Thursday, February 7, 2013

Society Events of the Week

Society Events of the Week The New York Times - February 7, 1897

Next Wednesday***Sunday February 10, 1897 - 116 years ago*** will see the Martin ball in the past, and the chronicler of the society-doings of the metropolis will then be enabled for the first time since this ball was announced to take place, to obtain what artists would call a correct perspective of the season's doings, and to devote some little time and space to other social events and incidents which are now so completely overshadowed by the coming entertainment as to afford little interest to even their participants. 

The excitement and interest relative to this costume ball, which, by the way, certain preachers and newspapers still erroneously persist in calling a bal masque, have greatly increased during the past week, not only in the society world proper, but in seemingly all elements of the community. This, of course, is chiefly due to Dr. Rainsford's ill-timed and discourteous criticism of Mrs. Martin and the projected ball, which transformed it in a day from criticism of Mrs. Martin and the projected ball, which transformed it in a day from an event of social interest, pure and simple, to almost a public question. The result has been that wherever one goes, in parlor and clubrooms, in workshop or factory, one hears the coming ball discussed on all sides, while the greatest and most widespread curiosity is already manifested in the personality of the guests and the costumes they will wear. If it is true that Mrs. Martin has said that her ambition was to surpass the Vanderbilt ball of 1883, this ambition has already been gratified so far as public excitement in regard to the two events is concerned, for the Vanderbilt ball was not half so much-talked about-before its occurrence as the Martin ball has been for three weeks past.

Costumes Nearly All Chosen.

Only those persons who were not numbered in the original list of guests, but who have, through the kindly influence of friends, or in several instances, by recalling themselves to Mrs. Bradley Martin, secured invitations within the last few days, are undecided as to their costumes at the ball or unprovided with the same this morning, and, from all appearances, only the payment of large sums of money or some happy chance will enable them to procure them at this late day. The up-town costumers, one and all, refused to take any further orders to make costumes for this ball on Thursday last, and the few that they had left unrented for, the night were all disposed of yesterday. As the time has grown shorter the costumiers' prices have risen, and late applicants last week were obliged to pay as much as $200 or $300—in some cases, even to rent a Costume for the night, it must be borne in mind that only absolutely fresh and new costumes have been considered available by the guests, so that even in the few cases where second-hand ones have been taken they have had to be almost entirely re-made, or at least renewed as to linings, trimmings, & etc. Some most amusing incidents connected with the search for costumes are related by the intending guests of the ball.   When it was found that the up-town costumers were virtually putting prohibitory prices on their goods, or at least what were considered prohibitory prices by men and women with slender purses, all sorts of schemes to obtain costumes, either free or at a possible figure, were  put into operation. The managers of the Metropolitan Opera House and of the Lyceum and Garden Theatres, in particular at which last two houses plays in which costumes of the period selected by Mrs. Martin are now running, were besieged by applicants for the loan of costumes. It is said that the opera house managers favored a few of the stockholders whom they knew well in this way, but absolutely refused after Sunday last to loan out any more, while Mr. Frohman and Mr. Schroeder of the Lyceum and Garden Theatres, respectively, pointed out to the applicants  that as the costumes they desired were in use, they could not be had until after 11 o'clock;'of-the night of the ball, and might not then fit, and would certainly not be entirely fresh and new. Failing in this attempt, several of the guests were discouraged and gave up the idea of attending the ball, but others with more persistence kept up the search and finally learned that the lower east side of the city was dotted with costumers who catered to the masquerade and fancy dress loving: element among: the Germans in that section and even further up town. Strange to relate, the first to find these costumers discovered that they had hot heard of the Martin ball, and so obtained some very good costumes at a figure which, when they were related to their less fortunate fellows up town, seemed startlingly low. After a few days the down-town costumers, surprised by this sudden rush of new custom, discovered the cause, and up soared their prices, also, but only relatively to those of the up-town outfitters. 

Guests from Distant Towns.

Some idea of the interest evinced in the Martin ball can be gained from the fact that persons are coming from long distances to attend it. Mrs. Victor Newcomb left her Winter cottage at Aiken, S. C, last week, and came North to attend the ball, while Mr. Shoemaker of Cincinnati, who was on a trip around the world when he heard in London of the ball, changed his plans, cabled to New York to have a costume ready for him, and sailed from Liverpool a week ago to be present at the function. Small parties of people who have been invited by Mrs. Martin are coming all the way from San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans, while Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington society will all be represented, the last by several members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Tle Quadrille Incident.

What is now known as the quadrille incident has greatly enlivened the gossip relative to the ball during the past few days. Unless Mrs. Mills has changed her mind within the last twenty-four hours, or will change it between now and Wednesday night, as may occur, she will not only not take part in any of the quadrilles, but will not be present at the ball itself. It is now said that the story which credited Mrs. Frederic Bronson with having yielded the second quadrille, which she had been asked to organize by Mrs. Martin, to Mrs. Mills is not true. It is further said that when Mrs. Mills was told by Mrs. Martin that she could not have the first quadrille, which she wished, and which had been given to Mrs. Astor, she announced that she'would not attend the ball. The story was laughed at from the first by those who know Mrs. Bronson well and who are familiar with her views as to the question of precedence in New York society.  The entire incident, while it is a tempest in a teapot, has provoked an immense amount of discussion and much amusement, but if one may judge by the general expression regarding it, the conclusion may be drawn that New York society strongly upholds Mrs. Martin in the expressed opinion credited to her that  "as she was giving the ball,- she proposed to arrange the quadrilles to suit herself, and not any one else." As now arranged, the ball will be opened by the quadrille d'honneur, which has been organized by Mrs. Astor, Sr. The costumes in this quadrille will be varied, and it will be danced to an old air of the time of Louis XV. Its participants will be Mrs. Bradley Martin, Mrs. Whitney Warren. Mrs. Lee Taller, Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish. Mrs. Orme Wilson, Miss Madeleine Cutting, Miss Gerry, Miss Lena Morton, and Messrs. Lispenard Stewart, Center Hitchcock, Harry Lehr, Robert Van Cortlandt, J. J. Van Alen, Townsend Martin, and Craig Wadsworth. Mrs. Bronson's quadrille will follow, second, and Mrs. Baylies's will be the third. The participants in Mrs. Bronson's quadrille will be for the most part debutantes and the ,younger men, and among the debutantes will be Miss Bronson, Miss Brooks, Miss Babcock, Miss Spofford and Miss Van Alen. Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr., Mrs. Henry Sloane, and Mrs. John Jacob Astor will dance in Mrs. Baylies's quadrille. There is a possibility that several other quadrilles will be danced, during the ball before supper, and these quadrilles, most of which will be danced to the slow music of the minuet, have been rehearsing them constantly during the week under the guidance of dancing masters, and these rehearsals will be kept up every afternoon and evening until the night of the ball. The cotillion will not begin until after supper, and its leaders will probably be Mr. Elisha Dyer, Jr., and Mr.  Worthington Whitehouse.

Advance Publicity Disliked.

While many of the costumes which are to be worn have been published, it is not at all certain that those who have intended wearing them may not change their minds regarding them and appear in altered ones oh the night of the ball due to the advance publicity given to these costumes, to which they strongly object.Many of the announcements are also incorrect. Mr. Edward de Peyster Livingston, for example, has been announced as the wearer of a Dutch Burgomaster's costume at the ball, and his picture has been printed in that costume, when, as a matter of fact, Mr. Livingston has not decided on his costume and may not attend the ball; and this is a fair sample of the general inaccuracy of the stories which have been published of the costumes to be worn. It is fairly certain that Mr. Bradley Martin will personate Henry III., and that Mrs. Bradley Martin will appear as Marie Stuart. There will be, from all accounts, at least six Dukes de Guise and a dozen Marie Antoinettes, while the ill-fated Princess de Lamballe will be personted by nine or ten ladies. The very young men will go, as a rule, attired as courtiers of the time of Charles I. and Louis XVI., while the older men will personate courtiers of the period of Henry III. and Henry IV. Mr. James H. Beekman should carry out the role of Henry VIII., which he is to assume, in appearance, to perfection, and there are a few men and women who, in their personal appearance when arrayed in their costumes, will strikingly recall the pictures of noted historical characters. As a rule, however, it is to be feared that the middle-aged men and women who will compose the majority of the guests will only excite amusement by their attempted portrayals of certain characters of the period selected. It is inevitable that a certain number of stout women will assume the roles of which history tells us the originals were slim and graceful, and that mild-mannered-appearing men will endeavor to personate fierce and bloodthirsty characters. But then these paradoxes are always concomitants of fancy-dress balls and dances.

Costumes to be Photographed.

The leading photographers and many of  the better known portrait and miniature painters of the city will be as busy for a week or two after the ball as the costumers have been and are before it. There are a few of the men and, women who have gone to the trouble and expense of planning and securing a costume who will wish to be perpetuated, at least by photography  in their fine feathers, and it will be difficult for the photographers, at any rate, to accommodate the would-be sitters. There is an opportunity here for American portrait painters, of which they will probably not be slow 'in taking advantage.

Society Is Expectant. 

And~so~the~New~York~society~world waits expectant for the Bradley Martin ball, and will take little or no interest in anything, else until it is an event of the past. The projectors of other entertainments who had contemplated holding them at this time have for the most part wisely, abandoned or postponed them until after Wednesday next.

Click HERE for the news from February 5, 1897 - I did not find any news about the ball for February 6.

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