The book, and his hunger for media attention, did little to endear him to the old guard, who valued their privacy in an era when millionaires were the equivalent of modern movie stars. His funeral, held on February 5, , was well attended by many society figures of the day, including Chauncey Depew and Cornelius Vanderbilt II. THE first object to be aimed at is to make your dinners so charming and agreeable that invitations to them are eagerly sought for, and to let all feel that it is a great privilege to dine at your house, where they are sure they will meet only those whom they wish to meet.
You cannot instruct people by a book how to entertain. Kindle Edition , pages. Published first published March 5th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Aug 08, Em Elizabeth rated it liked it. Entertaining yet trivial in the grand scheme of things. Perfect for research on my Cliff Walk Courtships series.
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Mcallister cites many stories and antecdotes, but never gives names. Its always " a beautiful, charming lady I know I bought this book because I read he was shunned by "society" after he wrote it. I don't know what anyone could have had a problem with. He doesn't name anyone. He doesn't even say anything mean or catty in the whole book. He is so full of himself and such a groveler to such people as Carolyn Schermerhorn Astor, one of the few people he didn't name that I still recognized by his description. Even if his contemporaries knew all the people he was describing, it was all complimentary and no more than was in the newspapers of the time.
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My Irishman got up and com- menced taking his coat off. My traveling Louisiana friend had a charming way of suggesting each morning, as we paid our hotel bills, that we should toss up a five-franc piece and decide, by heads and tails, who was to pay the bill. I did this once or twice, when I found, as he always won and I lost, it was a losing business for me ; but on another occasion was forced into the plan. To ascend the mountain at Lugano, three wretched beasts were brought us by the Italian boys to mount for the ascent. The Judge insisted on tossing up a five-franc piece for choice of animals.
I was compelled to give in and accede to his suggestion, and by great good luck won first choice. My friend, the Judge, forbade the Doctor advising me as to the animal I should take, as he knew him to be a good judge of horses. With my experi- ence of mules in the South, knowing what sure-footed creatures they were, I chose the mule, had him blindfolded, mounted him, and off I went.
After waiting an hour on the summit, the Judge appeared, coat and hat gone, and swearing terribly that he would prosecute the canton for his treat- ment, and horsewhip the Italian boys. He had let the horse go, and footed it. I soon slipped away on my mule, letting the irate Louisianian and the Irishman settle it, on top of the mountain, how they were to have satisfaction out of the government for permitting such beasts to be imposed upon travelers. The pony was at first gentle, but it appears would not go beyond a walk.mangiardino.com/sram-rojo-shifter-manual.php
Society as I have found it.
The Judge hung on to his tail to guide himself down the mountain, and find- ing he would not go fast enough to suit them, he assured the Irishman he would fix him, and immediately stuck his penknife into the beast's tail. These beasts alone knew the way down ; once parted from them, they were lost, for the Italian boys who had furnished them had long since fled from the Judge's wrath.
The Judge and the Doctor forbade my pay- ing the hotel bill, and I had to do it sur- reptitiously. My Irish friend, living far from the sea, had a passion for all fish but pike, which he detested, and which was daily served to us wherever we went ; finally, reaching Berlin, he insisted on having sea fish. It was promised us, but, lo and be- hold!
After din- ner we went to the opera, and there, in the ballet superbly done as it was , were at least one hundred pike dancing on the stage, which so upset my friend that he seized his hat in a rage and left the house. AFTER you have been a little while in Europe you are seized with a desire to have a house of your own, to enjoy home comforts.
Your loss of individuality comes over you. The Duchess of Hamilton had abandoned the idea of passing the winter in Pau, so that many lovely resi- dences were seeking tenants. A country of beautiful women ; the peasantry a mixture of Span- ish and French blood ; the climate so soft and genial as to take away all harshness or roughness from their faces rich Titian- like women, with fine coloring and superb figures what more could man desire?
I was, I may say, a pioneer American there. A member of a distinguished New York family, who had been our Secretary of Legation at Madrid, had preceded me ; he had a lovely English wife, was the master of the hounds, and gave me a cordial recep- tion. I ran down to Bordeaux, made friends with all the wine fraternity there, tasted and criticised, and wormed myself into the good graces of the owners of those enormous Bordeaux caves, learned there for the first time what claret was, and how impossible it was to drink out of Bordeaux, what a Bordeaux connoisseur would call a perfect wine.
Pau was filled with sick English people. I was one of the few sound men physically in the place. I dashed into society with a vim. My Louisiana friend, the Judge, fol- lowed me there, and I had my hands full in establishing him socially. Shrewd, and im- mensely clever, he came to me one day and said, " My friend, I am going to make a name for myself in this place ; wait and you will see.
Shepherds on stilts tended a few sheep on it. The judge at once had an interview with the Prefet of the Basses Pyrenees an officer similar to the governor of one of our States , and assured him of the feasibility of reclaiming all this land and making fine cotton fields of it. This scheme, wonderful to relate, was seized upon with avidity by the Prefet, and my friend, the Judge, was asked to submit his views. This was all he wanted. Of course he never perfected his plans for such work.
The Prefet, however, was at once his friend and admirer, and he was made the distinguished and sought-after stranger of that winter. He then came to me to get up a dinner for him, to be given to his newly acquired friend, which he charged me to make the most brilliant and superb dinner ever given in that place. When his guests were all assembled in his salon, my friend could not remember who was to take in who to dinner; so with great coolness he walked over to me, and to dis- tract the attention of his assembled guests, said, in a loud voice, " Your horses, I am told, have run away, upset your carriage, and killed the coachman.
It is hard to convince an old business man, who has had large experience and amassed a fortune, that any one can do anything in his line better than himself. Therefore, when I gave my mer- chant prince exquisite Bordeaux wines that I knew were incomparable, and extolled them, he quietly replied: Now, you must know, that the house of Johnson can alone furnish what I class as the best clarets.
All I had to do was to write the above statement to Mr. The hunt was then really the feature of Pau life, for those who could not follow in the saddle would, after attending the meet, take to the roads and see the best of the run. General Bosquet, returning then to Pau, his native city, was feted by both French and English. He had so distin- guished himself in the Crimean War that all regarded him as a great hero. The English particularly wanted to express their admiration of him, so they asked him to appear with his friends at the next Meet, and follow in the hunt, promising him rare sport and a good run after a bagged fox.
To do him honor, the French, to a man, ordered new hunting suits, all of them turned out in "pink," and being in force made indeed a great show. My Irish doctor was by my side, in great good humor, and a wicked twinkle in his eye. Turning to me he said: Not a man of them will clear that 'bank and ditch. It was cruel ; but men should not pretend to ride after hounds when they cannot take the jumps.
It was the severest jump they could find in any part of that country, purposely chosen for that reason. My doctor's little Irish boy, a lad of sixteen years, went at it, and cleared it at a bound. I saw the master of the hunt an American, a splen- did looking fellow, superbly mounted, and a beautiful rider , with General Bosquet at his side, turn to the General who was rid- ing one of his horses , and shout: All his friends followed him. Forward they went, but only for a few rods, when every horse, as if shot, came to a full stop, planted his fore- feet in front of him, and neither whip nor spur could budge him.
None would take the jump ; every Frenchman's face became ashey pale, and I really felt sorry for them. Not a Frenchman, with the exception of the General, took that jump. After this, the mere mention of fox hunting would set the Frenchmen wild. It was cruel, but it was sport. Men should not attempt to do what is not in them. Passing two winters at Pau and the summers at Baden-Baden, keeping four horses at the former place, following the hounds at least once a week, giving all through the winter from one to two dinners a week, with an English housekeeper, and living as well as I could possibly live, with the cost of my ball included, I did not spend half the amount in living that I am compelled to in New York.
The ball cost me but eight hundred dollars. CALLED home by the stupidity of an agent, who was unable to treat with my old friend, Commodore Vanderbilt, for an extension of his lease of our dock property, most unwillingly we left our dear old Pau, with all its charming associations, and re- turned to New York. I have always had a great fondness for men older than myself.
Din- ing with him constantly, I suggested that he should dine with me ; to which he readily assented. So I went to Cranston, my landlord of the New York Hotel, and put him to his trumps to give me a suitable dinner. His hotel was then crowded, and I had actually to take down a bedstead and improvise a dining-room.
Cranston was one of those hotel-keepers who worked as much for glory as for money. He gave us simply a perfect dinner, and my dear old friend and his wife enjoyed it. I remem- ber his saying to me, " My young friend, if you go on giving such dinners as these you need have no fear of planting yourself in this city. Le Potage de Consomme de Volaille, a la Royale. Le Basse rayee, grillee, Sauce Remoulade. Les Pommes de Terre, a la Lyonnaise. La Mayonnaise de Homard, decoree a la gelee. Le Filet de Boeuf, pique, roti, aux champignons.
Les Cailles, truffees, a la Financiere. Les Cotelettes d'Agneau, a la Soubise. Les Tomates, a 1'Americaine. Les Petits Pois, a la Frangaise. Le Celeri, au jus. Les Huitres, grillees, a la Ste. Le Pouding de Cabinet. La Gelee, au rhum. Les Meringues, a la Chantilly. Les Glaces de Creme, a la Portugaise.
Just at this time three charming men visited New York and were feted by my little circle of friends. They were Lord Frederick Cavendish, Hon. Evelyn Ashley, and G. Fearing a cold winter, and a friend who was going off on a foreign mission offering me his furnished house in Savannah, with all his servants, etc.
Finding my Eng- lish friends also going South, I invited them to pass a month with me in my Southern home. All my European pur- chases, my china, glass, and bric-a-brac, I did not even unbale in New York, but shipped them directly to Savannah. I naturally prided myself, on appearing in my native city, in putting my best foot foremost, and entertaining as well as I knew how, or, rather, in giving to my Southern friends, the benefit of my European educa- tion in the way of dinner giving.
I found this, at first, instead of gratifying my father's friends rather piqued them ; they said " Heydey! Why, his father did not pretend to do this. Let us let him severely alone," which for a time they did. I took up the young fry, who let their elders very soon know that I had certainly learned something and that Mc's dinners were bound to be a feature in Savannah. Then the old patriarch of the place relented and asked me to a grand dinner.
Southern people then wor- shipped the English nobility. They prided themselves on retaining all the old English habits and customs, and of being descend- ants of the greatest nation of the world, excepting their own. The host at the dinner announced the coming of these distinguished men, and wondered who in Savannah would have the honor of enter- taining them. The British Consul then spoke up, he was a great character there, giving the finest dinners, and being an authority on wine, i.
Madeira, " Her Majesty's Consul will have the honor. This same good old Consul had ig- nored me, hearing I had had the audacity to give at my table filet de bceuf aux truffes et champignons. I returned home feeling sure that these young noblemen would be but a few hours under my roof before Her Majesty's Consul would give me the honor of a visit. Meeting me at the door he threw his arms around my neck, exclaiming, " My dear boy, I was in love with your mother thirty years ago ; you are her image ; carry me to your noble guests.
My filets de bceuf, and the scions of noble English houses placed me in the front social rank in that little, aristocratic town, and brought forth from one of its oldest inhabitants the exclama- tion, " My dear boy, your aunts, the Tel- fairs, could give breakfasts, but you, you can give dinners. The leader improvised his song, the others only singing in chorus. On these occasions, the colored people would give you in song all the annoyances they were subjected to, and the current events of plantation life, bringing in much of and about their " Massa " and his family, as follows: The flowers, particularly the rose called the Cloth of Gold, and the black rose, I was most prodigal with.
I had given a fee to the clerk of the market to scour the country for game and delicacies, so our dinners were excellent, and the old South- ern habit of sitting over Madeira until the small hours was adopted, and was, with the bright minds I had brought together, most enjoyable. IN a small place, life is monotonous if you do not in some way break up this monotony. I bethought me of a friend who lived some distance from Savannah, who had a deer park, was a sportsman, and was also the soul of hospitality.
His pride lay in his family and his surroundings ; so I wrote to him as follows: Will you then invite my guests and me to pay you a visit and give us a chance at your deer? I and my whole county will receive them and do them honor. A ruffled shirt, not spotless, a fierce air, an enormous false diamond pin, as big as a crown piece, in the center of his ruffled shirt bosom, with a thin gold chain attached to it and to his waistcoat, to prevent its loss.
He at once approached me and exclaimed, " By Jove! Me, introduce me to your noble friends. I repeatedly heard him exclaim, " No jackass stock here, sir ; all thorough- breds! I could tell 'em in the dark. You could cut them with a knife, as it were. My friend, a six-footer, stepped up to my guests and was presented. He then addressed them as follows: At this point, our hospitable host called the attention of his lordship to his horses and gave him their pedigree. One was sixteen hands high, had a bob tail, and high action ; the other was a little pony of fourteen hands, with an ambling gait.
Not giving any sign of moving, our host held forth as follows: You see how well my boy keeps thek- harnesses. Cavendish, I saw, was laughing inwardly, but suppressed it. The straw in one collar was bulging out, one turret was gone, and a piece of rope lengthened one of the traces.
Truly, it had seen better days. If he calls that a fitting harness for his horses, what am I to expect in the way of a house and deer park? The house was a charming old Southern plantation house, and the owner of it, the embodiment of hospitality. When the cloth was removed at dinner, I trembled. For my dear old father had always told me that on his circuit annually made by the Savannah lawyers he always avoided this house, for in it one could never find so much as a glass of whiskey. What then was my surprise, to have placed before us a superb bottle of sherry, since world-renowned, i. The next morning, at the very break of day fixed for our deer hunt, the negro boys commenced tooting horns.
As soon as I could see, I looked out of my windows and there saw four old lean, lank dogs, lifeless looking creatures, and four marsh tackeys, decorated, front and rear, with an abundance of burrs. We were out eight hours, went through swamp after swamp, our tackeys up to their fetlocks in mud, and sorry a deer did we see. One wild turkey flew over us, which my host's colored huntsman killed, the only man in the party who could shoot at all. Returning to Savannah, we went after quail. One morning, being some fourteen miles from the city, we felt famished, hav- ing provided no lunch basket.
I asked a friend, who was shooting with us and act- ing as our guide, if there was a white man's house within a mile or two where we could get a biscuit. He replied, " No, not one. He reflected, and then said, as if to himself, " Oh, no use to go there, we will get nothing. He gave me his name. Jones, who goes to Newport every sum- mer? He has for years asked me to visit his plantation. He lives like a prince. I saw him at a great fete at Ochre Point, Newport, several years ago.
He turned up his nose at everything there, saying to me, "Why, my dear fellow, these people don't know how to live.
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This fte is nothing to what I can do, at my place. Why, sir, I have so much silver I dare not keep it in my house. The vaults of the State Bank of Georgia are filled with my silver. This fete may be well enough here, but come to me at the South, come to my plantation, and I will show you what a fete is.
I will show you how to live. That is ' big ' talk. Go on to your friend's place and see what you will find. We reached the plantation, on which we found a one-story log cabin, with a front piazza, one large center room, and two shed rooms. There was a small yard, inclosed with pine palings to keep out the pigs, who were ranging about and ineffectually trying to gain an entrance.
We entered the house, and, seeing an old colored man, my Southern friend opened on the old darkey with: With this, my Southern friend stepped to the back door of the house, asked the old man to point him out a fat turkey. The old darkey did this, saying, " There's one, sir, but, Lord help me, Massa, don't kill him.
Up to the shoulder went the gun, and down fell the turkey. Now, turning to the old darkey, he said: A few minutes before six, we returned, and heard indeed a racket in that old cabin. Who in the devil can they be? Up went his arms in astonishment. Glad to see you and your friends. Our host was a thoroughly local man ; one of those men who, when in Paris, would say, " I'm going to town," when he proposed returning to Savannah, which, at that time, was to him the metropolis of America.
At a large dinner in -Savannah, given to an ex-Mayor of New York, one of the best dinner-givers in that city made the fore- going statement, and the ex-Mayor actually called upon me to substantiate it, declaring it had always been his practice thus to sup- ply his table, when he invited a dozen or more people to dinner. So far from this being the case, I then and there assured my Southern friends that no people in the world lived better than New Yorkers, so far as creature comforts were concerned.
Spanish mackerel, Saratoga potatoes, soft shell crabs, woodcock, chicken partridges, and lettuce salad. I doubted then, and I doubt now, if the dinners in London are better than our New York dinners, given by one of the innumerable good dinner-givers. Our material is better in New York, and our cooks are equally as good as those in England. The sauces of the French cuisine are its feature, while there is not a single sauce in African or Southern cook- ing. The French get the essence and flavor out of fowl, and discard the huge joints. Take for instance, soup ; give a colored cook a shin of beef and a bunch of carrots and turnips, and of this he makes a soup.
A Frenchman, to give you a con- sommt royale, requires a knuckle of veal, a shin of beef, two fat fowls, and every vege- table known to man. The chef is an educated, cultivated artist. The colored cook, such as nature made him, possessing withal a wonderful natural taste, and the art of making things savory, i. His cookery book is tradition. French chefs have their inspirations, are in every way almost as much inspired as writers.
The reply was, " Where are the materials for it, your Majesty? I have nothing here but herbs and cream.
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The chef did this, and produced one of the best sauces in the French cuisine, known as sauce Bearnaise. Having exhausted quail and snipe shoot- ing and made a failure at deer hunting, we went on the banks of the rice plantations at night, to shoot wild ducks, as they crossed the moon. Lord Frederick Cavendish assured me that if I were then living in England, I could not there lead a pleasanter life than I was then leading.
He liked everything at the South, the hos- pitality of the people, and their simple contentment and satisfaction with their sur- roundings. They would have easily brought half a million. I was then able to show my guests a Savannah picnic, which is an institution peculiar to the place. The heads of families carried, each of them, huge baskets containing their din- ner, and a full table service, wine, etc. On our arrival, all formed into groups under the trees, a cloth was laid on the ground, dishes, plates and glasses arranged on it, and the cham- pagne at once frapped in small hand pails.
Society As I Have Found It
There was then a dance in the open air, on a platform, and in the afternoon, with cushions as seats for the ladies, these im- provised dinner-tables were filled. Each had its separate hostess ; all was harmony and pleasure. As night approached, the people re-embarked on the steamer and returned home by moonlight.
MY English friends bidding me farewell, soon after, I gave up my Savannah house and made Newport my permanent home, for I spent nine months of the year there, with a winter trip to the West Indies. I must not omit to mention here that while passing the winter at Nassau, N. I had forgotten this kind promise, but on the day fixed for our departure it then blowing a gale, one of those terrible "northers" of the West Indies , I received a note from this gallant captain, telling me that his boat's crew had already crossed the bar, boarded our steamer, and learnt the precise spot where she would lie in the afternoon when she would take on her passengers.
In vain did I protest against his undertaking this dangerous piece of work. Do it he would ; and tak- ing the tiller himself, we were safely rowed in his gig, twelve miles, and boarded the vessel. On our reaching the deck of the steamer, I was struck with the obsequiousness of the steamer's captain to the naval officer, she was, by the way, a Cunarder.
My friend, the captain, then introduced me to one of his countrymen, saying to me, sim- ply, " You will find him a nice fellow. I introduced him to my friends in New York, and in return for the hospitality extended to him then, heard later that he, on receiv- ing letters of introduction from me, had paid marked attention to the bearers of the letters.
I relate this as an evidence that Englishmen do reciprocate attentions re- ceived in this country. Newport was now at its best. The most charming people of the country had formed a select little community there ; the society was small, and all were included in the gaieties and festivities. Those were the days that made Newport what it was then and is now, the most enjoyable and luxurious little island in America.
The farmers of the island even seemed to catch the infection, and they were as much inter- ested in the success of our picnics and country dinners, as we were ourselves. They threw open their houses to us, and never heeded the invasion, on a bright sun- shiny day, of a party of fifty people, who took possession of their dining-room, in fact of their whole house, and frolicked in it to their heart's content. To be sure, I had often to pacify a farmer when a livened groom robbed his hen roost, but as he knew that this fashionable horde paid their way, he was easily soothed.
The charm of the place then was the simple way of entertaining ; there were no large balls ; all the dancing and dining was done by daylight, and in the country. I did not hesitate to ask the very crme de la crhne of New York society to lunch and dine at my farm, or to a fishing party on the rocks.
My little farm dinners gained such a repu- tation that my friends would say to me: Riding on the Avenue on a lovely summer's day, I would be stopped by a beautiful woman, in gorgeous array, looking so fascinating that if she were to ask you to attempt the impossible, you would at least make the effort. Can't you get one up for us? Any one can give dinners," she would reply ; " what we want is one of your picnics. Now, my dear friend, do get one up. Fix on the day at once, and tell me what is the best dish your cook makes.
Meeting young men, I charge them to take a bottle of champagne, and a pound of grapes, or order from the con- fectioner's a quart of ice cream to be sent to me. My pony is put on its mettle ; I keep going the entire day getting re- cruits ; I engage my music and servants, and a carpenter to put down a dancing platform, and the florist to adorn it, and that evening I go over in detail the whole affair, map it out as a general would a battle, omitting nothing, not even a salt spoon ; see to it that I have men on the road to direct my party to the farm, and bid the farmer put himself and family, and the whole farm, in holiday attire.
When I first began giving picnics at my farm, I literally had no stock of my own. I felt that it would never do to have a gathering of the brightest and cleverest people in the country at my place with the pastures empty, neither a cow nor a sheep ; so my Yankee wit came to my assistance. I well remember some of my knowing guests, being amateur farmers, exclaiming: Me has but fifty acres, and here he is, keeping a splendid flock of Southdowns, two yoke of cattle, to say nothing of his cows i " I would smile and say: Instead of losing three or four thous- and dollars a year by my farm, it then paid me, and continues to pay me seven to eight hundred dollars a year clear of all expenses.
We sell off of fifty acres of land, having seventeen additional acres of pasturage, over three thousand dollars of produce each year. The farm is now a profit instead of a loss. I bought this place in ; if I had bought the same amount of land south of Newport, instead of north of the town, it would have been worth a fortune to-day. To return to our picnic. The anxiety as to what the weather would be, was always my first annoyance, for of course these country parties hinge on the weather.
After making all your preparations, every- thing ready for the start, then to look out of your window in the morning, as I have often done, and see the rain coming down in torrents, is far from making you feel cheerful. But, as a rule, I have been most fortunate in my weather. We would meet at Narragansett Avenue at i P. The band would strike up, and off the whole party would fly in the waltz, while I was directing the icing of the champagne, and arranging the tables ; all done with marvelous celerity.
Then came my hour of triumph, when, with- out giving the slightest signal fearing some one might forestall me, and take off the prize , I would dash in among the dancers, secure our society queen, and lead with her the way to the banquet.
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Now began the fun in good earnest. The clever men of the party would assert their claims to the best dishes, proud of the efforts of their cook, loud in their praise of their own game pie, which most probably was brought out by some third party, too modest to assert and push his claim. Beauty was there to look upon, and wit to enliven the feast. The wittiest of men was then in his element, and I only wish I dared quote here his brilliant sallies.
Toasts were given and drunk, then a stroll in pairs, for a little interchange of sentiment, and then the whole party made for the dancing platform, and a cotillon of one hour and a half was danced, till sunset. As at a " Meet," the arrivals and departures were a feature of the day. Four-in-hands, tandems, and the swellest of Newport turn-outs rolled by you. At these entertainments you formed lifetime intimacies with the most culti- vated and charming men and women of this country.
These little -parties were then, and are now, the stepping-stones to our best New York society. People who have been for years in mourning and thus lost sight of, or who having passed their lives abroad and were forgotten, were again seen, admired, and liked, and at once brought into so- ciety's fold. On the con- trary, if you were not of the inner circle, and were a new-comer, it took the com- bined efforts of all your friends' backing and pushing to procure an invitation for you.
For years, whole families sat on the stool of probation, awaiting trial and ac- ceptance, and many were then rejected, but once received, you were put on an intimate footing with all. To acquire such intimacy in a great city like New York would have taken you a lifetime. A fash- ionable woman of title from England re- marked to me that we were one hundred years behind London, for our best society was so small, every one in it had an indi- viduality. This, to her, was charming, " for," said she, " one could have no such individuality in London.
It is worth while to do a thing well there, for you have people who appreciate your work, and it tells and pays. It is the place of all others to take social root in. It has always had them, and will continue to have them. Their sway is more or less absolute. When I came to New York as a boy, forty years ago, there were two ladies who were skillful leaders and whose abil- ity and social power the fashionable world acknowledged.
They gave the handsomest balls and dinners given in this city, and had at them all the brilliant people of that period. Their suppers, given by old Peter Van Dyke, were famous. These were the days when Isaac Brown, sexton of Grace Church, was, in his line, a great character. His memory was some- thing remarkable. He knew all and every- thing about everybody, knew always every one's residence, was good-nature itself, and cracked his jokes and had a word for every one who passed into the ball-room. You would hear him sotto voce remarking upon men as they passed: Ah, here's a fellow who intends to dance his way into society.
Here comes a handsome boy, the women are crazy about him," etc. A woman of charming manners, possessing eminently the talent of social leadership, she took up and easily carried on society as represented by the " smart" set. For from six to seven years she gave brilliant entertainments ; her dinners were exquisite ; her wines perfect ; her husband's Madeiras are still famous. At that time, her small dances were most carefully chosen ; they were the acme of exclusive- ness.
On this she prided herself. She also arranged and controlled for two years the winters of and small sub- scription balls at Delmonico's, Fourteenth Street, in his "blue rooms. These dances were known and became famous as the " Blue Room parties. Having a large fortune, she was able to gratify her taste in entertaining. Her manners were charming, and she was a most pleasing conversationalist. Her brother-in-law was one of the founders of the Patriarchs, and at a later period her two sons-in-law also joined them, though the younger of the two, the husband of her accomplished and beautiful daughter, has lived abroad for many years, but is still numbered among the brilliant members of our society.
It was during the winter of that a ball was given in these same rooms to Prince Arthur, when on his visit here. On this occasion, the Prince danced with the daughter of my old friend, the Major, who, in air and distinction, was unrivaled in this country. About this time two beautiful, brilliant women came to the front.
Society as I have found it
They were both descended from old Colonial families. They had beauty and wealth, and were eminently fitted to lead society. A new era then came in ; old fashions passed away, new ones replaced them. We imported Euro- pean habits and customs rapidly. Women were not satisfied. The husband of one of these ladies had a great taste for society, and also a great knowledge of all relating to it. His delight was to see his beautiful young wife worshipped by everybody, which she was, and she soon became, in every sense, the prominent leader.
All admired her, and we, the young men of that period, loved her as much as we dared. All did homage to her, and certainly she was deserving of it, for she had every charm, and never seemed to over-appreciate herself, or rec- ognize that as Nature had lavished so much on her, and man had laid wealth at her feet, she was, in every sense, society's queen.
She was a woman sans aucune pretention. She had the power that all women should strive to obtain, the power of attaching men to her, and keep- ing them attached ; calling forth a loyalty of devotion such as one imagines one yields to a sovereign, whose subjects are only too happy to be subjects. In the way of entertaining, the husband stood alone. He had a handsome house and a beautiful picture gallery which served as his ball- room , the best chef in the city, and entertained royally.
I well remember being asked by a member of my family, "Why are you so eager to go to this leader's house? It improves and elevates one. I heard his criti- cisms, and well remember asking old Mon- not, the keeper of the New York Hotel: A grand ball at the Academy of Music was given him. Our best people, the smart set, the slow set, all sets, took a hand in it, and the endeavor was to make it so brilliant and beautiful that it would always be remembered by those present as one of the events of their lives.
My invitation to the ball read as follows: