« PreviousContinue »
ed with white feathers, tipped with ponceau. Hats of this sort are expected to be in favour at the Opera. Bérets also, are said to be preparing for the costume of that fashionable theatre. Bérets would certainly be preferable, were they not so enormously large. For full-dress parties, they are ornamented with small coloured feathers, which fall gracefully over the front. Other berets are seen ornamented with feathers of the bird-of-Paradise. Caps for déjeńné costume are of fine Mechlin lace, and are trimmed with bows of coloured gauze ribbon. The favourite colours are grey, of various shades, Indian-red, a beautiful mixed colour, formed of Parma-violet, shot with bottle-green, scarlet, pink, and ethereal
costumE OF PARIs.
THE commencement of January was wholly given to the bestowing and receiving of New Year's gifts. I believe in no country is this custom so strictly and universally observed as in France. It is a wise institution, as it sets every artist to work, as well as every shopkeeper, whose taste, fancy, and invention produce, for their several advantage, whatever is rare, new, and elegant.
All the little accessories to the toilet, such as fans, reticules, and every sort of trinket, were then, as now, in requisition; yet, as this rage has, in a degree, passed away, our marchandes des modes take their turn, and display their talents in hats, dresses, and every other article of female attire.
The pelisses are chiefly of gros de Naples, figured and plain, according to fancy. There are also seen some of poplin, and of figured merino: several have large pelerine capes of the same material, but those of fur are most prevalent. The pelisses fasten down in front of the skirt with straps, with a small button at the point of every strap. Pelisses of velvet, or of satin, are made very plain for the
promenade: their large, double pelerine capes fall as low as the elbow. When the weather is mild, a very fashionable outdoor costume is a high dress of French cachemire, of a camel's-hair-brown, with a large black velvet pelerine. Some hats have appeared, of green velvet, ornamented with a profusion of satin bows and velvet, disposed all round the crown. Several young persons wear hats
of plain black velvet; the brims very
large, and the crowns high. The only additional ornament on such hats consists of a bow of satin placed behind at the base of the crown, the ends of which are very long and are worn floating. Cherrycolour and black are often seen together on hats. Many bonnets are of black satin, lined with cherry-colour: the edge of the brim is bound with the same tint as the lining, and the crown is encircled with bands of the same. Above these is a bias band of black and cherry-colour, which is twisted in that way, as to discover alternately the black and the cherrycolour. The only hats on which flowers are seen are of rose, or white satin: these flowers are distributed, two and two, round the crown, and between each is a long puff of gauze ribbon. Some black velvet hats are ornamented with a very long feather, which is fastened on the right side of the crown, at its base, by a cockade of black satin ribbon. Many hats, either of plush or velvet, have under the brims three ends of ribbon, folded together, so as to form dents de loups, at the place where each string is fixed. In déshabille, a hat of gros de Naples, or velvet, is always bordered by a demi-veil of blond. When a hat is trimmed round the crown in arcades, or en fers de cheval, these ornaments are always edged with blond. Dresses of merino, and of embroidered cachemire, are still the reigning mode: I particularly admire one I have seen, of cherry-colour, embroidered with black. These dresses are, many of them, made with a wide stomacher, buttoning on each shoulder. They are high, and are surmounted at the throat by a full ruff of tulle. A very broad sash, and the skirt plaited all round of an equal fulness, make the waist appear very slender. Bracelets are seldom worn with these dresses, but the band which confines them at the wrists is fastened by a beautifullyenamelled button. Dresses of coloured gauze, with rich satin stripes, are favourites for the ball-room. Black satin dresses are bordered with broad bias folds of velvet, cut in notches, round which is a narrow black blond, set on full. A small velvet pelerine, with a very broad blond trimming, is generally worn with this dress. Among the poplin dresses, now so much in vogue, there are some figured in the most charming patterns, in shining silk; at the border are two rows of blond, in festoons, supported by acorn tassels in silk of exquisite workmanship. The dresses for walking are made short, and discover a portion of the half-boot, rather above the ancle. Indian taffeties, with very broad coloured stripes on a white ground, are much in favour: they are generally bordered with two broad flounces, cut in bias.
Bows of satin and gold ribbon are favourite ornaments on head-dresses in hair, particularly at concerts and music meetings. Bérets are now worn very flat, and appear in front like a dress hat; the newest are of gold gauze; they are placed very backward, and on one side. The blossom of the aloe is now the favourite flower among our very fashionable young ladies, as an ornament on their hair at balls. I saw a very pretty woman at the English theatre, with a blond cap, ornamented with detached bouquets, and a coronet composed of pink and white marabouts. Black velvet berets, ornamented in front with two aigrettes, are much worn. Among the whimsicalities of fashion, and which are now thought to compose the most elegant ornament on the hair, are heads of asparagus ! If this vegetable kind of ornament should increase in the rapid progression of many other fashions, our ladies' heads will be more aptly compared to a kitchen garden, than to a parterre of flowers. The union of black with rosecolour yet prevails. A little tasteful cap has appeared, the crown in treillage work, formed of rouleaua of rose-coloured satin; the other part ornamented with black blond: it is adorned in front with fullblown red roses, and when well put on,
forms a very pretty head-dress. In full dress, five aigrettes, formed of different shades of colours, but always suited to that of the gown, are very favourite ornaments, and are placed between the bows of hair. Roses, also, mixed with marabout feathers, are worn in the same style of parure: they are disposed round the head, a l'Incas. Seven white feathers, placed en étage, one above the other, form a favourite coiffeure for full dress: our ladies, at present, carry their heads very high, higher than is becoming. A curious béret of an octagonal shape is among our novelties. It is of white crape, and at every angle is a rouleau of satin: on the right side is placed a bouquet of five white feathers. Three marabouts, with one ostrich feather, are favourite ornaments on all berets of the true classical shape; but never has a long-retained head-dress undergone so many innovations. The first beret which appeared was exactly like what was worn seven or eight years ago, when I paid a short visit to England ; which head-dress you had named the Regent's cap. That was beautiful and becoming ; the bèrets are now, many of them, ridiculous. The turbans are also too wide, in general: they are an assemblage of black velvet and cherry-coloured crêpe-lisse. Bouquets are universally adopted in dress-parties: they are composed of artificial flowers, among which white roses are conspicuous. Silk stockings for the ball-room are embroidered with coloured clocks. Our ladies, to display these, deny themselves the great comfort in dancing, that was afforded by the shoes being tied en sandales: if the heel be short (which is certainly a great beauty) it is marvellous how they keep them on, as the shoes are not only long-quartered, but very much cut down behind. The fashionable fans are lackered with black, and have Chinese ornaments of gold. They are not so small as heretofore. The leading colours are ponceau, blue, cherry-colour, rose-colour, yellow, green, pearl-grey, and camel's-hair-brown.
* NEW PUBLICATIONS, MUSIC, THE ENGLISH AND FOREIGN DRAMA, THE FINE ARTS, LITERARY AND
SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE, &c.
NEw publications continue to pour in upon us; but, with few exceptions, most of the novelties are novels ; and those again, also, with few exceptions, are not, we regret to say, of the first order of merit.
We shall, however, commence with subjects of a different stamp. A small post octavo volume, entitled “Austria as it is ; or Sketches of Continental Courts, by an EyeWitness,” may be regarded as the production of a furious anti-royalist—a declared enemy of courts and kings. The writer, it is true, puts us into possession of much curious information relating to the various subjects of which he treats; but, all that he relates is so strongly, so palpably tinctured with anti-monarchical prejudice, that we are under the necessity of making heavy allowances in every page. As our limits will not permit us to enter into a regular review of the performance, we shall confine ourselves to the presentation of a pair of portraits:—one, of the present Emperor Francis, of Austria; the other, of the young Napoleon.
Describing the private cabinet, a simple but richly-furnished chamber, with green curtains, in the palace, the author says—
Leaning with the right hand on a moderate mahogany table, there stands a figure of a middle size, but exceedingly lank, surmounted by an oblong head, with a couple of large blue eyes, apparently all openness and sincerity, but for a sinister twinkling, long and hollow cheeks, which seemed to have ceded all their flesh to the chin, and a pair of thick lips, expressing now and then a good-humoured complacency, with his head at times nodding, and again a scowling sullenness. Let your eyes descend on a frame most loosely hung together, legs on which ************ have scarcely left an ounce of flesh, boots dangling about a pair of equally illprovided feet—and you have the descendant of nineteen emperors, and the present Sovereign of Austria. When still Archduke, he followed his uncle, the Emperor Joseph, to Hungary. A certain phlegm, and, I may be allowed to say, everyday manner, made this Emperor exclaim, in a fit
of impatience, “That is a good-for-nothing boy, he will spoil every thing again,” alluding to the reforms Joseph had carried on. The opinion which Prince Kaunitz gave shortly before his death, was little more flattering.—“The French revolution is going to make Europe one large field of battle. I am sorry my country will be the chief party in the contest, will be the loser, and what has been united during five hundred years will be dissolved.” Again:He [the Emperor] rises commonly at six o'clock, takes breakfast an hour afterwards, and transacts public business till one o'clock, or gives public audiences. At two o'clock he takes a ride, sometimes with his Empress, but oftener with his favourite Grand Chamberlain, the excellent Count Wobna, or his aid-de-camp, Baron Rutscherd. At four o'clock he dines, commonly on five dishes with a dessert : his beverage is water, and a liqueur tumbler filled with Tokay. After dinner he takes a peep at his plants, in the Paradise Garth; or looks whether any of his pigeons have strayed away or have been captured, a circumstance which makes him always angry; and at six o'clock he takes coffee, made in the new Imperial Garden Pavilion by the Empress herself, who, dressed in a plain suit, delights to be cook and landlady in person. The time till supper is filled out with terzettos, which he performs on the violin with his favourite aide-de-camp, Baron K—a, and another nobleman or prince.
The son of Buonaparte is thus described:—
Of all the members of his family, the Duke of Reichstadt experiences the most marked tenderness. It seems as if he wished to obliterate the wrong he had inflicted on the father by his double dealing. He is, indeed, an interesting youth, beautifully formed, with the countenance and the fine cut lips of his father, and the blue eyes of his mother. One cannot see this blooming youth, with his inexpressible tint of melancholy and thoughtfulness, without a deep emotion. He has not that marked plain and familiar ease of the Austrian princes, who seem to be every where at home; but his demeanour is more dig
nified, and noble in the extreme. Two Prussian officers arrived with us at Shoenbrunn, his residence, and wished to be introduced to him. His Lord Chamberlain was just refusing their indelicate demand, in rather an animadverting manner, when the Prince stepped out from his apartments, and advanced towards the grand staircase before the palace, to take a ride with his governor. He stopped awhile before the two officers, his eyes fixed; describing at the same time figures on the ground. At last, casting a significant glance at them, “Des Prussiens 3" demanded he 5 and turning gracefully aside, he went down to mount his horse. It is an Arabian steed, a present from his grandfather, and he strides it with a nobleness which gives the promise of as good horsemanship as that for which his father was so celebrated. We saw him sometime after at the head of his escadron, who almost adore him ; and he commanded with a precision and a military eye, which prognosticate a future general. He is, by virtue of an Imperial decree, proprietor of the eight domains of the Grand-Duke of Toskana, in Bohemia, with an income of above £20,000 sterling; a greater revenue than is enjoyed by any of the Imperial princes, the Archduke Charles excepted. His t.le is Duke of Reichstadt. He is addressed “Euer Durchlaucht,” (Votre Altesse). His rank is immediately after that of the princes of the reigning house, the Austrian family of Este and Toskana. His court establishment is the same with the Imperial princes: he has his Obersthofmeister, his Lord Chamberlain, aids-de-camp, and a corresponding inferior household. In possession, as he is, of a large fortune, his destination will depend on his talents and on his inclination.
Of the numerous works relating to Mexico, and the mining districts of South America, which have issued from the press within the last three or four years, the “Journal of a Residence and Tour in Mexico, in the Year 1826, with some Account of the Mines of that Country, by Capt. George Lyon,” R.N.,” in two post octavo volumes, is one of the best, the most lucid, the most graphically descriptive. It is possible that, in our Supplement we may find occasion to advert to it at some length: at present, we must rest content with directing to it the attention of the reader in terms of general praise, and with offering two or three
* For an interesting tribute to the memory of Captain Lyon's lady, who died on the 25th of September, 1826, vide LA BELLE AssemRLEE, vol. iv. page 231.
very brief extracts, illustrative of character
and manner. Holiday-making, gambling, &c., in
Mexico, are thus described:—
This being Easter-eve, was the first of those days especially set apart for gaming and idleness; and at about nine o'clock I went to the Plaza (an open space near the church), where I found many hundred people already assembled to amuse themselves. A large circle, surrounded by spectators and dancers, was expressly set apart for fandangos, which, whatever they may be in Spain, are, in the New World, much inferior in grace and activity to the common African negro dances ; though the latter, it must be confessed, are usually to the sound of tin pots and empty gourds. Here the music was somewhat better, though"not less monotonous; and consisted of a guitar, a rude kind of harp, and a screaming woman with a falsetto voice. Beyond the fandango stood a range of booths, beneath which, men and women of all descriptions, old and young, rich and poor, officers in full uniform, and beggars in rags, were gambling with the most intense interest; and individuals, who, from . their appearance, might be considered objects of charity, were fearlessly staking dollars—some even adventuring a handful at a time. The favourite game was that called “chusa,” which is played on a deep saucer-shaped table, and resembles the E. O. of England. All round the Plaza small groups of Indian and other women were seated on the ground at little charcoal fires, at which they occupied themselves in preparing coffee, chocolate, fish, and other eatables, while under the chusa tents, spirits of all kinds were sold in profusion.
The following relates to amusements of a different description:—
On our first feast-day the village of Veta Grande appeared to have undergone some magical change, and to be peopled by a different race from those who had figured during the week. Fine shawls, brilliant-coloured gowns, silk stockings, and white satin shoes, were flashing like so many meteors amongst the mud huts; and in the evening I accepted an invitation to go to an exhibition of maroméros, or rope-dancers, in company with two maiden ladies, sisters of a certain Don Jesus, who kept a little shop, and was one of the principal gentlemen in the town. It was a fine moonlight night, and we walked to a small mud amphitheatre usually appropriated to cock-fights, where we found the tight-rope stretched, and a numerous party-coloured audience assembled. The theatre was open to the , clear stormy sky, and illuminated by four flaming piles of the Ocote, or candle-wood, placed in iron
cradles on the summit of two tall poles. The ,