The Ladies' Tea Guild

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Godey tells us why we should wear real flowers instead of fake ones.

La Mode Illustree, 1867.
“Natural Ornaments.

‘The month of roses’ reminds us how few ladies make use of the most charming of all ornaments for the hair and dress, natural flowers.  They load themselves with impossible clusters of muslin roses and jessamine, with dangling pendants of glass and wax, called jet and coral by courtesy; they flash bugles and spangles into your eyes with every turn of the head, while the pendant wreaths of the Spicra Reevsi, and the graceful racemes of the laburnum and the ‘bleeding heart’, or the perfumed cups of the valley lily, are perishing, unnoticed, in the lawn and garden.
But they fade so soon?
A little experience and judgment will teach you how many blossoms will outlast the evening, and what foliage will shade them most effectively.
They are only suited to young girls?
from Lise's Garden clipart
Some of them may seem more appropriate for maidenhood, it is true; but must the young wife forego the tuft of snowy hawthorn, or the crimson petals of rose and carnation?  the glossy ivy leaf, and the fragrant tips of the arbor vitae and ground laurel?  A single spray of rosebuds, a branch of golden-hued laburnum, or snowy acacia, is far more effective as an ornament, if tastefully disposed, than all the stiff, glittering, hollow, gaudy baubles that one could find at Bordman’s or Crenange’s.  Try it for your next party, and do not ask your intimate female friend, or your showy neighbor, with her diamond spray, what the effect is, but depend on the judgment of your husband or lover.” 
-- from Godey's Lady's Book, June 1860.

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)