Category Archives: Summer Frolics

Summer Hats of Lavender and Heather: 1909

immortelle hat 1910

1909 straw hat with flower trim–possibly some heather. This hat belonged to Miss Heather Firbank. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O139721/hat-henry/

Summer Hats of Lavender and Heather.

But from across the Atlantic comes a real novelty, nothing more or less than hats woven from lavender stalks and twigs of Highland heather. Those familiar with English gardens know the lavender color shading to gray-green of the sterns of the sweet-scented lavender flower, arid no one who has seen the Scotch heather can forget its exquisite coloring. Some clever person evolved the idea of weaving these shrubs into hat shapes, so we now have hats made of the stems of lavender and of twined heather:

The lavender hats at first glance appear to be woven of rather coarse silvery straw, but on looking closer it is seen that the stalks of the lavender bush are woven in and out, forming the shape.

They are woven when the lavender is fresh picked and the stems pliable: afterward they are dried, when the stalks become hard and tough, not brittle. By some process the little bud-like flowers of the lavender are preserved, and these are used as trimming, sprays of them being poised in osprey form at one side. They have rather the effect of dried fancy grasses, and are most attractive. Pale lavender satin ribbon put around the crown in folds and tied in a smashing bow at one side, the lavender flowers pulled through the center loop, is a favorite trimming for these novel hats. Most fragrant these hats are, and need no sachet bags tucked into the crown to perfume them.

The hats made all of heather are quite as fascinating and more delicate in effect. The little mauve bells of the heather are used as trimming, the shape itself being covered with the brown mossy stems. Usually the model chosen for a heather hat is of fairly small size, with high crown and not too wide brim. Then a wreath of the heather blossoms is laid around the crown, or the crown itself is woven of sprigs of heather bearing the little flowers, and the trimming is of mauve-colored ribbon. If some of the rare white heather can be obtained to use in trimming it is considered particularly desirable, but it must be the real thing, picked on the moors, not grown in a conservatory, or no good luck will come of it.

St. Louis [MO] Globe-Democrat 20 June 1909: p. 54

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Lavender, in the Victorian language of flowers, symbolises “devotion,” although it may also signal “distrust,” based on a legend that the fatal asp was brought to Cleopatra in a basket of lavender.

White heather, of course, is considered a lucky talisman:

Happy is the married life of her who wears the white heather at her wedding…Every Highland knows that white heather brings rare good luck to the finer, and that the luck can be passed on to his friends….They say in the far north that when the sheep, hardy devourers of the tender stem of the heather, come across it in their grazing, they avoid harming it, and that the grouse have never been known to crush it with their wings…On great occasions the table of a Highland chieftain would be poor indeed without its sprig of white heather. When the heir-presumptive reaches man’s estate he wears it for luck, and it is considered the height of hospitality to present it to the stranger guest.

The Star [Saint Peter Port, Guernsey England] 28 July 1885: p. 4

Mrs Daffodil regrets that she has not been able to locate a contemporary photo-gravure of these fascinating objects. They sound quite delightful–save for one caveat: these fragrant hats will, inevitably, draw bees. A few sprigs of marigold, geranium, or basil tucked among the flowers should repel these useful, yet unsettling, insects.

 

 

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 anecdote

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.

Mrs Daffodil Takes a Holiday

the mermaids fan 1900

While she cannot go to the sea-side for a paddle, Mrs Daffodil will be taking a brief holiday. She wishes all of her readers health, safety, and sunshine.

 

 

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 Tired Housewife’s Plea to the Summer Visitors: 1886

lake view at Chautauqua 1891

THE SUMMER VISITORS.

AN IMPOSITION TO WHICH COUNTRY FOLKS ARE LIABLE FROM “FRIENDS.”

A TIRED HOUSEWIFE’S PLEA

A Moving Tale, Commended to the Attention of Thoughtless People.

Special Correspondence of The Times.

Chautauqua, N. Y., July 28.

“I tell you,” said a resident in the vicinity of Chautauqua Lake, “if you want to make study of human nature you should come to our house and spend the summer. You see, since this lake has come to be such a popular resort everybody is crazy to get here. If they have any relations or acquaintances living within a radius of ten miles from the lake they are pretty sure to pay them a visit. One young lady I know of makes it a point every year to visit her second cousins. By going from place to place she managed to spend the whole season in this way.

“Last summer, wishing to locate herself on the Chautauqua grounds, that she might better enjoy the advantages there offered, she borrowed the tent of one relative, beds and bedding of another and by boarding herself, with the help of frequent baskets of provisions gleaned from outside friends, managed to live very economically. One woman living in a Western city found by chance that she had some cousins–removed to the third and fourth degree–living in this locality. Securing the address of one of them, she wrote as follows:
“’I have just learned that I have relatives residing in the vicinity of the lake. I would like to visit them, in company with my two daughters, who have always had a great desire to see Chautauqua. Be kind enough to send me a list of their names by return mail.’

CROWDS OF THEM.

“Why, actually,” he continued, “we entertained people in our house last summer whom we had never seen or heard of before. One lady from Now York came here in company with an aunt of mine and tarried with us three weeks, during the Chautauqua season–that is, she took her meals and lodging here; the rest of the time she was on the lake or at Chautauqua. Well, they kept coming from July to September–my relatives, near and distant, and my wife’s acquaintances and old school friends, most of whom she had not met in years, till at length she gave up sick, literally worn out waiting upon her throng of guests. We thought perhaps they would leave then; but no, they hung on till the season closed. Of course we had no opportunity of attending the services ourselves, as our company takes our time and strength to our utmost limit. I do not know how many guests we shall have to entertain this season,” concluded the victim, with a deep-drawn, long-suffering sigh; “they have not sent in the annual list of names yet.”

“Do not your friends leave some pleasant reminder of their visit, with you?” inquired his sympathetic listener. “Well, yes,” he replied, with a bitter laugh; “one lady on her departure presented my wife with an old linen duster and another gave my daughter a pair of half-worn gloves, too shabby for her own use, with the remark that they would do for school gloves.”

“Don’t think we are inhospitable,” he added, with a dismal attempt at a smile. “We enjoy entertaining our friends when they come to see us, but we do not like to have our home turned into a boarding house every summer.”

ENJOYING THE COUNTRY.

Another resident of Chautauqua county, who lives near the lake shore, said the other day: “There seems to be a feeling prevalent among some of our city people that we who reside in the country are a very fortunate class of individuals, having nothing to do but enjoy the ‘odors of clover and new-mown hay,’ and swing in hammocks from dawn till dark. Presuming upon this idea they take it upon themselves to favor their country relatives with lengthy visits. and manage by going from place to place to pass the entire summer in this manner and thus save board bills at expensive watering places.

“If you are fortunate to live near a summer resort like Chautauqua Lake, for instance, your pleasant country home is flooded every season by uncles, aunts, cousins and chance acquaintances by the score, many of whom you have not met in years, and most of whom you never think of visiting, who come from their city homes on cheap excursion rates to live on your hospitality, without money and without price, during the hot months of July and August.

“These self-invited guests care little for your society. The main object of their visit is to enjoy the interesting services held on the Chautauqua grounds; and these, together with boating, driving and excursions on the lake, occupy their whole attention, while you are sweltering in the little kitchen, bending over the hot stove, preparing meals for their healthy appetites, thus forfeiting your whole summer’s recreation and pleasure.

PRIVILEGES OF THE HOSTESS.

“They seem to forget that you, too, would enjoy the morning ride or the jubilee concert. A lady visitor once said to us, as she swept into our kitchen one August morning, arrayed in the most, elegant of traveling costumes, all ready for a trip on the lake:

“‘What a fine view of the water you have from your kitchen window. I should think you would enjoy washing your dishes and watching the steamers pass and repass.’

Yes, we did enjoy it, with the temperature at ninety degrees in the shade, the natural heat of the little kitchen increased by the hot fire we were obliged to keep to provide for the hungry visitors who would flock around our dinner tables with appetites sharpened by a “lovely ride ” they had enjoyed on the lake. Truly, it is delightful to look on and listen to the praises of the excellent lecture, reading or concert they had listened to at Chautauqua that morning (probably the very entertainment you had selected from the programme as the one you wished most to attend), to feel that you have no part or lot in all these good things, save to provide for the inner man, to remain at home day after day and bake and brew tor the hungry multitude of friends (?) who will surely appear at meal time, unless, indeed, you have been “kind enough to put up a little lunch.”

If you live some distance from the boat-landing it is no small task to see that your guests are conveyed there dally, as they seem to expect. We have no street cars or such city conveniences to depend on, and if you chance to own one good old family horse, the light single carriage can carry but two or three at a time, thus necessitating several trips, which occupies considerable time.

We have no bakers to rely upon in case of unexpected company and we recollect one occasion when, instead of the family of four, we were surprised by a company, numbering eleven to spend the day with us. Had it not been for the kindness of a neighbor the poor housewife would have been compelled to bake on no small scale.

A poor, hard-working woman said to us not long ago:

“I had bought a season ticket on the boats this summer and intended to enjoy it, but I have just got word that my cousin, his wife and two children, including a peevish teething baby, are coming to spend the summer with me. They want to get away from the city, it is so sickly there.”

IN SELF-DEFENSE.

One family we know of, people In good circumstances, have, in sheer self-defense, taken to keeping boarders (although they would much prefer the privacy of their own family), as they were so overrun with summer visitors as to be obliged to deny themselves all privileges. One of their many guests was a woman, who half a century before had been for a brief time a playmate of the host’s, and therefore came uninvited and unexpected to demand hospitality on the score of old acquaintanceship.

We call to mind one minister’s wife, a frail little woman, whom we “ran in” to see one hot July morning and found her just tired out and sick. She told us she had been entertaining for the past two days a woman, a perfect stranger to her, who had come to visit her on the strength of having heard her husband preach once, some years ago. Instead of going to one of the many boarding houses which are plentifully scattered along the shores of our beautiful lake, our city friends, many of them, who chance in any way to have acquaintances living near the lake, inflict themselves upon them during the very season when leisure is most desirable to enjoy the rare privileges which come but once a year. The farmer’s wife, unlike her city sister, is deprived of the many concerts, lectures and other pleasant literary entertainments which form so pleasant a feature of a winter in the city.

We speak plainly, for we feel deeply on this subject. The above is not a fancy sketch, but is drawn from actual experience and is the voice of score of tired, overworked housewives on the shores of our lake. Do not think us inhospitable; we enjoy entertaining company who come to see us, not those who come merely as a matter of convenience and stop at our house as they would at any ordinary hotel (minus board bills). We all have friends, those near and dear to us, bound by the ties of long association and whom it is a pleasure and a delight to entertain; but we often find it impossible to do this on account of our self-invited guests, who occupy our time, tax our strength and try our patience, and when at length the season is over and the last carriage load of summer visitors disappears around the corner and we see a kindly wave of the hand or hear a cool “Come and see us when you can,” the overtaxed strength and strained nerves give way and a long sickness and a correspondingly heavy doctor’s bill winds up the season, then we are forced to believe that “Charity begins at home.”

We would simply ask that justice be done to farmers and their families, including country people generally.

L. M. C.

The Times [Philadelphia PA] 25 July 1886: p. 7

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil wonders why, if previous summer visits have rendered his wife sick from over-work, that resident in the vicinity of Chautauqua Lake does not locate his spine and tell those thoughtless visitors that the familial boarding house is no longer open for business. She understands that one does not wish to alienate near relations, but surely a tactful plea to be excused on the grounds of an unsafe well or a typhoid outbreak would have some effect, even on the most insensitive. One might need to resort to actually poisoning the breakfasts of the more obtuse guests to drive home the point, but doing so, as long as no actual fatalities occur, will guarantee the unhappy householder visitor-free summers for many years to come.

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 anecdote

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 Dear Old Bear: 1896

 

THE DEAR OLD BEAR

He Was Not Polished Nor Fashionable, But He Was Clear Grit and Loveable.

From the Detroit Free Press.

They were a pair to attract attention as they walked into the great vaulted dining room, of the hotel and were seated at the same table with several others. He was a massive man with fine face, curling gray hair and an air of thorough self-reliance. She suggested his reproduction in the finer molds of womanhood, tall, graceful, without a shade of embarrassment and wonderfully beautiful. He looked as if he would feel easier in the uniform of a soldier or the negligee attire of a ranchman. She added an indescribable charm to her elegant clothes.

They had been eating but a little time when she touched his shoulder and he inclined his ear to catch some whispered words.

“That’s right,” he said, without any effort at concealment, “keep prompting me and I’ll acquire civilized methods in time. I had no idea I was eating with my knife.”

At this the handsome giant would have stopped, but two silly creatures opposite set up a laugh without any mirth in it, and he calmly proceeded while the daughter completely ignored all others:

“You know, Jude,” he said, “I never had much time to fool away with trifles. Fortune so favors some people that they have nothing else to do. But you understand what I have done, Jude, looking first after mother and then seeing that the little one she left me would have to ask no odds of the world.”

“Don’t discuss it here, dear.”

“But I will. If I have offended I will explain. I have eaten with a two-edged bowie knife in the saddle. I have squatted behind a dead horse with the bullets whistling around me, and eaten with a bayonet. I have seen times when I would have given all I was worth even for the privilege of eating with my fingers. But, Jude, while they say when I’m gone that I occasionally forgot and was guilty of using a knife instead of a fork, they can never say that I did a dishonorable act, deserted a friend or that any man would be quicker to jump between his daughter and any trouble that might threaten her.”

The polished old gentleman from the head of the table came around and shook hands. The elderly ladies introduced themselves. Now Jude is so absolutely the reigning belle at that resort that envy does not touch her, and he is “the dear old. bear worth a million” to the ladies, while all the men of business seek the benefit of his judgment.

The Times [Philadelphia PA] 9 August 1896: p. 28

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil wishes all of her readers who are doting Papas, a very happy Father’s Day.

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 anecdote

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.

Gowns That Copy Flowers: 1901

 

les fleurs animees daisy 1847

The Daisies, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

GOWNS LIKE FLOWERS

Summer Girl’s Latest Fad Is to Copy Nature’s Blossoms

Flower gowns are the fad of this year’s summer girl. She is now busy collecting the gowns for the various resorts where she will be an enchanting figure, and as she may copy every flower that blows, provided the color combination is becoming, there is scarcely a limit to her ingenuity and gowns except the size of her purse. The idea is poetical enough to satisfy even the most romantic of maidens, and the, result may be achieved at small cost, particularly if the maiden be deft of finger. One of the simplest and prettiest of these frocks is the daisy gown. It is made, of sheer white goods, with a touch of yellow either, as a girdle, a knot at the throat, or, what is even more consistent, a single large chou on the front of the corsage. A violet gown copies the hue of this favorite flower and has a touch of green, while the orchid frock shows an artistic blending of purple and lilac, with a little dash of yellow.

les fleurs animee capuchine nasturtium

Nasturtium / Capuchine from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

The girl who is fond of red and has a weakness for daring combinations will not omit a nasturtium gown from her wardrobe. This is exceedingly Frenchy when well done, but takes the eye of an artist to gain the proper effect, for reds are treacherous colors and are apt to swear very loudly at each other if the greatest care is not used in their selection.

In this particular instance as many as four shades of red are introduced, ranging from a pink to a deep raspberry, and while almost all of the other flower frocks are most effective when made of thin goods that belong to the “wash” family, the nasturtium gown, to be really stunning, should be of some soft wool goods, or of silk, panne velvet or satin.

les fleurs animees bluet and poppy 1847

Cornflower and Poppy, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

Another charming thing in red follows the fashion set by the poppy, and is a vivid crimson, relieved with a bit of black. For a dainty little blonde there is nothing more charming than a forget-me-not gown of pale blue with a belt of soft yellow, while if a deeper blue is desired the cornflower may be copied.

The girl who likes pink catches her note from the carnation and appears in a pretty little pink affair relieved with a bit of green, while the dashing brunette who dares to don yellow has the daffodil as a model.

les fleurs animees pansy 1847

Pansy, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

One great charm of these novel frocks is their fluffiness and daintiness. They must be as fresh and pleasing in color as their flower prototypes, and while they may have all the ruffles, tucks, lace and hand work that distinguish this season’s gowns, they must not be too elaborate or gaudy. As a finishing touch, after each gown is completed it is laid away in a sachet of the flower it represents, so that if the observer is too dull to catch its meaning it tells the secret in its perfume as well as by its coloring. Orris root is used as the fragrance for the daisy gown.

The Minneapolis [MN] Journal 29 June 1901: p. 20

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil often wonders if the novelties described in the fashion papers were meticulously copied by assiduous readers, or if they were merely aspirational. It is one thing to create a fanciful flower frock, but laying away each gown with a matching flower-scented sachet is a nicety usually only found in the sort of “Frenchy” novels written by Elinor Glyn, rather than at resorts frequented by poetical-minded Summer Girls.

One might carry the floral theme a bit further by hosting A Violet Luncheon and urging guests to dress as that flower. If one was more earthly in temperament, one might hold a Vegetable Fancy Dress party. For the floral fanatic, there were various Floral Fetes, combining fashion and flower-bedecked motor-cars. Mrs Daffodil also wonders if a cactus costume was ever created, to keep the summer-resort fortune-hunters at bay?

les fleurs animee cactus

Cactus, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

 

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 anecdote

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.

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.