An absolutely to-die-for evening dress
from Les Modes, September 1906
men när jag läser den här beskrivningen av hur det var, för en kvinna, att klä sig i aftondräkt, känns det som vi kommit en bit på väg:
“If you care anything for me, Tony, stop everything and hook me up. I’m all mixed up, and I can’t reach, and I’m sure I’ve torn that little lace frill at the back.”
“All right. Where do I begin?”
“Under my left arm, I think—I can’t possibly see.”
“Neither can I.” He was poking about under the lifted arm, among folds of filmy stuff. “Here we are—no, we aren’t. Does this top hook go in this little pocket on the other side?”
“I suppose so—can’t you tell whether it does by the look?”
“It seems a bit blind to me,” murmured Anthony, struggling.
“It’s meant to be blind—it mustn’t show when it’s fastened.”
“It certainly doesn’t now. Hold on—don’t wriggle. I’ve got it now. I’ve found the combination. Three turns to the right, five to the left, clear around once, then—Hullo! I’ve come out wrong. The thing doesn’t track at the bottom.”
“You’ve missed a hook.”
“Oh, no. I hung onto ’em all the way down.”
“Then you missed an eye. You’ll have to unhook it all and begin again.”
Anthony obeyed. “I’m glad I don’t have to get into my clothes around the corner this way,” he commented. “Here you are. We stuck to the schedule this time.”
“Wait, dear. You haven’t fastened the shoulder. There are ever so many little hooks along there and around the arm hole.”
“I should say there were. What’s the good of so many?—Where do they begin? Look out—wait a minute—Juliet, if you don’t stop twisting around so I never can do it. I can do great, heroic acts, it’s the little trials that floor me—There—no!—that doesn’t look right.”
Juliet ran to the mirror. “It isn’t right,” she cried. “Look—that corner shouldn’t lap over like that. Oh, if I could only reach myself!”
“You can‘t—I’ve often tried it. The human anatomy—Stand still, Julie—you’re getting nervous.”
“If there’s one thing that’s trying——” murmured Juliet.
“Why do you let your dressmakers build your frocks this way? Why not get into ’em all in front, where you can see what you’re doing?—Now I’ve got it. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes. Wait, Tony—here’s the girdle. It fastens behind.”
Anthony surveyed the incomprehensible affair of silk and velvet ribbon she put into his hands. “Looks like a head-stall to me,” he said. Juliet laughed and fitted it about her own waist. Anthony attempted to make it join at the back of the points she held out to him.
“It won’t come together,” he said.
“Oh, yes, it will. Draw it tight.”
“I am drawing it tight. It’s smaller than you are. You can’t wear it.”
Juliet laughed again. Anthony tugged.
“Wait till I hold my breath,” she said.
“Great guns!” he ejaculated, and by the exertion of much force fastened the girdle. Then he stood off a step or two and looked at his wife curiously. Flushed and laughing she returned his gaze.
“Can you breathe?” he asked solicitously.
“Of course I can.”
“It is a little tight, of course,” she admitted. “This is one of my trousseau dresses. I’ve grown a little stouter, I suppose. Never mind, I can stand it for to-night. Thank you very much. You must hurry now, Tony.”Nu var nog inte Grace Richmond någon kvinnosakskvinna, hennes böcker räknas till de romantiska, men jämfört med andra böcker från 1900-talets början var hennes kvinnor förvånansvärt självständiga — och alla hade de universitetsutbildning, eller avsåg att skaffa en sådan.
Och när bokens Juliet och Anthony ska gifta sig är det inte fadern som lämnar över sin ägodel dottern, till nästa ägare, vilket är ovanligt till och med i dag:
Anthony, making his way among his guests, came with a quiet face up to Juliet and, bending, said softly, “Now, dear?” A hush followed instantly, and the guests fell back to places at the sides of the room. Anthony’s best man was at his elbow, and the two went over to the Bishop, to stand by his side. Mr. Marcy moved quietly into his place. Juliet, with Judith, who had kept beside her, walked across the floor, and Anthony, meeting her, led her a step farther to face the Bishop. It was but a suggestion of the usual convention, and Anthony, in his white clothes, surrounded as he was by men in frock-coats, was assuredly the most unconventional bridegroom that had ever been seen. Juliet, too, wore the simplest of white gowns, with no other adornment than that of her own beauty.