out: ‘He’s a regular water dog, that Johnny Waters!’ and these were the very words a guest here used in relation to John a minute or so ago.”

“John!” cried poor bewildered Laura, “our John? Mamma? My mamma? Was mamma the lady? Was John the boy? And is it John, our John, that saved poor Mr. Stuyvesant?”

“The very same John, our John; he’s always on hand when there is any trouble or danger.”

“Oh, mamma! mamma!” cried Laura, forgetting all the years that had passed since the accident, and crumpling both the coiffeured heads in the most reckless manner.

“Papa,” she then said, “we must go and find John; I want to tell him how much—I–”

“Yes, dear;” said Mr. Archibald Steele, and all the way through the corridor and into the parlors of the hotel with his plump and pretty wife on one arm and his beautiful daughter on the other, he sailed.

But John was still surrounded by the pretty and sympathetic women, who had cruelly deserted the blue-blooded descendant of the old Dutch governor, lying in his most graceful and languid of attitudes on a neighboring lounge–the descendant, not the governor—and had flocked, one and all, to the handsome and heroic founder of the school for teaching people the way to be rescued from drowning…

John was almost hidden in flounces and laces; but when his eyes met Laura’s he plunged out of those costly billows with his usual ease and trepidity. There was something in Laura’s eyes that he had never seen there before–a tempting languor, a bewitching shyness, a bewildering splendor that steeped his soul in a mad, sweet hope.

Laura stopped one moment to whisper to her mamma, and John gasped out to Mr. Steele:

“If I dared–if I only dared to tell her–”

“I have told her myself!” said the merchant.

“That I was a pauper, without home or friends?”

“I told the story in my own way, John,” continued Mr. Steele, “and I flatter myself I told it successfully; do not spoil it, if you please. I have managed the past and the present; do you look out for the future, John.”

And John did. Laura walked through the parlor that night the envied of all the pretty and sympathetic women and brave and appreciative men that congregated there.

The Head-light [Thayer KS] 8 October 1875: p. 6

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: It is rather extraordinary to find a successful down-town merchant so eager to marry his only ewe-lamb to a confidential clerk in his establishment. And a confidential clerk, mind you, with no visible antecedents. The sack for the clerk and the convent or remote boarding school for the daughter are the more usual outcome.  But this is, after all, sea-side fiction, when anything can happen and swift endings must be contrived to fit the penny-a-word limit set by the fiction editor.

 

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.

A Front-Yard Party: 1904

A Front-Yard Party

By Lily Manker Allen

My sister was with us from the East—we always spell that word with a capital in California—and I wanted to have her meet some of our young lady acquaintances. I must give a party, but how?

I took mental account of the available space in our cottage; parlor so small that half a dozen people made it seem crowded; dining room still smaller; ten by twelve bedroom, and no folding doors. I went out on the piazza and again took account of stock: A fifty-foot city lot on a quiet street. with near neighbors on either side; small lawn, perhaps thirty-five by twenty feet; narrow piazza running across the front of the house, covered with vines at one end. Not very promising, surely. But I set my wits to work and enlisted the wits and the muscles of the Capable Man, and the remembrance of the beautiful tea-garden we evolved has been a joy ever since.

First, a rope was fastened to the corner of the house about eight feet from the ground: this was made to encircle the entire lawn, being fastened at the outer corners to stout poles which were kept in place by means of guy ropes tied to stakes outside. A second rope three feet from the ground was similarly fastened, running around as far as the walk at the side, leaving a gateway.

Graceful, feathery date palm fronds from ten to twelve feet high were then made fast to the ropes to form a screen all around, the heavy ends resting on the ground. Had we lived in Massachusetts, we might have used willow or some other feathery branches.

The pine tree in the next yard shaded part of our lawn, and with my neighbor’s kind permission a hammock was stretched from it to the corner of the piazza, and another from the other corner to our own pine tree.

The blossoms of the rich pinkish purple bourgainvillias vine on the porch gave the touch of flower color needed with the green, and a huge Japanese umbrella was placed in the center of the lawn.

The vine-covered end of the piazza was fitted up for a dressing room, with bureau, hat rack and table, while the open end was furnished with a small couch, cushions and a small table of ferns. A large rug was laid over the steps, which were also furnished with cushions along the sides. An old wagon seat covered with a carriage robe was placed against the trunk of the pine tree, and rugs, easy chairs and cushions were scattered over the lawn.

California skies never fail us in summer; I could be sure of plenty of sunshine. The guests had been invited to an outdoor party, and no doubt came with much wonderment as to how I could entertain an outdoor party.

Each was given a little booklet with dark green covers, shaped like an ivy leaf and with pencil attached. Inside was a guessing contest containing questions about trees, such as “What tree would bark?” “What tree would mew?” etc.

The last page was reserved for a contest of a different sort; the guests were asked to guess the number of tiny shells in a small jar, the one guessing nearest receiving as many little gilt stars as there were persons present, the next one next, and so on, the one guessing widest of the mark receiving but one. These were pasted on the booklets by way of decoration.

I suppose the refreshments should have been tea and wafers, but the day being warm, ice cream and cake were served instead. When the afternoon was over, we were so pleased with our success that we resolved to give another party the next day, this time for the neighbors who had so kindly helped us out in our plans of the day before. Our only regret on looking back to our charming tea-garden is that we neglected to have it photographed as we intended.

Good Housekeeping Vol. 39, 1904: p. 204

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  The garden party under a marquee, is, of course, a recognised fixture of English life. However, in the States, this form of entertainment has a more dubious record, being plagued by weather and insects. Some form of comprehensive coverage was needed. This 1902 author recommended a “veranda tea,” which sounds very like a screened version of the tea-garden above.

The garden party has never flourished in this country. It has a vogue, perhaps, for a season in some district where mosquitoes and gnats are not troublesome and where the trees are guaranteed not to drop squirming caterpillars on the heads or into the beverages or ices of the ladies. Besides, the weather man is an unreliable individual, and his firmest assurance that the neighborhood may anticipate nothing but cerulean skies and balmy breezes for at least a week may be sadly belied by the tornado that springs up as if from nowhere. A garden party that opens to the singing of birds and the smile of the sun may end to the accompaniment of thunder and the cold, steady beat of the drenching rain. Then too, garden parties are hard on the delicate complexions of American women. English women are indifferent to tan, but the American hates to think that above her fairylike frock she displays the face of a broiled lobster.

Now, the veranda tea has none of these disadvantages. In the shade of that roofed retreat there is no menace to the complexion, and one may wear her prettiest white gown or most fascinating organdie. Disturbing insects cannot penetrate behind the screens, and the war of the elements without can introduce no disturbing effect.

The Topeka [KS] State Journal 5 July 1902: p. 14

The “back-yard” party, was also in vogue, for the budget-conscious young:

SUMMER BACK YARD PARTIES

Young Women Who Cannot Afford Trip to Seashore Inaugurate Novel Means of Amusement.

Any kind of outdoor entertainment is preferable in summer to staying in the house, so, for that reason, several young women who cannot go to the seashore or mountains for the “heated term” have inaugurated what they call “back-yard parties” in the spaces in the rear of their homes. These have been made attractive enough to warrant asking their friends to spend the evening there.

At one house in town in particular, the yard has been turned into a really lovely garden. Ivy and other climbing plants have been planted along the fences and now completely cover them. The center is a grass plot, and around is a border of gay blooming geraniums and other hardy flowers. Benches, garden chairs and tables are placed here and there. A low cot bed, with rug and cushions, forms a divan. At night, with Japanese lanterns strung across and little lamps hung among the ivy, the effect is surprisingly pretty.

The daughter of the house finds her friends more than ready to accept her invitations, and the open air entertainment is thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes they play games, or they have music of banjo or mandolin, and sing college songs. [One wonders if the neighbours were pleased with the repertoire.] The men, of course, have permission to smoke, and the cold lemonade, ices and cakes are especially delicious served under these unusual and Informal conditions. Try it; it is well worth the trouble.

Natrona County Tribune [Casper WY] 20 October 1909: p. 6

Of course, there were always guests who did not quite grasp the concept:

“Do you know Mr. Fresco—Mr. Albert Fresco?” inquired Mrs. Nuritch.

“No,” said her husband, “Why?”

“I’ve got an invite to Mrs. Blugore’s garden party, and she says they’re going to dine Al Fresco.”

The Evening World [New York NY] 30 January 1903: p. 12

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.

The School of Hammocking: 1901

IN A HAMMOCK WITH THE SUMMER GIRL

A summer school of hammocking was opened in one of the large cities recently. It was a secret society school, conducted on the strictest lines of never tell, and all information regarding its whereabouts, its pupils, their residences, or the places where they, will spend the summer were to be kept secret.

The object of the school was the teaching of grace to the summer girl, who must spend part of her summer days in the hammock. The lessons embraced the getting in and the getting out of it, also the proper manner of sitting down and talking. How to lie down and sleep, how to recline and read, how to carry on an animated conversation without tipping out backward, how to talk, to flirt, to laugh and to rise from the hammock were all in the curriculum.

The teacher—for, though the aims of the school may seem trifling to the unambitious woman, they were taken in all seriousness by the pupils–was one of the most famous teachers of expression in this country. She teaches some of the most celebrated stage people in the world how to be graceful, and she instructs great speakers on the small arts of gesture. When not otherwise engaged she takes classes of women in the 400 and teaches them how to enter a drawing-room and depart therefrom. She shows them how to look at flowers, how to gaze upon works of art, how to receive a compliment with grace and without blushing, how to decline a verbal invitation well, in short, how to be a belle.

The hammock field is a new one to her, but, on being told that she would, by her instruction, fill a long felt want, she consented to give a dozen lessons in the art of entering a hammock to a select circle of young women. The schoolroom was a roof garden, and the hours for the lessons broad daylight with nothing overhead except the sun and a friendly canopy. At the end of twelve lessons the pupils were turned out graduated, with verbal diplomas. All were bound to perpetual secrecy and to know them this summer you must watch the hammock girls and observe which conduct themselves with most grace. Those who are faultless have doubtless been members of the summer school of hammocking.

hammock girl4 (2)

Belle of Summer

The hammock girl is the belle of summer. Old Sol beholds her by the first light of his yellowing rays, and Luna, when she retires behind the day clouds, looks back again to wish her a good night.

To spend the summer in a hammock is the ideal of the languid maid and the favorite dolce far niente of the July girl.

It is said that the hammock habit is the hardest of all to drop. Once formed it becomes almost an insidious disease, preying upon its victim, who cannot tear herself from its grasp of netting. The hammock is responsible for many an added pound, for many a wasted moment. It is the parent of flirtation and it is the scene of many a jolly summer hour.

The girl who can escape to the country for a month or two takes with her a hammock. But it is not she alone who indulges in such an article. The roof garden girl has discovered that it is mightily pleasant to swing in the net, up under the stars, and for her there are wonderfully built hammocks, supported by uprights that are warranted not to break, or allow the ropes to loosen at the critical moment.

Where lives there a man who has not swung a hammock? To climb a tree, knot a rope to a limb and climb down again is part of the programme of the man who goes away for a rest. The chances are that he will hang many a one and rehang several, for ropes shrink and break, slacken and untie and raise uncertainty generally.

The possibilities of picking one’s self up gracefully when the hammock rope breaks are not to be discussed. That is an emergency which must be met at the time. When the hammock falls there is no choice but to settle down in a heap and to roll over and get up with such God-given grace as may be vouchsafed at the moment.

hammock girl3 (2)

The Getting In

But it is with the chances of being graceful when the hammock is in normal position that this has to deal. It is claimed that the girl who can get into a hammock gracefully and there sit and enjoy a conversation without tipping backward or falling frontward, is entitled to a diploma of grace. Certainly she does well, for the hammock is not a rocking chair, nor an anchored seat. It tips and rolls, shunts and rocks, shifts and falls in unexpected spots and is not dependable as a medium of keeping one’s poise.

The girl who would seat herself in a hammock nicely cannot do so carelessly. Let her merely catch hold of the rope and seat herself and she will find herself landed upon the floor. Possibly she may go entirely over the hammock and seat herself on the other side of it, with her feet clawing the ropes and her hands wildly grasping nothing.

 

To seat yourself in the hammock correctly take hold of one side of the netting, bend slightly, and, with the other hand, draw the hammock in under you. This gives you a purchase upon it; you then seat yourself and find the seat in under you. The trick is twofold. It lies in resting the entire weight upon one foot, and, at the same time, pulling the seat of the hammock forward.

hammock girl2 (2)

To lie down in the hammock requires practice. One must not look as though laid out and one must not sink out of sight in the depths of the hammock. The head should rest upon a pillow at one end of the net and the feet should lie together in the other end. To accomplish this gracefully the body must lie slightly at diagonals with the netting, so that the feet just peep out at one side, the head at the other. This gives one more of an upright position and enables one to carry on a conversation while resting. The hammock robe is not often used. It hides the pretty summer gown. If used at all it is thrown across the foot of the hammock, but is rarely employed as a spread.

The Skirt Question

To keep the skirts in place is a difficult matter when planning to lie down. It is done by gently gathering up the side of the skirts with the hand and tucking them in the hammock as one lies down. The feet should be lifted very slowly and deliberately, with the skirts clinging around them, or the general pictorial effect will not be good.

hammock girl4 (2)

To sit and converse in a hammock affords a theatre for some of the most delightful poses. One of these brings out the true poetry of motion. The young woman who attempts it must seat herself gracefully, and then, with a side motion, turn herself a little. One hand must be extended to grasp the netting, while the other must rest in her lap. The pose is a very comfortable one and certainly pretty.

The summer girl who coquettes in a hammock is lost unless she be very skilful. She must have practiced the scenes before or she will not be a success. If she own a hammock that is supported by uprights, let her take it and swing it in front of a pier glass. With the mirror in front of her she can practice her poses.

The animated pose is the most difficult of all. She must seat herself and in some manner manage to change her poses as she talks. She must be as free as though in a tete-a-tete chair.

hammock girl 1 (2)

A coquettish pose, which gives an opportunity for the display of the pretty feet of the young woman, is that in which, with extended feet, she sits with both hands upon the netting and looks straight at you. To keep her poise both arms are stretched out at the side of, her, and both hands are twisted in the netting. Her feet are crossed and pressed forward so that the hammock is swinging. It is not a strictly conventional pose nor one that is in afford with the accepted poses of Delsarte or his followers, but it is effective.

To read picturesquely is quite difficult, until one has acquired the trick. It all depends upon the way one enters the hammock. The young woman who will seat herself in the middle of the hammock, a little toward one end, and who will lift her skirts with one hand, lifting her feet with them, will be sure of a safe deposit into the hammock. She must practice balancing a little in order to keep her head higher than her feet.

The self-taught hammock girl may be a success if she will practice assiduously, but it is far better to engage a friendly spectator who will look on and criticise and offer suggestions at the valuable moment.

AUGUSTA PRESCOTT.

The Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 26 May 1901: p. 38

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Obviously one needs the correct wardrobe for hammocking: the petticoats that froth beneath the simple summer frock; the pretty stockings and shoes for accidental exposure.

HAMMOCK DRESSES.

“Hammock” dresses, designed for elegant wear on sultry, lazy afternoon, are announced. They are made with long flowing Greek lines; they are steel-less, cushionless, half fitting, but graceful withal, having the look of untidy looseness, and are made of all the soft, pretty crepalines, challis, carmelites and also of China silk, foulard and surah. New York World.

The Salisbury [NC] Truth 12 June 1890: p. 7

Hammock frocks, fashioned from the softest of undressed mulls, delicate batiste and old, quainty-flowered muslins.

Buffalo [NY] Evening News 27 July 1896: p. 43

Mr Binks’s Safety Hammock tells of the perils of hammock customisation, while useful tips about “hammock frocks” are found in My Lady’s Hammock

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.

The Purity League and the Sea Vamps: 1922

a group of rollicking sea vamps 1922

A rollicking group of sea vamps, 1922

“Protect Our Husbands from the Wiles of the ‘Sea Vamps’”

How the Purity League of Florida Has made the One-Piece Bathing Suit a Political Issue and Demands a Bathing Suit Inspector to Stop the Frolics on the Beaches.

The one-piece bathing suit has pushed its way into politics. In the next election for Mayor of St. Petersburg. Florida, the candidates will have to declare themselves without equivocation whether they are for or against the “Sea Vamps.”

It is a complicated situation. Florida is a Winter resort and the importance of the decision is a far-reaching one. The Purity League and the church element have looked on with increasing dismay at the frolicsome antics of the feminine charmers who frisk about the ocean beach in tight fitting bathing trunks without skirt, stocking or shoe.

But pleasure resorts are dependent for their business prosperity upon luring the tourists. If the news travels abroad that a bathing suit censor stalks the beach the Winter visitors, many of them, may not go to St. Petersburg Thus the hotels and rooming houses and restaurants and merchants will feel the effect of the bathing suit censor in their pocketbooks.

The question of suppressing the lures of the beguiling young ‘Sea Vamps” has become acute, because of the recent official action of the St. Petersburg Purity League. This earnest association of worthy citizens has served notice in writing upon the Mayor of St. Petersburg that the antics of the visitors on that Florida beach must be stopped.

Frank F. Pulver, the Mayor, happens to be a young man and a bachelor. When it became known that the Purity League demanded the appointment of a bathing suit inspector he was inclined to pigeonhole the letter from the league and with a few diplomatic phrases hoped to see the matter blow over.

But the newspapers printed the rather sharp demand of the Purity League and long lines of men formed at the Mayor’s office, offering their services as bathing suit inspectors. Young men and old men, tall men and short men, near-sighted men and men with acute vision, fat men and thin men, married men and bachelors offered to accept the proposed new office of bathing suit inspector without salary or fees or compensation of any kind. He was surprised at the public-spirited unselfishness of the men of the town.

Mayor Pulver, whose youthful portrait in white Winter flannels and straw hat is printed on this page, is regarded as a very eligible matrimonial catch. When he strolls on the beach many of the more attractive of the “Sea Vamps” have beguiled him with their most skillful wiles. They rather interest young Mayor Pulver.

But Mayor Pulver cannot overlook the political aspect of the situation. What would be the probable line-up of the voters of St. Petersburg on the sharply defined issue of “Sea Vamps” or bathing suit inspector?

Of course, the Purity League and the church element would be solidly behind the Mayor if he appointed a bathing suit censor. On the other hand, the younger voters among the women are, many of them, wearers of the one-piece bathing suits and they would vote against him. The young men could be counted on to vote against censorship and whispered warnings from many of the older and married men lead Mayor Pulver to think, that the bald-heads and gray beards would be likely to be against him on the one-piece bathing suit issue. And a large element of the business men would not like to risk the results of blue-law management of St. Petersburg’s beach.

So, to gain time, Mayor Pulver referred the letter of the Purity League to the city attorney, who is the Mayor’s official legal adviser, and thus then secured a legal opinion which lets Mayor Pulver out of this hole for the present.

Here Is the letter the Purity League sent Mayor Pulver:

Frank F. Pulver, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Dear Sir.

The attention of this organization, the Purity League, has been called to the outrageous bathing suits being worn on the beaches around St. Petersburg. Abbreviated to an extreme, skirtless and sleeveless, young women in reckless abandon appear before young men and their elders in costumes that never would be tolerated in Christian communities.

Mr. Mayor Pulver, it is up to you to take some action on these bathing suits. You must compel the young ladies to wear stockings and skirts to their suits. You make them wear sleeves. As it is now permitted, these girls don’t care how they look on the beaches. They are half naked.

Further, this league will protect the married men in its membership from the wiles of the “Sea Vamps” even if it has to engage its own law enforcers. Members of the Purity League have gone on record in opposing the present costumes being worn on the bathing beaches, and it further urges you, Mr. Mayor Pulver, to do away with the suits named after a certain Annette Kellermann.

Give back to us the modest bathing suit and take away the shameless ones your police permit the young women of this community to wear before the men and our husbands.

Pressure is now being brought to bear with the State Legislature to compel restrictions on the abbreviations of bathing suits. We are also urging the appointment of a bathing suit inspector at all beaches.

(Signed) ST. PETERSBURG PURITY LEAGUE

By Hazel Milford Van Freedon, Secretary.

Mayor Pulver, as already said, forwarded the letter to the city attorney Mr. F. J. Mack, for advice as to the Mayor’s legal right to appoint a bathing suit inspector, and it was with a sigh of relief that the Mayor received in due time the following opinion from the legal adviser of the city, which allowed him to dodge the embarrassing issue for the present. Mr. Mack wrote as follows:

“Pursuant to your request for an opinion as to your authority to appoint a ‘ladies’ bathing suit inspector’ with authority to censor and prescribe the texture, dimensions and transparency of ladles’ bathing suits, as you have been requested to do by the Purity League.

“As a legal proposition, it is my opinion that you have no authority under the laws of Florida or the city charter to appoint such an inspector, or to confer any authority upon him.

“Under the ordinances of the city, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, and violators, upon conviction in the municipal court, can be punished.

“The married women of the Purity League who ask you to protect their husbands from the ‘wiles of the sea vamps’ can invoke the above mentioned ordinance, and if the court finds the wearing of bathing suits complained of comes within the scope of disorderly conduct or indecent exposure, the matter can thus be adjusted in court.

“It is my opinion that the members of the Police Department are not the best qualified to pass upon the sufficiency of ladies’ bathing suits, and therefore recommend that the sufficiency of said bathing suits be not tested in court until complaint is made in due form, by some of the women who are apprehensive of the consequences of ‘the wiles of the sea vamps.’

“Yours respectfully

“F. J. MACK.

“City Attorney.”

Backed up by the decision of the City Attorney, Mayor Pulver spread the disappointing news to the men of the town who had applied for the job of bathing suit inspector that there would be no such office created.

“Furthermore,” said Mayor Pulver, “I see no good reason for allowing the demand of the Purity League, even if it was within my power to appoint a censor for the bathing beach.

“I am not very familiar with water sports and, in fact, have seldom been on the beach here. But when I have been there I have never seen anything objectionable about the bathing suits worn by the girls of St. Petersburg, nor their behavior.

“It seems to me that we have as lovely girls here as can be found anywhere and just as modest maidens and I do not believe that they would wear insufficient clothing or vamp the males who go into the bay with them. I am strong for the girls. They can wear what they want to wear. They will do it anyhow, so what’s the use?

“The Purity League asked me to be its chairman but I declined and if there is anything done to require the bathers to wear stockings and long skirts and a lot of other clothing when they swim, the leaders of the League will have to take the cases into court.

“The human form is divine and judging from some of the bathers I have seen, a divinity shaped their ends for they certainly are well shaped.”

The young women who enjoy themselves on the bathing beach are indignant at the phrase “Sea Vamps,” which the Purity League has applied to them. They point out that the worthy women of the League, for the most part, belong to a generation which flourished before automobiles were invented or wireless telephones were used, or the “shimmy” had been discovered. They declare that those who complain of the bathing costumes of the girl of 1922 are out-of-date and ought to get into adjustment with modern times.

“Nowadays,” said, one of the “Sea Vamps,” “we do real hard athletic work in our water sports. Grandmother used to cover herself up from her toes to her chin and walk down and step timidly into the water and stand around for a while and then go out and call it sea bathing.

“Now things have changed. We go in for real athletic sports. We swim, dive, play water polo and all sorts of stunts and it can’t be done with skirts and pantalets and water-soaked bathing shoes. That is what the women of the League don’t seem to grasp.

“And another thing. Some of us come to Florida at the advice of our doctors to get all the sunshine we can get. The doctor advises a generous coat of tan. It’s healthy. And how are we going to get all browned up if we wear grandmother’s bathing suit?

“Of course things have changed. But that doesn’t mean that they have changed for the worst. There is nothing to get frightened about. When the taxicabs first began to appear on the streets some people were afraid to get into them. But we are all of us pretty well used to taxicabs now and nobody is shocked or frightened about them any more. The Purity League has got to get used to us girls wearing our brothers’ one-piece bathing suits just the same as they have had to get used to taxicabs.”

But the end is not yet. The Purity League feels that Mayor Pulver has evaded the issue. Miss Hazel Van Freedon, the secretary, believes if she was elected Mayor of St. Petersburg she would not dodge the issue, but would find a way to stop the vampish antics on the beach.

grandma's bathing suit purity league 1922

And another element has entered into the controversy. The Florida Art School, with Miss Edith Tabb Little at its head, has taken sides with the Mayor and declares there is nothing wrong with the one-piece bathing suit: it is cheap, shapely and artistic. The art school is chiefly horrified at. the threatening aspect of the return of grandmother’s style of bathing suit with skirts and pantalets visible beneath them. Upon esthetic grounds the art school is prepared to take the field and campaign against their sisters in the Purity League at the next election.

Meanwhile, as the Purity League announces, pressure is being brought to bear to put through a State law which will provide the authority which City Attorney Mack says the Mayor now lacks. After and when this law is passed by the Legislature the unfortunate Mayor of St. Petersburg will be forced out into the open for or against the frolicsome vamps of St. Petersburg’s famous beach.

The Washington [DC] Times 5 March 1922: p. 65

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Well. Quite.

The Purity League obviously had strong feelings on this issue, as did many communities, who hired “beach censors” to make sure that their standards of modesty were being upheld. A laudable goal, some would say. However, “The St Petersburg Purity League” was, in fact, fabricated by Mayor Pulver and publicist John Lodwick to promote interest in St Petersburg tourism. Papers ran photo-gravures of Pulver posed on the beach while pretending to inspect one-piece bathing suits. No doubt there was a gratifyingly large influx of visitors who wished to see for themselves the ravages of the frolicsome Sea Vamp.

Mrs Daffodil has posted about this issue before in A Matter of Three Inches on a Bathing Suit and Mixed Bathing and the Fall of Empire.

 

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.

 

 

How I Made My Husband Happy This Summer: 1912

 

how I made my husband happy

How I Made My Husband Happy This Summer

By MARION FAIRFAX (Mrs. [Tully] Marshall)

(Author and Playright [sic])

If you want to keep your husband happy in hot weather, give him those things to eat and drink that he likes, and that are good for him. You note the saving clause, “that are good for him.” If he like meats, let him have few of them and seldom, for however he clamors for them they are not good for him in hot weather. Don’t let him eat meat oftener than once a day, better two or three times a week. Meat heats the blood and fires the temper. If necessary for his welfare substitute for the things he likes the things that are good for him. But if you can combine them so much the better. You will have averted the day of wrath.

Husband will expect his alcoholic beverages in Summer as well as Winter, though he himself knows they add to the discomfort of hot weather. Wean him away from them by cooling drinks containing little or no alcohol. My husband I keep in good humor by serving on the veranda or in the dining room, according to our convenience, the following:

On a warm day this is delectable:

CUCUMBER LEMONADE.

Four lemons.

Four tablespoonfuls of sugar.

One cucumber.

Slice the cucumber lengthwise, keeping the rind on it. Rub these slices inside the pitcher, as an Italian cook rubs a dish with garlic before placing vegetables in it. Squeeze the juice of the lemons into the pitcher. Stir the sugar into the juice and pour in chilled, not ice, water to taste. The addition of the cucumber flavor adds distinctly to the deliciousness of the drink. If husband insists, add a dash of claret.

For a quaffing on a hot day this is incomparable.

Four lemons.

One pint of claret.

One teacupful sugar.

Mix the lemon juice and sugar as I before described. Add the claret and ice freely, and make strong or weak as desired.

mixing the mint julep

One of the most complete pictures of masculine good humor I ever saw was that of my father, a Southerner, making a mint julep. Perhaps you do not know that there are two schools of mint julep makers in the South, and that there are rival claims as fiercely contested as the seats of the 92 in the recent convention. One school contends that the mint should be spread over the top of the glass that the drinker may enjoy the full fragrance of the mint. The other school heatedly maintains that the mint should be crushed in the bottom of the glass, where it is mixed with the sugar and increases the pungent flavor of the drink, sacrificing the pleasures of the nose to those of the stomach. My father was an ardent follower of the crush school. He taught me to make the mint juleps in the way with which I regale Mr. Marshall, the one true way my father would say.

THE MINT JULEP.

One-half tumbler crushed ice.

One tablespoonful of sugar.

One large bunch of mint fresh from its bed

Crush the mint with the ice and sugar. Add the spirits to taste. Then fill the glass with the rest of the mint and ice.

I always keep a quantity of cold tea on hand in my Summer home. Cold tea is the best foundation for all the fruit punches. This can be easily prepared.

One large cup of mixed tea.

Juice of a large fresh lime.

One pound brown sugar.

One quart sherry.

Boil the lime juice and sugar together to form a syrup, flavoring them with a spoonful of any favorite preserves from your pantry. Remove from the stove. Pour in sherry and chopped ice.

If Mr. Marshall shows any warm weather testiness, he is quickly appeased by a pear salad.

PEAR SALAD.

I cut three large, ripe pears into narrow, lengthwise strips, sprinkle over them a dash of rum and serve with French dressing.

It is green corn time, and to me green corn is the backbone of the Summer edible season. Corn only has a really corny flavor if you have the water boiling on the stove when we go out to pull the ears. We bring them in and, leaving the husks on, shred the ear as well as we can of its silk tassels. The corn is thrust into the boiling water. The corn silk is spread over the top of the water. This keeps in the steam and none of the flavor of the corn is lost by evaporation. Literally it returns unto itself.

Two desserts are my husband’s summer favorites.

Into these I introduced fruit variants according to the season.

CHERRY PUDDING.

One egg.

One cup of milk.

Two cups of flour.

Two teaspoonfuls baking powder.

One cupful of cherries.

Beat the egg into the cup of milk. Mix with the flour the baking powder. Stir all these into a batter and add a pinch of salt. Stir in the cupful of cherries that have been pitted and well dredged with flour. This keeps them from sticking to the bottom of the pudding. Place it in a cooking mold and put into the fireless cooker with a hot dish above and below. Then go away to a picnic if you like. You can be gone for four hours and when you come home the pudding is done.

The St Louis [MO] Star and Times 1 September 1912: p. 20

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  While some readers may wish to try these receipts at home on their spouses, Mrs Daffodil will here issue a firm disclaimer that she takes no responsibility for ensuing injuries or divorces.

It is axiomatic, of course, that the husband must be kept in a constant state of good humour for the peace of the household and that it is the wife’s duty to ensure that he is happy.

[Brief pause for derisive laughter and/or outrage.]

It is true that some spouses (of both sexes) desire nothing more than the comfort and well-being of their opposite number. This policy, if voluntarily adopted, may lead to a happy and united home.

However, Mrs Daffodil is sceptical that the authoress really grasps her subject.  Not only does she treat her lord and master as a kind of “husband-baby*” who does not know what is good for him, she seems to have a positively archaic notion of diet and health: “Meat heats the blood and fires the temper” would seem not out of place in the scheme of Galenic medicine or at King Henry VIII’s court.  (Although it occurs to Mrs Daffodil that this capricious, meat-loving, claret-swilling husband has much in common with that irascible monarch.)

And, even as a working author, she is expected to serve up cooling drinks on the veranda in an immaculately pressed summer frock, as if she had done nothing else but pluck mint the entire day,  making soothing conversation to placate the over-heated husband, who only longs for a steak and a glass of something drinkable. In the illustration at the head of this article, he looks conspicuously inebriated. No doubt he insisted on extra claret.

Mrs Daffodil does not like to suggest that the authoress was writing a work of fiction, but a character in a novel who became wroth when denied meat and alcoholic stimulants, yet was easily appeased by a pear salad, would be declared by a majority of readers to be utterly implausible.  If, in fact, he was so appeased, either he had already had a substantial luncheon at his club, or a good deal of rum must have been surreptitiously applied to those pears, perhaps via a concealed flask.

Mrs Daffodil wonders how the author, one of the most distinguished playwrights in the United States and a woman who would a few years later start her own successful film production company, could write such perfect rot, but perhaps she was merely telling her audience what she thought they wanted to hear. Or the heat and the dash of claret may have gone to her head.

*The phrase is that of novelist Rosie M. Banks, a creation of P.G. Wodehouse.

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.