Category Archives: History 1910-1930

The Lady in Black: c. 1911

la veuve widow anderson zorn 1883

La veuve, Anders Zorn

The Lady in Black

It was several years previous to the great war. I and my son were redecorating part of the inside of a six-roomed villa, on the outskirts of the town of B__. It had been previously tenanted by a widowed lady and her daughter. The daughter died—the lady sold everything, and gave up possession, and went away to America, so I was told, about two or three weeks before we began work. One day we were just starting work after the dinner hour when a knock came to the front door. The door was opened by a tall lady dressed in very deep black; a thick crepe veil covered her face. In a distinct voice—with a sob in it—she said to me, “Excuse me, but may I go up into the room where my dear daughter died?”

“Yes, madam, certainly,” I said. Without another word she turned to the staircase and walked up as any ordinary person would, and, on the landing, turned to the right, entered a bedroom and shut the door. I furtively watched her by going half up the stairs, saw her enter the room, and heard the door shut. We went on with our work—I at the foot of the main staircase in the front part of the little hall, my son about ten or twelve feet away at the back of the hall. We talked of the strangeness of the affair as we thought she was in America. We could hear her walking about the room, and wondered what she could be doing. She had been there three-quarters of an hour when the moving about ceased, and there was perfect quiet. And so another quarter of an hour passed and we began to get uneasy. We were just contemplating whether we should go and see if all was well when, suddenly, there was a thud as if a heavy body had fallen on the floor. We looked at one another for a second or two; my son turned pale, and I said, “She’s fainted—or perhaps it’s a case for the coroner.” We both together hurried up to the room. We listened—no sound. I spoke—no answer. Then I rapped on the door panel—no answer. Cautiously I turned the door knob and peeped in, but saw nothing. Both of us entered—the room was quite empty.

There were two windows—but neither had been opened and both the sashes were fastened. We went into all  the other rooms and hunted every corner, but found nothing. It made such an impression on us that we were very glad when the work was finished and we got away. The house became uncanny to us. We often have spoken about it since, but have never heard of the “Lady in Black,” as my son calls her. He can substantiate all I have said; it’s just a simple account of what happened and perfectly true in every detail, as God is my witness. But what I, or we, would like to know is—was it a real woman or a wraith—or what? Also, how did she leave that room? Certainly not by the windows—nor door—nor staircase.

Uncanny Stories Told by “Daily News” Readers, S. Louis Giraud, 1927: p. 55-6

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: A strange story. One wonders if, years later, when the villa was demolished, the skeleton of a woman, shrouded in the tatters of a black veil, was found beneath the floorboards.

Mrs Daffodil has also written about the Woman in Black (and her opposite number, the White Lady) as a Royal omen of death.

That subfusc person over at Haunted Ohio has frequently written about the terrifying Women in Black–are they mourners? are they malefactors prowling about in the dark? Or are they ghosts?

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.

 

 

Beads of Cherished Flowers: 1914

flower beads

Beads made of red roses. You will find complete instructions on how to make these beads at this link: https://feltmagnet.com/crafts/rose-beads

Beads Made of Fondly Cherished Memories the Latest Fad

New York, May 9.

That precious first bunch of violets and the wedding bouquet that followed it need no longer be thrown away. Not that it ever was of course. But it need no longer moulder between the leaves of the biggest wedding present book.

A little New York art student has discovered a process by which she can turn the flowers into beads. They retain their color and most of their fragrance. And they will never wear out, for they are as hard as china.

“I began experimenting during my Christmas vacation,” says Miss Louise Wood, the inventor who lives in Cranford, N. J., and attends the Cooper Union classes in design. “I had read about the orange blossoms in California but they came out black. So I began to experiment to find a substance that would harden the flowers and give them body without spoiling their color. My mother helped me and at last we found a sparkling substance that could be boiled up with the flowers, and turned them into a mass of dough. I worked this upon a bread board, kneading it like the most careful housekeeper. Then I moulded the beads in the palm of my hand, some round and some pear-shaped. They were baked on pins to make them hard and give the opening to string them.

“I combined them with real beads, crystal of the same shade as the flower beads, to heighten the artistic effect. Sometimes I used contrasting colors. It was hard to get the flowers during the winter, but I found that faded ones would do just as well, so I made arrangements with the greenhouse at home to take theirs at wholesale.

“A month ago came my first commission A little neighbor won a prize in an oratorical contest and her mother sent over the bunch of salmon pink carnations she had carried to have them turned into beads. They came out the loveliest rose pink and the child was delighted with them. She can show them to her grandchildren They were like this.”

Sighs for White Beads.

She picked up a lovely string combined with pink and cut glass beadlets, with all the fragrance of the flowers. It is amusing to identify the strings lying on their white cotton beds in their little square boxes. The purple ones were violets of course. But what were these dark red pear-shaped ones strung with silver that look as if they were made to match the new mahogany gowns? Carnations–the kind Galsworthy talks about in the “Dark Flower.” And the grays that look as if they were meant for some dear old lady? French lilacs. Lilies of the valley are corn colored.

“We haven’t been able to make a white bead,” sighs the experimenter. “I’m sorry because wedding bouquets are almost always lilies of the valley–and a wedding necklace should be white! But the chemicals give them this cream tint. I think they are pretty, though, with the little gold beads. And I am making some hand-painted boxes that will be dainty enough for any bride. I have asked Miss Wilson for a spray of her bouquet so that I can make her some beads. I won’t need it all, so the lucky bridesmaid who catches it can keep most of it. But I should love to do it for Miss Wilson, for she was an art student, too.

“What are those green beads? Ferns. Some of them came with the flowers one day and I tried them. The maidenhair makes those soft green ones and the real ferns the bright ones. I use only the tip ends of the fronds. The dark purple beads are made of heliotrope and the mottled ones are pink and white sweet peas. Of course I have to work them up together in my hands like marble cake–but it gives the effect, don’t you think so? The saffron beads are jonquils.

“I’m sorry the suffrage flowers don’t come out a bright yellow.

“I can hardly wait for summer to bring the roses. I am so anxious to work with them. They are so expensive and in such demand that I haven’t been able to get hold of many. I had a few American beauties once and they made the loveliest beads–almost the same color. I strung them with black beads and they were bought at once.

“Could I make beads of mistletoe? If there were enough of it, though I am afraid they would come out gray. But holly ought to be lovely, the red and green beads together. Oh, I try everything. Mother does, too. She makes the beads when I am not at home.”

Mrs Wood who looks hardly older than her daughter, smiled brightly. “I used to try to write,” she said, but my typewriter is getting a long rest. I believe in doing the thing that comes to your hand. And every time I make a bead I think it is another coin toward Louise’s going abroad. She must if she is to be a successful designer.

The “Weezy-Wizy” Beads.

“We call them the ‘Weezy-Wizy’ beads from a childhood nickname of hers–her name is Louise Eliza. We had to have a name to patent, so we took that.

“It’s rather hard work, for every single bead has to be separately and carefully molded, and baked in a very hot oven. At first I had a queer feeling that it was Saturday all the week. But now I think more about the romance of it. I try to picture the bride who wore the lilies I am working over. I wonder what her dress was made of, and how her veil was arranged. And I am, oh, so careful not to mix in a single petal of some other bouquet.

“One little bride sent me not only her wedding bouquet, but a sample of her gray traveling suit for me to match. It was a blueish-gray, and I mixed French and purple lilacs, and got it exactly. I strung it with tiny black beads, so that it came down below her waist. We make them any length, of course.

“It’s fun to wonder what the postman will bring me every day, and to turn the faded flowers into bright new beads that will never fade. It’s like quickening a cooling love. But the flowers must be only faded, not dried. I can’t make over dead sentiment. That would take Cupid himself!

The Washington [DC] Post 10 May 1914: p. 6

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  One can still find instructions on how to make flower beads, such as at this site.

There was loudly-voiced scepticism over commercially produced floral beads, with many persons suggesting that actual flowers would discolour and that, to be attractive, beads must be made with added colour, corn-starch filler, and fragrance. This description of flower-bead necklaces given as party favours is candid about the materials used:

At his annual lawn party given by Mr John Lewis Childs to the little girls of Floral Park, three hundred guests. received a favour of “a necklace of beads, made of flowers grown on Mr. Childs’ grounds in California, including orange blossoms, roses and violets. Some of the beads are natural color, others colored with ground mineral, such as turquoise and malachite. In most cases the beads retain the fragrance of the flowers.”

Times Union [Brooklyn NY] 16 July 1915: p. 7

 

 

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 Corset Bag: 1902-1926

What do you do with your corsets when you remove them at night? Oh-o-o-o-, I mean girdle, or whatever you wear to hold up your stockings—for no CHIC woman wears ‘em rolled today!

Well, if you are a very NICE little lady, you put them into a scented corset bag that hangs on the closet wall.

‘N if you ever have one, you will never again be able to bear seeing your girdle lying on a chair! So why not give a lovely corset bag to your girl friend? They may be made so easily, you know. But don’t do what we did, and keep it yourself after it is made, just because you like it so well!

corset bag pattern 1926

EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE ‘EM.

Notice the three top figures in the illustration: they show the way to make this corset bag. Purchase ribbon about 12 inches wide for the outer cover, another length of ribbon of a contrasting color for the lining, and a length of sheet wadding cotton that is about 14 inches wide.

Now make a “sandwich” of the outer covering, the cotton and the lining! Sprinkle the cotton lavishly with sachet, then baste the three pieces together. Now fold them up like Figure A, with the raw edges out, of course. Next bind them like Figure B, leaving loops at either side to hang the bag with. Figure C is the corset bag finished, with the same ribbon you use for the binding appliqued in a circle, and other applique or embroidery in its center. This bag should be about 25 inches long.

Nashville [TN] Banner 19 December 1926: p. 1

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has been asked, “Why a corset bag? What is the necessity?”  This 1912 squib answers that question nicely:

Corset Bags for Christmas.

This holiday season many women are making corset bags as gifts, and the idea seems a very practical one. The pasteboard box in which the corset is sent home is always a clumsy affair to keep in a dresser drawer, yet one does not like to toss a handsome new satin corset into a drawer filled with other articles. The corset bag is a long, narrow case made of linen or silk, and in it the rolled up corset may be kept when not in use. Every corset should be tightly rolled when taken off, since this keeps it in better shape, and the corset bag will hold the rolled up corset firmly. Some of these bags are of heavy linen embroidered with dots in Dutch blue, old rose or some other pretty color. Evening Star [Washington DC] 8 December 1912: p. 74

The term “corset bag” seems to have made its first appearance beginning in about 1902. Prior to this sellers of corsets often furnished long, narrow boxes to contain the rolled corset. They would have seemed drab compared to the pretty articles described in the papers. And, to be fair, pasteboard is not the optimal material for storing textiles.

black satin corset bag

Embroidered black satin corset bag, beautifully finished and lined. https://www.etsy.com/il-en/listing/675829325/victorian-corset-bag-edwardian-lingerie

Speaking of underwear, there are the most exquisite bags into which to put one’s corsets in traveling, or one may have a bag for every pair if they are all best, and some fortunate women revel in the finest of the dainty things. One of the corset bags is of white silk, with a large cluster of lilies of the valley with their green leaves hand-painted on it. The bag is long and narrow, and is gathered with a silk cord or ribbon at the top.

The New York [NY] Times 25 March 1902: p. 7

The corset bag has become a part of one’s underwear. It isn’t really to wear, but all who wear corsets should know about it. This is a long, narrow bag of silk or muslin; it should be four inches longer than the corset and of exactly the same color. It is furnished inside with little scent bags suspended from narrow ribbons Into this bag the corset is put at night and the string is drawn up. This serves the double purpose of protecting the corset and perfuming it. More than that, it hides the corset, and in case it is laid away, one can tell at a glance the color of the corset that is inside.

Nashville [TN] Banner 25 October 1902: p. 13

 

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.

That Paris Look: 1924

That Paris Look.

Chicago Dally News:

“I have just seen Mrs. Janes,” said Mrs. Simmons’ niece as she sank wearily into a chair. “She had a new dress on. I don’t think I’d like it a bit if people copied my clothes.”

“You are not very clear in your remarks,” laughed Mrs. Simmons. “But you remind me of an incident in my girlhood that was almost a tragedy. There was a dress I designed all by myself. It was a mighty pretty girlish gown. I wore it to some entertainment at school and when the girls admired it I told them I had designed it myself and I thought it was the prettiest dress in the world.”

“I’m sure it was lovely,” said her niece.

“Three weeks after I first appeared in it,” Mrs. Simmons continued, “one of the girls whom I liked least came to me with a sort of triumphant manner and said she thought I had been boasting that my brown dress was my own design and therefore the only one of its kind. I defended my statement and she finally believed me, but told me that she had seen a white-haired woman wearing a dress of the same style. I was heartbroken and tried to think she was mistaken, but when I asked our dressmaker about it she said the woman had seen my dress and had come in and offered her such a good price to make one like it that she had done so, hoping I would never know about it.”

“Oh, the poor child!” cried her niece. “I was just wondering about whether I’d better tell what Mrs. Janes said. But I don’t know that you would mind after all.”

“Mrs. Janes is a very pleasant woman,” declared Mrs. Simmons.

“It wasn’t much,” said her niece. “She had on a new dress and she very evidently expected me to notice it, so I obligingly admired it. It was really very pretty, so I could do so truthfully, but Mrs. Janes said it did not compare with one her sister had just had made. She said that her sister had met you somewhere or other in a lovely dress that she liked extremely. She said it was one of the dresses you got in Paris last summer and was therefore just at the height of style here now, so she had her dressmaker copy it from her description.”

“That is very flattering,” said Mrs. Simmons dubiously. “It Is nice to have people like your things but I’d a little rather they didn’t copy my Paris dresses. I don’t remember where I wore that gown that Mrs. Janes saw it. Did she describe it at all?”

“She said it is dark blue with a line of red near the neck, and it has some kind of drape on the hips. She says her sister copied it exactly and is telling everybody it is a model by somebody or other in Paris. Mrs. Janes always adds that it is a copy of the model, and her sister tells people that now and makes it sound as if it were really a better thing than the original gown.”

“I never said my dresses were anybody’s model,” protested Mrs. Simmons. “Some woman at the boarding house over there told me about an inexpensive dressmaker, and I went to her to have these two dresses made, that is all. They aren’t anything much, I just wanted to get something there. But I can’t think where either of those two women saw that dress, for I have worn it only twice, and to places where they don’t go. I’ve been saving them, as I said, to use this spring.”

“Mrs. Janes said she saw it when you had it on at a meeting of the guild,” said her niece. “But her sister saw it before that and asked her to notice particularly how the sleeves were made when she saw you next, as she had forgotten them when, she saw you at Mrs. Dunbar’s mah jong party.”

“But I didn’t wear that Paris dress to Mrs. Dunbar’s. Let me think—oh yes, I did wear that blue dress with red pipings. Well, well, so Mrs. Janes’ sister copied it did she?”

“Yes, she did!” cried her niece. “And I should think you’d be awfully sore at her for it, too—your new Paris gown!”

“Oh, no, I don’t mind a bit,” chuckled Mrs. Simmons. “You see, I gave that dress to the janitor’s wife only yesterday.”

“You didn’t! And you have worn it only twice'”

“Oh, I have worn it a great deal. I had made it over three months ago from an old thing I got just before the war and I hoped it would last, but I am getting too plump for it, not to say, fat. That dress never even heard of Paris! I wonder If I haven’t some more old clothes with the Paris look?”

The Nebraska State Journal [Lincoln NE] 23 March 1924: p. 31

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: We have read in “The Lightning Adaptors of Fashion,” how Miss Billie Burke copyrighted her stage dresses so that they would not be copied. And the shockingly brazen methods of the copyists of French couture designs were exposed in “Fashion Pirates.” The practice was not confined to professionals as we see in the confessions in ‘Things I Steal,” and “The Very Worst Thing.”

Copying was, to many ladies, a harmless practice, particularly if they did not think too long or hard about the ethics of the thing. Yet there was a danger in adopting French fashions—one which was rarely mentioned in the press:

A bit of warning advice may be inserted here for the American woman shopper who believes that all French styles must needs be extreme. The absolutely sensational things now and then launched by the French dressmakers are nothing but advertisements, and they are never worn by French ladies, only by the conspicuous beauties of doubtful reputation, who are hired to display the novelties at some public function like the spring races at Auteuil or Longchamps. While it may be a temptation to copy a startling hat or gown, it is really the part of wisdom to select the quieter modes, which are just as artistic and more appropriate and which lead to no embarrassing ambiguity as to the social classification of a good-looking well-dressed American woman.

The French woman of accepted position is the model for the American woman to follow in copying French fashions. All American women intend to do this, but the majority of them make bad mistakes and innocently do themselves harm. But it is almost impossible to make the American woman realize this.

Pittsburgh [PA] Daily Post 5 July 1912: p. 8  

For what shall it profit a lady, if she shall gain an entire French wardrobe, and be mistaken for a conspicuous beauty of doubtful reputation?

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 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.

That Paris Look: 1924

That Paris Look.

Chicago Dally News:

“I have just seen Mrs. Janes,” said Mrs. Simmons’ niece as she sank wearily into a chair. “She had a new dress on. I don’t think I’d like it a bit if people copied my clothes.”

“You are not very clear in your remarks,” laughed Mrs. Simmons. “But you remind me of an incident in my girlhood that was almost a tragedy. There was a dress I designed all by myself. It was a mighty pretty girlish gown. I wore it to some entertainment at school and when the girls admired it I told them I had designed it myself and I thought it was the prettiest dress in the world.”

“I’m sure it was lovely,” said her niece.

“Three weeks after I first appeared in it,” Mrs. Simmons continued, “one of the girls whom I liked least came to me with a sort of triumphant manner and said she thought I had been boasting that my brown dress was my own design and therefore the only one of its kind. I defended my statement and she finally believed me, but told me that she had seen a white-haired woman wearing a dress of the same style. I was heartbroken and tried to think she was mistaken, but when I asked our dressmaker about it she said the woman had seen my dress and had come in and offered her such a good price to make one like it that she had done so, hoping I would never know about it.”

“Oh, the poor child!” cried her niece. “I was just wondering about whether I’d better tell what Mrs. Janes said. But I don’t know that you would mind after all.”

“Mrs. Janes is a very pleasant woman,” declared Mrs. Simmons.

“It wasn’t much,” said her niece. “She had on a new dress and she very evidently expected me to notice it, so I obligingly admired it. It was really very pretty, so I could do so truthfully, but Mrs. Janes said it did not compare with one her sister had just had made. She said that her sister had met you somewhere or other in a lovely dress that she liked extremely. She said it was one of the dresses you got in Paris last summer and was therefore just at the height of style here now, so she had her dressmaker copy it from her description.”

“That is very flattering,” said Mrs. Simmons dubiously. “It Is nice to have people like your things but I’d a little rather they didn’t copy my Paris dresses. I don’t remember where I wore that gown that Mrs. Janes saw it. Did she describe it at all?”

“She said it is dark blue with a line of red near the neck, and it has some kind of drape on the hips. She says her sister copied it exactly and is telling everybody it is a model by somebody or other in Paris. Mrs. Janes always adds that it is a copy of the model, and her sister tells people that now and makes it sound as if it were really a better thing than the original gown.”

“I never said my dresses were anybody’s model,” protested Mrs. Simmons. “Some woman at the boarding house over there told me about an inexpensive dressmaker, and I went to her to have these two dresses made, that is all. They aren’t anything much, I just wanted to get something there. But I can’t think where either of those two women saw that dress, for I have worn it only twice, and to places where they don’t go. I’ve been saving them, as I said, to use this spring.”

“Mrs. Janes said she saw it when you had it on at a meeting of the guild,” said her niece. “But her sister saw it before that and asked her to notice particularly how the sleeves were made when she saw you next, as she had forgotten them when, she saw you at Mrs. Dunbar’s mah jong party.”

“But I didn’t wear that Paris dress to Mrs. Dunbar’s. Let me think—oh yes, I did wear that blue dress with red pipings. Well, well, so Mrs. Janes’ sister copied it did she?”

“Yes, she did!” cried her niece. “And I should think you’d be awfully sore at her for it, too—your new Paris gown!”

“Oh, no, I don’t mind a bit,” chuckled Mrs. Simmons. “You see, I gave that dress to the janitor’s wife only yesterday.”

“You didn’t! And you have worn it only twice'”

“Oh, I have worn it a great deal. I had made it over three months ago from an old thing I got just before the war and I hoped it would last, but I am getting too plump for it, not to say, fat. That dress never even heard of Paris! I wonder If I haven’t some more old clothes with the Paris look?”

The Nebraska State Journal [Lincoln NE] 23 March 1924: p. 31

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: We have read in “The Lightning Adaptors of Fashion,” how Miss Billie Burke copyrighted her stage dresses so that they would not be copied. And the shockingly brazen methods of the copyists of French couture designs were exposed in “Fashion Pirates.” The practice was not confined to professionals as we see in the confessions in ‘Things I Steal,” and “The Very Worst Thing.”

Copying was, to many ladies, a harmless practice, particularly if they did not think too long or hard about the ethics of the thing. Yet there was a danger in adopting French fashions—one which was rarely mentioned in the press:

A bit of warning advice may be inserted here for the American woman shopper who believes that all French styles must needs be extreme. The absolutely sensational things now and then launched by the French dressmakers are nothing but advertisements, and they are never worn by French ladies, only by the conspicuous beauties of doubtful reputation, who are hired to display the novelties at some public function like the spring races at Auteuil or Longchamps. While it may be a temptation to copy a startling hat or gown, it is really the part of wisdom to select the quieter modes, which are just as artistic and more appropriate and which lead to no embarrassing ambiguity as to the social classification of a good-looking well-dressed American woman.

The French woman of accepted position is the model for the American woman to follow in copying French fashions. All American women intend to do this, but the majority of them make bad mistakes and innocently do themselves harm. But it is almost impossible to make the American woman realize this.

Pittsburgh [PA] Daily Post 5 July 1912: p. 8  

For what shall it profit a lady, if she shall gain an entire French wardrobe, and be mistaken for a conspicuous beauty of doubtful reputation?

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 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 Modern Mother: 1928

 

the modern flapper mother The Decatur Review 18 March 1928

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil wishes her readers who celebrate it a very happy, and perhaps less strenuous, Mothering Sunday.

Although the clarity of the cartoon is not of the best, this was one of Ethel Hays’s spritely cartoons, from 1928.  She was widely known for her “Flapper Fanny” cartoons and her book illustrations.

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.

Leap Year Valentine: 1920

leap year thoughts I'll get you yet valentine

Leap Year Valentine

My dear young man: I want to state

I know your measurements and gait

And you’re no mental heavyweight,

Nor are you apt to jar the state,

But what of that? I don’t desire

A man to set the seas on fire.

He, whom the very gods admire

Is apt to blow up like a tire.

 

I want a man who earns enough

to keep the kids in shoes and stuff,

So we can make a decent bluff

At being somewhat up to snuff,

But I don’t want a man so bent

On profiteering and per cent

That all his days and nights are spent

Upon that one accomplishment.

 

I want a man whose form and face

Proclaim him of the human race,

But not of such transcendent grace

He aims to take Apollo’s place,

For it is my judicial view

Most men are steadfast, strong and true

As they’re unattractive. You,

In this respect, I think will do.

 

So if you’d like a wedding trip

By motor, trolley, train or ship,

With me along, well here’s my tip:

Don’t let your present chances slip.

If you agree to this just sign

The contract on the dotted line

And take me while the taking’s fine.

Your loving, leap-year

VALENTINE.

Bisbee [AZ] Daily Review 15 February 1920: p. 4

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: It appears that the narrator has exceedingly low standards for a mate–and expects that the chosen candidate will fail to achieve even those modest requirements. Mrs Daffodil wishes her joy.

In this Leap Year when, traditionally, the ladies may propose to the Beloved, Mrs Daffodil also wishes her readers the happiness of loving and being loved on this Valentine’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.

Love in an Election Year: 1899, 1918

It Was a Leap Year Valentine

The most original conceit of the season in the shape of a valentine came to a handsome Philadelphia beau on February 14, from a young woman, who evidently looks upon every year as a leap year. The valentine was in the form of an official blanket ballot, and the different party columns were headed “love ticket,” “friendship ticket,” “Independent ticket,” and “marble-heart ticket.” The young woman voted her ticket, in the first column, straight, and the recipient of the valentine declares he will acknowledge his election as soon as his salary has grown enough to permit of such rashness.

The ticket she voted for follows:

valentine's ballot

Oregonian [Portland OR] 1 March 1899: p. 5

An odd valentine was that sent two years ago by Francis Evelin of Chicago to Sarah Collins of Toledo. I. Everlin had asked the latter to marry him on numerous occasions; but the young woman had always asked him to refrain from regarding her otherwise than “a sister.” Everlin had no such intention, however, and, biding his time till Valentine’s day, sent her a valentine made up to resemble a ballot, such as is used in municipal elections. At the top of the ballot was a pen and ink picture of a house, and beneath appeared Everlin’s name opposite all the offices to be voted for, viz., rentpayer, bundle carrier, loving husband, and so on. A slip was appended asking the voter to vote the straight ticket. Whether it was the humor of it or something else is unknown; but the fact remains that Miss Collins put the matrimonial X under the house.

Tombstone [AZ] Epitaph 10 February 1918: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil understands that 2020 is both an election year in the United States and Leap Year the world over. If those ladies eager to be married will be guided by Mrs Daffodil, she suggests that a working knowledge of parliamentary procedure is always useful in affaires de cœur. 

It is generally supposed that the idea of young girls proposing marriage in leap-year is a pleasant little fiction of the humorist; but there is evidence that sometimes the fair sex does avail itself of its quadrennial privilege. An anecdote told in England of a member of the House of Commons is a case in point. According to the raconteur who is responsible for the story, the commoner had been paying attention to a young lady for a long while, and had taken her to attend the House until she was perfectly posted in its rules. On the last day of the session, as they came out, he brought her a bouquet, saying,

“May I offer you my handful of flowers?”

She promptly replied, “I move to amend by omitting all after the word hand.”

He blushingly accepted the amendment, and they adopted it unanimously.

Northern Christian Advocate [Syracuse NY] 16 August 1893: p. 7

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.

 

Rings that are Fatal: Various Dates

RINGS THAT ARE FATAL.

Amazing Stories New and Old.

“A learned German physician,” says a well-known writer upon jewels, “has given an instance in which the devil of his own accord enclosed himself in a ring as a familiar, thereby proving how dangerous it is to trifle with him.”

The Germans are all learned, as we know, and I should not like to dispute a statement so admirable. Finger-rings henceforth should have a new interest for as. The idea that the devil is bottled up in one may not be pleasant to entertain but then we have the German’s word for it, and Germans know everything.

If I do not feel inclined, however, to enter upon such a controversy, as is here suggested, none the less do I, as a jeweller, realise the potency of the superstitions connected with precious stones. Until the last two years, the opal— most beautiful, most lustrous, most wonderful of gems was almost a drug in the popular market. As well might you have sent a woman a letter edged with black to congratulate her upon her marriage as an opal for her wedding present. The prejudice arose, of course, from the old superstition that the opal is fatal to love, and that it sows discord between the giver and the receiver unless the wearer, happily, was born in October. In the latter case the stone becomes an emblem of hope and will bring luck to the wearer.

But, I hear you ask, is all this serious? Are you not rather joking, or speaking of the few and not of the many? I answer that I am as serious as ever I was in my life. Not only did we find it almost an impossibility five years ago to sell an opal at all, but the few women courageous enough to wear them in society contributed in the end to their unpopularity. I remember well a leader of fashion who for 12 months was conspicuous everywhere for the magnificence of the opals she wore, both upon her arms and her fingers. One day she came into my shop and bought an opal ring of immense size and singular magnificence.

“I am determined to kill this superstition,” she said, “and I am buying this ring because I am sure it will bring me luck.”

“I hope it will,” said I, “and if it should do so I trust that you will speak of it. The opal is sadly in need of a good word. I feel sure that nobody can speak that word to greater advantage than yourself.”

She promised that she would; and during the next three months she was loud in her conviction that the opal had been the best friend she had ever bought. Her husband doubled his fortune in that time. Her son obtained conspicuous honours at Cambridge. She backed the favourite for the Derby and he won. It really looked, even to the man of no superstitions, as though a freshet of fortune had flowed for her since the day she bought the ring.

Alas! how soon her hopes were to be shattered. Two months after her horse won the Derby her husband was in the bankruptcy court, a victim in a high degree of the Liberator [a famous race horse.]

It would be absurd and ridiculous, of course, for any sane man to regard the case as a post hoc ergo propter hoc. The event was a pure coincidence; yet nothing in this world would induce the lady in question to regard that ring otherwise than as a fatal one. We may say what we like, but once a woman has dubbed this or that lucky or unlucky, the homilies of a thousand bishops would not change her opinion. Witness that remarkable story told in the “Lives of the Lindsays,” in which we are shown how the Earl of Balcarres, forgetting on the morning of his wedding his appointment to marry the grand daughter of the Prince of Oxaxute, went hurriedly to church at the last moment without the all-necessary ring. This, of course, was a sad position for anybody to be in, and the young man appealed pathetically to the company to know if the deficiency could not be made good. Happily, or rather most unhappily, the best man standing at his side suddenly remembered that he had a ring in his pocket, and he slipped it into the earl’s hand just as the service began. Was it not a strange thing that this should have been a mourning ring, and that, when the happy bride ventured to look down upon her finger, she saw a skull and crossbones grinning at her? So great was her distress that she fainted in the church and when she came to she declared that it was an omen of death, and that she would not live through the year. And did she? the matter-of-fact man asks expectantly. Alas! twelve months were not numbered before Lady Balcarres was in her grave!

byron's mother's wedding ring Newstead Abbey

Byron’s mother’s wedding ring, Newstead Abbey

It is necessary at this point to tell you a story with a happier ending, lest the superstitious man should have it all his own way. It is said of Lord Byron that he was about to sit down to dinner one day when a gardener presented him with his mother’s wedding ring, which the man had just dug up in the garden before a wing of the house. Byron was at that time expectantly awaiting a letter from Miss Millbanke a letter which was to contain an answer to his proposal of marriage. When he saw the ring which the gardener brought him, he fell into a fit of deep gloom, regarding it as a sign of woeful omen but scarce had this depression come upon him when a servant entered with a letter from the lady. She accepted the poet.

There is another story told by the late Professor de Morgan I think it appeared in “Notes and Queries” which relates an instance of a page who fled to America simply because he lost a ring which he was carrying to the jeweller. The stone was an opal, if I remember rightly. The lights of it had so impressed the lad when he saw it upon his mistress’s finger that he stopped upon the plank bridge crossing the stream in his town, and took the jewel out of the box to admire it. But his fingers were clumsy, and in his attempt to try the ring on he let it slip into the river. Two years after in America he told the story, and related how that the ring had driven him to the condition of a miserable serf in the plantations. He did not know then that his condition was soon to be changed, and that diligence and hard work were to carry him to such a position of affluence that at the end of 20 years he returned to this country and to his native town. On the night of his arrival be went with a friend. to the old bridge, and recalled his misfortune there.

“It was in that very spot,” said he, thrusting his stick into the soft mud of the river, “that I dropped the ring.”

“But look!” cried the friend, “you have a ring upon the end of your stick!”

Sure enough, incredible though it may sound, the very ring he had dropped into the river 20 years before was now upon the end of the muddy stick.

Some people may be inclined to take this story with a grain of salt. Personally I am willing to think that Professor de Morgan and “Notes and Queries” would not have fathered upon us a mere bundle of lies. For the matter of that, there are cases as marvellous of the recovery of rings in nearly every town in England. At Brechin they will tell you of a Mrs Mountjoy who, when feeding a calf, let it suck her fingers, and with them a ring she wore. When this animal was slaughtered three years after, the ring was found in its intestine.

In the year 1871 a German farmer, who had been making flour balls for his cattle, missed his dead wife’s ring which he had been wearing upon his little finger. He made a great search for the treasure, holding the ring in some way necessary to his prosperity; but although he turned the house upside down, he never found it.

Seven or eight months after, this farmer shipped a number of bullocks upon the Adler cattle ship. The Adler came to port all right, but one of the bullocks had died during the voyage and been thrown overboard. Strangely enough, the carcase floated upon the sea, and was picked up by an English smack— the Mary Ann, of Colchester— the crew of which cut open the body to obtain some grease for the rigging. Did we not know that every line of this story had been authenticated, we should laugh when it is added that the farmer’s ring was found in the stomach of the derelict bullock and duly restored to its owner through the German Consul.

Here are stories of luck if you like. I will give you one also of luck which has never been told except to me and to the members of the household in which the strange occurrence took place. A lady, whose husband was a bank manager, purchased at my house some six years ago a singularly fine turquoise ring. She came to me at the end of two years and declared that the jewel in question had completely lost its colour. I saw that this was so, and told her there was no secret about the matter, but that she had washed her hands with the ring upon her finger, The turquoise, as all the world knows, should never be dipped in water. Some of the finest stones will stand the treatment, but in the majority of cases it is fatal. You would think that this was not a case for any superstitious fears, but my client was sadly troubled from the start at the omen of the ring; nor could my assurances comfort her. And oddly enough, within three months of the date of her visit to me her husband was in difficulties and had fled to America.

But this is not the end of the story of the turquoise. I had, previous to this calamity, set a new stone in the place of the old, and this jewel, being properly treated, kept its colour very well. Yet, as though that ring must prove fatal to all who wore it, it was the instrument of the capture of the lady’s husband, and of the term of imprisonment which followed on his arrest. The thing worked out in this way. For two years the fugitive remained abroad, but with that love of country which sometimes will prevail above reason, the unfortunate man returned here at last, and lay in hiding at the house which his wife had taken near Reading.

This was a rambling old place, with a decaying wing, very convenient for hiding a man. One morning the servants, who were not in the secret, found a turquoise upon the floor of a bedroom in this side of the house. As they had reason to believe that no one except themselves had been in the place for some years, they carried the ring to their mistress as a wonderful and amazing discovery. She, in her feverish desire to protect her husband, made up some cock-and-bull story which did not satisfy them. Although they had promised absolute secrecy, they made haste to tell the story in the village, where by a colossal misfortune the detective who was watching the case was even then staying. Needless to say how he pricked up his ears at the information; arguing rightly that where a ring was there a man or woman must have been. Three days later he arrested the defaulter, who had been hidden in the house all the time and had dropped the ring upon the floor of the bedroom. He had worn it on his little finger as a memento of his wife when he fled from the country, but it proved a fatal ring to him and to her.

It is scarcely within the scope of this article to write upon that vast branch of this subject which would properly come under the heading of poisoned rings. There was a story told in the French newspapers at no distant date of a man who bought an old ring in a shop in the Rue St. Honore, He was much interested in this, and was examining it closely, when he chanced to give himself a slight scratch in the hand with the edge of the ring. So slight was it that he scarce noticed it, and continued in conversation with the dealer, until of a sudden he was taken with violent pains in his body and fell in a fit upon the floor of the shop. The doctor who was summoned discovered every trace of mineral poison, and administered an antidote–happily with success, though the man suffered severely for several hours, and was at one time upon the very point of death. There is no doubt whatever that he had purchased what is called a “death ring,” a common weapon of assassination in the sixteenth century, and still to be found in the byways of Italy. The ring in question was made in the shape of two tiny lions’ claws, the nails being minute tubes from which the poison was ejected into the body. A man bearing a grudge against another would contrive to send him such a ring as a present and he would so manage it that he would meet the unlucky wearer very shortly after the present was received. It was the easiest thing in the world to give the victim a hearty shake of the hand, so squeezing the sharp claws into the flesh and administering a dose of the poison. And so skilled were the men in the manufacture of these rings that the day was rare when the victim of one lived even 10 minutes after he had received this death grip.

Otago [NZ] Witness 15 October 1896: p. 50

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil has written before on those useful poisoned diamond rings with little spikes and a cursed ring formerly the property of the Spanish royal family. Various royal personages have also possessed “lucky” and “unlucky” rings as magical talismans.

Mrs Daffodil cannot accede to the author’s suggestion that Byron’s proposal to Anne Isabella Milbanke was a story with a “happier ending.”  The ill-matched couple separated shortly after their one-year anniversary and may have never seen each other again before Byron’s death in Greece in 1824.

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.

$35,000 a Year to Dress a “Deb”: 1924

 

$35,000 a Year to Dress a “Deb”!

Dressmakers to the “400” Tell How the Modern Society Girl Wears Annually 30 Evening Gowns, 250 Pairs of Stockings, 25 Pairs of Shoes, 30 Hats, 2 Dozen Negligees, 1 Dozen Evening Wraps, and a $25,000 Coat!

When one of New York’s smartest dressmakers announced the other day that nobody could dress on less than $35,000 in a year, a lot of people clutched their pocketbook with one hand and held up the other hand in horror.

But not the debutante. Not, either, the debutante’s mother in the his year of grace 1924. Nor, indeed, the debutante’s father. They knew that the dressmaker’s estimate was conservative. “I only hope my daughter will cut her wardrobe expenses down to $35,000!” was the sincere groan of many a plutocratic parent.

Of course when the dressmaker said nobody could dress on less than $35,000 a year, she referred to anybody feminine who was “anybody” in New York City. Even in Manhattan there are girls who spend less than $500 a year for clothes. But they are not the girls who get their names into the society column.

To the innocent bystander, however, whose name never gets near the society column than the death notices, advertisements and “marriage licenses issued today,” that $35,000 remark was a smash between the eyes. “How,” said the innocent bystander, fingering his last $1 bill, “can any woman not only not get along on less than $35,000 for clothes and incidentals alone—but how, on clothes and incidentals alone, can she spend so much?”

The easiest answer is: “Easily.” But after all, that doesn’t tell the innocent bystander much about what it’s all for, so this innocent bystander galumphed up to the source of the hair-raising remark and asked how come, with specifications, explanations and itemized particulars.

Fay Lewisohn

Miss Fay Lewisohn

She’s a surprisingly young and girlish person, this Fay Lewisohn who made the statement which has ever since been causing squawk of dismay. Perhaps it is worth noting that the squawks come from people—like oneself, for example—who haven’t anything like $35,000 to spend on anything, let alone on clothes. Her establishment is in the most fashionable-dressmaker section of West Fifty-seventh street, which as the initiate know is at present the ultra fashionable district for the modistes whose clientele is truly exclusive.

“How can a woman spend $35,000 a year on dress?” is the question directed at the slim, attractive young woman who announces herself as proprietor of the place.

The slim, attractive young woman shrugged. “How can she help it?” is her answer.

“Well, but after all—”

The modiste smiled. “Oh, I’m talking about the woman of wealth and social position. Naturally, every one who comes to my shop for an occasional gown doesn’t spend that much on clothes; perhaps not in a lifetime. I myself don’t spend that much on clothes in a year.

“But perhaps you don’t realize that there are dozens of women in New York today to whom $35,000 as an annual outlay for dress, cosmetics and so on, is not an extravagance. I know one woman who has a yearly contract with a modiste for $50,000 worth of clothes. There are society women who easily spend that much. Just as there are people who spend $50 a month for a house and others who pay $15,000 a year for an apartment. The thing is relative, you know.”

The modiste, it seemed, got a fair profit and no more. “It is possible that by some lucky chance a woman might find a cheap dressmaker who would turn her out, as well as one whose prices were higher. That is an unlikely chance; but it might happen. However, what the society woman wants is a quiet, attractive place in which to inspect gowns. She wants to see those gowns displayed by refined, high-class models. Naturally, both these requisites mean high rent and good salaries.”

Your murmur about the overhead expense brought an emphatic nod.

“Moreover, the very materials in the clothes themselves are expensive even before the scissors and needle touch the goods. Brocades at, say, around $100 a yard, send the price of a gown up, rather.”

Rather!

“There is an East Indian, for example, who brings me marvelously embroidered silks straight from India. He drapes them around the models and they really need, oftentimes, very little cutting or sewing. But the materials themselves are almost museum pieces. Some are antiques. And, of course, they are very valuable.

“Another big item in sending up the price of a frock is the actual labor upon it. Labor I these days and in this city, especially skilled needlework, is high. On a first-class gown which has many yards of an intricately beaded pattern, each bead must be sewn on with care so that it won’t pull off. These patterns often are works of art and it requires almost artists to bead them. Do you know that the beading on one gown, when properly done, may take several weeks?”

These were matters worthy of consideration. But how many of these gowns would a sure-enough social leader need in the course of a year? And how much would such a gown cost?

It depended, naturally, on the taste of the patron and the amount of beading.

“A gown of this type, beautifully done, might run into many hundreds of dollars. It might be five hundred dollars, six hundred—the material itself would, of course, be a determining factor. I am speaking, by the way, of a gown on which the modiste would make a legitimate profit; not of a gown for which the modiste would charge every dollar she thought she could extort.

“A debutante may easily spend $35,000 a year for clothes and really get her money’s worth. Without being cheated by the modiste.”

You began to see how this was so.

“Now, for instance,” the modiste continued, “a girl who moves in what is known as high society needs about thirty evening gowns. She doesn’t plan to wear any costume more than two or three times; some of them only once. It is not too much to say that thirty evening gowns would cost her $9000.

“She would require 250 pairs of stockings. These would cost on a average, perhaps $9 a pair; an item of $2250 for hosiery alone. Of course, some stockings would cost much more than $9 a pair.”

As a matter of fact, a shop in the vicinity of Fifth avenue and Forty-second street has had on display within the year a pair of stockings priced at $500. Not $500 each, you understand; but $500 for the pair, or $250 each. They were perfectly simple black silk hose, with a large medallion of lace on the front.

The same shop had another pair of quite good-looking silk and lace stockings for $250.

But the modiste was going on with her itemized bill of wardrobe expenses. Shoes, she agreed, could cost anything you want to spend on them, but $2000 wasn’t too much for some women. A lady who wanted her feet to look really chic would require, at the least twenty-five pairs of shoes, and this was a low estimate.

Hats? Of course, you could get a good little hat for $35. Or you could get a stunning little thing for $100. Anyway, the lady would need at least thirty hats and she could easily spend from $1200 to $2100 before she got out of the millinery department.

By this time you begin to see that milady has run up quite a sizable bill. But the end is by no means yet. How about lingerie? How about lounging robes for the boudoir? How about the perfumes and powders, the creams and other cosmetics with which the boudoir dressing table is stacked?

Of course, a negligee is whatever you please. It is, so to speak, an elastic garment. It may be a cotton wrapper or a thing exquisite as sunshine on the sea. The negligee of the social leader is of this latter type. And you’d be surprised at how expensive it is to put the sunshine on the sea into figured silk and chiffon.

“A dozen negligees are not too many” –it is the voice of authority which speaks; “many women have many more than a dozen. They might easily cost a little more than $200 apiece, or $2500 for the dozen.

“As for lingerie—I have just finished a set of lingerie, for a bride, which is valued at $10,000. I have made other sets for $15,000; that is to say, a dozen of each garment. The set which I have just finished was of hand-made filet lace and Italian silk of special quality. The wedding gown, priced at $600, was intricately beaded with crystal. One could get a really lovely wedding gown, as a matter of fact for around $300. But, of course, this is without the veil. The veil may cost as much as one is willing to pay—

“It may be a few almost priceless yards of antique lace, made in some convent of the Middle Ages.

“The more usual lingerie, of finest linen or silks and exquisite laces, would cost about $3600 for two dozen sets.

 

“A dozen evening wraps would be part of the society woman’s wardrobe. It is difficult to put a price on them. They might cost several hundred dollars each, depending on what fur was used for the collars and other decorations.

“There are such things as fans, too, which vary tremendously in price. These would mount at least into the hundreds. Corsets, too, are expensive when well made and made to order. The materials are costly, also. Seventy dollars is the price of one corset which makes no pretense to embroidery or other ornamentation. The price is for the best quality of brocade and of silk elastic and for the model itself.

“You understand, further that a social leader could not possibly buy her furs within that $35,000 which I have allowed her for a wardrobe. Furs would have to be extra. For a handsome coat $15,000 is not an unusual price and $25,00 would more likely be the figure.

“This leaves what are known as incidentals. They include hairdressing and all that goes with this art; beauty treatments, with cosmetics, perfumes at—say–$30 an ounce—and things of the sort. Cigarettes, too, may be put with the incidentals. Many society women smoke the brands that come in fifteen or twenty cent packages, but you may, if you wish, have the sort that has a monogram, a special blend of tobacco and a little dab of cotton inside the cork tip to absorb the nicotine and keep it from touching the lips. Without the monogram these can be obtained for around eleven cents each.

“No, not each packet. Each cigarette.

“For incidentals we may safety estimate that a society woman spends $5000 yearly.”

The modiste drew a long breath. So did you.

“Well, you see,” she said.

You did, indeed.

New Britain [CT] Herald 7 October 1924: p. 16

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil, who has previously shared information on the account-books of the very rich (The Cost of a Fine Lady, What Gilded Youth Spends on Its Wardrobe, Where that $10,000 a Year Dress Allowance Goes, and The Cost of a Curtsey), wonders if these articles are a form of what she has heard called “humble-bragging,” or if they are meant to be inspiration for the ten-shillings-a-week shop-girl to set her sights on an elderly peer or millionaire?

Although she inexplicably omits essentials such as hand-bags, vanity cases, and jewels, Miss Lewisohn knew a thing or two about the sartorial needs of the society woman. She was the heiress to the Randolph Guggenheim millions. She was often in the news: Her engagement to one William Burton (of a Park Avenue address) was announced 23 February 1919; the engagement was reported as broken on 2 April, 1919, with her mother saying that the couple was “Too young to know their own hearts.” In 1921 she had to issue a statement denying that she was marrying a Russian prince; while in 1922, she announced the opening of her dressmaking establishment, in partnership with Mrs. Basil Soldatenkov, wife of the former Russian envoy under the Czar. She also married Jack Rothstone, brother of Broadway gambler Arnold Rothstein in 1928; divorcing him in 1934.

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.