Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why the Bride Wobbled: 1904

wedding garters 1912

1912 wedding garters. “Something blue.”


A New Wedding Fad Comes to Light in North Dakota.

It has been thought that the chief product of the Dakotas was divorces, but a gentleman who recently visited that section is responsible for the following. He says a new wedding fad has been unearthed, and this is how it came about:

At a wedding in Mankato the bride hobbled awfully, so that the audience, as she went down the pike to the altar, thought the poor thing was either scared, hip-shot or afflicted with soft corns, but she accidentally fainted, and then it was discovered that her legs were a mass of garters about forty on each leg–and as she was about to be taken for shop lifting, those in the secret had to tell that each one of her young lady friends had furnished her a garter to wear to her wedding to be taken off by the groom after the ceremony and given by the bride back to the owner, to be placed under the pillow of said owner, in place of the old time wedding cake which was likely to grow stale and draw rats and mice and throw the patients into fits, which a garter would not do, and could be perfumed with rose water and violet essence. You will dream of your next husband if you have a garter under your pillow that has been clawed off the under limbs of a bride, which is a fact and a custom that can’t be sneezed at. At any rate, if you do not see your future hubby in your dream it wont be the garter’s fault. But no bride should tackle over eighty garters, unless she has legs like a centipede.

The Streator [IL] Free Press 25 August 1904: p. 9

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: From this revealing little anecdote, we may deduce that the bride had quite an extensive circle of friends eager to dream of their “next” husband. Before the unhappily wed flocked to Reno, one could easily get a “Dakota Divorce,” described thus:

In 1866, the Dakota Territory legislature passed a divorce law that allowed an an applicant for divorce to begin action immediately upon arrival in the territory. The territorial code was amended in 1877 to require three months for residency for a divorce. U.S. citizenship was not required. While establishing the “residency” required for divorce, soon-to-be divorcees stayed in elegant hotels, attended the opera and symphony, and ate at fine restaurants. People seeking divorces often registered at a hotel for the required three months, left town, and returned several months later when their “residency” had been established. At that time the Northern Pacific train stopped in Fargo at noon for 10 minutes for lunch. So many people used that 10 minutes to check into a hotel, leave a bag, and return to the train that it came to be known as the “Ten Minute Divorce.”

The Divorce Capital of the West.

One has always heard that young ladies were at a premium “out West,” but perhaps these ladies had been through the “divorce mill” more than once and were still looking for that next husband. The bridegroom must have become quite impatient waiting for his new bride to return eighty garters to their owners. One would not have blamed him had he simply hurled the garters into the air and let the young ladies scramble for them.

Although touted as a novelty, the custom was not an entirely new one.

New Wedding Fad.

A Scotch custom as old as Walter Scott’s Novels, has been again made fashionable by the division of Princess Margaret’s garter among her bride-maids after the marriage ceremony a few weeks ago. The original notion was that the bride wore quite a number of pretty ribbons as well as the ordinary garter, and these were in due course distributed among the masculine friends of the bridegroom, while in Scotland the piper invariably had one to tie around his bagpipe. The conferring the of the gift brought good luck, and in olden times the bride was often used quite roughly in the effort to take away her garter.

The Daily Republican [Monongahela PA] 28 February 1893: p. 4

Garters for Brides.

The latest bride garter is of white elastic. Running over the surface of the elastic is a delicate tracery in blue in the pattern of a tiny flower. Here and there knots of very narrow white ribbon. Bordering the elastic is a ruffle of white lace of fine pattern. As elegant a little piece of lace as may be found can be placed upon the garter, for the bridal garter is to be put away as one of the mementoes of the day.

Lewiston [ID] Daily Teller 29 October 1897: p. 6


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


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.

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.

The Phantom Husband: 1850s

1842 belgian mourning card woman and tomb


Anne T. Wilbur

If you should go some day to Taille, you would not fail to visit the Fontaine and Sables, where, as in the times of the patriarchs, the most beautiful women and the prettiest young girls of the neighborhood repair together at sunset, with their hands on their hips and pitchers on their heads. There, among the most alluring, and especially the most coquettish of these Burgundian Rebeccas, you will notice one whose white coif surrounds a face more alluring and more coquettish than all the others, while her short petticoat of violet stuff, and her elegant scarlet corselette, reveal a foot and a form unrivalled in the neighborhood. This is the Beautiful Vintager. She has no other name in the village, though she has already changed her name more than once; for after having been simply the daughter of the fisherman Yves, she became first Madame Pennil, and afterwards—but she is now a widow, and we must not anticipate events.

A widow at twenty-two! a rich widow! and a marriageable widow! Catherine could not fail to be courted by the handsomest young men and the wealthiest farmers of the village. So, though she sincerely regretted her poor young husband, borne to the cemetery of Taille eighteen months after their marriage, Catherine found herself obliged to forget him now, in order not to throw into despair the numerous suitors who disputed for her hand, to the detriment of all the young girls in the neighborhood. After having hesitated for several weeks between these impatient rivals, her choice was nearly fixed, according to the secret impulse of her heart, on a young widower, of the simple name of Martin, whose good mien and sincere love nobly atoned for his poverty.

“I am rich enough for two,” said the young widow gaily; “I may prefer the most tender heart to the best filled purse.”

And Martin already accompanied his future bride to church on Sundays, in the face of his disappointed rivals. But man proposes, and God disposes. This proverb applies here better than in most other cases; for Heaven opposed by a miracle the tranquil love of Martin and Catherine.

“Ah, mistress,” said one evening to the latter, her servant Marinette, returning terrified from the Fontaine-aux-Sables, “if you knew what has just happened to me!”

“What, my dear? You seem frightened.”

“With good reason, I assure you. Imagine that being left alone at the well, after the departure of the villagers, I suddenly perceived behind me, as I turned to go away—guess who?”

“O, you think only of him! But it was another, whom you have forgotten for a long time; your deceased husband, my mistress! Maitre Pennil in flesh and blood!”

Catherine uttered a cry of horror, and almost fainted.

“Are you very sure of it, Marinette?”

“I saw him as plainly as I see you, with the long beard that he had when he died, and the white shroud in which you wrapped him with your own hands. Besides, even if I had not known him, he told me who he was.”

“He spoke to you? Holy Virgin!”

“During a quarter of an hour—with a voice! a voice from another world. ‘Marinette,’ said he, ‘go and announce to Catherine that you have seen me, and that she shall soon see me in her turn!’”

“I shall see him also? Merciful Goodness!”

“Listen; it is he who speaks: ‘This evening, between eleven o’clock and midnight, I will appear to her in her chamber to inform her of my will and that of God in her approaching marriage. Let her not be terrified at this visit, it is for her interest that Heaven permits me to make it!” The phantom vanished as it finished these words; and I ran, more dead than alive, to fulfil its terrible errand.”

It will be readily imagined in what anxiety the expectation of such an event plunged poor Catherine. Convinced that her husband would return as he had said, she passed the day in prayer, and saw night arrive with terror impossible to describe. Shut up in her chamber, and with Marinette beside her, she counted the hours until morning, without seeing appear the phantom announced.

New anxieties during the day following; new precautions at the return of evening; new waiting with Marinette for the formidable hour of midnight. Suddenly at the moment the two women raised their pale faces from the bed to listen to the strokes of the midnight bell, they involuntarily drew back beneath the clothes, with a stifled cry on hearing a knock thrice repeated at the door of the chamber.

“Just Heaven!” said Catherine. “This door is shut! must we then open it for the ghost?”

“I hope not,” replied Marinette, “phantoms doubtless do not need keys to enter where they have business. But hold! hold!” added she, raising herself timidly, “it is already beside us.”

The young woman turned, not without seizing both hands of her servant, and trembled from head to foot, at sight of the spectre whose portrait Marinette had traced. It was indeed her husband, such as death had made him at his last hour, and as nearly as time and the darkness permitted her to recognize him. From the long black beard to the white shroud, nothing was wanting.

“Catherine!” said the phantom, in a voice which had nothing human, while a bony arm issuing from the winding-sheet extended solemnly towards the bed, “Catherine! thou seest that I am Jean Pennil, formerly thy husband, and now an inhabitant of the other world. I have returned to earth to announce to thee that thou mayest, without offence to my memory, replace me in thy heart by espousing another man. But, as I wish that thou shouldest be happy with my successor, I must name him who deserves the preference among thy numerous suitors. It is the good Jonas, son of the sacristan of the parish, and the most constant of our friends. He alone is worthy of thy hand and can ensure thy domestic felicity. Promise me then to choose him among all, if thou wouldst please God and thy faithful husband.”

After having listened to the commencement of these words with terror, the young woman heard the end with much more pain, and it was necessary that the summons should be repeated in an imposing manner, before she could stammer, falling back on her bed, the promise demanded.

The speaker then congratulated her on her submission, and disappeared, after having repeated that her happiness would be her reward.

“Well,” said Marinette to her mistress, as she saw her fallen back on her pillow. A sigh from Catherine was her only reply, and this sigh was followed by a thousand others until the next morning. The pious widow did not doubt the wisdom of her husband’s counsel any more than the reality of the apparition; but she could not believe that Jonas was calculated to render her happy in the bonds of a second marriage.

The son of the sacristan of Taille was indeed one of the warmest and most assiduous of her admirers; he was equal to many others in fortune and influence, and Martin himself was his inferior in these; but she did not love this Jonas; she thought him disagreeable, and believed him to be neither frank nor devout. Endowed, in fact, with a double skill in love and in business, which had acquired for him in the neighborhood the reputation of a rogue, Jonas did not possess the confidence of the young men any more than the sympathy of the young girls, and he had allowed himself to calumniate his rivals to the beautiful vintager. We may imagine, therefore, the invincible repugnance which Catherine experienced to obey the commands which her husband had returned from the other world expressly to utter in favor of Master Jonas. Unfortunately she had given her word to the phantom, who might come to remind her of it daily, or rather nightly; and in this cruel perplexity she dared neither banish the young widower nor accept the son of the sacristan. All that she could do was to gain time by telling both that she had not yet decided. But this poor resource could not last long, and a new incident took place which compelled her to decide.

“Your husband has appeared to me again,” said Marinette, on returning one evening from the fountain, “he has commissioned me to tell you that you have not obeyed the orders which God has transmitted to you by his mouth. ‘That she may no longer doubt my will and my mission,’ added he in a severe tone, “let her repair this night to my tomb at the village cemetery. I will come out of the grave before her, and will repeat again what I have already told her in her chamber.’”

Whether the widow dared not disobey this new injunction, or whether she had really some doubts on the apparition of her husband, she had the courage to be punctual, with her servant at the fearful rendezvous assigned. At eleven, while all in the village were reposing, they took together the road to the cemetery. The nigh was cold and gloomy, not a star shone in the sky, and the moon showed her timid crescent only now and then between dark clouds. Arrived at the gate of the funeral enclosure the two women paused, chilled with terror, and asked themselves, pressing closely together, whether they had courage to proceed. The spectacle which met their eyes might have terrified persons more intrepid than they. The cemetery lay extended in the obscurity, with no other, visible limits than the white grottoes excavated here and there in the dark walls. The floating foliage of the willows and cypresses veiled and uncovered by turns their fantastic spots, so that it seemed as if a multitude of ghosts were flitting in the distance. In the midst rose the charnel-house, the last place of deposit of the skulls and bones which the earth yielded to the gravedigger when there was no longer upon them food for worms. The pale gleam of a funeral lamp shone through a bronze grating, casting around sinister rays on the green turf furrowed with new graves, or the little crosses with white inscriptions, and on the sombre squares of box ornamented with emblematic flowers. No sound disturbed the silence of this fearful spot, except the sighing of the wind among the leaves, the rustling of the latter against the tombstones, the buzzing of an insect on the grass, and at a little distance, and at regular intervals, the scream of an osprey on an isolated tree.

What was most frightful for those females was that they must traverse the whole enclosure to reach the tomb of Pennil. They therefore hesitated a long time before resolving to go on, and the servant was obliged to encourage the mistress, in order to revive her resolution. Then they resumed their walk, and stumbling at every step over graves, turning at the slightest sound, supporting each other with their arms and voices, they reached, breathless, the termination of their fearful walk.

“I am here, Pennil,” said the young woman, piously kneeling before the black cross on which was traced the name of her husband.

“It is well!” replied a subterranean voice. “I am here also!”

In fact, the ground was immediately agitated, and opened to give passage to a body; and the same ghost which Catherine had already seen, rose at once before her. It shook its shroud thrice, fixed on the widow a sparkling glance, and commenced, according to its promise, to repeat the things it had said in her chamber. But scarcely had it pronounced a few words than it stopped and started, as if the terror it was imposing had suddenly reached itself. Involuntarily imitating the movements of the phantom, the two females looked around in their turn, and immediately fell, with a shrill scream, at sight of the horrible vision which froze them with terror.

Three spectres more frightful than the first, had risen from three neighboring tombs. Three others, more monstrous still, appeared at the same instant in an opposite direction, then three others followed, at the extremity of the cemetery. Nine menacing cries resounded at once, as many arms were extended from the ghosts, with a threatening gesture, and, darting at the same signal, with unanimous imprecations, ran together towards the one which still stood on the grave.

“Impious wretch!” cried a voice.

“Profaner of our tombs!” added another.

“Cowardly impostor, and sacrilegious monster!” cried a third and fourth. “Thou shalt expiate thy crime, and the dead will avenge themselves!” repeated the others in chorus.

The spectre thus attacked—strange circumstance!—began to tremble from head to foot in its shroud, and quickly forgot everything to attempt to flee. But seized and arrested at the first step, it could only roll on the ground and ask for mercy.

“O ye dead!” it cried, with clasped hands, and in a tone which was no longer sepulchral, “O ye dead! pardon me, I entreat! in pity pardon me!” “No,” replied the phantoms, “no pity! no pardon | Thou hast violated the tomb and the shroud; the tomb and the shroud shall be thy punishment!” And, without listening to the cries of the unfortunate man, they wrapped him in his own shroud, and fastened him in it so closely in every direction that his most convulsive efforts could not succeed in disengaging him from it. When this useless struggle had exhausted his last strength, and the nine spectres had finished their pitiless work, two of them went to the charnel-house to get the spade and pickaxe of the gravedigger, and began to dig the earth, while the others were preparing to deposit their victim in it. But, at the moment they were about to fill it up, the two women, who had until then remained petrified with horror, at last found in this very horror strength to flee from the sight of this frightful execution.

On the morrow, at daybreak, all the inhabitants of the village passed in terror before the great door of the church. A body was deposited there, immovable and wrapped in a white sheet.

For a long time no one dared approach, each persuading himself that it was a dead body taken from the cemetery. But at last some young people, less timid, disengaged the shroud from its fastenings, and the morning air striking on a face that had nothing cadaverous about it, restored to himself a poor fellow, in whom they immediately recognized Jonas, the son of the sacristan.

Universal hootings pursued to his dwelling the unfortunate ghost, in the simple apparel of a dead man, and the telegraphic tongue of the gossips circulating the adventure from mouth to mouth, everybody knew in less than half an hour for a league round, the fantastic receipt of Master Jonas to ensure the dowry of rich widows.

As for the phantoms who had so cruelly chastised him, the sacrilegious fellow long believed, with all the superstitious of the place, that they were genuine ghosts; but Martin, his happy rival, at length made known the truth.

Some indiscreet words of the beautiful vintager, at the first appearance of the phantom, had led Martin to watch and discover the wonderful invention of Jonas, and he secretly arranged with eight young fellows of the village the trick which was to unmask the impostor.

Six weeks afterwards, Catherine Pennil became Catherine Martin, and the adroit Marinette having proved that her accomplice had commenced by being her lover, compelled him to pay for her services by espousing her.

Ballou’s Monthly Magazine October 1855: Vol. II. No. 4 Whole No. 10. pp. 314-317

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil does so enjoy a happy ending, especially one involving ghosts, tombs, and shrouds. It was kind of the “phantoms” to let Jonas live, although one expects that his was an unhappy existence unless he relocated to try his wiles on the widows of some other village. The text is ambiguous about Marinette’s role in this little farce. If Jonas was her lover, why would she agree to help him marry her mistress?

Mrs Daffodil has written before of a jealous husband who decided to “return from the grave” to trap his “widow” with a lover. It had a much grimmer outcome.


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.

Easter Greetings from Mrs Daffodil

fairy and chick french easter card



Mrs Daffodil wishes all of her readers the most magical of holidays accompanied by spring-tide flowers, chocolate eggs, a fetching head-dress, and fluffy animal companions.


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 Tudor Lady at Glamis: 1880s

At that period the great topic of conversation amongst ghost-hunters was Glamis Castle, the most celebrated of all haunted houses. No ghost book is ever considered complete without reference to this celebrated Castle, and the story usually narrated is, that in the secret room some abnormal horror lived, and that the heir, Lord Glamis, and the factor, had to be told of its existence by the Earl of Strathmore in person. This information was of so terrible a nature that it changed not only the lives of those two men, but even their personal appearance. They grew aged and haggard in a single night.

This story was readily discussed in old days by members of the Strathmore family, who were just as keen as outsiders were to probe the mystery. To-day it is universally believed that the monstrosity is at last laid to rest, and that though other ghosts still walk the Castle, the worst has departed forever.

I went one afternoon to see [Lord and Lady] Wynford in the hotel in which they stayed whilst in Scotland, and found Lady [Fanny] Reay with them. She was a wonderful woman in her way, and preserved her youth up till very late in life. Lord Wynford was not present, and Lady Wynford at once greeted me by exclaiming, “We are going to stay at Glamis next week, and Lady Reay has been there and seen a ghost.”

“But not the ghost,” admitted Lady Reay.

“Then what did you see?” I inquired.

She then told the following story, which has a sequel: —

“I had been in the Castle for three nights and much to my satisfaction seen absolutely nothing. We were a very cheery party, and every one was frightfully thrilled and nervously expectant, but we were very careful not to breathe the word ‘ghost’ before our host and hostess.

“On the fourth night I was awakened by a moaning sound in my room, and I opened my eyes. The room was in total darkness, but I saw something very bright near the door. I shut my eyes instantly, and pulled the bedclothes over my head in a paroxysm of fear. I longed to light my candles, but didn’t dare, and the moaning continued, and I thought I should go quite mad.

“At last I ventured to peep out again. I saw a woman dressed exactly like Mary Tudor, in her pictures, and she was wandering round the walls, flinging herself against them, like a bird against the bars of a cage, and beating her hands upon the walls, and all the time she moaned horribly. I’m sure she was the ghost of a mad woman. Her face and form were lit up exactly like a picture thrown upon a magic lantern screen, and every detail of her dress was clearly defined.

“Luckily she never looked at me, or I should have screamed, and I thought of Lord and Lady I. sleeping in the next room to mine, and wondered how I could reach them. I was really too terrified to move, and the ghost kept more or less to that part of the room where the door was situated.

“I must have lain there awake for two or three hours, sometimes with my head buried under the clothes, sometimes peeping out, when at last the moaning suddenly stopped. I opened my eyes. Thank God, I was alone. The ghost had departed.

“I lay with wide open eyes till daybreak. Then the first thing I did was to run to the mirror to see if my hair had turned white. Mercifully it hadn’t, but I looked an awful wreck.

“I told just a few people what I had seen, and contrived to get a wire sent me before lunch. Early in the afternoon I was on the way to Edinburgh.”

Such was the story Lady Reay related.

Thirteen years later Captain Eric Streatfield, who was a nephew of Lord Strathmore, and an intimate friend of my husband, told me exactly the same story. He was a boy of six at the time, when the lady of Tudor days appeared moaning in his room, and he said he would never forget the misery of the night he passed. He was very much interested in hearing that Lady Reay had gone through the same experience.

Ghosts I Have Seen And Other Psychic Experiences, Violet Tweedale, 1919: pp. 165-168

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Tudor lady ghosts were a staple of the Victorian/Edwardian supernatural scene. Mrs Russell-Davies interviewed the ghosts of Catherine Howard and Jane Seymour, while William Waldorf Astor was snubbed by the ghost of Anne Boleyn when he bought Hever Castle.

There were many ghosts at Glamis. This particular moaning ghost might have been the so-called “Tongueless Woman,” sometimes identified as a wronged servant girl and sometimes as a Countess of Strathmore.

The famous, the fierce, and frowning northern stronghold of the Lords Strathmore is Glamis Castle (pronounced Glams), and while it may seem flippant to say so, Glamis has ghosts from ‘way back, from the time of King Duncan and bloody Macbeth, from before the coming over of William the Norman.

The Ghost of Glamis.

Beside them those of Leap are just tricksome brownies Nobody in England but takes Glamis seriously and nobody disputes the existence of some frightful mystery hidden for generations in the dungeons or the secret tower chambers of the brutal looking pile of masonry. Even Dean Stanley acknowledged a feeling for Glamis’ ghost. He wasn’t so sure it was a fake. The dean had a way of digging up the royal folk and others who sleep in Westminster Abbey, just to see if they were all there and doing comfortably, and he was not a nervous foolishly credulous person. He got a shock, however, when he happened to blunder into the tomb of that Lady Strathmore of whose fatal inquisitiveness a grim Bluebeardish tale is told.

She tried to see the Glamis mystery which was supposed to be secreted in a portion of the castle to which only the earl and his heir had access.. Yet a more dreadful fate than that Bluebeard prepared for prying Fatima befell this poor lady who suddenly disappeared. Her husband announced her death, but the gossips said he had had her tongue out out, her hands cut off, and placed her in exile in a remote town in the Italian mountains.

At Midnight in the Cemetery.

This, of course, was to prevent any revelation as to the nature of Glamis’ awful secret, and when at last the wretched woman really died she was smuggled into a tomb in Westminster Abbey. As this tragedy took place at least 100 years ago, it sounds like a fairy tale to modern ears, nevertheless, Dean Stanley did unearth the remains of a Countess of Strathmore, a pathetic skeleton without any hands.

The Washington [DC] Post 21 April 1907: p. 4

The Countess of Strathmore who lies in Westminster Abbey was Mary Eleanor Bowes [1749-1800], who led a startlingly scandalous life rife with infidelity on all sides, illegitimate children, and a fake duel to trick her into marriage. It is doubtful that she was the skeleton unearthed by the ghoulish Dean Stanley.

The second part of Mrs Tweedale’s stories of Glamis ghosts will appear Friday next.


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.




How to Decorate Your Piano: 1900

red flowered chinese export shawl c 1900

Applied Embroidery.

Ever since it has been wisely recognized that the right position for a cottage piano is not to be pushed back against the wall, but to stand well out into the room, the question of how to turn its somewhat uncompromising expanse of back to decorative account has been one for careful consideration. Sometimes the solution is productive of extremely pleasing results, sometimes very much the reverse. Flimsy “dust trap” draperies and unaccountable devices in Japanese fans are, happily, for the most part obsolete expedients nowadays, and it has come to be pretty generally acknowledged that the back of a piano is a feature in the decoration of a room to be treated seriously. When it serves the purpose of a screen, breaking up the formal arrangement of the chairs and sofas and creating a pleasant little alcove or fireside corner, no method is more satisfactory than to cover it, screenwise, with an effective panel of embroidery. The needlework should harmonize in character with the pretty, flowered and beribboned chintzes which now lend their charm to many a drawing room or boudoir.

When a piano is constantly left open, it is a capital plan to protect the keys by covering them with a narrow strip of silk. This gives an opportunity for charming needlework decoration after the manner indicated in the group of sketches. Suppose the keyboard cover to be of white or pale tinted satin, the branches of almond blossom should be in fine ribbon work and the scroll, with its motto, “Music, When Soft Voices Die, Vibrates In the Memory,” outlined in gold or silver thread. There should be a lining of thinly quilted silk, pink or green, which may be delicately perfumed with violets, lemon verbena or any other favorite sachet powder.

The Jersey City [NJ] News 8 September 1900: p. 7

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  One can perhaps justify the draping of the grand piano in an elaborately embroidered shawl, if only to prevent the inevitable sprawling chanteuses from scratching the varnish. However, Mrs Daffodil draws the line at the notion of upholstering the back of the piano, no matter how seriously one wishes to treat the instrument. Such embroideries are impossible to dust and even more impossible to wash, not to mention their muffling effect on the instrument itself. “Music, when soft voices die–full stop.” about sums it up. She also points out that the obvious: if the instrument is actually being used, there is no need to protect the keys with superfluous fancy-work.

Something new in needlework is a piano key covering, designed to lay over the keys when closed and on the rack when open. It is an excuse for embroidery, as it is made of light cloth, upon which is worked some pattern emblematic of music. It cannot be said to fill a long-felt want, but is as useful and as much needed as the embroidered bell pull or the decorated shirtbox which long suffering masculines are now asked to accept on gift days.

The Jersey City [NJ] News 3 February 1893: p. 3


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.

He Promised to Raise the Dead: 14th Century

shrouded ghost


The Man Who Promised to Raise the Dead.

Toward the middle of the fourteenth century there suddenly appeared in Florence, Italy, a personage calling himself Dr. Attrapeccini. Whence he came, no one knew. His name indicated an Italian origin; but, from his accent in speaking, one would have supposed him to be a German, while his long beard, grave expression, and majestic bearing seemed suggestive of the Orient. Certain manuscripts, indeed, declare him to have been a native of Gascony; but the authenticity of these manuscripts has not been proved.

Whatever might be his nationality, however, the doctor had no sooner arrived in Florence than he caused to be announced, with a grand flourish of trumpets, cornet, and drum, that on Tuesday, the first of May, at precisely six o’clock in the morning, he would repair to the city’s cemetery, and there restore to life five persons of his own choosing.

At last the excitement grew so intense that the podestat, or chief magistrate of Florence, resolved to send for Dr. Attrapeccini and demand an explanation. A  man who was able to restore five dead persons to life could have no difficulty in guessing what was passing in the mind of a podestat, and, accordingly, the magistrate was just about to strike his gong to summon an usher, when the doctor himself was announced.

“You come just in time, doctor,” said the magistrate; “I was about to send for you.”

“I knew it, my lord, and wish to anticipate your orders,” was the reply, uttered in a calm tone that filled the podestat with amazement.

He recovered himself, however, and was going to interrogate the newcomer, when the latter exclaimed:

“I understand, my lord, that some of your people here have doubts of my science and even my honest–in short, that I am suspected of coming to Florence for the purpose of making dupes.”

“Something of that kind has been intimated,” replied the magistrate.

“They say, moreover,” continued Dr. Attrapeccini, “that I intend to decamp a day or two before the first of May.”

“That also has been said,” assented the podestat.

“You can understand,” said the stranger, slowly, “that I owe it to myself to put an end to these reports. I have come to request of you that a guard of ten, twenty, thirty, or more men be stationed round my house, so as to make it impossible for me to leave Florence before releasing from their tombs five persons, as I have promised. You can not say that my request is an unreasonable one, since you had determined before seeing me to have me watched.”

“Your request is granted,” he said. “I shall have your house guarded night and day by twenty men, until the time comes for you to fulfill your promise, or until you change your mind, and acknowledge you were not in earnest. It would, perhaps, be wiser for you to leave the city at once; believe me, it is not safe to put a whole town in commotion. I know the Florentines, and I believe them to be capable of falling upon you in fury, perhaps of hanging you, when they find they have been mocked at and tricked. The least serious mishap that could be befall you would be a sojourn of several months in prison while you waited for the public indignation to subside.”

“I should deserve even more severe treatment if I failed to carry out my programme,” said the doctor.

The doctor’s interview with the magistrate was soon known all over Florence, and the news of it served to increase the popular interest and confidence in the stranger.

A week before the first of May a man about forty years old, and dressed completely in black, entered the doctor’s study. He was the Senator Arozzo, celebrated for the violent grief he had displayed on the death of his wife six months before.

“Signor Attrapeccini,” said he, briskly, “I do not wish to waste words. Although what you promise is generally considered impossible, I admit that it may be possible, and I have come here to beg you to leave my wife at rest in the cemetery.”

“What!” exclaimed the man of science, with a laugh; and the widower repeated his own words earnestly.

“I beg of you!” he cried; ” I am about to marry again — the banns will be published next month. You would not like to put a man in such a predicament, would you?” As he spoke he placed a purse full of gold on the table.

“Set your mind at rest,” said the doctor, “and continue the preparation for your wedding.”

The next day he received a visit from Philippini, the most famous physician of Florence, and indeed, of all Tuscany; out of every hundred Florentines at least eighty were at one time or another in his care.

“Learned and honored brother,” said he to Attrapeccini. “I trust that you would not do me the injury of bringing back to the light of day any of the unfortunate people who have chanced to pass away while in my hands.”

“Certainly not,” replied the other; “just give me the names of the persons you mean.”

“That would be a very difficult matter,” said Philippini; “would it not be more simple for you to exclude from your ceremony all my former patients?” and with these words he laid on the table a heap of gold coins.

“It shall certainly be as you wish, my dear brother,” said the foreign physician.

The door had hardly closed upon Philippini when it was opened again to admit two brothers, named Gavazza. The Duke Pierre Gavazza and his brother, the Marquess Paul, had risen, partly by their own merits and partly by good luck, to the first rank of the Italian nobility; but their journey had been long and difficult, as their father had been a miller. It was this miller whom they did not wish to see restored to life.

Dr. Attrapeccini was shocked, and exclaimed angrily that he could not believe it possible that two persons could be so unnatural as to oppose the resuscitation of their own father. It was nothing less than parricide, and he would not connive at such baseness! He had not had any intention of reviving the miller, but now he would take good care to do so, and unless he changed his mind, the old Gavazza would be the first person resuscitated in the cemetery.

The dismay of the duke and the marquess may be imagined. They offered money, but, although they had brought a large sum with them, it was not sufficient to allay the scruples of Attrapeccini, and each of the brothers was obliged to sign a note.

The eve of the first of May arrived, and the guards around his house were doubled, and received the strictest orders, for the chief magistrate knew that the people would blame him if the invoker of the dead were allowed to escape. It was estimated that fifty thousand persons were assembled in the cemetery or its vicinity on the first of May, at six in the morning, and, as the doctor did not appear at the first stroke of the hour as he had promised, fifty thousand voices cried out:

“Attrapeccini! Attrapeccini!”

At the same time the chief magistrate presented himself at the stranger’s house, and found the interior of it just as empty as the exterior was well guarded.

The restorer of the dead had departed by way of the cellar, where there was an opening into the next house, and the chronicle reports that he took with him a sum equivalent to fifty thousand florins, which had been paid to him on consideration of his not performing a miracle, and of leaving the dead in their graves.

Translated from the Italian.

The Argonaut  [San Francisco CA] 13 February 1915

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  The earliest version of this amusing tale that Mrs Daffodil has located is from 1801–it had a long and popular run and one can well imagine an origin in some earlier set of saucy tales such as the Decameron. One newspaper, which gave it the byline, “from the French of Jean Grange,” added a further scathing paragraph:

What wicked people the Florentines must be! It would be very different in Paris if someone were to come and to propose to resuscitate the bodies in Père Lachaise cemetery, for we should then see widowers, physicians, and millers’ sons turned dukes and marquises, throwing themselves at the feet of the magician, embracing his knees, and not rising until he had promised to restore to them their wives, patients and fathers. So true it is that mankind is improving, and that cupidity, pride and ingratitude have given place to self-sacrifice, modesty, gratitude and all the sweetest and most generous sentiments.

Mrs Daffodil is reminded of several tales of rich and disagreeable people believed to have been buried alive by their undutiful sons so that they could inherit. Plus ça change…

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 Halloween Ghost: c. 1890

howdy skeleton

howdy skeleton


Doctor Thought Dying Patient Kept Promise

Dr. L.R. Darwin of New York was in town yesterday and continued his journey last night to San Francisco. He was at one time connected with the Bellevue hospital of New York and he tells a story of Dr. J. P. Griffin, who was then at the head of the hospital.

Mr. Griffin was ordinarily not afraid of ghosts, but he quaked once. He was attending a patient with a malady which proved an enigma to the doctors. When the patient was told that he could not live long he called for Dr. Griffin.

“Doctor,” he asked, “do you believe in spirits?”

“I can’t say,” replied the doctor, “that I do.”

The man continued, “I believe in spirits; I’ve seen them. Now it’s about six months until the next Hallowe’en. When I die I’ll remember you and I’ll try to make you aware of my presence.”

The man died and soon the doctor forgot the incident. When Hallowe’en came the doctor was in his study room. He had intended going down town, but a rain prevented him. He did not feel sleepy, so he passed the evening in the dissecting room. Several cadavers were lying about the room. The flashes of lightning and claps of thunder were not calculated to fill one with enjoyment in a dissecting room, but Dr. Griffin was accustomed to the dead, so that his ghostly surroundings did not disturb him.

Taking a dissecting knife he proceeded to examine the body of a man who had died of an unknown disease. The room was lighted with electric lights which suddenly grew dim. The thread-like wires in the incandescent lamps were blood red. From a distant corner of the room there came a sound like the scraping of sandpaper. It grew louder and the doctor felt a sense of uneasiness, which changed to fear and became so intense that he was fixed to the spot. Gradually his muscles relaxed and he gathered courage to start toward the corner from which the noise proceeded. The promise of the dying patient to make some manifestation on Hallowe’en now recurred to him.

The doctor went to a case containing the skeleton of the man. The sound had abated, but a ghastly sight was presented when the case door was opened. The headpiece swayed to and fro. This was evidence enough for the doctor, who started back in horror. He could almost see his former patient frowning on him for permitting him to die. He calmed somewhat, but the head was ceaseless in its motions. In a fit of horror, the doctor made a lunge at the bony figure, designing to tear it from its hangings, when the lights once more shone out brightly. At the same instant a rat sprang from the skeleton and scurried away.

Weekly Republican [Phoenix, AZ] 20 July 1899: p. 5

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Medical students had a reputation as cynical, hard-drinking pranksters.  They were forever throwing skeletons out of windows, propping up cadavers in front of school buildings, and scaring friends and family witless.


Skeleton in Attic at Glencoe Animated by Wires.

Chicago, Aug. 24. When Miss Marie Henry, residing near Glencoe, on Sunday saw a human skeleton apparently jumping around in the attic in her dwelling, she was seized with convulsions, and her condition now is critical.

At first it was feared the young woman might permanently lose her mind.

The skeleton is the property of Miss Henry’s brother, a medical student, and long had hung in the attic. It was animated by means of hidden wires by Henry and several of his friends. It was a “practical joke.”

The Leavenworth [KS] Times 25 August 1904: p. 8

That morgue-minded person over at Haunted Ohio has written on “A Post-Mortem Room Ghost,” a story which, she says, shook even her hardened sensibilities.

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.

Finery for the Forehead: 1920

forehead jewel coiffure 1920

The Solitary Jewel Once More Reigns in the Realms of Finery for the Forehead

Finery for the Forehead

The Picturesque Modern Revival of a Charming Style of Headdress Introduced by the Beauties of Ancient Rome and Greece.

By Jean Seivwright

“Beauty unadorned is adorned the most” is all wrong, according to today’s leaders of fashion. And, without more ado, they prove their contention by demonstrating the utter folly of this old-time saying.

With jingling bracelets they embellish their ankles. Gorgeous rings set their fingers a-sparkle; jeweled girdles scintillate about their waistlines, and most striking of all—enters the jeweled head-dress.

Now as Miss America has a variety of ancestors, she chooses her forehead finery with a nice discrimination. Her particular type of beauty must be enhanced. With wealth and art at her command she can have what she wants.

MOP coiffure 1920

The Encircling Coronet Is of Hammered Silver, While Over the Forehead Hang Mother-o’-Pearl Drops.

Is she a Viking’s daughter with golden tresses and wistful blue eyes? Then the soft lustre of mother of pearl will appeal to her. But if the fire of some Eastern Potentate still slumbers in her heavily-lidded eyes the ornate and barbaric will be her choice. Other beauties find inspiration for their adorning in the quaint head-dress of the peasant or the jeweled cap of a court favorite.

peasant headdress coiffure 1920

The Peasant Head-dress of Sheerest Cambric Takes on a New Guise When Interpreted in Silks and Jewels for the Beauty of Today

But all are agreed that the forehead must be ornamented. Many of these jeweled head-bands are of fabulous price. But the golden eagle is no longer a rare coin that languishes in solitude in the old stocking we have all heard about. Golden eagles fly in coveys these days and big dividends keep up the supply.

“Ha, ha!” laugh the lords of the twentieth century, and just as merrily their ladies echo their mirth, “What’s money for but to spend.” So they chase from one end of the country to the other seeking new ways of spending their money. Sumptuously caparisoned it’s many a day since they bid farewell to the “kirtle brown.” Shimmering satins, priceless laces and jewels from crown to toe add to the glitter of their passing.

Of course, like every other innovation, the adorning of the forehead is really a resurrected fashion. In the days of the law-giving Romans and the beauty-loving Greeks most wonderful finery was designed for fair women. Doubtless if we could trace the origin of this mode still further back we might discover that our delightful ancestress in the Garden of Eden originated this style. Who knows whether she favored a gay array of glistening apple seeds, or found delight in the sparkling pebbles that vied with the weeds in her garden?

pearl coiffure 1920

Pearls with All Their Lore of Tragedy and Romance Gleam in the Golden Coiffure and on the Snowy Forehead of a Famous New York Beauty.

History of course does not make any record of this. However, we do know that the Romans delighted in handsome head-dress. They kept hosts of slaves to arrange their hair. And that was no mean task. It was a regular function. There were puffs to be attached, unruly tresses to be smoothed and various artificial appendages to be arranged. Oh, yes, the office of chief lady’s maid was no sinecure in those days, for her lady’s hair must be so disposed that her jewels would show to the best advantage. And whisper it not, but even in those days the blonde was a power in the land. To have golden hair was an ambition for which one was even willing to dye!

ear-ring coiffure 1920

Today’s Mode of Coiffing May Give No Opportunity to Display Ear-rings, but Their Place Is Gladly Taken by Jeweled Chains Elaborated with Many a Novel Pendant to Simulate the Ear-ring.

Another delightful whim of fashion in the Roman Empire was to have three or four earrings dangling from each ear. However, when puffs became the vogue in Rome feminine ingenuity had to find another way to display her jewels, so the forehead was bejewelled. And wonderful results were achieved, one of the most picturesque being an embroidered net. But mark, the embroidery was not of silken threads but of jewels–glittering rubies and emeralds with clusters of pearls.

crespine coiffure 1920

The Crispine Whose Threads of Gold Are Enlivened with Sparkling Jewels

Along about the time that Philip the Bold was creating many a flutter in feminine hearts, the fair enchantresses forsook the modest net, albeit they sparkled with many a gem and adorned their heads with gorgeous creations of peacock feathers. This was an opportunity not to be overlooked, so the forehead came in for its share of attention.

As centuries rolled on women still believed that the decoration of the forehead was essential. The notorious horned head-dress brought down the denunciations of the Church on its wearers. But they went merrily on making them more grotesque and formidable looking. In those days, gentle reader, you will remember that there were no subway crushes. Also the everlasting rush was unknown. Women had time to think how to beautify themselves…

But in this land of the free you may choose your forehead finery irrespective of any restrictions, for the quest of beauty is the only motif that inspires the wearing of these gorgeously jewelled ornaments.

The Washington [DC] Times 16 May 1920: p. 32

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  The illustrations suggest a veritable treasure-trove of costuming inspiration for the passionate heroines of authoresses such as Marie Corelli, Ouida, and Elinor Glyn. Despite their glamour, we cannot call these adornments completely frivolous:  forehead jewels are, of course, the perfect camouflage for the worry lines that inevitably accompany the tangled love-lives of Egyptian princesses and Balkan queens as plotted by lady novelists.

However, Mrs Daffodil cannot condone the pendants worn just above the nose, no matter how elegant or exotic. One fears an epidemic of crossed eyes.

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.

Mrs Daffodil Takes a Holiday

seaside frolics in bathing costume

Since Mrs Daffodil had something of a working holiday during the Wimbledon fortnight, she is making a brief visit to the sea-side and will return Tuesday next. She will schedule some blog posts to fill the void and hopes that her readers are enjoying their summer holidays as much as these sea vamps are enjoying theirs!


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.