Part 5 out of 6
of a silk dress was about half what it is now,--not because the price
of silk has increased, but because a much larger quantity is required.
Perhaps of the two, silk is cheaper than it used to be; but where
ten and twelve yards sufficed, twenty and twenty-three are scarcely
sufficient. Then the variety that is considered indispensable adds
to the cost of dress. Where three or four dresses constituted the
wardrobe of many, three times that number are now considered a scanty
supply. Some ladies do not like to wear the same dress twice at the
same place; and, if they visit in the country, take with them luggage
enough for a twelvemonth, and appear daily, and, in some instances,
three times a day, in some fresh costume. It may perhaps be said
that these are exceptional cases, but they are not so. Ladies-maids,
servants, and even village girls have more gowns now than persons of
the same class had formerly. This adds to the cost of dress, and
makes it altogether a more expensive affair than it used to be. Our
fore-mothers who rejoiced in farthingales had, no doubt, the most
costly attire, but it lasted longer, and became the inheritance of
children and children's children; besides which their wardrobes were
not by any means so expensive as that of a "grande dame" of 1875.
Materials are an important element in the matter of dress, and we
propose, in the few remarks we shall make on the subject of expense,
to offer some suggestions which shall tend to make it less.
In the first place every _young_ lady is without excuse who spends a
large sum annually upon her dress, for she possesses in her youth that
which makes the most simple and inexpensive attire the most suitable
and becoming. Everything is appropriate to youth. The freshest flowers
of the garden, the plainest muslins, tarlatans and tulles do not come
amiss. In the country fresh flowers are more admissible than those
that are artificial. In London it is the reverse. The heat of a
crowded ball-room soon makes the brightest flowers wither; besides
which there would be an affectation in a young lady's making her
appearance in a London ball-room decked, like the goddess Flora, with
real flowers; while all the world prefer the artificial as the least
troublesome and the most enduring.
For the young, cheap and inexpensive materials are often the most
effective. Heavy silks and satins are out of place. It is more a
question of colour and make than material. How often a bright green
and white muslin, or even cotton, well made and well put on, worn by
a pretty girl with a good complexion and graceful "tournure," puts to
shame and thoroughly eclipses a more costly and elaborate "toilette!"
How often we have been charmed by the appearance, at the breakfast
table, of a young fresh looking girl, who in her simple and
unpretending, but well-selected attire, suggests all that is most
beautiful in nature, the early sunrise, the opening rose-bud, encased
in its calix of tender green! Such a sight has refreshed while it
has gratified the eye, and if the young only knew how very little is
required to add to those charms which are the property of youth, they
would not be at so much pains to copy those elaborate "toilettes"
which seem to be invented only to repair the inroads and damages of
years, and to enrich the dressmakers, and which are quite "de trop,"
quite out of place with the young. Many are the materials which
suit the young and which are inexpensive. Alpacas of various shades,
muslins, foulards, tarlatan, tulle, light silks, light in texture as
well as colours. These are not expensive materials. We remember at
this moment an exceedingly effective costume, made of white alpaca
with a narrow green stripe, which was worn with a crinoline bonnet
trimmed with mauve. The bonnet and dress did not cost more than _L2
10s_., and scarcely as much. It was made at home, and all that was
required for the gown was nothing when compared to the bills which the
most ordinary dressmaker would have run up for tapes and buttons, and
hooks and eyes.
But dressmakers have their fortunes to make, and it is well for them
that there are people in the world who are rich enough to employ them.
Some dressmakers refuse to make up what is called "the lady's
own materials,"--that is, they require their customers to buy the
materials of them, and therefore it is by no means difficult to
understand that, under such circumstances, a dressmaker's bill may
reach any amount, and their profits become enormous.
Compared with the supplies of thirty years ago there is no doubt
that the materials out of which ladies may make their selection have
increased very considerable. The variety of foulards, of gauzes, of
alpacas, of camlets, of poplins, poplinettes, and Japanese silks, and
even of silks themselves, which vary from three shillings to eight and
nine shillings the yard, of satins, of velvets, and velveteens, have
brought dress within the scope of moderate incomes. Each year some
novelty is introduced, and a clever hit in the name given to it makes
it popular; just as that of "Japanese silk" made people run eagerly
after a material of home manufacture, which is made of silk and
cotton. There are a host of other materials cheaper still, which may
be obtained for a few shillings the dress, some of which are not by
any means to be despised. With so great a supply, it is strange that
dress should be so costly; but the fact is, that this is an age in
which people are more disposed to ape their betters than to dress
according to their means. If, however, they desire to spend only a
small sum, they must take some trouble about it, and must contrive how
to produce a good result with simple and even common materials.
The great improvement in muslins and in calicoes--the good patterns
which are printed on common linens--have made it quite inexcusable for
people to dress ill. Some of the prettiest costumes that we have seen
have been made in cheap materials, and persons who have admired them
have been quite astonished to find that they have bestowed their
admiration upon an "inferior article."
For autumn wear there are camlets, alpacas, and serge of all colours,
which are designated "Yachting and Sea-side Costumes," but which are
suitable for all places. Their effect is exceedingly good, braided or
otherwise. They may be got anywhere, though Cowes boasts of having
the best assortment. We have seen white braided with black, or with
a pattern printed on it in black; blue, light and dark; brown; green
braided in white, the effect of which has been good; and we have
seen scarlet, which is very trying, and more suited for winter. It is
effective when toned down with black velvet, but it looks rather heavy
For winter, there are droguets, reps in worsted and in silk, merinos,
tweeds, linseys, and velveteens. We do not mention silk, because it is
universally acknowledged that there is nothing so well suited to all
seasons. It looks better than anything else, is the pleasantest to
wear, and may be procured of almost any substance. Velveteens have
a very good effect--better than most materials; and when they are
braided well, they are very effective. The black looks the best, and
is the most serviceable; and when worn with a mantle, or cloak, or
jacket to match, it makes one of the best costumes for walking or
driving. The brown velveteen is effective. It is considered warm
and light,--two most important qualities for clothing; for, with the
amplitude of modern skirts, it is absolutely essential that materials
should be light as well as warm.
For spring and summer it is needless to specify more materials than
have been already named. The only point to be considered is that in
spring, dress should be, in our uncertain climate, suited to changes
of weather, and temperature, and should be in harmony with the season
when nature is putting on her best apparel, and woods and fields
become hourly more green and full of vegetation. In summer, dress
should be light and cool and quiet; because, beneath a glowing sun,
bright colours do not please, unless they harmonize with the blue sky
or green earth.
The second important point in matters of dress is the make or cut.
Upon this depends the question whether cheap materials can be worn. An
ordinary stuff or calico well made, fashionably made, and well put on,
is never out of place. It, not unfrequently, puts to shame many richer
materials which are not so well made nor so well selected.
This question of make or cut (call it which you please) is not
sufficiently considered, especially by the young.
Some people think no one can be well dressed who is not expensively
dressed, whose gown is not richly trimmed; but it is a great mistake.
Many persons are absolutely ill-dressed who spend a fortune upon their
The young should bear in mind that simplicity is what harmonizes best
with youth, but care must be taken to avoid the simplicity of the
school-room and of a "miss in her teens." We can call to mind a young
lady who made her appearance at an evening party in London, where
"all the world and his wife" were collected together, and when it was
necessary to be somewhat smart, in a rather skimp spotted muslin, with
a black belt and a few black cherries in her hair. She looked, as the
reader will easily believe, like a young lady in her teens, who, as
Byron said, "smells of bread and butter." She was much on the wrong
side of twenty. By her side stood a young girl who had not passed
nineteen summers, dressed in the freshest costume of plain white
tulle, with bright turquoise blue flowers in her hair, the very
impersonation of youth and loveliness. The cost of the dress of these
two young ladies was about the same, but the appearance of the two was
by no means the same. The one was fresh and simple; the other simple
but unfresh. The one attracted; the other repelled. At the same
time we saw two sisters, one a blonde and the other dark, dressed
unadvisedly alike in dark blue tarlatan, with an infinite number of
beads round the body, peplum, and sleeves. It was in the height of
summer, and the costume looked fusty and oppressive; while not far
off stood a young girl in a white and green tarlatan dress prettily
trimmed with old lace and green ribbon, with one large white flower
in her hair--the very type of spring and early summer. None of these
costumes were expensive, but they had widely different results.
We return to our former assertion that it is the _make_ which renders
a common material wearable in any,--even the very best society.
It requires, of course, a knowledge of the prevailing fashion, which
may easily be arrived at by the simple process of taking in "Le
Follet," or some good monthly publication on fashions. It requires
also a correct eye and a good taste to select such materials as shall
harmonize well with the style which is in favour. It requires, above
all, a good workwoman, who knows how to cut out, how to put in the
gores, how to arrange the breadths, where to put the fulness; where to
make the dress full, and where tight, how to avoid creases, how to cut
the sleeves, and how to put them in, how to give the arm sufficient
room so that the back shall not pucker, how to cut the body so that
short waisted ladies shall not seem to have too short a waist, nor
long-waisted ladies too long a one. This important question of a good
lady's-maid is one upon which depends the probability of being well
dressed and economically dressed. It is absolutely necessary for a
person of moderate means, to whom the needless out-lay of a shilling
is of real importance, to make her things at home. If she cannot make
them herself, she must find a clever needle-woman who has learned her
business, and knows milliner's phraseology and the meaning of terms,
and how to cut out to the best advantage. She will then be able to use
common material, buy smaller quantities of them, and will always look
well dressed. Her gown will always be ironed when it wants ironing;
it will be mended whenever a stitch has broken loose; the collars and
cuffs will always be clean and of the right shape and size; and no one
will enquire into the quality and cost of the material of which the
effect is so pleasing.
A lady's-maid that is quick and efficient is the best friend a lady
can have who wishes to be well dressed and at a small expense. She
saves her wages again and again. But not so with a lady's-maid
who does not understand her business. If she is always requiring
assistance, and cannot make the simplest gown without a needle-woman
to help her, and will not attempt a smart dress at all, or who makes
it so slow that either the occasion for which it is required slips
by, or a much longer notice is necessary than the most fashionable
dressmaker would demand in the very height of the London season,
instead of being useful, she is an incumbrance. The dressmaker's bill
is not avoided. A steady lady's-maid who is quick at her needle and
quick with her eye, can always command good wages and a good place,
and they who possess such a treasure will never be willing to part
with her. Any one who has not thoroughly gone into the question would
not believe what a saving it is to "make at home." It is not only that
the milliner's bill is saved, but the materials which are used do not
cost so much. Nor is this all, an efficient lady's-maid can clean and
turn and re-make dresses so as to give them the look of new. To those
who have but small incomes, it is of great importance not to be under
the necessity of making frequent additions to their wardrobes, and
anyone who can, by good management, enable them to wear a dress
longer than they otherwise would, saves them, in the end, considerable
We have heard ladies say that nothing has provoked them more than the
way in which their maids can make up for themselves dresses which
they have laid aside. They can, by dint of sponging and washing, and
pressing, and ironing by turning, and many other ways known to them,
make their ladies' cast off clothes look as good as new, and many
a lady has, before now, looked with envy upon an old dress which
reappears in a new character, looking quite as fresh and attractive as
ever, under the magic hand of a clever and practical needle-woman.
We maintain then, that, though the present style of dress may be
expensive on account of the enormous quantity of material which is
required, there is no real reason why it should be so costly as it is
supposed to be. If ladies will give some attention to the make or
cut and style of their dresses, the most simple materials will look
exceedingly effective. It only requires judgment, good taste, and some
forethought and contrivance.
We recommend as of primary importance, in order to be well and
economically dressed, that people of slender means should have their
dresses made at home, and should secure the services of a clever
needle-woman who knows how to cut out and make, and has learned the
mysteries of the art of dressmaking. With her assistance there is no
reason why a home-made dress should not bear comparison with those of
Madame Descon of London, or of Mr. Wirth of Paris. It is in the
style, that first-class dressmakers excel. It is not in the actual
needlework, which is often a very inferior affair. If, with the help
of "Le Follet," ladies will give some attention to the subject of
dress, and will assist their maids with suggestions and approval,
they will find themselves amply repaid, not only by their own personal
appearance, but also by the small outlay of money.
* * * * *
There are an infinite variety of things which are necessary in order
to make a woman thoroughly well dressed, which do not come under the
category of dresses. Some of these must be discussed, as they are of
To begin with bonnets. How much of a lady's toilette depends upon her
bonnet!--upon its make, its shape, its style, and the materials it is
In these days, bonnets are much less ugly than they formerly were.
They are not set at the back of the head as they used to be, when they
made every woman look as if her neck had been broken. They offered
no advantage. They did not screen the face from sun and wind, and no
ladies could keep them on their heads without the help of long pins
like skewers. The bonnet, as now worn, scarcely deserves the name of a
bonnet. It is more like a cap than a bonnet; but, such as it is, it is
exceedingly becoming to the young--more especially the style which has
most recently come into fashion, in which, while it ties behind, below
the chignon or large plait of hair, long ends of tulle, or lace, or
blonde fall round the cheek, and fasten under the chin with a
brooch or a flower. The effect of the lace against the face is very
preferable to that of the fold of hard ribbon which was generally
worn, and which was utterly devoid of all grace. Besides which,
we have heard ladies praise the last fashion as being the most
comfortable, because the absence of strings fastened under the chin
enables them to eat, and sing, and talk without the necessity of
taking off the bonnet, or of untying it. The extreme lightness of the
modern bonnet is in itself a great recommendation. But if a bonnet is
intended as a protection to the head from sun, wind, and rain, then,
indeed, it must be allowed that the present fashion does not fulfil
any of those intentions. A small saucer of tulle, or three-cornered
bit of lace ornamented with a few flowers, which fits on the head
in the small space that intervenes between the front hair and the
beginning of the chignon, where it stops in order that the huge mass
of hair now worn at the back of the head may be fully exhibited, does
not do more than make a very pretty toilette. Useful and serviceable
as a protection, it is not. But when it is contrasted with bonnets
which were worn a few years ago, or with those which our mothers and
grandmothers wore, we confess that we are glad of the change.
No lady ought to be indifferent about her bonnet. It is to her face
what the setting is to a jewel. The arrangement of the lace or blonde;
the way it accords with the countenance; the harmony of colour with
the rest of the dress, which in some instances it tones down by its
quietness, and in others brightens and freshens by its contrast; all
these are points to be considered. It is impossible not to be guided
by fashion in the selection of a bonnet, and the same fashion will
prescribe how it is to be trimmed, but, as a rule, we protest against
beads and tinsel of all kinds. If beads must be used, they should be
used sparingly. We saw a bonnet this year which was nothing but black
beads, which were designated by the high-sounding name of "black
pearls." The bonnet was heavy, and very ugly; and when we remonstrated
against it, we were assured it had just arrived from Paris--as if
the announcement of such a fact was, in itself, enough to silence
all objections. But it had no effect upon us, for the bonnet
was objectionable on every ground--on account of its weight and
In London, as it is necessary to have a succession of bonnets, which
soon become discoloured and spoilt by the soot and dirt of our great
metropolis, all that really signifies is that they should look fresh
and clean, and in harmony with the dresses with which they are worn;
and therefore it is important they should be cheap. To give three
guineas and even more, and perhaps five, for a bonnet which will
last for only one month is an expensive proceeding; and when it is
considered that really pretty bonnets can be bought for eighteen
shillings, which look quite as well as those which are more costly,
they are without excuse who do not manage to have always one
nice-looking bonnet for special occasions.
We have known some ladies who are clever and wise enough to make their
own bonnets, and then the cost of them is about five or six shillings
each. If the lady's maid is clever and handy, and knows how to make
them, she will probably make them quite as well as any professed
milliners. All that is required is to understand what fits and suits
the person for whom the bonnet is intended. Every one finds that one
shape suits her better than another. The next point in making a bonnet
is that the "artiste" should have a light hand, and should make it
"off-hand," without letting it lie about to get soiled or tumbled.
Things which are not expensive, but are made of common materials,
should look fresh. If they have that merit, no one will examine them
very closely to see whether the lace is real, or the flowers of
the first quality. Satisfied with the general effect and style, no
inquiries will be instituted into the cost of the materials. People
are not so particular where their eye is pleased. On the contrary,
where the effect is good, cheapness increases its value in the
estimation of those who know that one and one make two.
No one can make bonnets, or indeed any kind of headgear, without one
of those hideous figure-heads called "blocks," upon which the bonnet
or the cap is made, without risk of injury. This is the only way in
which the milliner can form any idea of the effect of her handiwork.
She can turn it about to get the full, side, and back view of her
performance, without touching the article in question, which, if it is
mauled about ever so little, soon loses its freshness.
As we have long ago discarded the picturesque from bonnets, and the
famous "chapeau de paille" has been laid aside, there is an advantage
in the fact that the present style is unobtrusive; and strong-minded
women who cling tenaciously to their beloved old coal-scuttle shape,
and deride the present fashion, indignantly exclaiming against it,
"Call that thing a bonnet, indeed?" certainly tempts us to reply to
their prejudiced and absurd reflections, "Physician, heal thyself;"
for if there is one thing more ugly than another, it is the
old-fashioned bonnet with crown, curtain, and poke, to which a few
old maids rigidly adhere--just as Quakeresses do to their hideous
and antiquated style. There is a kind of self-righteousness in the
protests of these ladies, with which we confess that we have no
sympathy. We do not mean to recommend them to adopt the bonnet of a
girl of eighteen, but we do advise them to conform to the fashion of
the day, and wear a modified edition of the present and prevailing
It is remarkable how straw always retains its hold as a material for
bonnets. A straw bonnet, is, however, a more expensive article than
one of tulle; but then it is more enduring, and better suited for
country wear. There is also another advantage in straw: it never looks
vulgar. A country lass in a bonnet of silk, or lace, or tulle, does
not look one-half as well as one in a straw bonnet, neatly trimmed.
Straw is becoming to persons of all ages and of every station. It
makes a vulgar woman look less vulgar, and the lady more refined.
Though common, it is never so in an offensive sense.
Caps have become an important item, from the fact that women of all
ages wear something of the kind. The young girl who has passed from
girlhood into matrimony, considers it necessary that some of those
little caps made of lace and ribbons and which have such a coquettish
look about them, should form part of her trousseau. She is as glad to
exercise her new privilege of wearing a cap as an undergraduate is of
wearing his cap and gown. It is a sign that she has passed to what
she considers the higher state, although she knows that there are many
high authorities for the contrary; but she remembers that "doctors
differ," and she hails her privilege as one to which she has been
always taught to look forward.
What can be more becoming than some of those jaunty caps which seem
to mock at age? Here, again, we have a manifest improvement in the
head-gear of ancient times.
Think of the turbans, the gigantic hats and caps of blonde which were
made to stand erect by means of wire, and which surrounded the face
like fans at full stretch, or (more gracious simile) like the nimbus
round the head of a mediaeval saint.
Contrast these with the little caps which ornament the head with lace,
as only lace can ornament it, and you will see at once how superior
the present fashion is. It is not only that these pretty and
mysterious fabrics of lace and ribbon are an ornament to the loveliest
and most youthful; but they have worked a revolution in the caps of
elderly ladies. Instead of the cap with its frill of blonde intermixed
with narrow ribbon or small flowers, fitting close to the face like
a fringe and tying under the chin, we see small and becoming head
dresses of lace, which sufficiently furnish the cheeks and cover the
hair. Where it can be done, the cap of the most elderly woman should
appear to dress and furnish her head rather than her face, though,
if need be, it can be made to soften the asperities of age where they
have marked the countenance.
Mantles or cloaks are a difficult question.
When everybody of every station wears a cloak or mantle we are
disposed to recommend shawls, especially as a really good Indian
shawl cannot be imitated, and denotes the quality and condition of
the wearer. Every servant girl, every maid of all work, has her
Sunday cloak. None but the rich can sport an Indian shawl. It requires
falling shoulders and a tall and graceful figure. It should not be
fastened round the throat as if the wearer suffered from a severe cold
in her throat; but it should have the appearance of being loosely put
on; neither fastened tightly on, nor falling off. Square shawls
are always more ugly than not. If the wearer has not a very erect
carriage, and if her shoulders are not well thrown back, the chances
are that the effect of a square shawl will be anything but pleasing.
If the lady stoops, or is at all round-shouldered, the shawl will have
the effect of a window that has been cracked by a stone--it will
look starred--it will not be smooth and even, but will present the
appearance of lines radiating from the defective shoulders. For grace
there is nothing like a scarf shawl, but only a few can, or know how
to, wear it.
Under these circumstances a cloak or a mantle are safer. There is an
infinite variety to choose from, but as the names and the fashion vary
year by year it is useless to specify any. For the same reason, this
constant change, it is best not to invest much capital in the purchase
of one. Young people can wear smaller and shorter mantles than their
elders, who require something larger and more imposing.
In winter there is nothing to compare to a seal skin; so much so that
even an imitation is not to be despised. Velvets are ladylike, but
they are expensive, and have not the durability of a seal skin.
Velveteen cloaks are good and reasonable. Blue cloth or serge, braided
with black, look well, and have been in favour for some time. We
have seen a grey cloth cloak braided with black which has been much
admired; also one of dark green cloth lined with grey, and, vice
versa, of grey lined with green. For winter, the effect of lining a
cloth cloak with another colour in good contrast is decidedly good.
But everything depends upon the shape and cut of the cloak. It is the
shape that tells far more than the material.
In France we find gloves and shoes have a prominent place among the
accessories of a lady's toilette. To be "bien chaussee et bien gantee"
is essential to being well dressed. Good, well fitting gloves and
shoes tell more than most other things among the French. At least a
somewhat shabby and unpretending gown and bonnet, if accompanied by
gloves that are of a good quality and colour and that fit well, and
by shoes or boots that also fit well, and are of good style and make,
will pass muster anywhere, while the reverse will fail.
It is remarkable that there is nothing which distinguishes a foreigner
from an Englishwoman more than her gloves. They "fit like a glove;"
they are of a good colour, according well with the rest of the
costume, neither too light nor too dark, but rather light than dark.
There are no ends or corners of the fingers which are not well filled;
there are no creases indicative of the gloves being of a wrong size,
nor are they put on crooked with a twist given to the fingers, so that
the seams of the glove do not appear straight. In short, a Frenchwoman
does not put on her glove anyhow as an Englishwoman does. To her it is
a matter of great importance; to our country-woman it is a matter of
indifference. We think the Frenchwoman right, because it is by what
are called trifles that good and also great effects are produced.
We come now to an accessory of considerable importance--the hair. As
a great amount of time is expended upon hair-dressing, and as no one
ever thinks of wearing it in its natural state, and as nothing is more
under the influence of fashion than the hair, it has become by consent
of all an accessory of great importance. Will any one affirm that it
is a matter of indifference how the hair is dressed? Whether in plaits
or bows? Whether in a crop, or twisted up in a coil? There is nothing
which affects a lady's personal appearance more than the style in
which she dresses her hair. We confess that we have a strong prejudice
against a too submissive following of the fashion. Because in the
first place we deny that fashion is always in the right, and in the
second it rarely happens that the same style exactly suits two persons
Nothing requires more consideration than the hair. It is one of a
woman's greatest ornaments. We have high authority for saying this.
Hair should always have the appearance of being well cared for. It
should set off the shape of the head if it is good, and not aggravate
any of its defects. A small head, well set on, is a great beauty.
It tends more than anything else to that distinguished look which
enhances all other beauty. Beauty, if accompanied by a look of
refinement, is worth more than mere animal beauty, and nothing is more
indicative of refinement and noble birth as a well-shaped head. It is
the head which gives the impression of intellectual power. The
well formed brow should not be demoralized by ringlets, which are
suggestive only of a wax doll, nor should it be disfigured by being
surmounted by a kind of cushion or roll of hair which gives the idea
of weight and size. Nor should the hair have the appearance of a
bird's nest, and look tumbled and untidy. This was lately the "beau
ideal" of a well dressed head. It was desired that it should appear
unkempt and uncombed, as if it had been drawn through a quickset
hedge. The back of the head, if well shaped, has a beautiful
appearance, reminding one of a stag, which is so graceful in look and
motion. But when it is disfigured by a large mass of hair, resembling
a large pin-cushion, all that peculiar native grace which we so much
admire is lost sight of. When all heads are made to look alike and
equally large, there is no advantage in having a small and well shaped
head. It seems as if the study of the present day were to make the
head look large, and to conceal all its points. We miss the smooth
braids of hair which set off the expanse of forehead, and the coils of
plaits of hair, which ornamented, but did not conceal the back of the
head. We miss the glossy look of the hair which indicated care, and
prefer it infinitely to that which simulates neglect. It is perfectly
true that one style does not suit all persons alike, any more than
that the powder which was worn by our great-grandmothers was equally
becoming to all. A low forehead, if the points of the brow are good,
should have the hair drawn off it, whereas a high forehead which does
not betoken any great intellectual power is disfigured by the same
process. Smooth braids will not become a long face, nor puffs a broad
one. A forehead which is already too high cannot bear to be heightened
by coronets and cushions of hair, nor a countenance which indicates
weakness to be made weaker still by limp luxurious curls. A stern face
requires to be softened, while a weak one requires strength. The hair
can generally do this. It depends upon how it is dressed.
They who are no longer young endeavour to impose upon the world by
the use of wigs and fronts. These are an abomination, and in every
instance they are easy of detection. There is something in the way in
which false hair protests against the face and the face against it,
which infallibly exposes it to be false. A lady with all the signs of
years about her face makes her age the more apparent by the contrast
of glossy dark hair which belongs to youth. Why is she afraid to wear
her own grey hair? Grey hairs are no reproof, and we are quite sure
they would harmonize better with the other marks of age than the wigs
and fronts which prevail. There is something in the white hair of age
which has a charm of its own. It is like the soft and mellow light
of sunset. But unfortunately an old woman is not always inclined
to accept the fact that she is old. She would rebel against it,
but rebellion is useless. The fact remains the same. She is old
notwithstanding her "rouge" pot and her front, and she is growing
older day by day.
Jewellery is another accessory. Jewels, real jewels, are in the
possession of only a few. They are so costly that only millionaires
or the heirs of heirlooms can have them. They are very beautiful, and
have this one merit, that a few jewels, judiciously selected and worn,
make a person well dressed at once. A diamond necklace and brooch,
diamond earrings, and a few diamond stars glittering in the hair, will
make almost a shabby dress pass muster at Court. But jewellery is a
term that is applied to ornaments generally, and not to jewels only.
Sham jewellery is an abomination. It is a lie, and a pretension. At
no time was so much sham jewellery made and worn. Every damsel has
her brooches and her earrings. In nine cases out of ten they are mere
trumpery, but, such as they are, no maid of all work will go out for
her Sunday walk without her brooch and earrings and chain. She must
have her locket too, fastened round her throat with black velvet, but
it is all, with the exception of the velvet, a sham.
Ladies too have a weakness for sham jewellery. They will wear massive
bracelets, cameo brooches of target dimensions, earrings, chains, all
of what they pleasantly call French manufacture. It is called _French_
in the shops in order to soften down its imposture, and to play upon
the weakness of our country women who are apt to think that whatever
is French must be good. But in many cases they are of Birmingham
We enter our protest very strongly against the use of sham jewellery,
though we must own without much hope of success, for, it must be
admitted, that a great quantity of it is exceedingly pretty. We
are not surprised that it should be popular, for who can resist the
opportunity of making herself fine and "beautiful for ever" at the
cost of a few shillings, which is all that is necessary to lay in a
fair stock of jewellery.
This sham jewellery is continually mistaken for real, so good is the
If a duchess were to wear it everyone would take for granted that it
was real, because she would not be supposed to wear anything that is
unreal. We have heard of a lady who, possessing but very few jewels,
always makes up for the deficiency by wearing sham diamonds. They are
good of their kind, and no one ever suspects them to be false, simply
because there is no reason why she should not have real diamonds,
but, on the contrary, so far as the world knows, every reason why she
In the use of jewellery more than in anything else we maintain that
all persons should dress according to their station and their means.
If they can afford it--let them--but we recommend them not to act too
much upon the old saying, that "fine feathers make fine birds," but
to bear in mind that being well dressed means something more than
well-fitting, well-selected clothes.
* * * * *
VI.--"A FEW WORDS MORE."
It is very difficult, we might say impossible, to give any definite
rules about dress. Fashions change so continually, that if we were
to write a dissertation upon peplums, and trains, and gores, or give
directions how to cut them out or make them, almost by the time this
manual should come into circulation, they would have become portions
of the past, and our hints would seem absurd and out of place. All
that has seemed feasible to us we have done, which has been to give
certain hints that the rocks upon which so many split, who make great
endeavours to be well dressed, might be avoided by our readers.
There is no doubt that every one wishes to dress well, whatever her
means may be; and that no one thinks she dresses ill, whatever the
world may think of her performance. We look at ourselves through
coloured glass, and are apt to take the most favourable view of our
"O, wad some power the giftie gie us,
To see ourselves as others see us."
There are rules in dress, as there are in painting, which, if
observed, will prevent our making "frights" of ourselves. Anyone
who starts for herself on a new line, and, throwing to the wind the
received laws, adopts and carries out some crude theory of her own,
however much she may entertain herself by her experiments, runs a
great chance of making a figure of herself, and will infallibly obtain
a reputation for conceit and affectation. No woman, unless she is a
star of great magnitude, or a belle of note, can with impunity set
at nought the received customs. She is by no means bound to follow
fashion so implicitly and subserviently as to mar her own beauty. But
a clever woman will always be able to avoid affronting fashion
while she takes a line of her own. We use this phrase with a certain
limitation, because if a woman were to take a line of her own
unrestricted by certain "convenances" of society and of fashion, she
would certainly fall into the very error which we should be the first
to declaim against, namely--the error of eccentricity. A due regard
for these "convenances" will ensure that sense of propriety in dress
which will make everyone remember both her station and her means. The
fine lady will not effect the simplicity of the village girl, nor
the village girl aspire to be mistaken for the fine lady. Both
will maintain their own positions, and will be respected while they
Let it also be borne in mind that a bonnet or cap, mantle or gown, may
be very pretty in itself and very becoming to some persons, but not
necessarily to everyone; generally to only a few. The young and the
old have each their privileges. The one must not dress like the other.
Though we have seen some who have been foolish enough to forget the
years that have passed, and cannot realise the fact that they are no
longer young, and vie with the youngest in the youthfulness of their
attire, we do not, we admit, often find the young endeavouring to
make themselves look older than they are. One who has thought much and
written well on this subject says, "Doubtless if there were any way of
making old people young, either in looks or anything else, it would
be a delightful invention; but meanwhile juvenile dressing is the last
road we should recommend them to take."
In conclusion, let every woman bear in mind that dress denotes
character, that there is a symbolism in dress which they who have
studied the matter can read without difficulty.
HOW TO CARVE.
* * * * *
So long as the taste for dinners _a la Russe_ shall continue, it
does not seem absolutely necessary for lady or gentleman to take
the trouble to learn to carve. But the idle and wasteful fashion of
employing servants to cut up your food after their own fancy, and of
sitting round a board bereft of all appearance of dinner except the
salt-cellars and glasses, to watch flowers and fresh fruit decay
and droop in the midst of the various smells of the hot meats, while
waiting to receive such portions as your attendant chooses to bestow
on you, is so opposed to the social, hospitable, and active habits
of an English gentleman that it must soon pass away, and the tempting
spread on the generous board, pleasant to the eye as well as to the
taste, resume its place.
Dexterity, grace, and tact in carving and distributing the delicate
morsels of the dish, have been many a man's passport into popularity.
Nor is this accomplishment unworthy of cultivation in the elegant
woman; affording a pretext, too, for that assistance of some favoured
neighbour which men love to offer to the fair.
The number of guests to be invited to constitute an agreeable dinner
is no longer restricted to the old rule of never less than the
number of the Graces, nor more than that of the Muses. Large tables,
well-trained servants, dinners _a la Russe_, and a greater facility
in furnishing the viands for the table than formerly existed, have
enabled families to extend the number received, and dinners of from
twelve to twenty are common, and more convenient than several small
The invitations should be sent out, if possible, a fortnight previous
to the dinner, to avoid disappointment; and etiquette commands the
reply to be immediate, to allow the host to fill up his table in
case of refusals. The size of the table must always be a first
consideration, for all enjoyment of the good things spread before them
will be marred if people be crowded; and on the contrary, the table
must not be too large for the party: nothing can be more gloomy than
a scattered company or an empty chair. From 2-1/2 to 3 feet is a
fair calculation for each person, especially since the dimensions of
crinolines is lessened; but no more should be allowed.
There is another grand point to remember in issuing invitations--the
important social arrangement of the guests. No man of good sense would
invite the CAPULETS to meet the MONTAGUES,--a blunder which inevitably
checks many topics of conversation, throwing a damp on all attempts to
promote universal enjoyment.
Be careful at any rate to assemble, as far as your convenience and
judgment permit, the elements of harmony, and you have fulfilled
your duty. It is desirable not to have many great talkers, but if you
invariably must have some, then match them with good listeners.
In laying the cloth, care should be taken, not only that the table
should occupy the centre of the room, but that the cloth should be
spread to leave the pattern in the centre of the table, with the
design proceeding from the head, and as the cloth is now almost
universally left on the table for the dessert, lay-overs or slips are
placed round, broad enough to reach two or three inches beyond the
plate, to be carefully removed in folds when the crumb-brush has been
used after the dinner is removed.
The table being spread, and the dinner announced by the butler or
principal waiting servant, the lady of the house must quietly indicate
the arrangement of her guests according to rank, age, or any local or
occasional distinction, the master of the house leading out the first
lady, and the mistress following last with the most distinguished
gentleman, who, seated at her right hand, is her assistant in the
duties of the table.
The soup and fish are usually placed on the table together, and the
covers removed at once; the soup to the lady, the fish before the
master; or if two soups, and one should be turtle, that must be at the
head. Soup is sent round without inquiry to everybody, to be accepted
or rejected at pleasure. Sauterne, sherry, or Madeira may be offered
after the soup. After turtle soup, punch is the correct liquor. The
fish is carved and served round in the same way as the soup, if only
one kind of fish be served; if more, the choice must be left to the
After the soup and fish are served, the Removes, as they are generally
termed, that is, the _pieces de resistance_, the stronghold of the
dinner, are brought in; but before they are carved, two or more
_entrees_ are usually handed round, and if champagne be introduced,
this is the time for it to be offered.
In carving the removes, a servant must be at the side of the carver
with the plate, which he must as quickly as possible pass to the guest
for whom it is required, another servant following with the vegetables
or sauces. If only one servant be employed, the vegetables should be
on the table, that the guests may help themselves, for nothing can be
more vexatious than to have to wait for them for a quarter of an hour
after you have been served with the meat. The same may be said of the
sauces, so often, at a scantily-attended table, withheld until you no
longer care for them. Such wines as the master of the house chooses
to bestow must be offered when needed. Water _caraffes_ will be within
the reach of all, and beer, if called for, must be served.
In the matter of carving, it should be held in mind that the flavour
and the digestibility of the meat depends greatly on the careful mode
of cutting it. A delicate stomach may be disgusted with a thick coarse
slice, an undue proportion of fat, a piece of skin or gristle; and
therefore the carver must have judgment as well as dexterity, must
inquire the taste of each guest, and minister discreetly to it. This
delicate duty is more fully set forth in the direction for carving
each dish. One point it is well to remember: never use a knife when
you can help with a spoon. The lighting the dinner-table well is
of some importance. People like to see their dinner, but lamps
and candles on the table are liable to accidents. Gas is also
objectionable; the heat from it is oppressive, and the light too
glaring to be pleasant to the eyes, or becoming to female beauty:
chandeliers with wax lights or a suspended and shaded lamp we would
recommend as most favourable to the banquet and the company. Few
dishes are now placed on the table at dessert. There should be at
least three glasses placed before each guest, one of which must be of
coloured glass, and water-tumblers here and there at hand. To each,
also, a dessert-plate, a knife, fork, nut-crackers, and d'Oyley; the
decanters of such wines as the host chooses to bring forth, on their
proper stands; and salt-cellars, and sugar-vases with perforated
ladles, must also be on the table.
When the lady of the house perceives that her female guests have taken
the wine they wish, she signifies by a slight inclination the request
to leave the table, and on her rising some chivalrous gentleman opens
the door for the ladies to pass into the drawing-room, where it is the
duty of the mistress of the house to offer the usual amusements to her
friends--music, books of drawings, or conversation; but few efforts
are required among well-bred guests.
Coffee should then be brought in. If only one servant be employed,
every lady must prepare her own cup. When there are two servants,
the cups are on one tray, and the second attendant follows with the
coffee-pot, and fills the cup of each person.
If the gentlemen in the dining-room do not join the ladies
immediately, coffee is served to them at table when required; and when
they appear in the drawing-room, tea is handed round.
The greatest aid to the pleasure of a mixed party is that ease of
manner which the habits of good society produce. When the hosts are
composed and cheerful, the company commonly follow the example, and
awkward restraint disappears.
* * * * *
Though in the present day no lady would be permitted to perform the
heavier duties of carving for a large company unassisted, yet it is
by no means inconsistent with the character of a well-bred woman to
understand, and occasionally to practise, the duty. In the middle
classes this duty is not unusually taken by the wife of a man whom
business may often detain from his home; and a skilful and economical
carver is no bad helpmate for a hard-working professional man.
Men ought to know how to carve any joint or dish set before them,
or, however high their standing in the world, they appear awkward and
clownish; and, therefore, all men should practise the art of carving
in their youth.
The first necessary provisions for carving are the proper utensils;
the most skilful of artists would be defeated in his aim if he had not
his tools. The carving-knives and forks are now made specially for
the various dishes. The fish-carvers, of silver or silvered metal--the
touch of steel destroys the flavour of the fish--should be broad, so
that the flakes be not broken in raising. For the joints of meat, a
long, very sharp steel blade; and for poultry and game, a long-handled
but short and pointed blade, to be inserted dexterously between the
small joints of the birds. The forks must be two-pronged, and the dish
must be sufficiently near to the carver to give an easy command over
Having the needful utensils for work, all now depends on the coolness,
confidence, and dexterity of the carver, with that small knowledge
of anatomy that enables him to know what joints there must be in the
_piece_ before him, and where they are situated. In butcher's meat,
one rule is almost universal: the slice cut must be cut across the
fibres of the meat, and not along them; a process which renders it
more easy to masticate and digest. The exceptions to this rule are
the fillet or under-cut in a sirloin of beef, and the slices along
the bone in a saddle of mutton. In cutting a joint of meat, the strong
fork is used to steady it; but in carving poultry it is the fork which
is most useful in removing the wing and leg by a jerk, without leaving
any ragged remains adhering to the body. All this must be accomplished
by dexterity, not by strength, and any lady may acquire the art by a
little observation and practice.
A knife should never be used for pies, _entrees_, or sweet dishes; a
spoon wherever a spoon can be used.
In helping to choice dishes, stuffings, &c., the carver should always
calculate the number of the company, and proportion the delicacies
* * * * *
There is more art in delicately carving the imperial turbot than any
other fish, in order that every one may be supplied with the rich skin
and fins, so highly appreciated by epicures. It is always brought
to table with the white or under-side uppermost, as this is the most
delicate part. The point of the fish-knife must be drawn done the
middle to the bone, and from thence deep cuts made at right angles,
and the squares, thus made, carefully raised, including the portion of
fin attached to each. After the upper part is consumed, the back-bone
may be removed, and the lower part divided in the same way, neatly,
and without breaking the flakes. Brill, a fish much inferior in
quality, but sometimes introduced as turbot, must be carved in the
Next to turbot, a cod's head and shoulders is the handsomest dish of
fish brought to table. The fish-knife must be passed through the back
from 1 to 2, and then transversely in slices. No fish requires more
care in helping, for when properly boiled the flakes easily fall
asunder, and require a neat hand to prevent the dish looking untidy.
With each slice should be sent a portion of the sound, which is the
dark lining underneath the back-bone, to be reached with a spoon. Part
of the liver may be given if required. The gelatinous part about the
eye, called the cheek, is also a delicacy, and must be distributed
justly, according to the number of the party.
The best part of a large salmon is a thick piece from the middle. It
must be carved by first making an incision down the back, 1 to 2,
and a second from 5 to 6; then divide the side 3 to 4, and cut the
slices, as preferred, from the upper or thick part, or from the lower
richer thin part, or give a little of each. Salmon trout, as it is
usually called, haddocks, or large whitings are carved in the same
It is usual to split the fish from head to tail, and, if not very
large, to serve it in two pieces. Most of the smaller fishes may be
carved in this way, if too large to serve whole. In every case, one
grand rule in carving fish must be attended to--not to break the
flakes, and to help compactly, not in detached fragments.
* * * * *
HAUNCH OF VENISON, OR MUTTON AS VENISON.
It is very necessary that every one who undertakes to carve a haunch
of venison should be aware of the responsibility of his duty. An
ill-cut or inferior slice, an undue portion of fat, or a deficiency
of gravy is an insult to an epicure. The joint must first have a deep
incision across the knuckle, 1 to 2, to allow the gravy to flow; then
long parallel thin slices along the line 3 to 4, with a portion of the
fat, and, if required, of the rich kidney fat lying under the loin;
the gravy also, which is, or ought to be, very strong, must be
discreetly portioned out according to the number at table. The haunch
of mutton must be carved in the same way.
MUTTON AND LAMB.
SADDLE OF MUTTON OR LAMB.
This very handsome joint is commonly and easily carved in long thin
slices from each side of the bone, with a little additional fat cut
from the left side. Or, with a little more care, the newer mode may be
followed of carving oblique slices from the centre, beginning at the
bone near the tail, and cutting the slices through the joint, thus
mingling the fat and lean. A saddle of lamb, a pretty dish in season,
must be carved in the same way.
LEG OF MUTTON OR LAMB.
The best part of this joint is in the middle, between the knuckle and
farther end, and the best way to carve it is to make a deep cut at 1,
and continue to cut thin slices as far as 2, on each side of the
first incision; but as more fat is usually required than lies with the
slice, a small neat slice may be added from the broad end at 3. The
cramp-bone may be extracted, if asked for, by cutting down at 4, and
passing the knife under in a semicircle to 5. The delicate fine meat
of the under side, which lies beneath the "Pope's eye," is sometimes
demanded by epicures.
SHOULDER OF MUTTON OR LAMB.
Make an incision at 1 down to the bone, which will then afford a deep
gap, from which on each side you may help thin slices, adding a little
fat from the outer edge marked 2. If the demands are more than can be
supplied at the first opening, additional slices may be obtained by
cutting down to the blade-bone, marked 3, on each side. Some of the
party may prefer slices from the under side, the meat of which is
juicy, though less fine in grain; these must be cut horizontally.
LOIN OF MUTTON.
A loin of mutton is always brought to table with the joints of the
bones divided; it is therefore merely necessary to begin at the narrow
end, and cut off one chop at a time, with a small portion of the
kidney if required, or of the rich kidney fat.
NECK OF MUTTON.
The joints of a neck of mutton are always divided before cooking in
the same way as those of the loin, and the carving is simple. It is
only necessary to begin at the long bones, where the best meat lies,
the scrag, as it is usually called, being coarse and gristly, and
frequently taken off before the joint is dressed for the table.
Lamb is generally carved in the same way as mutton, but rather more
sparingly, as there is less meat on the joint; but when sent to table
in the quarter, as it commonly is when young, it must be cut up after
its own fashion as follows.
FORE QUARTER OF LAMB.
This consists of the shoulder, ribs, and brisket. The shoulder must
first be raised from the rest by passing the knife under the knuckle
in the direction of 1, 2, 3, leaving a good portion of meat adhering
to the ribs. A slice of butter, seasoned with pepper and salt, is laid
between them, and the juice of a lemon squeezed over the ribs. This
must remain a minute, and the shoulder may then be removed to another
dish, for the convenience of carving the rest. The ribs and brisket
must then be divided in the line 3, 4, the ribs separated, and brisket
cut into small divisions, giving each person the choice of a rib or
piece of the brisket. The shoulder, if required, must be cut in the
same way as a shoulder of mutton.
SIRLOIN OF BEEF.
The principal joint of beef, the sirloin, must be carved outside or
inside, according to the taste of the guests. The rich delicate meat
under the bone, called the fillet, is carved in parallel slices across
the joint and along the grain, contrary to the usual mode of cutting
meat. The outer part is carved in long slices cut down to the bone in
the direction 1, 2, beginning at the edge, the brown being the first
slice. Many prefer to cut the slices across the joint, beginning in
the middle; certainly easier for the carver, but destructive to
the future appearance of the joint, nor is the meat so tender thus
crossed. A portion of the under fat should be reserved for the upper
RIBS OF BEEF.
Must be carved like the upper part of the sirloin. There is no fillet
in this joint. It is usual to begin the slices at the thin end.
ROUND OF BEEF.
With a sharp thin-bladed knife shave off in a horizontal manner the
first slice, leaving the round flat and smooth. The meat is disfigured
if this smoothness is not preserved; it is therefore necessary that
your knife be sharp and your hand steady. It must be served in very
THE AITCH-BONE, OR EDGE-BONE
Is usually skewered and boiled with part of the rump, forming a sort
of round, to be carved the same way as the round. The soft, marrow
kind of fat is at the back of the bone, below 4, and must be supplied
when required; the harder fat is at the edge of the meat, 3, and will
accompany each slice.
RUMP OR BUTTOCK OF BEEF.
In carving the rump, buttock, or other joints of beef, it is merely
necessary to observe, that every slice should be as neatly as
practicable cut across the grain. Even in the brisket, the slices must
be across the bones, and not through.
The tongue may be sent to table either rolled or in length. If rolled,
slices are cut as in a round of beef; if not rolled, it must be cut
nearly in the middle, not quite through, and slices taken from each
side, with a little of the fat which lies at the root, if liked.
The half-head is often sent to table; but when a whole head is served,
it is only necessary to know the delicate parts and to distribute them
impartially. Long slices of the gelatinous skin, cut down to the bone
from 1 to 2, must be served. The throat sweetbread, as it is called,
lies at the thick neck end; and slices, from 3 to 4, must be added to
the gelatine. The eye is also a delicacy: this must be extracted
with the point of the knife, and divided at discretion. The palate,
situated under the head, must also be apportioned, and, if necessary,
the jaw-bone should be removed, to obtain the lean meat below it.
LOIN OF VEAL
Is usually divided into two portions--the chump end and the kidney
end; the latter of which, the most delicate part, must be separated in
bones which have been jointed before cooking. Part of the kidney, and
of the rich fat which surrounds it, must be given to each. The chump
end, after the tail is removed and divided, may be served in slices
without bone, if preferred to the richer end.
FILLET OF VEAL.
The fillet of veal, corresponding to the round of beef, must be carved
in the same way, in horizontal slices, with a sharp knife to preserve
the smooth surface. The first, or brown slice, is preferred by some
persons, and it should be divided as required. For the forcemeat,
which is covered with the flap, you must cut deep into it between 1
and 2, and help to each a thin slice, with a little of the fat.
BREAST OF VEAL.
The breast is composed of the ribs and brisket, and these must first
be separated by cutting through the line 1, 2. The taste of the guests
must then be consulted; if the ribs be preferred, the bones are easily
divided; if the brisket, which is thick, and contains the gristle,
which many like, it must be in small transverse squares. The
sweetbread is commonly served with a roast breast of veal, and a small
portion of it must be given with every plate.
KNUCKLE OF VEAL.
This part is always boiled or stewed, and the fat and tendons render
it a dish much esteemed: some good slices may also be cut, and
the marrowy fat which lies between two of the outer bones must be
carefully portioned out.
SHOULDER AND NECK OF VEAL.
Though the shoulder of veal may be carved in the same way as mutton,
it is usual to turn it over, and cut moderately thick slices from the
thick edge opposite to the bone, and parallel with it.
The _neck_, of which the best end only is usually roasted, and stuffed
under the skin, must be divided in the same way as a neck of mutton.
* * * * *
LEG OR HAND OF PORK.
Commonly the joints of pork are carved in the same way as the similar
joints of mutton, in slices across, cut very deep, as marked 1, 2.
In the leg, however, the close, firm flesh about the knuckle is more
highly esteemed than in the same part of a leg of mutton, and must be
dealt out impartially.
The _hand_ is a delicate joint, and may be carved from the blade-bone
as in mutton, or in thin, slices across, near the knuckle.
SPARE-RIB OF PORK
Is usually accompanied by apple sauce to correct the richness of the
gravy. The fleshy part is first cut in long slices, and the spare
bones are then easily divided.
The usual method of carving the ham is by cutting down directly to the
bone three or four thin slices in the direction 1, 2; then by passing
the knife along the bone, you completely detach them, and give a due
portion of fat to each. If you wish to be more economical, you must
begin at the knuckle and gradually work onward, leaving a better
appearance than when cut in the middle. A more extravagant method is
by scooping a hole in the middle, and cutting circular slices round,
on the principle of keeping the meat moist and retaining the gravy.
This is obviously a wasteful plan.
A SUCKING PIG.
Before it is sent to table, the head is removed and opened, and
the body split in two, thus rendering it very easy to carve. First
separate the shoulders, then the legs from the body. The triangular
piece of the neck between the shoulders is reckoned the most delicate
part, and the ribs the next best. The latter are easily divided
according to the number of guests, being commonly little more than
gristle; there are choice bits also in the shoulders and thighs; the
ear also is reckoned a delicacy. The portion of stuffing and gravy
must not be forgotten by the carver.
* * * * *
POULTRY AND GAME.
Be careful first to have your proper carving-knife; and next to
consider the number of the company. If a small number, it will only
be necessary in carving a goose, turkey, or cluck, to cut deep slices
from each side of the breast, without winging the birds. In a large
party they must absolutely be cut up.
In carving a goose, the neck must be turned towards you, and the
skin below the breast, called the apron, be removed in a semicircular
direction, to enable you to reach the stuffing inside. Some carvers
choose to pour in a glass of port wine, or claret mixed with mustard,
before beginning to cut up. The slices first cut are on each side of
the breast-bone, marked _a, b_. Then, if required, the wing may be
removed, by putting the fork into the small end of the pinion, and
pressing it close to the body until you divide the shoulder-joint at
1, carrying the knife on as far as 2, and then separating by drawing
the fork back. The leg must be removed in the same manner in the
direction 2, 3, and the thigh, which is by many considered the best
part, must be separated from the inferior drumstick. The merry-thought
may be removed by raising it a little from the neck, and then passing
the knife beneath, and the delicate neck-bones are taken off the same
way. The rump is looked on by epicures as a dainty. After each plate
has been supplied with the part asked for, a spoon must be introduced
at the neck to draw out the proper portion of stuffing.
A green goose is carved much in the same way, but is not stuffed, and
only the breast regarded as very delicate.
The prime part of the turkey is the breast, and it is only after this
is exhausted that the real cutting up of the bird is required. The
knife must be passed down close to the bone and through the forcemeat
which fills the breast, and then thin slices, with a due portion of
the forcemeat, distributed; and except in a very large party, this
usually is sufficient; but if more be required, the pinions and legs
must be taken off like those of the goose. The thigh is good; the
pinion and drumstick are usually tough, and reserved till the last;
the side or neck-bones are delicate; also the small round piece of
flesh on each side of the centre of the back called _the oyster_.
Beyond these the turkey requires no more carving.
The fork must be firmly fixed in the centre of the breast, draw the
knife along the line 1 to 3, and then proceed to take off the wing, by
inserting the knife under the joint at 1, and lifting the pinion with
the fork, drawing off the wing with a slice of the breast attached.
The leg, cut round, is easily released in the same way. The
merry-thought may next be detached by turning it back from the breast;
the neck-bones which are beneath the upper part of the wings are
easily raised. Then the breast must be divided from the back by
cutting through the ribs close under the breast. The back may then be
turned uppermost, press the point of the knife in the midst, and raise
the lower end to separate it. Then remove the rump, and cut off the
side bones which lie on each side of the back by forcing the knife
through the rump-bone and drawing them from the back-bone; these side
bones include the delicate morsel called the oyster. The breast and
wings are the choice parts; the liver, which is trussed under one
wing, should be divided to offer part with the other wing, the gizzard
being rarely eaten; but the legs in a young fowl, and especially in
a boiled fowl, are very good; the merry-thought too is a delicacy.
If the fowl be very large, it is commonly carved like a turkey, with
slices first cut from the breast. When a fowl is sent to table cold
at luncheon or supper, it is often carved first and then neatly tied
together with white ribbons. This looks well, and is very convenient
in a large party.
A duck, if large, must be carved as directed for a goose, by cutting
slices from the breast, and afterwards removing the wings and legs;
but if a very young bird, it is commonly disjointed first and then
served in the same way as a fowl. The seasoned onions and sage placed
under the apron may be removed with a spoon if required, but some have
an objection to the strong flavour, and it is necessary to know that
it is not disagreeable to them before you place it on the plate.
The choice part of a wild duck is the breast, which is cut in long
slices from the neck to the leg. It is rarely the bird is required to
be disjointed, but if it be necessary, it can be cut up like a fowl.
In the same manner in which you carve a fowl fix your fork in the
centre of the breast; cut slices from the breast; remove the leg,
which is considered excellent, in a line at 3, and the wing at 3,
5. To draw off the merry-thought, pass the knife through the line 6
beneath it towards the neck, and it will easily be detached. In other
respects serve it in the same way as a fowl, the breast and thigh
being most valued.
The first unrivalled bird of game, due on the 12th of August, breaking
up the senate of the kingdom, and accessible only to the few whom
wealth or privilege give the _entree_ into the preserved regions, has,
when even thrown into the market by the mercenary scions of the great,
a considerable value; and perhaps it is only in the North that it is
properly cooked and appreciated. A moor bird requires a particular
sagacity in carving, which is a secret to the uninitiated. You may
carve it like a common fowl; but the epicure alone knows that it is in
the back that the true flavour of the heath is found, and in the North
the back is recognized as the chief delicacy, and must be carefully
proportioned among the guests.
The partridge is always well received in dinner society; and if the
party be large and the supply of game small, the partridges must be
jointed like a fowl, to make the most of them, but in a small party it
is only necessary to fix the knife in the back, and separate the bird
at once into back and breast, dividing it then according to the number
of guests, always remembering that the back of a well-fed partridge is
by no means a despicable morsel.
WOODSTOCK OR SNIPE.
The great peculiarity in carving the woodcock or snipe is, that the
bird is not drawn like other birds, but roasted as it is plucked,
suspended by the head, with a toast beneath, on which the _trail_, as
it is called, or internal part, is allowed to drop; and when the birds
are roasted, which should be rapidly done in twenty minutes, the trail
should be spread over each toast and the bird served up on it. It is
then only necessary to carve each bird through the breast and back,
with its due proportion of the trail and toast. The best part,
however, if carved, is the thigh.
As the pigeon is too small a bird to disjoint, it is the fairest
division to cut it through the middle of the breast and back in two
equal parts. Another mode is to insert the knife at 1, and cut on each
side to 2 and 3, and forcing them asunder, to divide each portion into
two; but this is not needed except in a large party.
Fieldfares, larks, corn-crakes, quails, plovers, and ruffs and reeves,
should be always cut through the breast, and served only for two
The old way of carving a hare, still insisted on at many economical
tables, is somewhat elaborate. You must first insert the knife in the
point of the shoulder marked 1, and divide it down along the line to
the rump, 2; and doing the same at the opposite side, the hare falls
into three pieces. Pass the knife under the shoulder, 2--1, and remove
it; then the leg, which is really good, in a similar manner. The
animal must be beheaded, for it is necessary to divide the head, which
must be done by turning the mouth towards you, holding it steadily
down with the fork, inserting the knife through the bone between the
ears, and forcing it through, entirely dividing it. Half the head is
given to any one that requires it, the crisp ears being first cut off,
a delicacy some prefer. The back, which is the most tender part, must
now be divided through the spine into several pieces; it is only after
the back is distributed that it is necessary to have recourse to the
shoulders and legs. If the hare be old, it is useless to attempt to
carve it entirely at table, the joints become so stubborn with age;
and it is then usual to cut long slices on each side of the back-bone.
A great deal of the blood usually settles in the shoulders and back of
the neck, giving the flesh a richness which epicures like; and these
parts, called the sportsman's pieces, are sometimes demanded. The
seasoning or stuffing of a hare lies inside, and must be drawn out
with a spoon.
The rules for carving a hare sufficiently direct the mode of carving a
rabbit, except that, being so much smaller, the back is never divided
into more than two or three pieces, and the head is served whole, if
demanded. The wing is thought a choice part by many.
Toasts and Sentiments.
* * * * *
British belles and British fashions.
Laughing lovers to merry maids.
Love and opportunity.
Love without licentiousness, and pleasure without excess.
Love, liberty, and length of blissful days.
Love without fear, and life without care.
Love for one.
Life, love, liberty, and true friendship.
Love in every breast, liberty in every heart, and learning in
Love at liberty, and liberty in love.
Love: may it never make a wise man play the fool.
Artless love and disinterested friendship.
All that love can give, and sensibility enjoy.
A speedy union to every lad and lass.
Beauty's best companion--Modesty.
Beauty, innocence, and modest merit.
Beauty without affectation, and virtue without deceit.
Community of goods, unity of hearts, nobility of sentiment,
and truth of feeling to the lovers of the fair sex.
Charms to strike the sight, and merit to win the heart.
Constancy in love, and sincerity in friendship.
Here's a health to the maid that is constant and kind,
Who to charms bright as Venus's adds Diana's mind.
I'll toast Britain's daughters--let all fill their glasses--
Whose beauty and virtue the whole world surpasses.
May blessings attend them, go wherever they will,
And foul fall the man that e'er offers them ill.
Love without deceit, and matrimony without regret.
Love's garlands: may they ever entwine the brows of every
Lovely woman--man's best and dearest gift of life.
Love to one, friendship to a few, and good-will to all.
Long life, pure love, and boundless liberty.
May love and reason be friends, and beauty and prudence marry.
May the lovers of the fair sex never want the means to defend
May the sparks of love brighten into a flame.
May the joys of the fair give pleasure to the heart.
May we be loved by those whom we love.
May we kiss whom we please, and please whom we kiss.
May the bud of affection be ripened by the sunshine of
May a virtuous offspring succeed to mutual and honourable
May the presence of the fair curb the licentious.
May the confidence of love be rewarded with constancy in its
May the honourable lover attain the object of his wishes.
May the lovers of the fair be modest, faithful, and kind.
May the wings of love never lose a feather.
May the blush of conscious innocence ever deck the faces of
the British fair.
May the union of persons always be founded on that of hearts.
May the generous heart ever meet a chaste mate.
May the temper of our wives be suited to those of their
May true passion never meet with a slight.
May every woman have a protector, but not a tyrant.
* * * * *
May we act with reason when the bottle circulates.
May good fortune resemble the bottle and bowl,
And stand by the man who can't stand by himself.
May we never want wine, nor a friend to partake of it.
May our love of the glass never make us forget decency.
May the juice of the grape enliven each soul,
And good humour preside at the head of each bowl.
May mirth exalt the feast.
May we always get mellow with good wine.
May the moments of mirth be regulated by the dial of reason.
Champagne to our real friends, and real pain to our sham
Come, every man now give his toast--
Fill up the glass--I'll tell you mine:
Wine is the mistress I love most!
This is my toast--now give me thine.
Cheerfulness in our cups, content in our minds, and competency
in our pockets.
Come, fill the glass and drain the bowl:
May Love and Bacchus still agree;
And every Briton warm his soul
With Cupid, Wine, and Liberty.
Good-humour: and may it ever smile at our board.
Full bags, a fresh bottle, and a beauty.
Good wine and good company to the lovers of reasonable
A friend and a bottle to give him.
A hearty supper, a good bottle, and a soft bed to every man
who fights the battles of his country.
A full purse, a fresh bottle, and beautiful face.
A full bottle and a friend to partake of it.
A drop of good stuff and a snug social party,
To spend a dull evening, gay, social, and hearty.
A mirth-inspiring bowl.
A full belly, a heavy purse, and a light heart.
A bottle at night and business in the morning.
Beauty, wit, and wine.
Clean glasses and old corks.
Wine: may it be our spur as we ride over the bad roads of life
While we enjoy ourselves over the bottle, may we never drive
prudence out of the room.
Wine--for there's no medicine like it.
Wine--the parent of friendship, composer of strife,
The soother of sorrow, the blessing of life.
Wine: the bond that cements the warm heart to a friend.
* * * * *
May the tax-gatherer be forgiven in another world.
To the early bird that catches the worm.
To the bird in the hand that is worth two in the bush.
Our native, land: may we never be lawfully sent out of it.
Sound hearts, sound sovereigns, and sound dispositions.
The Queen, and may true Britons never be without her likeness
in their pockets.
The land we live in: may he who doesn't like it leave it.
The three great Generals in power--General Peace, General
Plenty, and General Satisfaction.
The Bank of England's passport to travel with, and the Queen's
picture for a companion.
May the parched pea never jump out of the frying-pan into the
The three R's: Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic.
May evil communications never corrupt good manners.
May the celebrated pin a day, of which we have heard so much,
always make the groat a year.
May the groat a year never be unwisely invested in a
May that man never grow fat
Who carries two faces under one hat.
Here's to the best physicians--Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr.
Here's to the feast that has plenty of meat and very little
Here's to the full purse that never lacks friends.
May fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
Here's to the man who never lets his tongue cut his own
Here's to the man who never quarrels with his bread and
Here's to the man who never looks a gift-horse in the mouth.
Here's to the old bird that is not to be caught with chaff.
* * * * *
A health to those ladies who set the example of wearing
May Her Majesty's Ministers ever have wisdom to plan our
institutions, and energy and firmness to support them.
Confusion to all demagogues.
May the productions of Britain's isle never be invaded by
May the throne and the altar never want standing armies to
Our old nobility.
The man who builds up rather than he who pulls down.
The loyal adherents of the Queen and the true friends of the
The equilibrium of State, may it always be preserved.
The ancient ways.
Judicious reforms and reformers.
The universal advancement of the arts and sciences.
All our independent nobles and noble hearts.
May the dispensers of justice ever be impartial.
May French principles never corrupt English manners.
May the interests of the monarch and monarchy never be thought
May the worth of the nation be ever inestimable.
May taxation be lessened annually.
May the Gallic cock be always clipped by British valour if he
crows too loud.
May the sword of justice be swayed by the hand of mercy.
May the seeds of dissension never find growth in the soil of
May the love of country be imprinted in every Briton's breast.
May our statesmen ever possess the justice of a More and the
wisdom of a Bacon.
Queen and Country.
Liberty, not licence.
Confusion to all men who desert their party.
Party ties before all other ties.
The Queen: may she outlive her Ministers, and may they live
A lasting cement to all contending powers.
The protectors of commerce and the promoters of charity.
A revision of the code of criminal laws.
The Bar, the Pulpit, and the Throne.
* * * * *
Old England's roast beef: may it ever be the standing dish of
Our constitutional friends--the Baron and the Sir-loin.
Roast beef: may it always ennoble our veins and enrich our
The roast beef of old England.
The Union dish: English beef, Scotch kale, and Irish potatoes.
* * * * *
England, home, and beauty.
English oak and British valour.
England for ever: the land we live in.
England, Scotland, and Ireland: may their union remain
undisturbed by plots or treachery to the end of time.
England, the queen of the isles and the queen of the main.
May old England's sons, the Americans, never forget their
* * * * *
A high _post_ to the enemies of Ould Ireland, Erin, the land
of the brave and the bold.
Ireland; sympathy for her wrongs, and a determination to
The country that gave St. Patrick birth, the birthplace of
wit, and hospitality's home--dear Ould Ireland.
May Great Britain and Ireland be ever equally distinguished by
their love of liberty and true patriotism.
May the enemies of Great Britain and Ireland never meet a
friend in either country.
Justice to Ireland.
Ireland, Scotland, and England: may their union be happier
than it has been.
* * * * *
A health to the friends of Caledonia.
Caledonia, the nursery of learning and the birthplace of
Scotland and the productions of its soil.
Scottish heroes, and may their fame live for ever.
Scotland, the birthplace of valour, the country of worth.
The Queen and the Scottish Union.
The nobles of Caledonia and their ladies.
To the memory of Scottish heroines.
The Rose, Thistle, and Shamrock: may they flourish by the
common graft of union.
To the memory of Scotland's heroes.
To the memory of those who have gloriously fallen in the noble
struggle for independence.
* * * * *
Annihilation to the trade of corruption.
An Englishman's birthright: trial by jury.
Addition to our trade, multiplication to our manufactures,
subtraction to taxes, and reduction to places and pensions.
All the honest reformers of our country.
Britain: may the land of our nativity ever be the abode of
freedom, and the birthplace of heroes.
Britain's annals: may they never suffer a moral or political
Confusion to those who barter the cause of their country for
Confusion to those who, wearing the mask of patriotism, pull
it off and desert the cause of liberty in the hour of trial.
Confusion to those despots who combine against the liberties
Disappointment to all those who form expectations of places
and pensions on the ruin of their country.
Everlasting life to the man who gave the death-blow to the
Community, unity, navigation, and trade.
Faith in every kind of commerce.
Freedom to the oppressed, and slavery to the oppressors.
Freedom to all who dare contend for it.
Oblivion to all party rage.
Humanity to all created beings, especially to our own species,
whether black or white.
No party except mankind.
May the meanest Briton scorn the highest slave.
Old England: and may those who ill-use her be speedily kicked
May Great Britain and Ireland be ever equally distinguished by
their love of liberty and true patriotism.
May every succeeding century maintain the principles of the
glorious Revolution, enjoy the blessings of them, and transmit
them to future ages unimpaired and improved.
May the whole universe be incorporated in one city, and every
inhabitant presented with the freedom.
May Britons share the triumphs of freedom, and ever contend
for the rights and liberties of mankind.
May freedom's fire take new birth at the grave of liberty.
May our country be, as it has ever been, a secure asylum to
the unfortunate and oppressed.
High wages, and sense to keep them.
May the freedom of election be preserved, the trial by jury
maintained, and the liberty of the press secured to the latest
May the tree of liberty flourish round the globe, and every
human being partake of the fruits.
May truth and liberty prevail throughout the world.
May all partial and impolitic taxes be abolished.
May Britons never have a tyrant to oppose either in Church or
May the sons of liberty marry the daughters of virtue.
May Britons never suffer invasion, nor invade the rights of
May the miseries of war be banished from all enlightened
May our trade and manufactures be unrestrained by the fetters
May the whole world become more enlightened and civilized.
May revolutions never cease while tyranny exists.
Our constitution as settled at the Revolution.
May the people of England always oppose a bad Ministry, and
give vigour to a good one.
The British Lion: may he never rise in anger nor lie down in
The majesty of the people of England.
The memory of our brave ancestors who brought about
the Revolution, and may a similar spirit actuate their
The sacred decree of heaven--Let all mankind be free.
The British Constitution; and confusion to those who dislike
The people--the only source of legitimate power.
The subject of liberty and the liberty of the subject.
The non-electors of Great Britain: may they speedily be
The greatest happiness of the greatest number.
May the nation that plots against another's liberty or
prosperity fall a victim to its own intrigues.
* * * * *