At a cotillion recently given in Calcutta Lady Curzon invented some new figures that may serve as hints to American hostesses….
The third and most brilliant figure was an auction sale of charming girls hidden wholly inside of huge Christmas stockings. Ten young women would be called up and carried into an adjoining room. They were persuaded to step into enormous stockings made of different goods–one a silk stocking, another a brilliant golf hose, another a plain, stout, yarn affair; a fourth was an old-style white stocking with a pink top, a fifth was a baby’s sock, a sixth showed wonderful clocks, a seventh was a clown’s stocking, an eighth was an open-work bas de soie, the ninth was a blue stocking, and the tenth was an old stocking patched and worn.. Every man at the ball was allowed freely to comment on the appearance and possible usefulness of the 10 Brobdingnagian hose, while the auctioneer swung his hammer and highly recommended the contents of these strange Christmas stockings. Cheerful giggles and pleased comments or indignant protests issued from the tops of the stockings as the crowd criticised, laughed, peered or guessed at the identity of the persons inside, and finally, when the bidding was over, the many-colored bags were opened. Tremendous surprise ensued, and the men who had bid highest waltzed off with their purchases, who were pleased or reproachful, in accordance with the good prices they had brought.
The Baltimore [MD] Sun 10 January 1901: p. 3
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: “In olden days, a glimpse of stocking…” Mrs Daffodil wonders about how the young women were “persuaded” to step into the stockings–with chloroform or a cosh? And was anything more than a waltz contractually implicit in those “purchases?” One would give much to know the sequel to such pairings. It could not have been pleasant to spend the remainder of the evening with the contents of the stocking sold for the lowest figure, or to find that a more liberal bidder had carried off the young lady of one’s heart. A salutary lesson to parsimonious gentlemen.
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.