Transcription of an old book, made by Avis Hester. THE FOLLIES & FASHIONS OF OUR GRANDFATHERS (1807) copyright 1887 in London by Andrew W. Tuer.|
Dedicated by Gracious permission to Her Majesty the Queen. List of magazines used in the compilation of THE FOLLIES AND FASHIONS OF OUR GRANDFATHERS. Annual Register
Anti Jacobin Review
Cabinet Cyclopedian Magazine
Eye of Reason
Inspector Irish Magazine
La Belle Assemblee
Lady's Monthly Museum
Le Beau Monde
Monthly Literary Recreations
All issues listed above for the year 1807
The book is broken down into chapters by months in the year 1807.
Chapter 1: January 1807 FASHIONABLE PURSUITS
Next to the Rout and Masquerade (which are synonymous), the Opera may be considered the grand fashionable scene of action, where the uninitiated may contemplate a public exhibition of airs and graces. The first thing that strikes an observer a the Opera House, is the _profound attention_ which the tribe of fashionables pay to the performers. The moment when the first-rate singer is in the finest passage of a Bravura song, perhaps some of the dilettanti in the boxes (more gratified in hearing their own raven notes, than those of the singer's) scream out in a fine accompanying trill, or shake, and thereby produce the same _happy_ effect as the performance of two rival organs at the opposite sides of the same street.
Another interesting and amusing circumstance to the audience, arises from the mixture of performers and loungers together; for it frequently happens, that the latter are not good-naturedly running from scene to scene, and dancing about the stage, perhaps thinking that some of the subscribers may be amused in seeing clowns, or fools, in _every piece_ and in every act. But this is nothing compared with the frequent bursts of bravo, bravissimo, from people who were earnestly engaged in a _private_ conversation, and after they have rewarded the _Soprano_ with a clap and a roar, turn round to each other, and exclaim with a vacant stare--"vastly fine!" -- "what was it?" "Exquisite," etc., whereby they show their _taste_, though unconscious of the cause. This free and easy conduct would not be allowed in English Theatre, thanks to the _gods_, no, the gentry in the _upper house- would never patronize _such_ proceedings.
There is one distinguishing mark which characterizes the fashion of the present time from that of every former period; manly, puffing in the newspapers. A Rout is now announced in the public prints, will all the pomp and circumstances of "_folly_," and at as great length, and almost as _well written, as some of those literary morceaux which frequently issue from the inspired pen of Martin Van Butchel, or the renowned _cutting_ Packwood. Indeed, the volumes of out diurnal prints are so filled with _haut-ton_ intelligence, that a wig-maker, or a toothache doctor can scarcely squeeze in a line, thought they are men eminently useful; for the former promises to settle your _head_, and the latter to whet your grinders. -- Newspapers, instead of being what they once were, vehicles of instruction and interesting intelligence, are now filled with the foolish and disgusting details of routs, gormandizing, gluttony, visiting, and guzzling.
Formerly our journals were the "abstract an brief chronicles of the times," and were collected and treasured up as records for posterity, or as materials for the historian; but what a curious collection would a parcel of our modern journals make, filled with the names of persons, who, but for the _Newspapers_ would never be recorded in any way except in the tradesman's book of _bad debts_! With what interest and delight must posterity read such intelligence as the following:--
"Five hundred cards of invitation are issued for Mrs. _Shallowhead's_ masquerade on Tuesday -- Count _Storm-Bag_ gives his grand _Fete Champetre_ on Friday; we hear that cards of invitation have been sent to all the gay, the idle, the frivolous, and the stupid in town, -- consequently a most delicious day may be expected!!!
"Viscount -------"s grand dinner on Tuesday. At the splendid entertainment given on Sunday by Elfy Bey, there was a most elegant assemblage of Fashionable belles, and every other _delicacy_ that could be _expected_.
"The _venerable _ Lady ------ and her two amiable grand- daughters sang a trio on Friday night at lady Squanderfield's _Drum-major_, which astonished all present -- 'Say, lady fair, where are you going?'
"The lady of Sir T---C---, presented her lord with twins on Saturday, at her delightful Villa at Leatherhead.
"At the grand masquerade _warehouse_ in ----- Square, on Wednesday night, the doors were thrown open at an early hour; upwards of 700 persons sat down (and threw off the mask) to a sumptuous supper, whom the feast of _reason_ detained till a late hour, when they separated in _great order_ to their respective homes. At this matchless Fete, there was a galaxy of patent lamps and a forest of green house plants. The company consisted of the following illustrious personages, viz. ------ and ----- and brothers, lady ----- and her accomplished daughters -----, the venerable lord ----- and his lovely _young_ wife, besides numberless others of the _first distinction_." But this is nothing compared with the bulletin of health, and the different movements of this army of Fashion, which, according to Burke, constitutes the Corinthian capital of polished society.
"We are informed that lady Betty B----- is at Bath, and every morning at an early hour visits the pump room, to the great satisfaction of her friends.
"Belcher and Jemmy from Town are now rusticating at the elegant villa of a lord in Hertforshire. Poor Miss G---- being disappointed in her matrimonial scheme, takes it greatly to heart and has retired (in dudgeon) to the country. The Hon. Capt. ----- , who was wounded in an affair of hour, on Saturday, died on Monday. That charming creature (Shock) Lady -----'s lap-dog, has got the influenza. Col. )-----'s Parrot is speechless. We hear Viscount ---- intends in a few days to lead his cook maid to the hymeneal alter." From such _stuff_ as the above is the future historian to collect materials for the history of the age, and the antiquary (yet unborn) to glean the _curiosities_ of _past times_.
If by some unforeseen event, or uncommon circumstance, the dinner be retarded only for half an hour, how the physiognomy of each guest lengthens, how the most animated conversation becomes languid, the visage darkens, the muscles are paralyzed; in short, how every eye is mechanically turned towards the dining-rooms! Does the obstacle cease, does the butler announce that dinner is served -- this little word produces the effect of a talisman; it contains a magic influence which restores to each person his wonted serenity, liveliness, and wit. A good appetite is expressed in every eye, hilarity reigns in every heart, and the impatience with which each takes possession of his plate, is a manifest of certain sign of the unanimity of wishes and the unity of sentiments; nature now assumes her rights, and even the flatterer allows his thoughts to be read in his countenance.
To shorten the ceremony usually attendant on sitting down, it would be a good plan to cause the name of each guest to be fixed to the plate destined for him. Every one seated, an universal silence prevails, which attests the strength and unanimity of sensations.
If to repair sooner the strength he has abused, our glutton has recourse to rhubarb, treacle, diascordium and all the tonical digestives which pharmacy offers, he will be but the more to be pitied, as he must soften the effect of the drugs after being cured of his complaint, and this cure is often more tedious than the other.
Wisdom advises him to be temperate, to avoid excesses, and to consult his appetite rather than his sensuality; this is doubtless a very good counsel, and readily hearkened to in sickness, but disdained in health. It is thus that the mariner, timid an devout in the midst of a storm, braves new dangers as soon as the sky reassumes its serenity. When the winds are favourable, he believes no more in hell than a glutton does in medicine as long as he can digest.
A THROSTLE'S NEST, AND GOOSE-BERRIES IN WINTER
The singular mildness of the present winter has been generally marked by the premature appearance of flowers, and other productions of nature: apples and pear trees have blossomed and borne fruit, gooseberries were plucked at Christmas, and the throstle's nest with three eggs in it was found in a Cheshire garden on the 4th of January. But a still greater curiosity is to be seen at Chester. A gooseberry bush which grows in a joint of the city walls (by the kaleyards), has never failed for 20 years, to shew its fruit in the depth of winter, however sever: as it seems to be of the common kind, it may teach the speculative and curious gardener, how to plant, to procure this and perhaps other fruit, earlier than they have hitherto ever been attempted.
Two or three duels may occur, where the parties have missed fire, never meaning to hit each other; and one or two where the consequences are more serious, the parties may be tried at the Court of Sessions, but the laws of honour will prevail in favor of the acquittal.
Some thousand sermons will be preached and not attended to, and many that are attended to will not be understood.
Several coaches, carrying to many outside passengers, will be overturned, and some of them will be severely bruised; but when the parties commence actions for redress, they will generally obtain damages.
The general topic of tea-table conversation will be the plague of servants, that they are above their work, and that they dress as fine as their mistresses.
It will be the fashion for ladies to wear no pockets, and a variety of circumstances may occasion some men to need none.
Apply or address (post paid) at the Bow-window, next door to Margaret-chapel, Margaret-street, Cavendish-square. Ladies may be waited on at their own houses, when she will be able to convince them that she is employed by persons of the highest respectability, and is deserving of the utmost confidence.
The Queen is an elegant artist, and an exquisite musician. Her Majesty's taste in the fine arts, particularly in that of _figure groups_, is universally admitted. One portrait of _Venus_, in her wavy car, has been much admired by the few who have seen it; or it is proper to observe that the Queen possesses that great degree of diffidence, which always accompanies real merit, and is extremely averse to having her productions exhibited. They are consequently always kept in her Majesty's port-folios.
The Queen's performances on the piano-forte are distinguished for brilliance of style, more than boldness and rapidity of execution. Her voice was , for her Majesty now seldom sings, sweetly harmonious. A German air, composed by the Queen, which her Majesty used frequently to sing, was much admired by the King for its taste, delicacy, and science. Needle-work, which is now considered as perfectly antediluvian, occupied a great portion of her Majesty's time.
A council was held at the Royal Academy on Wednesday, Dec. 20, for the purpose of electing a President, and distributing the three silver annual Prize Medals; when, after sitting from seven until half past eleven o'clock, Benjamin West, Esq. was re-elected President. -- Mr. Wyatt then presented the medals to Mr. Mulready for the best drawing from life; Mr. Cote, for the best model from life; and Mr. Gandy, for an architectural drawing, West View of ST. Paul's, from actual measurement. His drawing was the only one for the medal.
Smithfield Cattle Show. -- About four o'clock on Monday, Dec 16, a meeting of the Smithfield Club took place at Freemason's Tavern.
About five o'clock near 300 Noblemen, Gentlemen, and Graziers, sat down to a very excellent dinner in the Freemason's Hall' Lord Wm. Russell in the Chair. His Lordship stated, that on account of the Hertfordshire breed of cattle having so uniformly of late borne off the prizes offered by the Club, it was in future intended, and he was happy that the funds of the Club admitted of it, to alter and increase the premiums, by offering separate prizes of 20 guineas each for the best ox or steer shewn of the following breeds, viz. Herfordshire, long-horned, short-horned, Sussex or Kent, Devonshire, and any mixed breed, not weighing less than 120 stone, and to have been worked two years; also an additional 10 guineas to the owner of the best ox or steer shewn as above; also for the best ox or steer of any breed, under 120 stone, either worked or not, but fed without cake or corn. These alterations were greatly applauded.
A hedgehog's nest in a scratch wig. A few days since, as a labourer was at work near the turnpike-road, between Downham Market and Denver, in the county of Norfolk, he discovered at the bottom of a dry ditch, three young hedgehogs, most curiously nestled within the warm and comfortable recess of a brown scratch wig, supposed to have been lost, a short time previous thereto, by some good-humoured _happy_ fellow, on his return from the _jollifications_ of a tithe-feast. It is a singular circumstance, not unworthy the attention of the naturalist, that the dam should have made choice of such an habitation for her young, as, from its dishevelled appearance at that time, nay even in the good-looking days of its prosperity, it so much resembled the formidable exterior of the little animal. Near the same spot were also found, a law treatise, and a brace of brilliant seven-shilling pieces, carefully folded up in the corner of a newspaper; the latter belonging to an honest inn-keeper at Downham, and supposed also to have been other vestiges of that festive "Day of Jubilee and Jolity." The mustachio. Our young bucks of distinction, not content with their enormous whiskers, have mounted the Jewish mustachio on the upper lip. The ladies at first affected a dislike to this _odious barrier_; but as modern fashion soon reconciles the sex to any novelty, the _mustachio salute_ is not only sanctioned now by the dowagers of the whiskerando tribe, but even voted by the young smooth-lipped bells to be "_funny_ enough!"
Mr. Attwood, who, we understand, was many years a pupil of the immortal Mozart, has not disparaged his tutor by his brilliant piece. The effect is such as to inspire the soldier with an ardent zeal for his King and country. The instrumental parts are wonderfully effective. We had the opportunity of hearing it performed at Mrs. Cheese's private concerts, by Miss cheese and Mr. Smith , where not of its beauties were lost by the vocal execution of that young lady.
The Mirror of Wit. Dull, witless, vapid, stale Jo Miller and Tom Brown, hashed up and served up again, but not improved, as the cook had little or no attick salt at hand to season it with. We were surprised at seeing so many odd witticisms, attempting to make their way into the world again. And we were disgusted with several jokes, such as should never meet the public eye. The compilers should remember always, "That want of decency is want of sense."
Walking match. Some time ago, a gentleman at Paisley, in Yorkshire, sixty years of age, undertook to walk for a bet of one hundred pounds, 50 miles in 24 hours. Previous to setting out, 1400 more was offered and readily accepted. HE stared at one o'clock in the morning of the 2d of January, without having been in bed and after having spent the preceding night with several friends in the most jovial manner. During the first three miles, owing to the extreme darkness of the morning, he fell several times; however, not discouraged by the untowardness of the commencement, he continued his exertions, and, with ease, accomplished the journey in seventeen hours and fifty minutes.
The noble science. A singular and desperate battle was fought on Thursday morning at North Shields, between two old soldiers, on of whom was an Irishman. A each of them wanted an arm, it could not be expected that the _noble science_ was so scientifically displayed as to please an amateur of the _fine art_. Both stumps and fists, however, were vigorously employed, and the battle at length terminated fatally to the gigantic Hibernian, who receiving a kick, accompanied with a shove from the stump of his antagonist, though little more than half his size, fell to the ground and broke his leg.
Running match between a lady and a colonel. On Friday, the long expected match, between the lady of Col.----- and -----, Esq., was run on the race-course at -----, in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators; the day was fine, the sport excellent, and the lady _rode_ triumphant. Indeed, Mrs. ----, who has long been considered the greatest _whip_ in the kingdom, completely _beat_ her man the first heat, to the great gratification of the sporting connoisseurs who assembled on that occasion. The Marchioness of ----- hunted on Thursday with _her_ harriers in the neighbourhood of -----; her Ladyship is said to be the best _sportsman_ in that sporting country!!! From these _interesting_ records, the merchant, the philosopher, the politician, the foreigner, must be highly gratified and instructed; but they may know, perhaps, better how to appreciate them, when informed, that there are a few _elegant_ accomplished gentlemen, of refined talents, who obtain their livelihood, and procure _distinction_ by penning these interesting essays, and scraps of intelligence. The people of fashion have been much satirised for pride, and repulsive dignity; but this must be false, or they surely would not converse and communicate freely with sycophant scribblers and necessitous adventurers, merely for the purpose of obtaining a puff in a fashionable advertisement. These associations are, however, sometimes attended with inconvenience, as a nobleman may deem it _prudent_, if not pleasant, to shake hands with a man he despises.
Sporting Extraordinary . --A fine field of sportsmen, amounting to about 70, lately went out with the Croydon Harriers. The dogs soon came on a fine fresh scent, which they ran breast high, near fifty miles, without ever being at fault. The sportsmen were confident that they were in chase of a strong fox and enjoyed the sport exceedingly. Three horses fell dead from the excessive fatigue. At last the dogs ran in upon their prey, which proved to be a drag, made of a piece of hay, with a piece of bacon, rubbed with oil of aniseed. This trick is attributed to a jealousy between the gentlemen of the regular fox hounds and those of the harriers, the latter having lately drawn the covers on the day when the earth was stepped for the fox hounds. It is understood to have been carried into effect by three men, stationed at a distance of about fifteen miles asunder, who dragged this bate across the country, relieving each other.
A patron of sport. Fletcher Read, Esq., a celebrated patron of the art of boxing, was found dead in his bed at his residence at Shepperton. He had gone to rest rather late, after several hours spent in a convivial manner. For the last three years Mr. Read had devoted the whole of his study to fistic diversions: and had expended a handsome fortune in backing most of the bruisers of the day. He felt many severe losses in betting against the Game Chicken, which he uniformly did: and since the contest between Belcher and the Chicken, his finances had been very low. He had received the tidings of the death of his mother two days previous to his decease, by which he had come to considerable property. FASHIONS FOR JANUARY, 1807 Court dresses for her Majesty's birthday. The return of the frigid season brings with it once more, to every loyal bosom, the happy occasion of doing honour to the birthday of our gracious and amiable Queen. Fancy and taste have been long busy in making preparations, and the condescension of a noble lady has enabled us to anticipate some of the characteristics that are likely to distinguish the habiliments of that day. The design which she has done us the honour to communicate brings the whole into a central point of consideration, and we have therefore only to describe it.
For ladies. -- The hair is dressed in natural curls round the face, with a coronet, bandeau, or other ornament in gold -- feathers of every kind. The body, sleeves and petticoat, of rich full coloured satin or velvet; the draperies of gauze or tiffany spotted with gold embroidery; the trimmings and false sleeves of the same, edged with rich lace, and the cords and tassels that festoon the draperies, of gold. The bracelets round the sleeves, the zone and the binding of the petticoat to be of plate gold, we suppose in commemoration of the lately achieved conquest of South America. The petticoat is decorated with artificial wreaths of white thorn made in relief. For Gentlemen. -- Dark-green, or other dark colour, coat and small-cloaths of silk, velvet, or fine cloth, covered with a small spot somewhat lighter of the same kind of colour, edged with silver lace, and embroidered with any kind of wild flower of acknowledged British growth; waistcoat of white satin embroidered in a very light pattern of gold thread. Silk stockings perfectly white.
A morning walking dress. -- A plain muslin dress, walking length, made high in front and forms a shirt collar, richly embroidered; long sleeves, also embroidered round the wrists, and at the bottom of the dress; a pelisse opera coat, without any seam in the back, composed of orange-blossom tinged with brown, made of Angola cloth, or sarsnet, trimmed either with rich Chinchealley fur, or sable tipt with gold; white fur will also look extremely delicate. The pelisse sets close to the form on one side, and is fastened on the right shoulder with a broach; both sides may be worn close as a wrapping pelisse. _Indispensables_ are still much worn, and of the same colour as the dress. The Agrippina hat, made at Millard's corner of Southampton -street, Strand, is truly elegant and quite new; the hair in loose curls, confined with a band of hair; ear-rings are quite out of fashion. Leather gloves, the high shoes or half-boots, of orange-blossom, brown velvet or kid. An evening full dress. -- White sarsnet train slip, trimmed round the bottom with a silver spangled bordering; grey crape dress; short sleeves fulled into silver net, crossing the left shoulder and passing under the right arm, form an elegant brace; the net to be continued in the stile of drapery to the left side, which is looped up with silver cord and tassel; a silver embroidered front, made high and shaped square to the bosom, to be worn without a tucker; the bottom of the sleeves cut with a point and confined up with a silver cord and tassel to correspond with the drapery. Cap of grey velvet and lace, the right side a plaiting of velvet, trimmed round with silver chain; the left a short lace veil, confined to the velvet in front with a silver passion flower, tied behind with silver cord and tassels. The dress should be broached on the shoulder.
General observations on ladies' dress for January, 1807. Never was there a period that exhibited a greater variety of female decorations than the present; and it is as difficult to find a _costume_ to condemn, as to describe one that has a decided preference. Our general observations on dress differ materially from the communications of last month; although short dresses still continue to be worn in the morning, there are, notwithstanding, great variations in the mode of their composition, and in the choice of the _costume_. The most fashionable females consider no morning dress so truly elegant, in point of simplicity and neatness, as the _chemise_ dress, made of muslin or cambric, drawn close round the throat with a broad lace frill, and to set entirely plain in the front, so as to form the shape of the bosom; and fluted round the sleeves and the bottom of the dress.
The most approved _pelisse_ opera coat, and which will be general during the month of January, is composed of twilled sarsnet or Angola cloth, of orange-blossom, tinged with brown and trimmed with white swansdown, sable or Chinchealley fur. The Agrippina mantle is quite novel and is formed of tiger fur, lined with sarsnet to match: a broad cape of the same falling on the shoulders; these mantles, tiger fur tippets, and _pelisse_ opera coats, composed of orange-blossom, tinged with brown, will be very prevalent in the land of fashion. The Agrippina hat is the most tasty hat that has ever been made of straw, and will be universally worn. Tiger fur bonnets are also much in estimation. There is little necessity or opportunity for a lengthened description of full Dress, as the Court mourning renders observations to fashions rather confined; ornaments and trimmings being obliged to wear a _sombre_ hue; but the present mode of dress will, doubtless, preserve the enchanting elegance which has been so much approved by the well-discerning _Noblesse_; grey crape with black or grey bugles, tastefully introduced in the dresses, have an elegant effect. Some of our dashing _belles_ have also introduced silver trimmings; they have a brilliant appearance in the full dress already described. One of the London fashionables has again introduced the train frocks, which wee a short time since so much approved of; they have undergone some variations, and are cut into a long train on one side, and squares off to the length of petticoat on the other side; a light embroidery of silver leaves, short sleeves drawn into quarters at the top so as to cover the tip of the shoulder, separated with broad silver chain; embroidery of silver leaves round the bottom of the sleeves to match with the extremity of the dress; the body shaped to the bosom, made entirely of lace and silver leaves to correspond with the remainder part of the dress; and made sufficiently high, so that it may be worn alone; this ornament in dress must cover a white satin slip; grey crape made in nearly the same manner and trimmed with swans' down, is very elegant. With full dress, the hind part of the hair is brought to the left side of the front, with a large rosette of curls, under which, a band of hair confines the left ear, and exposes the right; fastened in front with either a brilliant diamond star or pearls. Some Fashionables prefer the hair cut short in the neck and curled long and high on the top, parting shews the whole of the forehead; others adopt a plain band of hair _a la Grecque_ on the left side, on the other three small plaits, ranging towards the back part of the head, and passing behind the right ear, so as to leave the whole exposed. This kind of head-dress is worn with fronted _tiara_ fronts silver or gold nets, drawn to the side of the head, according to the taste of the wearer: pearl or silver passion flowers are much worn in dress caps. Fans are made of white or grey crape, spotted with silver or gold. Ridicules are fashionable; and York tanned gloves are most approved of for the morning dress. White stockings, stockings with small narrow clocks, white kid gloves, white or grey satin shoes, are the necessary appendages for full dress. Half boots or high shoes, made of orange-blossom or brown kid; black velvet or kid boots, are indispensable for morning dress. A morning walking dress for gentlemen is composed of a dark brown coat, with double-breasted lappels, cut into angles, skirt moderately long; fancy toilinette, but chiefly marsailles, waistcoat, leather breeches, with two or three buttons ascending above the knee; boots with round toes, and dark brown glossy tops.
Morning coats of dark brown mixtures, or dark green mixtures, made either according to the same style as the evening coats, or single breasted, and rather short, are still fashionable. These we observe to have generally a moderate sized metal plated button; and though collars of the same cloth are much used, a black velvet collar is considered as carrying a greater degree of style.
The few coloured coats for full dress that have been worn, during the last month, have undergone but trifling variation; when the mourning is over, dark-greens will gain an ascendancy in the circle of fashion; and brown coats with collars of the same will still be much in favour.
The collar of coats, though made to rise well up in the neck, is, however, not so extremely high as it was formerly. It is now made just sufficient to admit of a small portion of the neck-cloth being seen above it; it then descends gradually on the sides of the neck, so as to fall open and rather low in the front; the waistcoats are worn both double and single-breasted with collars of moderate heights to support themselves freely from the neck; and as they are buttoned only about half way up, and only two or three of the lower button of the coat fastened, they are made to show the drapery of the shirt to much advantage by the apparent fullness they display when tastefully made, and properly adapted to the body. The breeches come tolerably high up on the hip, and are two or three inches below the bend of the knee, where they sit perfectly close, taking, as they ascend, a gradual increase of size, sufficient to make them completely full, but at the same time void of the extravagant folds which they exhibited some months past: the colours of the small-clothes were becoming somewhat more of the orange blossom, or fawn, in compliment to the Ladies, who at present seem such attached to these colours in their pelisses; and we think they would have become pretty general had they not been prevented by the introduction of black; they will be taken into favour during the present month, as they are much admired in the _haut-ton_.