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Smart set : correspondence & conversations, 1897 / by Clyde Fitch. Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-203-30752381 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Smart set : correspondence & conversations, 1897 / by Clyde Fitch. Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909. H.S. Stone, Chicago : c1897. 201 p. ; 16 cm. Coleman The Makeway ball -- The plaintiff -- The summer -- The children -- Maternity -- A letter of introduction -- Wagner, 1897 -- Art -- Sorrow -- The theatre -- The opera -- A perfect day -- The Westington's Bohemian dinner -- The gamblers. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04501.05 KUK) Printing Master B92-203. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. The Smart Set This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET Correspondence Conversations BY CLYDE FITCH 1897 CHICAGO NEW YORK HERBERT S. STONE CO I COPYRIGHT, 1897, BY HERBERT S. STONE CO. TO " MUMSY " TO WHOM I OWE EVERYTHING FROM THE LITTLE BEGINNING OF MY LIFE NEW YORK [897 This page in the original text is blank. The Correspondence and the Conversations PAGE THE MAKEWAY BALL 3 THE PLAINTIFF 43 THE SUMMER 53 THE CHILDREN 65 MATERNITY 85 A LETTER OF INTRODUCTION 105 WAGNER, 1897 113 ART 13 1 SORROW 139 THE THEATRE 149 THE OPERA 159 A PERFECT DAY 167 THE WESTINGTON' S BOHEMIAN DINNER 175 THE GAMBLERS 187 This page in the original text is blank. The Makeway Ball Five Letters From From From From From Wm. H. Makeway Mrs. Makeway Miss Makeway a Guest an Uninvited I. IL. III. IV. V. This page in the original text is blank. The Smart Set I From Wim. H. Makeway to 7oseph K. Makle- way, of Denver. New York, Jan. 12, I89-. My Dear Brother: You did well to stay West. Would to God I had! Julia's big party came off last night. I told her weeks ago, when she be- gan insinuating it, that if it must be it must be, of course, and that I would pay all the bills, but I wished it distinctly understood I would n't have anything else to do with it. She assured me that nothing whatever would be expected of me. Unfortunately, she wasn't the only woman with an American husband, and that people would understand. She promised me I should have a voice in the matter of cigars and champagne-you can 3 4 THE SMART SET know they were all right-and I believe the success of the party was, in a great measure, due to them. My having " nothing whatever to do" with it consisted in hearing nothing else discussed for days, and on the night in question hav- ing no room I could call my own, my bed- room being devoted to the men (of course you know that Julia and I have n't shared the same room for years, not since the six months she spent with her married sister, Lady Glenwill), my own sanctum down stairs was turned into a smoker, and I was obliged to hang around in any place I could find, all ready for the guests a couple of hours before they began to arrive. Of course, too, she finally bulldozed me into helping her receive. You see, the little woman really was worn out, for she had over- seen everything. She is a wonder! There isn't an English servant in New York, or London, either, who can teach her anything, altho' our second footman happens to have been with the Duke of Cambridge at one time. Not that I care a damn about such THE SMART SET things-except that the Duke is a soldier- but in speaking of them I get to taking Julia's point of view. I helped her receive some of the people, to sort of give her a feeling of not having the whole infernal thing on her own shoulders. Everybody Julia wanted came, and a great many she did n't want. I suppose out where you live you don't have to ask the people you do n't want. Here it's much more likely you can't ask the people you do want. I have some business friends, first-rate fellows, with good looking, dressy wives, but Julia bars them every one because they are n't fashionables. You ought to see me when I'm fashionable! The most miser- able specimen you ever saw. I look just like one of the figures in a plate in a tailor's win- dow, labeled " latest autumn fashions," and I feel like one, too. Julia looked stunning! By Jove ! she was the handsomest woman there. There isn't another in New York anywhere near her age who can touch her. They say every one asked about her in London when she went out with her sister in English society, and I 5 6 THE SMART SET do n't wonder. You know she has a tall crown of diamonds-tiaras, they call them- I 've always been ashamed to tell you before! She came home with it from Tiffany's one day, and said it was my birthday present to her, and I let it go at that. Well, last night no Duchess could have worn the same sort of thing any better. The young one, too, looked as pretty as a whatever you like, only it must be damned pretty! It was her first ball, you know; she's a , you know what, it 's her first time in society. She had more bouquets than Patti used to get when you and I were running about town. And she was as unconcerned about it! She 's fashionable enough-I only hope she is n't too much so. I do n't want her to marry this young Lord who 's hanging around, and I say so three times a day. The " young 'un " says I 'd better wait till he 's asked her, but I do n't dare. Julia 's fixed on it. She won't even argue with me, so you can imagine how determined she is. But I want my daughter to marry an American, and live in her own home where THE SMART SET her father and mother live. One thing, I know: most of these marrying foreigners that come over here want money, and I '11 be hanged if I '11 give the young 'un a penny if she takes this one. I mean it. I give you my word. He led the cotillon with her last night. I would n't watch it. I staid in my den and helped smoke the cigars. None better! I can tell you that ! Well, good bye, old man. If you hear of any thing good out your way to drop a couple of hundred thousand in, let me know-better wire me. Politics have played the deuce with my Utahs. Julia sends her love, and wants me to enclose you yards of newspaper clippings about the party. Ha! Ha! Not by a damn sight! It 's enough that I was bored to death by it! The "s young 'un " often speaks of you. She is getting togged out to go with her mother and do the town in the wav of At Homes and such things. What a life! Yet they seem to enjoy it, and pity us. Us! In Wall street! The Elysian Fields of Amer- 7 8 THE SMART SET ica ! Can I know I am do anything for you here You always glad of a chance. Your affectionate brother, WILL. How about that girl you were running after Why do n't you give it all up You know what a bad lot she is. Settle down and marry. It 's the only real happiness. Believe your old brother. THE SMART SET II Letter from Mrs. Wim. H. Makeway to Lady Glenwill, of London. Thursday. My Darling Tina: It is over, and my dear, I 'm dead! Only- such a success! Surpassed my wildest dreams! If you had only been here. In the first place every one of any consequence in New York came; except, of course, those who are in mourning. There are certain people who have always held off from me, you know; but they 've come around at last, and were all in evidence last night and in their best clothes, and all their jewels, and you know that always speaks well for the hostess. I wore my tiara that Will so generously gave me my last birthday (of course he hates it himself, but I brought it home, and he had to give in-the Dear!). My wedding necklace, three strings of real pearls, and one string of those "Orient " things we bought on 9 1o THE SMART SET Bond St.-no one could ever tell the differ- ence except Will, who makes a fuss every time I wear them. He swears he will give me a new real string if I put them on again, but I tell him we must economize now to make up for what the party cost. My dress was charming. Grace Nott brought it over from Pacquin for her mother, and meanwhile this cruel indecent new tariff came on! Get down on your knees, my dear, and be grateful you do n't live in this wretched country which is being turned into one great picnicking ground for the working classes. The custom house wanted to make Grace pay an awful duty, and then, fortunately for me, but of course it was terrible for them, something in Wall Street went up instead of down, or vice versa (I never can understand those things), and the poor Notts went to smash. The dress was to be left in the custom house. When I heard about it I bought it, duties and all. My dear girl, it fitted me like a dream. Did you ever hear anything like it Of course, Mrs. Nott never could have squeezed herself into it, so it 's just as well she did n't THE SMART SET try! It is the new color, and made in the very latest way-in fact, the coming spring mode. I really think Will's description is the best. I '11 try to quote it to you: "It begins at the top-i.e. decidedly below the shoulders -to be one kind of a dress, changes its mind somewhere midway, and ends out another sort altogether. One side starts off in one direction, but comes to grief and a big jewel, somewhere in the back. The other side, taking warning, starts off in an absolutely different way, color, and effect, and explodes at the waist under the opposite arm in a diamond sunburst and a knot of tulle, on accidentally meeting its opponent half." It really is quite like that, too! Will is as amusing as ever. And he was so sweet about the party. Of course, at first, I had to be very diplomatic and get his consent with- out his knowing. He still hates society in the most unreasonable manner; would even rather stay at home quietly than go to his club. But last night he accepted the inevi- table and behaved like a prince. I wonder how many couples in New York who have I I 1 2 THE SMART SET been married nineteen years are as happy as Will and I are He made a great fuss, of course, about the champagne and cigars. You would have thought the whole fate of the ball depended upon them; and I must say they cost a ridiculous price. However, he pays for them, and they made him happier; so I do n't complain. I am sure, after all, he enjoyed the ball thoroughly, too. You could see it in his face. And what perfect manners he has! Do you remember Will may not be " smart," but he 's a gentleman, and his grand- fathers before him were gentlemen, and that always tells. We do n't seem to have had many grand- fathers, my dear-of our own, I mean, of course. I know you've married a wonderful collection of them, dating back to goodness knows when, but it isn't so important for American women; they can acquire breeding in their own lifetime. I know no other na- tion whose women can do the same, and even our men have n't the same ability. Look at the American duchesses-do n't they grace even the parties at Marlborough House THE SMART SET 3 Look at yourself, my dear girl. But you won't, because you're too modest. Still you must acknowledge your success in England is conspicuous. Will's manners are perhaps a little old-school, but that 's much better than the new-school. Young men's manners nowadays are becoming atrocious, and I'm sorry to say I think they get them from England. The first thing one knows the only gentlemen left in America will be the women. But I hope American men won't lose their reputation-deserved, you must ac- knowledge-of being the most courteous men in the world to women. Well, to go back to the ball. Of course, all my feelings out- side my guests were centered in Helen. I might as well tell you at once, she is con- sidered the most attractive debutante of the year-not by me, I do n't mean, nor by my friends, but by the people who hate us, and everybody. I think she is very like you, a sort of distingue air that you always had. I sometimes wonder if some of our grand- mothers (for even if we did n't have grand- fathers we must have had grandmothers), if 1 3 14 THE SMART SET some one of them-hope not two-did n't make a wee slip once when royal personages were about! Of course there is no use boast- ing of royal blood in one's veins when it has no business there, but that would account for certain things. You may remember the old portrait of mother's mother. She looked a perfect duchess. Helen can have a title if she wants it. I might as well tell you now. Please find out all you can for me about young Lord . He will be Duke of when his father or some one dies; so find out if you can, too, how long you think it will probably be before he becomes a duke. And is he rich or poor He need n't be rich, but I don't want to think it 's Helen's money he's after. I'm doing all I can to bring about the match, and yet I'm not so worldly after all as to want a daughter of mine to make a loveless marriage. Helen is n't ex- actly pretty, but she 's extremely attractive. Her figure is perfect, and she 's the most styl- ish thing in the world. I am very happy to- day as I think that I have lancied her in the best New York can offer. It has not been THE SMART SET ' all downhill work. Her father's name en- titled her to it; but he hated society, so he was more of a drawback than anything else. I could n't boast of any social position in Buffalo, and it's extraordinary how well that was known here. However, the fact of my being of a good, sterling, unpretentious family did help in the end, when I got started, and people saw I was serious about i" getting in." Of course, vou gave us our first big push for- ward, you darling. An entree into smart English society doesn't mean so much for a New Yorker nowadays as it used to, but it means a good deal. And a sister-in-law of Lord Glenwill is a desirable person to know when in London, so it is wise to take her up at home, and I, always having Helen's future in mind, took advantage of every possibility. Perhaps I should n't have had to push my way so much here if the Prince of Wales were still making an American girl each sea- son, but you know for several years now he seems to have given it up. I think he was discouraged by the last two he made at Homburg; neither of them had any success 15 x6 THE SMART SET here the following winter, " hall-marked " as they were, and even London has n't found them husbands yet. Of course, as to one of them, I remember the gossip you wrote me about Colonel But, as you said, he had a wife and other in- cumbrances; so the least said about that the better. Under anv circumstances, I think it 's a much bigger triumph to give Helen all New York first, now, simply by our own right, and then this May we '11 take her to an early drawing-room, and see what happens next. I shall depend upon you, dear, to see that we go to one of the Princess' drawing-rooms, and do n't get palmed off on one of the Princess Christian's or anything of that sort. Helen was dressed very simply, of course, and no jewels, but looked so sweet. Lord was devotion itself all evening. Nat- urally every one is on the qui vive for the engagement, but that 's all right. They danced the cotillon together. We had charm- ing favors, not too extravagant-that 's such wretched taste-but things we bought inVen- THE SMART SET ice last year, and Hungarian things, and some Russian, and a set of tiny gold things Tiffany got up especially for us. I had several people down from Buffalo, and mother, of course. I wish you could have seen her, bless her heart. She had on all her old lace, and my coiffeur did her hair beautifully. She looked so handsome, and Will insisted on her dancing a figure of a quadrille with him, and how graceful and dignified she was. You would have been very proud. I was. Lots of people asked about her, and some seemed so surprised when they heard she was my mother. How rude people are; and what did thev expect my mother to be like After all, do I look like the daughter of a washerwoman I think not. We might ask the Grand Duke , if we meet him again at Aix. You know I told Will about my small, timid flirtation with the Russian, and really he seemed proud of my absurd little conquest ! A convenient hus- band for some women we know, would n't he be Ah, but then you see they would n't deserve him ! I 7 I8 THE SMART SET Sherry did my supper. He imported some birds from Austria especially for it, and in- vented some dishes of his own. I think it was all right. People said so, but, of course, you can't believe people. I can vouch at any rate for the serving of it. It was like magic. We seated every one at little tables which seemed to come up thro' the floors. They were everywhere except in the ball- room; that was left clear. WAe 've built the ball-room since you were over. Will bought the house next to us (such a sum as they asked when they heard we wanted it!) and the whole lower floor we made into a ball-room. It just holds my series of Gobelins we bought for that out- rageous price two years ago in Paris at the Marquis de Shotteau's sale. For flowers, I had quantities of gorgeous palms and lovely cut flowers in bowls and vases wherever it was possible. That was all,-I hate this stuffing a house with half-fading flowers, it always suggests a funeral to me, with the banked-up mantels for coffins. It 's horrid, I know, but I can 't help it. However, if THE SMART SET 9 I am writing in this vein it 's time I stopped. My letter is abnormally long as it is-I hope the right number of stamps will be put on it. Forgive me for mentioning it, my dear, but we always have to pay double postage due on your epistles. I do n't mind at all-they are quite worth it-only I thought you might like to know. I have all the newspapers about the ball for you, but I will wait till after Thursday and then send them on in a package. I want to see what Town Topics will say. Nobody cares, of course, only you do n't like to see horrid things about you in print. Some- times it treats me very well, and it 's devoted to Helen, but once in a while it's atrocious. I 'm only a little worried about Lord I do n't want it to say I am after him for Helen, because I am not! If the English papers have anything in, please send them over-I know some articles are going to be written. If there are any of them absurd and extravagant accounts, of course you will take pains to contradict them. The English 19 20 rTHE SMART SET press seems often determined to make Amer- ican society ridiculous. Will says we will be greatly indebted to your husband if he will get us a house for the season, as you proposed. Carleton House Terrace, if possible; if not, use your own judgment, only not Grosvenor Square- they make too much fun of strangers who go there. I hope you are well and taking some sort of care of yourself, which you know you never do. And please, if you go to Paris at Easter, be sure to write us at once if sleeves are still growing smaller, if hats are big or little, and whether it's feathers or flowers, or both. Also, of course, anything else that will help us. And do n't forget to find out all you can about Lord . And do you advise announcing the engagement before her presentation, or afterward And by no means say a word to anybody, as he has n't proposed yet. By the wav, Will is violently opposed to it. But I think Helen and I together will be too much for him, and if absolutely necessary my health can give out! That had to happen, you remember, before I THE SMART SET 1 could get him out of I5th street and up here. My love to the Hon. Bertha. How is the dear child I long to see you. Say what you like, this society life is n't alto- gether satisfactory. I think after Helen is happily married-to whomever it is-I shall drift quietly out of it, and gradually take to playing Joan to Will's Darby. I 'm sure Will would love it. Love to you both, and a heart full to your- self, Tina, dearest. Your affectionate old sister, MARY. P. S.-Don 't laugh at what I said about a society life. Of course I do n't mean it. I don't believe I could live without it now. I 'm tired after the ball, that's all. To tell the truth I don 't quite know where my head is. I shall take two phoenacetine powders right away. Do you know about them; they 're so good. Did I ask you if you went to Paris Easter to be sure and write me if sleeves - 0 yes, I remember, I did. 2 1 22 THE SMART SET III From Miss Makeway to Miss Blanche Mathe- son in Rome. Thursday. My darling Blanche: Of course I know you are Having a wonder- ful time in Rome with Royalties and all sorts of smart people and gav entertainments, but still I wish you had been at our ball last night. I believe you would have enjoyed it. I don 't think anyone can deny we know how to give balls in America, and mama is a wonder! You know she's been fishing for guests for this ball for years. And she wouldn 't give it till she was sure of a list of people who would be present that would bear comparison with anybody's; and, my dear, we had it ! And I am sure mama feels more than repaid. With such a culmination every- thing has been worth while-the French chef and his terrible extravagances, for you must pay to be known as a good house to dine at- THE SMART SET all the deadly afternoon parties, all the ex- orbitant fees paid for years to the opera sing- ers to sing, the house at Newport-and the one at Lennox, the seasons in London, that shooting box in Scotland (it bored us to death ), it was all worth while now that we have arrived at the toppest top. And no one could become her position better than mama. A society matron of the first water is cer- tainly her metier. Lord is very much struck with mama. I will tell you about him later. Of course poor papa looks a little what that amusing young Englishman would call perhaps I872. He was n't in it for a minute; bored to death, poor thing. You know he hates parties. Thank heaven I am "1 out" at last, for now I can go to everything that comes on. And do as I please, that is if I want to, because I may marry soon! I wish I could see your expression when you read that. Of course it is Lord . He proposed last night, but I told him he must wait, and propose again in a couple of weeks. I wasn 't ready to decide yet. I must be free " out " for a couple of weeks at least. 23 24 THE SMART SET He will be Duke of , some day. As the Duchess I shall have precedence over Mamie Smith, Gertrude Strong, and Irene van Worth, and even over all the older women who have married abroad, except the Duchesses of and . Think what fun it would be to sail in everywhere ahead of Mamie Smith, after all the insufferable airs she has put on! I don't believe I could make a better match. Besides he's youngish and good-looking, has splendid estates, and I really like him. I mean I think he is the sort of man you can get very romantic about. And of course there 's no real social life any- where but abroad, and there 's no other life that would n't bore me to death. It 's only natural, for my whole childhood was spent in an atmosphere of searching after it. Ever since I can remember the chief occupation and interest of mama was how diplomat- ically to get into the smartest set with dignity. It seemed as difficult as the pro- verbial camel and eye of a needle and the rich man getting into heaven, and in my younger days the three were all very much THE SMART SET mixed up together in my mind. I think I should prefer London to Paris. Smart life in Paris seems to be so very much more im- moral than in London, judging from what one hears and the books one reads, and you know I don't care about immorality. I get that from mama, too. She is shocked all the time in the " world," over here even, tho' she tries to hide it. Our house looked lovely last night. We had powdered footmen, and just enough music and just enough supper and just enough people. One of the secrets of suc- cess in society is not to overcrowd anything. Of course there were some drawbacks to the ball, but small things that did n't really count. Mary Farnham came and sat the whole evening thro', as usual, without once dancing. Even papa said he "drew the line at that." Why does n't she take something You see lots of things advertised that change people almost as big as she into a perfect shadow in no time. You feel so sorry for her when she 's your guest. I had a great mind to put Lord to the test, but I 25 26 THE SMART SET did n't quite dare! Then Tommy Baggs came and repeated his customary gymnas- tics-waltzed on everybody's toes in the rooms (slipper sellers ought to pay him a commission), tore two women's gowns nearly off their waists and spilled champagne frapp6 down Mrs. Carton's back; would have ruined her bodice, if she 'd had any on, at the back. She bore it like a lamb. Her teeth were fairly chattering, but she laughed and said it was rather pleasant. Good heavens! Who do you suppose is down stairs Lord ! It 's going to be a bore if he 's coming every day. I shall go down and tell him these two weeks I am to have a con plete holiday. Do write t.- all you 're doing. With love always, HELEN. Later-I have accepted him ! He was so perfectly charming! I could n't help it! THE SMART SET IV From a Guest. Thursday. My dear Claire: I was so glad to hear from you about Florida, and, as you are having such an amusing time, and as the season here is prac- tically finished now that the much-talked of Makeway ball is over, I 've decided to join you next week. Besides, I've missed you awfully, and it will be so nice to be with you again. Will you be so good as to engage my rooms for me-a bedroom with two wind- dows facing south; not near the elevator by any means; not above the third floor-but not on the first. Please see that the coloring is blue or pink; I'm not particular about de- sign or material, or anything of that sort (I do n't think people should be too exigeant)- only yellow, or red, or white, or green rooms are too awfully unbecoming to me. Have drawing-room to connect with the bedroom 27 28 THE SMART SET please, and then a room for my maid. I hope you won't have to pay more than seven dollars a week for her (all included, natur- ally). She is n't at all particular. I 'm sure I could n't afford to keep her if she were, and she 's such a treasure. Of course she reads all my letters and minds my own business more than I do myself, and uses up my crested writing paper at a terrific rate; but that one expects-do n't you think so-with a good servant I know you are mad to hear all about the ball, so I'll tell you. In the first place it was a great success, and that settles it ! The Makeways are now a power in New York society, and there's really no reason why they should n't be. His family are all right and her English connections are better; and then what a charming women she is! She makes a perfect hostess. Such tact! Everything was carried out in the best of taste. If they erred at all it was on the side of simplicity; and yet that gives you a wrong idea about the ball, because it really could boast of splendor. Yes, I mean it, but of a THE SMART SET solid, real kind. There is nothing papier mach6 about the Makeway house; nor about its owners, nor about their entertainment. You can 't help but believe this, and it gives you a sense of social security! Everyone any- one would want in their house was there. If any line was drawn tightly inside the smart circle, it defined the pseudo-declass6. Mrs. kMakeway might be described in England as a slightly early-Victorian hostess, or if our pres- idents had at all the position and social power of royalties, she would be ticketed perhaps as of the Hayes period, except that would imply "Total Abstinence," which would mean instant death to anyone in smart society, thank goodness! I suppose you 've heard that old mot of the dinners at the White House during the Hayes administration, that water flowed like champagne! Well, that will never be said of the Makeways. Their wine was the very best, too; I never had better at any party, seldom as good, and even John, who scoffs at the idea of women being a judge of wines, confesses, that, though we 've entertained everybody all our lives, we 've 29 30 THE SMART SET never had such a good wine inside our doors. The supper was, in the first place, comfort- able, and, in the second place, faultless. (There was a queer kind of game, which I loathed, but of course I knew, whatever it was, under the circumstances it was the right thing, so I choked it down.) The music was superb-all the good Hungarian orchestras in town. The cotillon favors were lovely, and some very stunning gold and jeweled things from Tiffany's must have cost a fortune. But of course what you want to know about most is the people and what they had on. I wore my-but you '11 see my dress in Florida, so never mind. Mrs. Makeway had a superb dress, but she always dresses handsomely. What a nice man Mr. Makeway is. You felt sure he was bored to death by the party, and all of us at it, but he concealed it with such charming manners and such natural courtesy that you really felt somehow it was a pleasure to come and put him out. The daughter is a great success; there 's no denying that. She has a perfect figure, and is very graceful. She seems to have her father's manners, brought THE SMART SET up to date by her mother. She 's going to be a leader, you can tell that, and apparently she can be an eventual duchess, if she wishes. Young Lord is still here, and his de- votion in the Makeway quarter is undis- guised. Everyone likes him, and says he is n't the sort of young fellow to be merely after her money; but no one can tell if Helen is going to take him or not. I am sure of one thing, she will do as she pleases. There were beautiful jewels in evidence at the ball. Mrs. Makeway wore, I believe, a dozen strings of the most gorgeous pearls. All real, of course, with their money. They must represent a fortune in themselves. Poor old Mrs. Hammond Blake came with all her Switzerland amethysts, and a few new topazes mixed in (she must have been at Lucerne last summer). She looked like one of those glass gas-lit signs. But really, all the best jewels in New York were there. And it is wonderful to see how the women whose throats are going the way of the world have welcomed the revival of black velvet if they have n't the pearl collarettes. 3'1 32 THE SMART SET I shall be wanting something of the sort myself soon. Woe is me! And John does keep looking so abominally young. I tell him out of courtesy to me he must get old more quickly, or people will be saying I married a man years younger than myself! John says I need n't trouble to furnish people with subjects for talking; they can make up their own. But I do n't think we are gossips nowadays here in America; do you Which reminds me that everybody says the Mathews are going to separate at last. She 's going to Dakota, and get it on incap- tability, or cruelty, or some little thing like that. Everybody wondered at first why, since she 'd stood it so long, she was going to divorce Ned now, at this late day, but it has leaked out. Think of it-Charlie Harris! Are n't you surprised It's only about two years since he divorced his wife. Mrs. Harris got the children, so I presume Mrs. Mathews will keep hers to give Charlie in place of his own. If I remember the num- ber he will be getting compound interest! You know the Mathews babies came with THE SMART SET such lightning rapidity we lost count. One was always confusing the last baby with the one that came before it. Anyway, I think Charlie Harris gets the best of it; so, even if it is n't altogether ideal to possess your children "i ready made," as it were, still Elsie Mathews is a charming woman, and I never could bear Mrs. Harris. She told such awful fibs, and her exaggerations were not decorative; they were criminal. Why, I could n't recognize a piece of news I told her myself when I heard her repeating it to some one else not five minutes after, as John says. Heavens! for the third time, "eas John says," I must stop. But I am a very happy married woman! John gives me everything I want, and I adore him. When I hear from you I will telegraph my train. We missed you awfully at the Makeways. John spoke of it several times. He loves to dance with you because you are always ready to sit it out and do all the talk- ing. Dear me, I 'm afraid that does n't sound complimentary, but I assure you he meant it as such! 33 34 THE SMART SET How nice it will be to be with you. You are n't strict about your mourning, are you I do n't think it 's at all necessary, way off there. With love, always affectionately, MAYBEL PARKE RODNEY. THE SMART SET IV From an Uninvited. Thursday. My Darling George: I hope this letter will reach you before you leave Minneapolis. I do wish you would leave politics alone, if they 're going to take you away like this. Believe me, the country can get along much better without you than I can! When we are married you have got to give them up. When we are married, too, and this bore of a divorce of mine is finally settled, I presume I shall be invited to Mrs. Makeway's parties! I was n't asked last night to her big ball !-not that I care. I am sure that beast of a husband of mine will never be able to prove his nasty charges against us, and that I shall win the case. Then there '11 be no excuse for Mrs. Makeway and her prudish set, and I promise you they shall eat " humble pie," if there 's any left in the world after all my dear friends have made me 35 3 THE SMART SET devour. Tom has been making overtures to my maid through a detective, but Lena is faithful to us, and I 've promised her double any sum they offer her. When my position is all right again, I shall go in for society in the most extravagant, splendid way for one long, brilliant, spiteful season, and I shall punish every one of these women who have snubbed me so terribly. After all, half of them owe their positions in the world to my family, and with my family to back me there will be no trouble about mv being absolutely reinstated. My people will back me up, too, for we have never had a scandal up till now. We have been almost the only family left. Of course the papers are full of the Make- way ball, and the pictures of Mrs. Makeway are too deliciously absurd for anything. One looks like that one of me in the Evening News when I gave my evidence. I really believe it 's the same picture. 1 hear that she looked rather well with her famous pearls on (which, between you and me, I believe are false), and her tiara, which all the out-of-town people 36 THE SMART SET go to the opera to see. But they say she was dressed entirely too young, and showed she thought her own party a great success. However, what can you expect She was nobody; her family are most ordinary people, the kind that are prominent in some unfash- ionable church and influential in its Sunday- school. 0, la-la-la-la ! She prides herself on having an ancestor of some sort who fought in the War of Independence-a com- mon soldier, I suppose, in Washington's army; that 's why she has had an office in the " Daughters of the Revolution." We had several ancestors in the war--commissioned officers; and they all fought for King George, thank heaven; and if they had only won my father would have been the third Lord Ban- ner, probably, if not something better. So hang Mrs. Makeway! Her daughter is an ugly little creature; she has n't a single fea- ture that does n't go its own way irrespective of the others, and with a total disregard for the tout ensemble of the poor girl's face. You know the sort of thing-each feature seems to be minding the other's business. Her 37 38 THE SMART SET teeth look lovely, but I believe some of them are " crowns"-they do that sort of thing so well nowadays! What I will grant her is a beautiful figure, but my corset-maker, who is hers, too, gives me her word of honor she laces awfully ! They say she had the best time of any girl at the ball; which, if you ask me, I think beastly taste. The house everyone says looked very beau- tiful-of course, money will do everything- and the music was superb for the same reason, and the supper not too extravagant. (I suppose they economized on that!) But lots of people I 've met say they were bored to death, and that there was an awful crowd. It 's extraor- dinary the people she had there! How she got them I do n't know-all the swells. But dear me, after all, that 's nothing; swells will go to anyone who '11 amuse them. I hear old Makeway looked fearfully miserable, and, in- stead of paying other women compliments, made love to his own wife all the evening. It 's extraordinary, because he is really a gentleman. His great-grandfather and my great-grandfather were great chums; made THE SMART SET their money, I think, in the same busi- ness. By the way, the Pinkertons have written me that they have still more evidence against Tom. They say she is "edoing a turn" -whatever that is-in some variety theatre. According to accounts she did Tom for a good deal-just served him right. Do hurry back-I miss you so, and am so lonely. It 's a year and a half since we 've been separated so long as this. Come back. Do n't make me jealous or suspicious. Besides it is n't complimentary to trust me so tre- mendously. The lawyer is here-I hope he has come to assure me of my positive victory. He has thrown up the suit. We are lost! He says Tom has indisputable proof, and that there is no use trying. Can Lina be a wretch after all or do you suppose it is your man Come at once, at no matter what sacrifice. The Majestic sails on Wednesday. Had n't we better throw up the sponge and take it " Always, and in spite of everything, your adoring EDITH. 39 This page in the original text is blank. The Plaintiff Two Letters From Mr. John Stuart Kennington to Mrs. Kennington, his wife. From Mrs. John Stuart Kennington, by special messenger, to the law firm of Jordan Fields. This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART S E T I From John Stuart Kennington to Mrs. Kenning- ton, his wfe. Newport, October -th, 189-. Suspicion is absolutely foreign to my nature. Therefore, far from a thought of worry when I found my business visits to New York this summer becoming more and more easy to make as far as you were con- cerned, I used instead to get "a lump in my throat " on the train which left vou here be- hind, believing that sour love for me influ- enced you to hide your own feelings and aid me all you could in the performance of my duties, even at the cost of your own pre- ferred pleasure and at the price of a good many hours of loneliness. Loneliness! Oh, what fools we men sometimes are ! Yes, and how careless you women become! I shall never forget the day I changed my plans suddenly, deciding I would n't go to New York that week after all, although my 43 THE SMART SET bag was packed and Smithers already at the station with it. The instantaneous look of disappointment which leaped across your face, and which for some seconds vou did n't suflicientlv realize to conceal-what a vista that look opened out to me-a hellish vista! And your constrained little smile-a sort of conscious visible movement of the muscles about your mouth-" on purpose "-came too late. That first look had been like a Rdntgen ray over the last six months of our life-lives I should say; for while you and I were living one life, you at the same time, without me, were living another. Then I understood this summer's comfortable weekly good-byes, so different from other years ! I think, down in the bottom of my heart, I understood all at that moment,- though I would n't acknowledge it not even in secret to myself, and even when, before another twenty-four hours had passed, my eyes were damnable witnesses against you. I could n't believe them, and doubt if I would have if you had not confessed. Of course, I knew whenever we had guests Jack Tolby 44 THE SMART SET 4 was always one of them, and also one of the guests wherever we went, but it only seemed natural. He was extremely agreeable in our house; it 's only now I realize he has always rather avoided me at the club. I suppose even men like him have some sort of con- science, or at least a sense of decency, if not of honor, toward their own friends, and, if so, good God, how ashamed he must have been every time he had to take my hand! Andyou, when you received my lips on yours, already satiated with kisses in my absence Ugh ! Kate! Kate! how I hate you! Yes, hate is the word. And to think you are the mother of mv children! That is the big hurt. I want you to understand that what I am going to do is entirely for their sake, not at all for yours. You who have been the first to drag the name of Kennington in the public mud. Three honest generations of us have kept it clean and honorable, and our wives have done the same for us all down to you-all except my wife. I used to think that in marrving me you had placed me 45 46 THE SMART SET deeper in your debt than I could ever repay. Ever since the first time I saw you I loved you; and after that meeting I put my arms about no woman-arms that had been free enough before-until I put them around you. And since then the same. I have been an absolutely faithful husband to you. Do you understand what that means I do n't be- lieve so. I preferred you to every other woman in the world. When away from vou, your memory guarded my embraces. Yet I am not a romantic man. Now, for instance, I look at it all in a straightforward light. I realize that you were a girl with no money and no particular position in the world; and in marrying me you obtained both. You have reveled in societv-thanks to me and my family-and this is the return you have made. You have dishonored us. Now listen; this is what I propose doing. I do not intend to have my children suffer pub- licly, as they would, especially my two little daughters, if your disgrace were made public. It happens to be with us that a father's fall- ing in this direction does not so seriously, if THE SMART SET at all, affect his children; therefore, for their sake, instead of my divorcing you, I am going to give you proof and witness by which you may divorce me, for your own sin. But there are certain conditions with which you must comply. I will send by my lawyer a paper, which you will sign in the presence of wit- nesses before any further steps are taken. In this paper you will agree on your securing your divorce to marry Tolby. I have had an interview with him (this is not an age nor a country of duels), and I demanded that he make me the reparation of marrying you when you are free. I must frankly say from his manner I do not judge him over anxious. I believe even a duel with pistols would on the whole have pleased Tolbv better. It is true that precedent is not in his favor. His own experience with you will doubtless make him a little uneasv. To continue: You are to marry him. You are to demand of me in your suit the sum of (and do not be uneasy, you will win your suit). This will be convenient for you when you re-marry, for you know Tolby has n't a cent. It will 47 48 THE SMART SET be a real love match on your part, charming! You are to give all my mother's jewels to our oldest daughter on her marriage, and all the jewels I have ever given you to our second on hers. Should the girls not marry at twenty-five, they are then to have the jewels. As to the children I shall have to submit, in my role of the guilty party, to letting you have control over them; but I warn you that this is to be only nominal. If ever I find you prejudicing either one of them against me in any way whatever-even if I find their affections are being alienated from me by some sort of public opinion or gossip-I warn you that when each one is old enough to understand he shall be told the truth. You had better look to it then that my children love me. Your own hold over their affections rests upon it. These points, and a few others bearing upon them, will be set forth legally in the paper which my lawyer will bring you. Kindly send me word if you are prepared to sign, and, if so, when Mr. Jordan or his rep- resentative may call. Good bye. JOHN STUART KENNINGTON. THE SMART SET II From Mrs. 7ohn Stuart Kennington, by Special Messenger, to the law firm Of 7ordan Fields. No. - East 66th street. Benj. K. Jordan, Esq. Dear Sir: On second thoughts, after vou have left me, I have decided to ask you to write M1r. Kennington as follows-I mean I will give you the idea of what I wish said: Acknowl- edge the receipt of his letter, and say I shall be delighted to sign the paper he proposes at his earliest convenience. I must ask, how- ever, that he submits the document through you, etc. (the same as we agreed on just now in our interview). Now, besides, you must demand for me the following changes or cor- rections, or whatever is right to call them, in the paper. First, the sum of S is too small; must be added to it. Also, I am not willing to give up all my homes. Either the house in New York, or in Newport, or on 49 50 T HE SMART SET Long Island must be made over to me. And I positively refuse to part with the ruby neck- lace to one of mv daughters unless I should choose to do so of my own free will. For the other jewels I have no use whatever. You can express that as you see fit. Ask him to let me hear as soon as possible. Yours trulv, GERTRUDE CORTE KENNINGTON. Tuesday. The Summer A Letter This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET 5 Grand Hotel de 1' Europe, Aix-les-Bains, Sunday. My Dear Mary: Our summer has been a perfect failure. I said in the very beginning if we followed John and the children's ideas it would be; but as I was in the minority I gave in. Fortu- nately we did catch the tail end of the London season. The others wanted to go straight on to Paris, but for that once I put my foot down-and all the trunks as well. It was very warm ; still there was a great deal go- ing on, so we did n't mind the heat, at least I didn't. Heat in London during the season is such a different thing from heat in Switzer- land or some dull seaside place, where there is not sufficient distraction to take your mind off it. I was doing something every minute. That's the charm of London. Every hour of the day there is something, and if there ever was a dull interval I dropped into one of the picture galleries. You know you 53 54 THE SMART SET have to do that sort of thing over here. People talk about pictures, and some do it verv well, too, and you really meet painters out. The children go and see things that are zood for their education, you know-the Tower, where Mary Queen of Scots, or Anne Bolevn, I forget which, was beheaded, and the-well, all sorts of places like that. The heat made them rather irritable, and Evelyn had a rash, but I thought it was good for them to see all the historical siahts. So we staid on just the same till after Good- wood. And the races ended my pleasure, for next we started for Lucerne. I said all along there would be no one in the place. Of course people do go there, but on their way to somewhere else, or coming home at odd times, and not for too long. There is never really any society there. I knew it. I have had experience with it. Besides, we know the places that every one does go to in July and August. I preferred Homburg, with Aix at the end, but I would have put up with Trouville first, or Ostend, or even Dinard. But no, Switz- THE S MART SET 5 erland it was I I hate it ; I alwavs did. It 's too like its photographs. It has absolutely no stvle. It 's all nature, nature, nature! The mountains and lakes, no matter how old they really mav be, still always has e the beaute du diable; and for a woman of my age- who has to resort to art to keep herself look- ing the slightest little bit vounger than she is !-it gets on one's nerves, all this natural beauty ! I prefer some place that has to resort to art, too, and make itself up a little with gorgeous hotels, casinos, theatres, and baccarat tables. Mountains bore me, and I hate to go on the water. There at Lucerne the mountains stood continually and solemnly around, just like elderly relatives at a family reunion, and the flat lake lies as uninterest- ing as the conversation of these estimable creatures would be. And then the people! The town crowded to suffocation, scarcely breathing space, and yet noboda there. To be sure once in a while one notices an extraordinary old frump go by, who turns out to be the Duchess of this, or Princess that, but I assure you one would have been 55 56 THE SMART SET ashamed to drive in the park with her (at home), unless she was placarded. Now and then somebody decent from New York or Boston arrived on a morning train, but, of course, they usually left in the evening, driven away by the glare, or the white dust, or by the eternal tourists. That man Cook has done more to spoil attractive places than any other dozen people in the world put together. Sometimes, of course, they are amusing. One day I went to see the Lion! Do n't laugh. John bet me five hundred dollars I would n't go. So, of course, I did. Fortunately I 'd heard the children explain- ing it or I should n't have enjoyed so much the following joke. A woman and her daughter, both Cooks, (tourists I mean, of course, tho' heaven knows what the mother might n't have been at home'), stood in front of the monument. ,, What 's this, Clara :" asked the older woman. CLARA. Why this is the famous Lion of Lucerne, mother! THE SMART SET 5 MOTHER. Oh is it, ain't it lovely ! What 's it for-I mean why is it CLARA. Why, you know, mother, for defending poor Marie Antoinette in the Tuilleries! MOTHER. Oh, did it ! And then people say lions are such nasty, heartless creatures. CLARA. (Laughing.) 0 mother! the lion did n't do it; it 's only put up for a monument to the soldiers who died trying to protect her from the mob! MOTHER. Oh, I see; it's just a fancy picture! Well, anyway, I think it's awful sad. What do You think of that And those are the kind of people Switzerland was full of. Some were alone, and some were imper- 57 THE SMART SET sonally conducted in a very loose sort of way. Wherever you wanted to go they were sure to be ahead, and kicking up a mid- dle-class dust that choked you. The loud sound of their incessant talk echoed from snow peak to snow peak. And their terrible clothes, chosen evidently "not to show the dirt " (but they did), came between your eyes and any beauty of scenery there might be, even if you cared to see it, and I did n't. And then the droves of rich Ameri- cans at the hotels! Where did they come from Where did they learn how not to dress Where did they learn how not to be- have Those are the questions I asked my- self continually, and always gave them up ! I became so tired of hearing of Pilatus and the Rigi, I felt as if one were at the head of my grave and the other at the foot ! I had a sort of indigestion of mountains and lakes ! And there was John ! rushing out every other min- ute to sit and look at them (I assure you I was threatened very much with the neuralgia from the damp of the lake terrace). And he climbed everything that was climbable, even preferred 58 THIE SMART SET 59 walking up; but when there were railways I made him take them for fear he 'd hurt him- self. I believe he went to the top of every blessed thing that had any top! I found plenty of horrid people to look down on with- out going to the tops of mountains. I tried to drive, but there was n't a decent turnout in the place. I went out in a little steam launch, but was frightened to death for fear I'd be run down by one of the steamers crowded with Cooks. Oh, no ! assez of Switzerland for me ! I said to John i' Bring me here to bury me if you like, but do n't bring me here alive again." And finally, when he and the children couldn 't find anything more to climb, I managed to move them on to Aix, and here I am. And, of course, the English season has just finished, and the French people have n't begun to come yet, and Aix is hot, and dull, and empty ! Really, is n't it trying There are even only second-rate cocottes about, none of the smart ones yet! I am dying of the blues. Besides I have to take the baths, although I do n't want them, because the 6o THE SMART SET only way I managed to persuade John to come here was by pretending I needed them! When I think of you in Newport, in spite of the heat, leading an absolutely ideal life with your visits, your dinners, and your balls, I am green with ens v. These are the times when life seems really almost too compli- cated to worry through. Of course if I were like John's sister Mlargaret, sort of half-crazy, who loves the real country, prefers a farm- house to a hotel, fields and woods to a casino, I might get on well enough. But I consider that nothing short of a morbid state of mind. If vou love me, write me soon, and cheer me up. But do n't tell me of too much going on with you, or it will be more than I can bear. If you could honestly sav that it was rather a dull season in Newport this year, you do n't know what a comfort it would be. I do hope John and the children appreciate the sacrifice I am making for them. I 'm sure I trv to have them realize it. It only shows what we mothers will do for our children. With love, Xvour affectionate, but depressed, GERALDINE. THE SMIART SET 6i P.S.-Of course, as you can imagine, the shops at Lucerne were filthy. I did n't buy a thing except some presents for the servants. At Aix the shops are better, but with so few people here, somehow one has no in- spiration. I 've bought literally nothing ex- cept five hats. This page in the original text is blank. The Children Three Dialogues I. Divorce. II. Birth. III. Death. This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET 6 I Divorce. TOM BARNES, age ten, whose mother, Mrs. Barnes, having divorced his father, her second husband, has since remarried, and is now Mrs. 7enley. CLAIRE WORTHING, age seven, whose mother, Mrs. Worthing, having divorced her Father to marry the divorced Mr. Barnes, is now Mrs. Barnes. SCENE, a Fashionable Dancing School in New rork. A quadrille has been announced. Master Barnes goes up to Miss Claire and bowing somewhat stiffly, mumbles some not altogether intelligible words. Miss Claire, sliding down from her chair, says "1 Thank you," with perfect composure and a conven- tional smile, as, taking his arm, they choose a position in the dance. TOM. Shall we stop here in this set 65 66 THE SMART SET CLAIRE. No! Becky Twines' dress would ruin mine. And she made her maid give her that one on purpose I 'm sure, because she knew what I was going to wear. But I do n't care. I heard mama say, yesterday, her mother, in spite of all her monev, had n't been able to buy her way into several houses. I do n't think she ought to have been invited to join our dancing class at all. When people buy their way into other people's houses like that, how do they do it do you suppose Does the butler sell tickets at the door, do you think TOM. Perhaps so ! Butlers look like that. My! I 'd jolly like to be a butler! (They have moved on to another set.) Shall we stop here CLAIRE. Oh, no, not here! Teddy Jones always mixes us up. He treads on our toes. THE SMART SET TOM. Yes, and squeezes the girls' hands, too. CLAIRE. Oh, that we do n't mind! like to sit this dance out on the would prefer it herself.) TOM. No, let 's dance. Come on, place. CLAIRE. Would you stairs (She this is a good As you please. Do you like kissing games TOM. (Red in the face.) No; do you (He does.) CLAIRE. Oh, pause.) I do n't mind. (An embarrassed TOM. I like football and those kind of games. 67 6S THE SMART SET CLAIRE. They are all very well for boys. But I do n't much care for games myself, and, be- sides, I do n't have the time. TOM. What do girls do with themselves all the time CLAIRE. Oh! I have mv lessons, and I walk out with my maid every morning, and I dress three times a day, and then I have visits to make on other little girls. TOM. You 've got a new father, have n't you CLAIRE. Yes, mama was married two weeks ago. TOM. How do you like him THE SMART SET 69 CLAIRE. Oh, very much! TOM. You take my word for it, he 's a brick. I know! He used to be my father once. [ The music starts up, and the couples bow. 70 THE SMART SET II Birth ELSIE, age 6. TERESA, age 8. BOB, age 7. (They are sitting on the steps of the large piazza of a beautiful country house, the two little girls affectionately close, the boy at an awk- ward distance. There has been a pause in the conversation, which the boy breaks.) BOB. We've got a new baby at our house! (Splendid ejfect!) ELSIE, TERESA. (Together.) Oh! (Their eyes are suddenly bright and their faces glow with a sort of awed curiosity and pleasure, not unmixed with envy.) ELSIE. What kind THE SMART SET 7 TERESA. (Eagerly.) Yes; which is it BOB. (Proudly.) A boy, of course! ( The two little girls' faces fall for a and they are silent, but not for long.) ELSIE. second, Of course there have to times. TERESA. Yes, to make a change. ELSIE. be boys some- Is n't it funny where babies come from! BOB. Yes, you find them in cabbages. ELSIE. Oh, no! They come down in rainstorms. 71 THE SMART SET TERESA. No, no! They come out of the flowers. BOB. Stuff! ELSIE. They do come from the skies, because you know the stars are little babies waiting to be picked. TERESA. I thought the stars were the places where God put his fingers through. BOB. They are n't any such thing; they 're the gold tacks that fasten on the carpet of heaven. ELSIE. When I grow up I shall have eleven babies, because I have eleven favorite names, and I shall have them all at once, so they can have nice, happy times playing together, and there won't have to be any horrid older 72 THE SMART SE r brother and sister, always getting the best of everything. TERESA. And I'll tell you what ! I'll have eleven children too, to marry yours. BOB. No, I'll marry one of them. ELSIE. No, you must marry one of us. BOB. WRhich one ELSIE. Well, I think it would be best for you to marry me and be father for my eleven chil- dren. I want them to have a father. I love my father. TERESA. Yes; but then who 'll be a father to my children ELSIE. Yours can be sort of orphans; they need n't ever have had any father. 73 THE SMART SET TERESA. (Approaching a tearful state.) No, that 's awfully sad. I want my children to have a father, too! BOB. Never mind. I'll be their father besides. ELSIE. Let 's play house. TERESA. Let 's ! BOB. Let's play Indians, and I '1I scalp you two girls ! ELSIE. No, that 's too rough. We'll play husband and wife. Bob and I will get married, and, Teresa, you must be the minister and a bridesmaid. (They retire into the house, where, with the aid of a wrapper, a night dress, a bouquet, and a black mackintosh, the ceremony is properly per- formed.) 74 THE SMART SET ELSIE. Now we'll have a little girl baby, and (to Teresa) you must be it. TERESA. No, I want to be the wife now, and you be the baby. ELSIE. No, I '11 be the husband, and let Bob be the baby. BOB. I won't be the baby! TERESA. Anyway, it is n't polite for a little baby to come right away like that. They never do. ELSIE. That 's so; you have to wait till the news that they want one gets up to the skies. 75 THE SMART SET III Death Teddy and Elsie are in the drawing-room, which is shadowy and sad with the drawn cur- tains. The children speak in half whispers, and with an air of importance. TEDDY. It 's going to be in here. ELSIE. Is n't it awful. (Sobs.) TEDDY. Papa was a brick! ELSIE. (Sob.) Now he 's an angel. TEDDY. (Thoughtfully.) Do you really think papa would like being an angel 76 THE SMART SET 77 ELSIE. Everybody likes to be an angel. TEDDY. I do n't. ELSIE. 0 Teddy! TEDDY. It sounds stupid to me, like Sunday all the week. Besides, papa won't have any office there, and what 'II he do without an office ELSIE. Is n't it awful. (Sob.) Poor papa! TEDDY. (Swallowing a lump.) Do n't cry! [There is a slight noise overhead. ELSIE. o Teddy! What was that TEDDY. (Trembling.) Do n't be afraid! (He puts his arm comfortingly around her, and they sit in a huge arm-chair together.) 7,7 78 THE SMART SET ELSIE. What is it like to be dead. TEDDY. It 's like school all the time, never letting out, and no recess. ELSIE. (With another sob.) Poor papa! Are you afraid of him now TEDDY. No- ELSIE. Do you want to go up and see him TEDDY. No. That is n't him anyway upstairs! ELSIE. Yes, it 's him; only his soul is n't there. TEDDY. Do you believe it Say, if that 's true, how did his soul get out THE SMART SET 7 ELSIE. I 've thought of that. This is what I be- lieve: When people die, God kisses them, and their soul comes right out of their lips to God's. TEDDY. I '11 never play be dead with you, anymore. ELSIE. No, I do n't want to, either. TEDDY. God might think I really was dead, and I might lose my soul. ELSIE. You can 't make believe with God. TEDDY. That 's so; I forgot. I say, Elsie, I'm never going to be wicked again in all my life. ELSIE. Nor I. 79 8o THE SMIART SET TEDDY. Oh! girls never are wicked. I believe when we die Death comes along and pulls us by our feet; that's why our souls go out. They 're afraid of Death. (Elsie shudders, and nestles closer to her brother.) TEDDY. Don't be afraid; I won't let him catch you. ELSIE. Poor mama, she cries all the time. TEDDY. And she won't eat. ELSIE. I know where there are some little cakes. TEDDY. (Eagerly.) Could you get them ELSIE. Not alone. I 'm afraid. THE SMART SET 8 TEDDY. I '11 go with you. ( They get down out of the big chair.) Do we go to school the next day after it ELSIE. Yes; and wear all black. papa. TEDDY. (Choking.) Do n't cry. ELSIE. You're crying too. TEDDY. (Sob,.) Poor No, I ain't! (Crying.) (She kisses him. He is much ashamed.) ELSIE. comforted, but very Do you think we can go to the circus next week just the same TEDDY. I do n't care about circuses now. 81 82 THE SMART SET ELSIE. Neither do I. I do n't want to go any- way. Let 's find the cakes. TEDDY. And then we'll make a coach out of the chairs, and you'll drive me four in hand. [ They go out f the room smiling. Maternity Three Letters and a Cable from Mrs. Stanton, a Widow This page in the original text is blank. 1H E S'M ART SET S 1 To Robert N. Stanton, Esq., her son (and only child) Venice, Thursday. My Darling Boy: Your letter reached me a few moments ago. Wie were just starting off to see the Tinto- rettos in the Scuola, but I opened your envelope before I stepped into the gondola, and read enough in the first few lines to let the others go on without me. First, let me say this; no one in all the world wishes vou more joy, more real happi- ness, than your mother I wish it more than anything else in the world, and have praved for it for vou everv night of my life since vou first came into this world. And I 've always counted a wife for you as one of the chief joys of your future. I have always wanted Xvou to marry, only I have always said to myself-not vet; I can 't spare him yet. Mothers begin their children's lives by 85 86 THE SMART SET being the most unselfish beings in the world; and then, as we grow older, I 'm afraid we are inclined to go to the other extreme. I won't tell a falsehood and say I am glad you are going to be married now. Forgive me, dear, forgive me; but in my heart there is still the same cry-" Not yet ! not yet!" Oh, I know I 'm wrong! It is to be, and I accept it; but it seems so sudden; and, after all, I was so unprepared, and you are my life, dear-mv everything. You must let me sigh just a little ; II'1 promise to be all smiles at the wedding. When you first laughed in the sun, and twinkled your baby eves at the stars I was not a very happy woman. You were only six months old when I divorced vour father. (How much I have regretted that step since. It would have been far better had I borne with him. He was the only man in the world for me; and he would have come back to me if I had only waited. Then, instead of dying wretchedly miserable as he did, he might have been alive to-day, and we would be companions for each other; but I was proud and wilful-however, enough of that.) THE SMART SET 8 As I said: when you were a tiny baby I was an unhappy woman, with an heart empty and bruised. How I hugged you to it 0 never, never can I tell you, nor can vou imagine, the comfort, the blessing you became to me! Your butterflv-like little kisses made well all the bruises; your little hands, With their soft, flower-like caresses, smoothed awav the troubles, and before long you seemed to have crept in, little body, little soul, into mv heart, till vou filled it completely. And now I must share-Oh, we are selfish, we mothers! for I want all-all ! I used to be a little jealous, in those early davs, even of your nurse. Do Nou know, Rob, that I bathed my babv everv morning of your little life, so long as you took infant tubs I would n't leave it to anvone else; and for more than one year of your life, in the middle of each night and early morning, I warmed over a little spirit lamp (I have it yet) your preparation of milk, and fed it to you, so that you would get your food from me in one way, if the doctor would n't let me feed you as I hungered to do. How soon it was you knew me. I could make 87 88 THE SMART SET you smile when no one else could; and what a joy it was to see a love for me coming into your infantile existence. I had cried a good deal before you were born, and some afterward, first out of relief and then for pure gladness. But under your dear influence I gradually forgot how tears came. You almost never cried; and what a good baby you were-oh, a blessed baby!-and I tried to repay you by not worrying you with too many kisses, with too much loving, which I 'm sure is not good for a child. Sometimes I had to clench my hands, so strong was my desire to take you up and clasp you tight. Then how quickly you began to grow; and before long my letters and intimate conversa- tion began to be filled with what "' Rob said this morning;" and you did say such delightful things ! I never knew so naively witty a child ! And soon you reached the age when I could play the role of comforter. The knocks and bruises I 've healed by kissing them !-do vou remember one-third I 'm sure I do n't. The many imagined slights of your little friends, which were forgotten on my THE S MART SET 8 lap ! The little aches and pains that were slept away in my arms! How full my life was then ! What a blessed boy you were! And then those half-lonelv years, when every- one frightened me-by saying you would be spoiled-into sending you away to school. I begrudge those months I spent without you yet. But how we enjoyed the vacations! That 's when we began reading together again real stories, not those of the younger days. Do you remember your favorite when a very small boy We always read it when you were n't feeling very well, or after you 'd been punished for being naughty, sitting to- gether in the great big old rocking-chair. It was about two poor little fatherless boys whose mother died in a garret, and they were so terribly poor they had to beg a coffin for her, and they alone followed it to the grave. There was a very trying and sad woodcut of the two little orphans doing this, and we always cried together over it. It was n't a healthy story for a small boy, and I do n't know how we got hold of it. Oh yes, I do! It was published by the Tract 89 0 THE SMART SET Society, and had a moral. It was your aunt sent it to you, but I have forgotten the moral. The football period began in the school vaca- tions, and went all through college; but still I think you were always more fond of books and music than athletics; and I was never good at outdoor sports; I only managed to master tennis so as to be able to play with you. The four years of college had some loneli- ness in them, too; but I enjoyed my visits to Williamstown, and then is when I began going into "society" a good deal again, for I said when Rob comes out he will want to go. He will have at least three cotillon years, and I want him to go in the best society we have. Besides, there is sure to be a wife; let her be a girl of our own posi- tion and class. But the dearest parts of your college life were our four trips abroad during the summer. And then it was that I began to turn the tables, and when I was tired to lean on you, and when disagreeable things happened to let you take mother in your arms and hold her there till she promised to go THE SMIART SET 9 forget them. Then it was when your judgment began to mature, and I found it so clear and good, and have been guided by it ever since. Oh, those perfect years between the day you graduated and now! How proud I was of you, too, in society. It seemed to me no one was so brilliant a talker at a dinner table. It was all I could ever do to listen to my neighbor instead of straining myearsacross the table in vourdirection. And I am sure it was not maternal prejudice that picked you out in a ball room, for it was not I who made you leader of all the cotillons so long as you cared to dance them. Then how more proud I was of you when you interested yourself in politics. I love my countrv. Your father fought, and bravely, in the civil war; so did my brother. And I know if such a terrible calamity as another war should befall us, you would be ready. The patriot fights for his country, in peace, in politics, and I am happy to say your inter- est in our government is as keen and active to-dav as ever. Then there is the ever in- creasing success in your profession-have n't 91 THE SMART SET I been through it all with you! Never, I am sure, were a mother and son more sym- pathetic. The reason I came abroad this year was because I was afraid we were getting too dependent on each other. I realized you now preferred staving home with me evening after evening instead of going out. I loved it, but I knew it was wrong. I argued if I went away for a little you would go out into society again, and to your clubs, seeking companionship. It was not good for a young man-I said to myself -not more than thirty-three, to be spend- ing all of his spare time with an old woman -for practically I am that, though you must never call me so; it would break my heart! And so, though it was reallv an awful break for me to do it, I went awav, and the only thing I wanted to happen did, only more. Oh, yes! more than I wanted-because I did n't want you to marry-not yet! And if I had n't gone away you would probably never have met this Miss Stone, and you would have been just as happy. For you were happy with me before you met her; were n't 92 THE SMART SET 9 you Oh, of course, I know not so happy, and not in the same way, but later on you would have met perhaps Miss Stone, or somebody else vou would have cared for in the same way; do n't vou think so I am afraid, if I let myself, I 'd be sorry I went away. And yet no-no; I 'm not so selfish as all that. If you really have found the one woman in the world for you I will try to be glad. I WILL be glad. I AM glad! There! I am. After all it is sour happiness. How unhappy I should feel if you loved her and she had n't returned your love ! Yes, it is much better as it is-for you, so it must be for me, too. Allowing even for all a lover's enthusiasm, Miss Stone must be very charm- ing and very lovable. I can see it in her picture, too, which I thank you for sending. Of course, without it I should have been cruelly anxious to see what she was like. She is very pretty-very. I am obliged to confess that. I think I shall come to love her for her own sake, and not only for yours. If only she will love me! You love me more than I deserve or merit, so do n't say too 93 THE SMART SET much about me or she will be sure to be disappointed. If I must be a mother-in-law (horrid name), I want to be a nice one and be loved. I shall do my best. Only it is the giving you up. 0 Rob, darling! What shall I do without you-without my blessed son Breakfast alone, luncheon alone, dinner alone, everything alone-! Ah, I can't bear the thought of it! No! No! I do n't mean that! But of course I can't and won't live with you-it 's very kind and like you, dear, to say I must, but I don't believe in that. You '11 see enough of me, I 'm sure, as it is. And I shall have my memories. Baby and boy, you are mine alone. I did n't have to share you then; and I won't have to share the memories now, and no one can take them away from me. And what if you make me a grandmother It is n't at all sure. Evervbodv does n't have babies now, like they used to. Still, if you do ! WVell, I shall probably adore it. But then I must settle down, wear caps, and perhaps revive a widow's veil. 1 certainly shall have to be 94 THE SMART SET 9 more dignified and not go gallivanting about everywhere, and control some of my enthusi- asms, or I shall be a ridiculous old creature. You see, I have always kept your age. Now I must take one awful flying leap to my own; and then go along with myself properly. I shall have to become much more regular about church and know all the saints' days. A good thing that will be for me, too, I 'm sure- What do you think They 've just knocked on the door and told me it is dinner time. I 've been three hours over this dis- graceful letter. I knew I 'd been dreaming a good deal between sentences; but I did n't know it was so bad as all that. Well, I'm going down to tell the others my good news (you understand that good, do n't you ), and we'll drink to the health and happiness of you both in some crimson Chianti. And they shall all see how happy I am over your hap- piness. For I am. And you will see it, too, when I come back; which will be as soon as I can. The words "and crvingg" are well scratched over, so he could n't Poslib;v read tix:en. 95 96 THE SMART SET Good bye, my boy. Forgive your old mother if she's seemed a little cross in this letter, because she is n't really. I shall write Miss Stone a little letter to-night. God bless you and her (and me), and fill your lives as full of happiness as your hearts can hold and mine can hold for you! Good night, my comfort, you best son in the world! Your devoted MOTHER. Yes, yes, I am glad, dear; so glad. Do n't misunderstand mv letter. Your mother is glad, honestly and with-yes, I can say it now-with ail her heart. THE SMART SET 97 II I Cable to her son. (Sent fifteen minutes after the preceding letter.) Overjoyed, congratulations, love. MOTHER. 98 THE SMART SET III Letter to Miss Lucy Stone, Troy, N. K. VENICE, Thursday. Mv dear Miss Stone: So you are going to take my boy away from me I begrudge him, just a little, or just a good deal; but I will tell you a secret. I feel pretty sure that when I know You, I shall be grateful to him, instead of grudging, for giving me you for a daughter; and you must love me, for after all if it was n't for me you would n't have him, would vou He has been a perfect son, and they make per- fect husbands. And he loves vou, my dear. Oh, if you had any doubts of it-which of course vou have n't, or I should n't like you- but if you had, could you have read over my shoulder his letter to me to-day telling me about it. I am very impatient to know you, but I think we shall be great friends, through Rob, before we even meet. Till then believe me THE SMART SET 99 your-dear me, what -vour Robert's affec- tionate old mother. KATHERINE MILES STANTON. I am sending with this a little old jewel I found at an old shop the other day; it is a love ring of the sixteenth century. Perhaps you will find a place for it. I send it with my love. K. M. S. I00 THE SMART SET IV Letter to Mrs. Henry S. Austin, Troy, N. r. Venice, Thursday. Dear Gertrude: You will be very much surprised to hear from me, I imagine, as a correspondence is something we could never keep up. But our friendship has lasted without it a long time, my dear girl-forty-two years-for we met when I was fourteen. I have n't forgotten yet how the whole school became bearable after you took possession of the other little white cot in mv room. It's a year and a half now since I 've seen you, and I 've missed you. Troy is so near; and yet, after all, it is so far, too, when we realize how seldom we meet. You must give me a whole winter soon! Yes, for I am going to be alone; Rob is going to marry, and that 's why I am writing you. It is to a Miss Lucy Stone, of Troy. Do write me about her. Do you know the family Are they friends of yours THE SMART SET Rob is fearfully and wonderfully in love; and I can 't blame him after seeing her picture. She is lovely (and charmingly dressed), and I am sure Rob would never fall in love with any one but a lady. Still, I want to know if she, or rather her family, are really smart people, or what. Even if they are "what," I 'm sure it won't make any difference to Rob, and so it must n't make any difference to me. But it will be a relief to know that thev are friends of yours, or even that you know them. I pretend not to believe in class distinctions, and I do n't; but when it comes to your own son, somehow or other you do want him to choose his wife among his own social equals. Between you and me I am just about broken-hearted. I know it is very wrong of me, but I had sort of let myself grow very dependent upon him, and always had looked upon his marriage much as one looks upon death, as inevitable, but alwavs remote and the end of all things. It still seems like the end of all things, but in time I shall get used to it. I feel simplv ashamed of myself for feeling as I do now. Of course, IOI 102 THE SMART SET if it were given me the choice, "your son's happiness, woman, or your own selfish com- fort," I would n't hesitate a moment, but it 's so hard for a mother who has spent such happy years with her son to realize that his happiness does altogether and absolutely de- pend on some one else, and on that one and no other And then we alwavs have that terrible doubt,-has he chosen the right woman for him Just as if he was n't, after all, the best judge for himself. Of course he is; and in time I know I shall be able to thank God he made this choice, but just now -just to-night-it seems to me I come nearer to envying you your childless wifehood than I would ever have thought possible. Being in this sentimental, unreal city, does n't help me any! Forgive this, I 'm afraid morbid, letter, and believe me affection- atelv alwavs-write me the truth-your school girl friend, KITTY. Have they any position whatever in Troy A Letter of Introduction Four Letters I. From Mrs. Joslyn of New York to Mrs. Lemaire of Washington. II. The same. III. From Mrs. Lema;re to Mrs. Joslyn. IV. From Mr. Hamilton-Locks to the Hon. Forbes Redding of England. This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET 105 Letter from Mrs. 7oslyn of New rork to Mrs. Lemaire of Washington, unsealed and un- stamped. Friday. My Dear Mrs. Lemaire: I am very happy to introduce to you Mr. Hamilton-Locks, of London, a friend of mine, who goes to Washington for the first time, I know I am giving you both a pleasure in bringing you together, and any courtesy you mav be able to extend to Mr. Hamilton- Locks will be as if shown to me also. Always sincerely, EMILY JOSLYN. io6 THE SMART SET II A4 second Letter from Mrs. 7oslyn to Mrs. Le- maire, sent with a special delivery stamp. Friday. My Dear Mrs. Lemaire: I gave a letter of introduction to you to a young Englishman this morning. I hasten to write, and beg you, as far as I am concerned, to pay no attention whatever to it. He was sent over to us by Lady Heton, a traveling acquaintance, whom we know really nothing of, and it 's been a great bother trying to be civil and everything else to him. I felt obliged to give him the letter, but you will understand by this that you are to ignore it quite as much as you like. He is no friend of ours whatever, merely an acquaintance that has been forced upon us. We hear you are having such a gay season in Washington. We think of taking a house there for next winter. Can you manage to keep out of the political set if you want to THE SMART SET 107 I do n't mind ambassadors, but I should think all the other people would be most ordinary. I suppose you will come on for the Makeway Ball; won't you If so, do lunch with me the day after; do n't forget. Yours, ever sincerely, EMILY JOSLYN. io8 THE SMART SET III Letter from Mrs. Lemaire to Mrs. 7oslyn. Wednesday. My dear Mrs. Joslyn: Where is your young Englishman I adore young Englishmen, and why does n't yours come to see me Did you give him the letter He has been in Washington a week, is constantly at the P 's, and all the diplomatic corps are entertaining him. The women are mad about him, he's so awfully good-looking. If you want a house in Washington next winter why not rent ours We are going to Rome in December. Yours, always cordially, GERTRUDE LEMAIRE. THE SMART SET IV Letter from Mr. Hamilton-Locks to the Hon. Forbes Redding. WASHINGTON, January, '97. My dear Old Chap: This place is a very good sort, rather like a little English Paris; more cosmopolitan than Boston, I mean, tho' no other city here seems quite so lively as New York. The embassy is giving me no end of a good time. I'm sure I'm more than grateful to your uncle. I find society in this place is more like European without trying to be, while in New York they try more, and are n't. New York society has an air of its own, and, I must say, it 's a damn fine air, too. Of course, like other places, it has some frumps, and what Blanche Heton meant by giving me a letter to a Mrs. Joslyn is more than meets the eye. But we are not burnt twice by the same flame. The lady gave me in turn a letter to some one here, and I was so afraid I'd for- log IIO THE SMART SET get and use it by mistake, or leave it at the woman's door one day when I'd been drinking a good many whiskeys and sodas and did n't care what I did, that I tore it into bits and dropped them in an umbrella stand in Mrs. Joslyn's hall five minutes after she gave it to me. There 's no use in running any risks. And when a woman over here is stupid she 's damn stupid. So is she superla- tively fetching when she is charming. And, by Jove! but they know how to draw the line-all but Mrs. Joslyn. People over on this side think every Eng- lishman comes over after a wife, and at first they pretend to be very haughty and inde- pendent, and then if they find out he is not after a wife after all, like your humble ser- vant, they are quite angry about it. I hope you 're keeping an eye on my dogs for me. Love to Millicent. Yours, TED. Wagner, 1897 This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET X Letter from Lady Aires to the Countess of Upham, at Homburg. BAYREUTH, Aug., x897. My dear Rose: Our stay at Bayreuth is nearly over-the last opera to-morrow; and, to be frank, I am extremely glad, although of course it has been perfectly charming. First we heard Parsifal and the Ring; which is four operas, you know. Why they call them a "Ring " I can 't see yet; and I do n't like to ask, it gives the musical people who really know the chance to be so superior, and they are conceited enough as it is, goodness knows. Anyone would think it was a disgrace not to have been lullabyed to sleep when a baby by a symphony orchestra ! I 'm sure it is n't my fault if I do n't know which is Schumann and which is Schubert; and what 's the difference (Between you and me I do n't care. Of course I adore music, but it's like a great manv other things-you must n't ask too I113 114 THE SMART SET many questions !) Well the first day was "Parsifal." It 's a dear! Beautiful, perfectly beautiful! I wore my white mulle with my green and white hat, and if I do say it (and I must, for I 'm sure no one else will say it for me), women are such jealous cats about frocks. I did n't see a better turned out woman. Such a tremendous lot of smart peo- ple as are here, too. Really you ought to have come. I 'm sure you would have enjoyed it. Between the acts it 's quite like Sunday in the park. The entre-acts are very long, giving us a chance to shake out our frocks and wake up and amuse ourselves. Some people go up a little hill, or into some pine woods; but that 's rather dull, for you do n't meet half so many others-most everyone stays in front of the theatre. But I must tell you about " Parsifal." In the first place it is awfully long. And Parsifal himself is entirely too fat ! I am sure such a very good young per- son as Parsifal should n't have a stomach ! There are a lot of sort of monks in rather fetching pink red cloaks, with pale bluey gray skirts underneath. (Not at all a bad THE SMART SET combination, and gave me an idea for a cos- tume for up the river.) Their chief is ill, and almost always in great pain, but it does not prevent his singing the longest of speeches. Parsifal kills a lovely swan-it flies in so naturally. Really Wagner was a most won- derful man ! Then there is a Gypsy girl; a sort of snake charmer, who has bottles of things all through the play. I could n't make out quite if she were Parsifal's mother or what. But she is quite mad, and wears only a very uninteresting old brown dress. I must make this criticism of Wagner: You do n't see many pretty dresses in his operas. Then everyone goes to a banqueting hall, which is also partly a church. The scenery moves along in a most miraculous way and the hall is really very lovely. There are children in this scene, and they lift the chalice, and it glows-an electric light in it you know, but it's really lovely. And the music is simply heavenly. I assure you I cried like a baby at this part; I could n't tell you why, unless it 's the poor wretched crea- ture (Am- something his name is; I can't I I5 ii6 THE SMART SET find my programme). He's very handsome. I intend to buy his photograph. He has to lift the holy cup, and he feels he is unfit to do it. He is a sinner and wishes he were dead, and somehow or other you feel awfully sym- pathetic with him. I know the times I 've been to church and knelt down so ashamed I could n't lift my head, thinking of some of the beastly wicked things I 've done in my life. And that 's just what the second act is. A crowd of women try to seduce Parsifal, but they are all German chorus women, and it really does n't seem such a great temptation. But then the girl who was ugly in the other act comes on very beautiful (but hid- eously dressed, why do n't they get Worth or Doucet, I wonder, to help them) and she sings a great deal and very loud, and kisses Parsifal, and then everything goes suddenly to wrack and ruin. I shall never dare kiss any very good young man again-not after that! In the last act, this same creature, looking more like Act I., washes Parsifal's feet. I should hate to play that part, but THE SMART SET it 's all very pretty and affecting, and the music-well there are no words to describe it. And the whole rest of the act is too wonderful! Really you have to cry. Of course, it's too long, and you 're awfully hungry, but there is a rather smart restau- rant now, where everybody goes afterward to get their spirits back; which reminds me that Mrs. Gordon turned up yesterday and ap- peared at the restaurant at night, affording us a good deal of amusement. First she started to courtesy to the Royalties, who don't want to be noticed. This she perceived in the middle of her courtesy, and cut it short in a quick way, which made her look exactly as if some- thing important in her toilet had burst or broken. Then she flew all over from room to room, try ing to find a table that suited her, disturbing the whole atmosphere, like meteors are said to do in the skies, and creating the impression, or trying to, that she owned the entire place. She won't be happy here, for it is n't easy for anyone else to own anything where Frau Wagner is installed; which re- 117 II8 THE SMART SET minds me to stop this gossip and tell you seriously about the other operas. The first of the Ring is the Valkyrie; you can remember it because of Lord Dunraven's yacht. And they swim around in the water; which is, I suppose, why he called it so. But no; on second thoughts, that is n't it at all. The first opera is Rheirngold,and it's the Rhine maidens that go swimming about. How absurd of Dunraven to have made such a mistake. I like the Rheingold awfully. The first act looks just like water, and the music is so pretty. Then, in the second act, there are two splendid big men-one in white, the other in black bear skins-who are rather fetching. The Rheingold is the least sociable of the operas, as there is no entre-act. But it is for- tunately a great deal the shortest. I think it is one of my favorites. I seem to know more what Wagner is about in it. I do n't believe he knows himself what he is about some of the time in the Valkyrie. This second opera is awfully long. However, it has two good entre-acts, when you can walk around and talk to everybody; and I can assure you we THE SMART SET have plenty to say after having been kept quiet for over an hour in the dark theatre. The chairs are so uncomfortable, and if you move somebody hisses. There is not much politeness in Bayreuth. We do n't get as good a view of the stage as some people, but we have splendid places; the Countess of is in front of us, her sister right beside me, and behind are the s, and near by Lady . So you see we could n't possi- bly have better seats. For the Valkyrie I wore a new mauve and pale green frock. I do n't think you 've seen it. The bill was atrocious. I sha' n't pay it; but the costume is a great success. Portions of this second opera are awfully tiresome, first one couple and then another, going on for hours about nothing, but there are some exquisite clouds that move and grow and scatter exactly like nature, only more so, and make up a little for the dull people. I notice one thing: all the gods and goddesses have always such troubles. There is n't a single happy creature among them, not even Wotan, who is god of th-cm all, and I I9 120 THE SMART SET wears a silly gold curl over one eye. I think it lowers his whole dignity; but they make a great many mistakes like that. Of course, one ought n't to think of these things, but should simply listen to and enjoy the beautiful music, but my nature is so sensitive I can't help it. There are a lot of Valkyrie, you know, who wear a sort of antique dress- reform costume, not pretty, and ride through the air on deliciously funny-looking horses. And Brunhilde, the leader of them, a rather nice person, behaves quite like a human being in " Siegfried," the next opera, which I will tell you about later. In "Valkyrie " you think she is going to be burnt up, but in " Siegfried " she is saved after all. I sup- pose there is some sort of Biblical idea about hell. You recognized the Bible very often in "1 Parsifal." I much prefer Siegfried as a person to Parsifal. He 's not such a very good boy. There 's more an air of athletics, football, rowing, and all that about Siegfried, while Parsifal smacks just a little, I think, of the Young Mlen's Christian Association. You can kiss Siegfried with impunity, too; in THE SMIIART SET fact, it saved Brunhilde's life, and I would n't mind running a few risks myself to be saved in the same way ! You get perfectly drunk with this music of the last act of Siegfried. Of course, my dear, you know I am now writing about the third opera, "Siegfried." You must follow me closely, for it's very easy to get confused about them. " Sieg- fried " is awfully long, too, and the first act -well, I do n't mind telling you I slept a good deal. You see, the theatre gets so stuffy, and then one is digesting one's lunch- eon, and the stage is so dark, and I maintain that the music soothes you. I wore, of course, another dress, something quiet, as it was rainy, but I saw no one who looked any better. Between the first and second acts I managed to get a bow and a hand-shake from the Prince, to the visible envy of Mrs. Gor- don. I wish you could see the dear beast. She flutters around the royalties every min- ute, like a nervous bird, and as if they were her nest of eggs and a bad little boy was in the neighborhood. I hate snobs; do n't you I am lunching, by the way, with Mrs. G. I12 122 THE SMART SET to-morrow. Quite a big, smart party of us, I hear. That funny dragon comes in " Siegfried," you know, and of course it is much more amusing here than in Covent Garden or New York. But it 's the last act that I love! Such passionate music ! Brunhilde falls madly in love with Siegfried, who is, of course, ever so many years younger than she. But it 's just like us women, especially when we are Brunhilde's age. For I suppose she 's forty something, as she was grown up and went to sleep before Siegfried was born, and when he kisses her he seems to be quite a man ! By the way, Brunhilde was put to sleep for interfering somehow or other in the love affairs of Siegfried's mother and father, who are really sister and brother. If you think of it, the story is extremely in- decent, but operatic things never seem to be shocking; music, apparently, covers a mul- titude of naughtiness, like charity is reported to do. Very likely that 's why Mrs. is always doing so much for institutions and what not-for her sins, I suppose. I always THE SMART SET thought she was a naughty old hypocrite ! By the way, there is a comic character in " Siegfried," and in one of the others, I for- get which, called Mime-a funny little dwarf, the sort of thing they put in a Christmas pantomime to amuse the children. Later. I have just come from the " G6tterdam- merung," the last opera, and I am completely exhausted. I am as if I were in a dream, and can only think and feel and write of this beautiful, beautiful music and scenery. I am absolutely absorbed in it. Some people took the train for Nuremberg right after the per- formance. I am sure I never could have. I really can't believe they felt the thing. Our train goes at 1:45. Such a nice hour; one does n't have to hurry in the morning, and can have one's hair done properly. I have a charming new way of doing the hair. I got it from a Frenchwoman who sat just in front of me in the theatre to-day, and when it was light enough I studied the arrangement till I got it by heart. You want something 123 124 THE SMART SET like that to do during the long duets. Other- wise your attention is apt to wander from the opera, or you get sleepy. To go back to the opera, it began with the same scene that Siegfried finished with, which was rather dis- appointing, but a real horse came on and behaved as quiet as a lamb, with Brunhilde screaming like mad all about him. I suppose they put cotton in his ears, or something. The scene changed (without letting us go out for a rest, which I thought something of a sell) to the house, where Siegfried falls in love with another woman (Oh, these men!) I forgot to tell you, my mind is so full of the music, that I wore my new Russell Allen winter frock, and I caught lots of people taking it in. But, dear me, how badly the German women dress! I have n't seen a single chic one among them since I've been here. I do n't believe I shall come to Bayreuth again. Besides, the music is too wearing. The Rhine maidens come back in this act! It is most wonderful the way they swim about! But, as far as I can gather, they are rather nasty cats. One thing I will say, though: I THE SMART SET 125 think Wagner s on the side of the women; for, in spite of Brunhilde's being in love with little more than a boy, she has all your sym- pathies. So has Siegfried, too; which is odd. I really sobbed when he died, he was so good-looking, and seemed so sad. This whole opera is very depressing. We reach Munich to-morrow night at 7; and I propose going to the Residenz Theatre there, and seeing a light opera just for contrast. But how bad the shops are at Munich. I believe there are some good pictures, but I think one sees so many pictures in Europe; do n't you I presume you know Brunhilde behaves rather like Dido in the end: nearly every- body, more or less, is murdered off, and there is a sort of Madame Tussaud exhibi- tion in the clouds at the curtain. Of course, I haven't really given you any sort of an idea about it at all. There are no words that will adequately describe it, only I promised to give you a detailed personal account; and I have done so. The reason we are going to Munich is we can 't get a sleeper yet, everything is so crowded. Is n't it disgust- i26 THE SMART SET ing. This last opera is rather too noisy at times, and awfully long-longer than the others. But there 's a men's ballet in it that is rather nice; not dancing, you know, but singing and posing and walking about, with imitation bare legs, most of them. But I think the best thing about the opera is it leaves you in such an exalted mood. I know I won't be able to think of small or worldly things for weeks, mucd less write about them. Before I forget it, be sure and write me if it 's true that Mrs. and Sir George are both at Homburg, at the same hotel. I hear they are, and there 's no end of talk about it. But then I find there 's no end of talk about everything and everybody. It is not that people mean badly, but one has to pass the the time somehow. I think I love best of all the Rheingold music. It is like a jeweller's shop window in Bond street; it seems to shine and glitter and sparkle. You see very few jewels here in Bayreuth; of course, there 's very little chance to display them. Women wear the usual small string of pearls. That 's about all. As most every- THE SMART SET 127 one wore one I wear two, with a different pendant each day. I like to be just a little original, and keep my own individuality. Well, now I must tumble into bed or I shall lose my beauty sleep. I 'd hate to have my figure get like these German singers. I wonder why! I 'd have myself strapped be- tween boards-I 'd do something. Good-bye, my dear. Write me all the gossip you can get a hold of. I have n't sent you any in this, but that you could n't expect. It was im- possible that this letter should be anything but Wagner, Wagner, Wagner. I wish you could have been here with me-you'd have seen heaps of your friends. Of course I ought to tell you one thing, because I felt it myself: there 's nothing catchy about the music. Lovingly, FANNY. This page in the original text is blank. Art A Letter This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET A second Letter from Lady Aires to the Countess of Upham. Munich. My dear Rose: It was very thoughtful of you to write me so soon, and Aubrey and I wish very much we could join you, but our money is all spent and we must hurry back to England, where we can economize by making cheap visits among our friends for a couple of months. In December we go to New York to spend the winter with mother. You never go home, do you I am so glad you felt you got so complete an idea of Wagner from my letter. I was a little afraid I had n't done the whole thing justice, but I assure you there were many more people there than I thought of suggest- ing, and the operas, tho' long, are very de- lightful. Here in Munich the chief thing is the picture gallery, as of course at this time of year all fashionable society is away and the 13 1 132 THE SMART SET theatres and opera either closed or giving second-rate performances. There are more musees than you really care to visit, and are full of masterpieces, many quite as atrocious as masterpieces so often are. The principal one-its name begins with a P-is the one we 've been to. I wish you could see the Rubens, or else it 's the Van Dykes-I forget which, but they are beautiful; and when one thinks how long ago they were painted, it 's wonderful, is n't it One thing awfully interesting about a picture gallery is to see the absurd difference in women's dress now and in former times; do n't you think so And sometimes one gets ideas for one's self. This particular gallery is altogether one of the most satisfactory I 've ever been in. It was n't crowded full of Baedeker people and that sort of thing. In the second room we went in we met Lord and Lady Jenks and the Countess of Towns. That was the room where we saw a portrait the living image of Janet Cowther. We all shrieked with laughter! You know how she has what my THE SMART SET vulgar little brother calls an " ingrowing face "-it sinks in instead of coming out, so that the poor creature can't know what it seems like to have a real profile. It 's extra- ordinary that there should have been two such faces in the world-do n't you think so- even with two or three hundred years between them. The portrait was painted by-dear me! I can't remember, but it was some one we all know. There 's one thing I should n't mind, and that is knowing the lady's corset maker; I 'd like to give his address to Janet, because, my dear, in spite of her face he had made the lady's figure beautiful. I think that 's really the nicest part of a picture gallery-see- ing comic likenesses to your friends. Lady Jenks and I sat down on an uncom- fortable bench without any back and talked away for nearly an hour. What an amusing creature she is ! Has stories to tell about everybody under the sun. By the way, she vowed you and your husband got on awfully, and only lived together as a matter of form ! I took up your cudgels, my dear, and told her it was n't true in any particular; that 133 134 THE SMART SET Ned adored you and was an angel. Of course, he got drunk-that I knew, as all the world did, but you were used to that. It is n't true, is it He never struck you I 'm sure he did n't! You 'd have told a good friend like me; would n't you Well, just as Lady Jenks and I finished the others came back from going through all the other rooms. We were everyone of us dead tired, looking at pictures is so fatiguing. We decided to go back to the hotel and have tea in the garden. But I think it is a dear gal- lery, and to-morrow-we do n't leave till the next day-if we 've any time left after doing the shops, I intend to go back and see the pic- tures all over again. Write to Eaton Sqr.; the servants will forward. Poor things, they must have had a dull summer! They say the heat in town has been fearful ! But I do n't think servants mind; do you And then they have the run of the house. I am sure they use the draw- ing-room and sleep in my bed! Good-bye, Lovingly, F'ANNY. THE SMART SET 135 Aubrey says Janet's portrait is by Rem- brandt; but I tell him I don't think it was by a Frenchman at all, I think it was by Greuze. This page in the original text is blank. Sorrow A Letter This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET X1 Letter to AMrs. Carly, Florence, Italy. New York, Wednesday. My Dear Mary: You were right when you said to me, two years ago, that the time would come when I would realize the futility, the selfish, the absurd insufficiency of my life. It is now six months since I lost my little girl-my only child. I thank you so much for your letter; I was sure you, who had so much heart, would realize more than most people what I suffered and feel still. And it need n't have been-I shall always maintain it needn't have been! She was overheated at dancing-school and caught cold coming home. I was late dressing for an early dinner, thought it was nothing, and paid no attention. From the dinner I went to the opera, from the opera to a ball, on to somebody else's. I was dead tired when 1 came home and fell into bed and asleep. All this time, my child, with her cold, was sleeping close beside an open window! The maid was care- I139 140 THE SMART SET less, of course, but it was n't her child-it was mine-and I hold myself most to blame. In two more days the doctor told me she could n't live. I shall never forgive him! In six hours she was dead. I think I went quite mad. I know I really felt as if I had wantonly murdered her; and I still feel I was myself largely responsible. She was the dearest little creature! I am so sorry you never saw her. "I love my mamma best, and God next," she kept on saying all that last day. One wondered and wondered what thought was in her little brain. " You are mother's darling," I said to her-" mother's precious little girl, but God gave you to her, so you are God's first! " She threw her arms about my neck and kissed me, and said: " I like you better than all the little boys at dancing-school put together!" She fluttered about the bed with her arms like a little tired bird ! She made me sing to her. I sang hours and hours-lullabies and comic songs she liked best. My maid came to me: , Madame is lunching out." I was furious with her for coming to me THE SMART SET with any such remark. "i Telegraph ! " was all I said. " Telegraph what, madame " "I do n't care," I answered. 0 my dear Mary! to watch a little soul going-a little soul that is all yours, or at least that your thought was all yours! To watch the light of life fade and fade out of a face precious to you, into which you cannot kiss the color again; to watch this little life, dearer to you than your own, slip, slip away from you in spite of your hands clutching to hold it back, or clasped in prayer to keep it ! To sit and lose and be helpless! Oh, the agony of it! Marie came once more; it was dark; I guessed her errand, and only looked at her. She went away without a word. I took the child out of the bed-it was like lifting a flower. At dawn she died in my arms. Oh, were ever arms so empty as when they hold the dead body of someone loved And then began the revelations. The stilted letters of condolence, written with exactly the same amount of feeling as a note of regrets or acceptance, and couched very much in the same sort of language. I4 I 142 THE SMART SET One woman recommended her dressmaker as being the most chic woman in New York for mourning-as if I cared! A great many cards were left at the door with their corners turned down, and for awhile no invitations came. That was all! Most of the people I was unfortunate enough to meet made such remarks as- ",My dear Mrs. Emery, I am so sorry to hear of your loss" (as if the house had been burned down or the silver plate had been stolen); or else- "Dear Mrs. Emery, I was so shocked to hear it; such a sweet child ! Which was it, a boy or a girl Oh, yes, I remember, a boy-a nice creature; but, my dear, so many boys turn out badly. You must try and con- sole yourself with thinking perhaps you have both been saved a world of trouble after all ! " "iMy child was a little girl," I answered. Another woman came to me, saying: "You poor, dear thing! I 'm glad you are bearing it so well-you look splendidly. Of course you won't stay in mourning long; will you It 's really not necessary for a THE SMART SET child; and then I think one needs the distrac- tions of society to drown one's sorrows!" And all in such a flippant tone! There are some who have n't heard of it at all, which seems so strange to me, who see and think of nothing else indoor and out! And Sue Troyon I shall never forget or stop loving as long as I live. She put her arms about me and kissed me, when she first met me, right in the street, and never said a word, but her eyes were wet. She is a woman and a friend! So now I am going to join you abroad, to travel and live among pictures and music and real people. These months out of so- ciety have broken the charm. I 've tried to go back, but I can 't stand it. The inanities of an afternoon At Home are more than I can bear. Everybody repeating to each other the same absurd commonplaces over and over again. Society conversation in one way is like a Wagner opera: it is composed of the same themes, which recur over and over again; only, in the conversation referred to, these themes are deadly, dull, fatuous remarks. 143 144 THE SMART SET As for balls and evening parties, I do n't care about dancing any more, somehow, and to see the young debutantes about me almost breaks my heart, full of memories of my daughter and what she might have been. Tears are not becoming to a very low-necked dress, and should n't be worn with powder and jewels. No, my dear Mary, I see in this society of ours, we all grow so hardened, that if we don't have some such grief as I have had, we become hopeless. People soon forgot I had ever had a child, or at least that she had n't been dead for years. I find my- self becoming a bore, because of perhaps a certain lack of spirit that I used to have; and I began to realize that I had never been liked for myself, but for what I gave, and for the atmosphere of amusement which I helped to create by nearly always being gay and enjoying myself. As you yourself said of so- ciety, it is absolutely unsatisfactory. I never knew a purely society woman yet who was n't somewhat or sometimes dissatisfied. First, they can 't go as much or everywhere they want; and soon after they have all the THIE SMART SET opportunities they desire, they find that is n't sufficient, after all, to make life perfect, and then the boredom of fatigue begins to creep upon them with the years, and soon old age begins like a worm to eat into what happi- ness they have had. Oh, no! When I think of how full your life is, of the interesting people you know- not merely empty names with a fashionable address or a coronet on their note paper,--of the places you see and the books you read; and then hear you say your life is too short to see or enjoy a third the world has to offer you! You happy, hatpy woman you! Well ! The house is for sale! What fur- niture I want to keep stored ! John, who is prematurely old and half-dead with trying to earn enough money to keep us going as we wished in New York, has entered into it all in exactly my spirit. He has sold his seat on the stock exchange. He has disposed of all his business interests here. We find we have quite enough income to travel as long as we like, moderately, and to live abroad for as many years as we please. When we get 145 :46 THE SMART SET homesick-as we are both sure to, for after all we are good Americans-we will come back here and settle down quietly in some little house, near everybody, but not in the whirlpool-on the banks of society, as it were, so that when we feel like it we can go and paddle in it for a little, just over our ankles. Two weeks after you receive this letter you will receive us ! WVe sail on Kaiser Wilhelm to Naples. No one here knows what to make of us! It's absurd the teapot tempest we 've cre- ated. The verdict finally is that we've either lost our money or else our minds With a heart full of love, Affectionately, AGNES. The Theatre Four Letters, a Bill, and a Quota- tion from a Newspaper This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET I X Letter from Airs. Frederick Strong to her Husband. . . . Fifth Avenue, Saturday. My Dear Fred: You must come home at once. Dick has announced his engagement to an actress-a soubrette, too, in a farce-comedy. If it had been a woman who played Shakespeare, it would have been bad enough, but a girl who sings and dances and does all sorts of things, including wearing her dresses up-side down, as it were-that is, too high at the bottom and too low at the top-well, this is a little too much !-just as we were getting a really good position in society. If the marriage is n't put a stop to, you can be sure she '11 soon dance and kick us out of any position what- ever that 's worth holding. It is n't as if we had any one to back us; but you never had any family, and the least said about mine the better, so we have to be our own ancestors. 149 150 THE SMART SET And just as we had succeeded in getting a footing, in placing ourselves so that our chil- dren will be all right, your brother must go and do his best to ruin it all! You see how necessary it is for you to be on the spot. We may be able to break the engagement off before it is too late. Leave the mine to take care of itself, or go to pieces if need be. One mine more or less won't make any difference to us. Besides, you must think of your chil- dren! Your brother,too; he's sure to regret it. I am ill over this thing. Can't sleep, and have frightful indigestion. Everybody's talking about it, and the newspapers are full this morning. My new costume came home from Mme. V 's yesterday; but there's no pleasure now in wearing it ! With love, ANNIE. January I9th. And the ball we were going to give next month! What about the ball Mrs. W- had promised me we should have some of the smartest people here ! This will ruin every- thing. Telegraph me when you will come. I am suicidal. THE SMART SET 15' II A Bill. Mr. Fred'k Strong, Dr. To the Private Detective Agency, for services rendered, - Rec'd payment, Feb. ioth, 189-. I52 THE SMART SET III XY Letter from Miss Beatrice North to Richard Strong, sent by special delivery to his Club. February I ith. My Darling Dick: What is the meaning of this letter from a lawyer Who has been trying to damage my character To ruin my happiness Who hates me I have never willingly harmed any one. I can 't and won't believe this letter was sent with your approval. But why did n't you come to see me yesterday My dearest in the world, you would n't be- lieve evil stories of me, surely! You to whom I have told all my life, everything, for there has been nothing to hide. No, no; I am sure you do n't know anything about this cruel letter, and for God's sake hurry and tell me so yourself, hurry and tell me so, and let me kiss the words as they come to your lips. Thine, BEATRICE. THE SMART SET 153 IV Letter from the Same to the Same. The evidence that you have proves noth- ing whatever, and even then much of it is exaggerated, which I, in my turn, can prove. I shall sue you for breach of promise. BEATRICE NORTH. THE SMART SET V From the Same to the Same, a day later. I will not write to your lawyers. This second letter of theirs is too insulting. They know very well they could never win the case against me. (I am innocent; and even if I were not, your evidence is ridicu- lously insufficient.) And that is why they offer to 'i settle " with me privately. But mv own feelings have changed over night. That you could, first, believe the charges against me, and second, that you could have allowed me to be insulted by your-or your brother's - lawyers, as you have done, these two things have opened my eyes to your own weak contemptible char- acter. I am grateful the discovery came be- fore it was too late. I release you from your engagement to me, and far from bringing a suit against you I feel I owe you a debt of thanks. I trust this is a sufficient reply to your insult to " settle " privately. The mat- ter is at end with this letter. BEATRICE NORTH. I 54 THE SMART SET 155 VI Headlines of a Column in a Daily New Fork Paper. THE STRONG'S BALL! ALL THE SWELLS THERE! DICK STRONG GETS THE COLD SHOULDER FROM MOST OF HIS FRIENDS! This page in the original text is blank. The Opera This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET Mrs. Sternwall's Box. The First Act of Tris- tan and Isolde is three-quarters over. Mr. Alfred Easterfelt is seated alone in the corner He is bored. MR. ALFRED EASTERFELT. (To himself, after a long sigh.) Damn it! What did I come so early for (People are heard by the entire audience enter- ing the little ante-room behind. The men's chorus on the stage drowns the sound of artificial laugh- ter. The curtains part, and Mr. Easterfelt is joined by Mrs. Sternwall, Mrs. Morley, Miss Beebar, and Mr. Carn.) MRS. MORLEY. (Seriously.) What a pity we've missed so much. ( There are general greetings, whispered pleas- antly. Each person, without exception, glances first all about the house, and then turns his eyes slowly toward stage. AIrs. Sternwall sits in I159 I6o THE SMART SET the corner, facing the audience with three-quar- ters face, as the photographers express it, one- quarter toward the singers and mise en scene. She beckons Easterfelt to sit behind her. The others fall into the other places more or less as they happen, the women in front looking lovely, as each one is well aware, with her beautiful white neck, her jewels, and her charming coif. The music continues.) MRS. MORLEY. (Suddenly noticing that Mr. Sternwall is not with them.) But where is Mr. Sternwall MRS. STERNWALL. Oh, Henry always goes across to Hammer- stein's Olympia during the acts, but he will join us for each of the entre-acts. (She takes up her opera glass, and examines the house minutely.) MISS BEEBAR. What is the opera THE SMART SET MRS. MORLEY. Tristan and Isolde. I do n't care for the new woman; do you Somehow she has n't the soul for Wagner. She sings well enough, mechanically, but she does n't feel enough. MISS BEEBAR. Precisely. That 's a wig of course; is n't it And what an ugly one! MRS. STERNWALL. (Low to Mr. Easterfelt.) Come to-morrow at four. He has taken to leaving the office much earlier the last few days. (Owing to a sudden pause in the music, her voice has been heard quite distinctly. She is em- barrassedfor a moment, to cover which she leans over toward Mrs. Morley and Miss Beebar.) I wish Eames sang in this, she wears such good clothes. MR. CARN. What 's that about Eames i6i 162 THE SMART SET MISS BEEBAR. I thought Eames' name would wake you up! MR. CARN. I was listening to the music. MISS BEEBAR. Do n't be absuid; you know you never come to hear the opera, except when I am going. MR. CARN. Or when Eames sings. MISS BEEBAR. Ah' you acknowledge it! You brute! MR. CARN. It 's her arms, and her eyes, and her hair. You must acknowledge she 's very beautiful- MISS BEEBAR. (Interrupts.) For heaven's sake stop; you bore me to death. Besides you must listen. THE SMART SET It is n't the thing to talk at the opera any more. (Isolde gives Tristan the cup with the love potion in it.) MRS. STERNWALL. (In a very low voice to Mr. Easterfelt.) Just before the curtain falls change your position quietly. Go near Miss Beebar and Mrs. Mor- ley, on account of Henry. He will come to the box the minute the lights are turned up. MISS BEEBAR. (Very low to Mr. Carn.) I hate Eames MR. CARN. No. (HIe kisses, without sound, her bare shoulders.) (Tristan and Isolde approach each other with outstretched arms. For the first time Mrs. Mor- ley takes her gaze from the stage. It rests upon a dim figure in a certain seat in the Opera Club's box. Her eyes arefull of tears.) i63 This page in the original text is blank. A Perfect Day A Leaf from the Diary of Mrs. Herbert Dearborn, Living in Paris This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET May -, 1897. A charming, delightful day! Marie brought me my coffee at nine, as usual, with a perfect mail. No nasty business letters from Amer- ica, but only most desirable invitations, notes full of gossip, and regrets from the Thomp- sons for the expensive dinner I felt obliged to give them at A4rmenonville, so I won't have to give it ! One's old friends in America are really rather a bother, coming to Paris in the very middle of the season. If they came only in midsummer, when every one is away, one would be very glad to do what one could, if one were in the city. Of course, as far as the Thompsons themselves are con- cerned, I love them. My coffee never tasted so deliciously, and Marie said I looked un- usually well after my night's rest. To be sure Marie says that every morning; but never mind, it is always pleasant to hear the first thing one wakes up, and I only wish I did n't have a sneaking fear that the new I 67 x68 THE SMART SET Empire pink bed-hangings help a good deal. Marie sprayed the room with my new per- fume (a secret; no one else has it), laved my face in rose-water, and then I had a wee little nap by way of a starter for the day. After my bath I answered my mail; and then, Marie having manicured my nails, my toilet was made. I wore, to go out, my striking blue costume, with the hat and sun- shade to match, which always necessitates the greatest care with the complexion. I use an entirely different powder with this dress, and one has to be most careful about one's cheeks. But Marie is invaluable so far as the complexion is concerned, and I went out quite satisfied. First, to the hair- dresser's to have my hair re-dyed, as I went to the races in the afternoon, and the light there is very trying. Unless your hair has been dyed very lately it is quite useless to go. My hair was never done so well. I am try- ing it a very little darker, and I am almost sure I like it better. Then I went into some shops. I think it is always a good thing to have one's carriage seen waiting outside the THE SMART SET smart shops often. I priced a great many things, and had several-which I of course have no idea whatever of buying-sent home on approval. To the dressmaker's, to try on my new dress. It was finished; but did n't suit me. I am having entirely new sleeves and all the trimming changed. I persuaded them it was their fault. I had really thought I should like it that way until I saw it com- pleted. Then to breakfast with the Countess of -; a charming dejeuner. All the women very desirable to know and very chicly dressed, and not one looking so young for their age, I am sure, as I. In fact, sev- eral made that remark to me. I know they say just the opposite behind my back, but it is pleasant to hear nice things under any circumstances. I think it is all one should ask of people, that they should be nice to our faces. I left dejeuner first, because that makes a good impression, as if you are crowded with engagements, and flatters your hostess, who is naturally pleased to catch a much-sought-after guest. I really drove home to rest a little before the races. I find taking i 69 170 THE SMART SET off everything and indulging in complete relaxation, if only for ten minutes, is wonder- fully refreshing, and saves lots of lines! While I was resting my masseur came and gave me face massage. There is nothing like it for a wrinkle-destroyer. And the man is a rather nice person who amuses me. I got him two new clients at the luncheon to- day. As the other women said, one is only too willing to pay extra to get a man who is good-looking. The races were very exciting. It was a lovely day, our coach had a fine position, and our party was much stared at ! I had the most conspicuous seat, and did my best to be- come it. It is n't for me to say to my-self if I succeeded or not, but I owe it to my dress- maker to make the statement that no one else had on a better gown. I wish that state- ment was the only thing I owed him! I won fortv louis; I do n't know how. I am absolutely ignorant about horses. I only go because it seems to be the thing to do now. But I thought one of the jockeys looked THE SANIART SET rather fetching, and so I put my money on him, and he happened to win. We all went for tea to Mrs. 's where one of the most expensive singers sang. But I did n't hear her, because if you go into the music room you have to sit down in rows, and you do n't see any of the people. I was obliged to hurry away, as my ap- pointment with Jacques to-day was for 6:30, and I wanted to stop at an imitation jeweller's place in the rue de la Paix, where I had heard were some wonderful paste necklaces. They are quite extraordinary. I ordered one, and shall never tell a soul it 's not real. I was late home, but Jacques, the dear boy, was waiting, and seemed to me sweeter than ever this afternoon. I gave him the cuff links I have had made for him, with his initials in rubies, and it was too delightful to see his pleasure. I took him out to dine. I think I will marrv him. I know he is much younger than I, and all that, but he 's so sweet, and, after all, I have enough money for two. 171 This page in the original text is blank. TheWestington's "Bohemian Dinner " A Letter This page in the original text is blank. THE SMART SET The Sherwood 58 West 57th St. My Dear Dora: We are just home from dining in one of the smartest houses in New York, and I've been bored so wide awake I can't think of going to bed, so I am sitting in my petticoat (that charming white silk, much-festooned, and many-flounced one you brought me over from Paris) and a dressing sack (pink, not so very unbecoming). My hair is down, but Dick does n't paint it any more-it 's getting thin, dear!-and I 've nice little swansdown lined slippers over my best white silk-stock- ings. I 've worn to-night the best of every- thing my wardrobe affords, and I was n't ashamed of myself! No, I was much more ashamed of the Westingtons, and I 'm going to tell you all about it before I touch the pillow! I 'm sure you '11 be amused. In the first place, to be honest, we were rather pleased to be asked. There is no 17 5 176 THE SMART SET one smarter than the W.'s, and, besides, they are attractive and good-looking. The truth is, we 've always been anxious to go to their house-heaven knows why, now that we 've been. We are sufficiently punished, however, for being so foolish as to be flat- tered by our invitation. For, my dear, we were n't asked to a swell dinner at all; we were invited to what was intended for a " Bohemian " affair (but it was only a dull and ungainly one), and it was apparently taken for granted that, as Dick painted and I had n't millions, we were decidedly eligible. Of course, as you know, there is no such thing as a real Bohemia in New York. The dinner was given in honor (appa- rently) of the Hungarian pianist Romedek and his wife. He has been an enormous success here this year, and society has taken him up. But the trouble is with Madame Romedek; no one is sure she is Madame Romedek,and a great many people are sure she is n't. She is a pretty, rather common-look- ing person, with no particular intelligence or esprit. I am told she is more communi- THE SMART SET cative under the table than she is over it; and I know some men are crazy about her. Of course, she is n't a woman any of us can stand for a moment. If Romedek were a painter we should know she 'd been his model, and be awfully sorry for him. But Romedek is a musician (a great one-I wish you could hear him); and thev say she has n't even the social prestige or poetic license of having been an artist's model, but of having been something quite wrong to begin with. Natur- ally, you see, some of society won't have her at any price. Those that must have him have difficulty in entertaining them. I hear one prominent woman who was asked last week to dine and meet the Romedeks considered herself insulted, and has struck her would-be hostess' name off her visiting list. So you see it was n't all plain sailing with the West- ington's, and I can hear them decide between themselves to give a " real Bohemian dinner;" that is, ask people who "i do things," and whom you sometimes do meet out at houses where they are not particular about mixing-the kind of people who would probably not take 177 178 TIH E SMART SET offense at being asked to meet MIrs. Romedek without having her marriage certificate for their dinner card. Of course, as you know, I do n't mind being asked to meet anybody. Thank goodness ! I feel perfectly secure about my reputation, and also about my posi- tion, which is quite good enough to please me. But there is a difference in being asked to meet a questionable person because that person is brilliant, or beautiful, or talented,, and that therefore you (belonging to the aristocracy of brains) will appreciate her, and, on the other hand, being asked to meet her because you are an artist's wife and do n't mind that sort of thing. We do mind it very much! We do n't even care for it in geniuses -only we overlook it in a genius; disregard it as not being our affair. But to be asked to meet a silly, loose woman with the idea that I won't mind, almost as if I approved, I resent that. However, let me tell you who was there. On Mrs. Westington's right, of course, sat Romedek, and he is very handsome and very charming, and I think at least Mrs. Westing- ton enjoved her dinner if nobody else did. On THE SMART SET Mrs. WV.'s left was Mr. , who is, you know, a great swell here and who poses as being a fast patron of the arts and graces- especially the graces-after the pattern of a Frenchman who has his entree behind the scenes of the opera. His wife never accepts invitations that he does; they meet, you know, under their own roof, for the sake of the children-but under their own roof only. So in her place Belle Carterson was asked, who has gone in for keeping a swell florist's place, and they say is making money. She is independent, and I like her, but of course it is considered by her friends in society that since she went in for business she can 'L re- fuse to meet anyone. Dick sat next to her, and had on the other side of him Mrs. who likes celebrities without the knack of selection, and whose invitations nowadays I believe are never accepted at once, but are kept open as long as possible to see if some- thing better won't turn up. Then came Mrs. Romedek and Mr. Westington; he looking bored to death, and she as if she did n't know where she was at. Then Bobbie Lawsher, 179 i8o THE SMART SET who writes books and operettas and things- rather amusing he is, but becoming more and more of a snob every day. It 's bad enough to see a woman straining every nerve to get into society, but when you see a man it 's worse than ridiculous. I met him at a smart party the other night, and he stuck by me for hours, asking who everybody was till I lost my patience and told him I could n't be a Blue Book for him or anybody, and he would either have to dance with me at once or go to some one else with his questions. I never knew any one who could bring in the names of as many smart people in one short remark as Bobbie can. If you happen to ask him what time it is, you could make a wager that, in his answer, in a perfectly natural way, he will mention familiarly three smart society women (calling one at least by her first name). Of course he does get asked a great deal, because he 's little more than a snub-cushion-holds any amount of them as easily as pins. Be- sides he goes to afternoon bores, like Teas and At Homes and Days, for which free and untrammelled men can only be obtained by THE SMART SET subterfuge and trick or some extraordinary bribe. To a young man like Bobbie Lawv- sher afternoon affairs are a sort of happy hunting ground, a social grab bag, where he can never be sure there is n't a dinner invi- tation, or one for the operaor a luncheon,to be secured if one is clever and careful. Why, when a woman has a man guest back out at the last moment from a dinner, the first thing she does is to rush off to any At Home, that 's going on, with the fairly confident ex- pectation of finding Bobbie Lawsher and making him fill her vacancy. Bobbie has accomplishments of a certain sort, can sing a pretty little song in a pretty little way, and can pass a tea cup without spilling, and drink tea himself, and can hang around when he 's wanted, and be got rid of easily when he is n't. He is a sort of society errand boy, and very useful. I take it back about his having accomplishments-a better word for them is conveniences! Well, on the other side of Bobbie was Mrs. , red in the face, so angry she was asked to meet Madame Romedek, talk- i81 THE SMART SET ing with poor Bobbie in a sharp, spasmodic sort of way, as if she were carrying on the conversation with her knife and fork, cutting the sentences into bits, some ignoring and some eating,-and none agreeing with her, or she agreeing with none. Then George Ringold asked, I suppose, for me. I am quite aware that women who are indiscreet themselves think there is " more than meets the eye" between George and me. I am very fond of him, and so is Dick. And he has kissed me, and Dick knows it; but I am sure I need not tell you that is all. On the other side was Romedek, and perhaps I ought to feel complimented, but as, thanks to Mrs. Westington, we did n't succeed in car- rying on to a finish any single conversation we started, I don't allow myself to be too flattered. Mrs. W. talked music, of course-the commonplaces of it-such as any well-bred, smart, educated woman of the world knows how to talk nowadays, with perhaps just one good, big, absurd mistake thrown in,-thus, by the grace of hurmor keeping banality from 182 THE SMART SET becoming absolutely fatal. Madame Rome- dek was rather amusing. She tried to be the lady-which, as she does n't know how, and only succeeds in being impossibly stupid, must have bored the men on each side of her tremendously. That's where foolish women of that sort spoil their own game. If they would make the best of the bargain, and be frankly a common cocotte gone right, they would certainly be more amusing, and might have something like success, at any rate with the men. The food was excellent, the wine good, the house lovely! And as soon after dinner as was at all decent, we left. We decided in the cab on our way home, from no point of view had it paid,-financially least of all; for our dinner in the restaurant, with all our jolly friends, would have cost us only seventy-five cents, while our cab bill for the evening was three dollars. As for having had a good time, there was only one person there who had that-Mrs. Westington her- self. I believe even the servants must have been bored by the dinner, unless, perhaps, i83 184 THE SMART SET Madame Romedek flirted with them; which I should think extremely likely. I am getting sleepy now, of which fact my letter undoubtedly bears "internal evi- dence." So good night and sweet dreams to you, and none to me-I do n't like them! Write me what you are doing in Paris. I am sure your husband will have his usual great success in the Champ de Mars. We are all very proud of him. With love, dear Dora, GUENNE BARROWS. The Gamblers I. Madame Eugenie Leblanche, veuve, age 62 years. II. Ml1e. Nina and Ml1e. Fifi. III. Mrs. Henry B. Gording and Mrs. Wm. H. Lane. IV. Mme. Bort6 and Mme. Lautre. This page in the original text is blank. T HE SMART SET I The Baccarat Table in the Villa des Fleurs, Aix-les-Bains. MADAME EUGENIE LEBLANCHE, veuve. (A large, stout lady in black satin and brocade, violet-coloredface-powder, and a reddish blonde display underneath a questionable bonnet. She wears a somewhat profuse and miscellaneous display of jewels, principally diamonds dull as the eyes of dissipation. She holds her chips in large loose white cotton gloves that reach to her elbow. Her lips, compressed together, move constantly, with a sort of excited switch-back motion.) ( To herself. ) I wonder who has the cards. Oh, it 's that monsieur there, I see. Not good! I will only place two louis. (She asks the gentleman in front of her to place them for her. He does so. ) No, I am wrong, I will put three. (She asks the gentle- 187 I88 THE SMART SET man to place a third louis for her. In doing so the chip rolls from his fingers; he imme- diately recaptures it and places it properly.) Monsieur, monsieur, if you please. Return me my louis, if you please! I never play a louis that has rolled on the table. That would bring us bad fortune, you would see! Thank you, thank you very much. (To herself again.) I amn sorry I did not ask him to hand me back two. We are going to lose! Good heavens! it is sure we lose! Ah, the cards! Bad, that's sure ! 0, what emotion! 0 good heavens! Seven! But the bank! No, we gain! O 0 good heavens! Good heavens! what emotion! We gain! What a misfortune I did n't leave the extra louis! It is disgusting! I regret it now. 0, I regret it very much! But it is always like that with me! Are we going to be paid I do n't think so! No, we won't be paid! It is always like that; when one loses one is taken, and when one wins one is never paid! 0 good heavens! Now he will pay our side. After all there ought to be enough money. 0 yes, yes, we will be THE SMART SET 189 paid! All the better! Two louis for me if you please, thank you. Monsieur, I am sorry to trouble you to give me my four louis! No, no, you have n't given me enough! I put down two louis. 0 yes, you are right. Par- don me, I did n't understand; yes, I have four. Thank you very much. You are very kind. (To herself again.) I am paid ! After all, I am paid! So much the better! What emotion! I will play two louis again; no, three; no, two; no, one must have courage. Mon- sieur, if you please, will you have the kind- ness to place my four louis on the table Thank you very much! (To herself again.) But, if I lose! and I will lose. Good heavens! 0- what emotion! (Etc.,etc.) THE SMART SET II MLLE. NINA. (r'oung, very beautiful, in an exquisite gown from Laferiere, with gorgeous jewels and a won- derful hat.) Who is the banker MLLE. FIFI. (Equally charming, as magnifcently jeweled, and as exquisitely gowned; also a chapeau of won- derful birds, such as never sang in any wood.) He He is an old Russian. He has millions and millions, my dear! MLLE. NINA. (Raising her eyebrows and regarding the banker affectionately.) Really MLLE. FIFI. Yes, yes; and he is a perfect gentleman. He gave Lala of the Vaudeville three strings Igo THE SMART SET of pearls in two days. He is very generous and altogether nice. MLLE. NINA. (Jealously.) Do you know him MLLE. FIFI. 0 no, my dear; he is not my style. You know I never like a gentleman who parts his hair on the left side. It 's my fad. MLLE. NINA. (Very pleasantly.) Have you dearie MLLE. FIFI. Ah, yes, my dear! Think! francs already! won to-night, two thousand MLLE. NINA. (Very sweetly, moving away.) So much the better. I 've lost like the devil. (She very slowly makes a detour of the table in the direc- tion of the Russian banker. At the same time an elderly gentleman approaches Mlle. Fifi and speaks to her.) I9I 192 THE SMART SET LE MONSIEUR. Good evening, my dear! MLLE. FIFI. Good evening, my pig of a Prince! LE MONSIEUR. You have won MLLE. FIFI. Oh, but no, my dear! I have lost enor- mously! It is terrible what I 've done! I have lost nearly all I have ! MLLE. NINA. (Who has just arrived behind the banker, leaning over his shoulder and watching him win an enormous coup.) Ah, ha! You see, Mon- sieur, I bring you good fortune always! THE BANKER. I did n't know you were behind me, mademoiselle. (He looks up. She smiles sweetly and innocently. He is pleased.) THE SMART SET MLLE. NINA. Oh, yes, for a long time! THE BANKER. You do n't play MLLE. NINA. (With a manner altogether modest, and a soft, low voice.) Oh, no; never! I have nothing to risk; besides, it does n't amuse me very much. I never play. THE BANKER. Put on that hundred francs just to try your fortune. MLLE. NINA. (Leaning over, takes the note from the pile.) If you wish it. (She plays and wins; brushes his cheek andshoulder with her arm as she reaches over to take up her money.) (The play continues.) 193 194 THE SMART SET MLLE. NINA. (Still winning.) You know you are very nice. (She plays again with a note from the banter's pile.) THE SMART SET III MRS. HENRY B. GORDING, of Rochester, New rork. Do you play MRS. WM. H. LANE, of Brooklyn. No, not really. I do n't quite approve of it, but I just try my luck once in awhile for amusement. MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. Yes, that 's exactly the way I feel. So long as you do n't go in for it seriously I don't see any harm. MRS. WM. H. LANE. And if you stop as soon as you begin to lose. MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. Yes, indeed ! Oh my! are you putting one down 195 96 THE SMART SET MRS. WM. H. LANE. Yes, I think that man looks lucky over there with the glasses; besides I like him be- cause his wife sits right by him all the even- ing. MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. (Smiling nervously and fumbling in her glove where she has concealed the money to have it con- veniently ready.) Put one down for me, too; will you (She smiles hysterically.) Dear me, I wonder what my husband would say if he could see me MRS. WM. H. LANE. I do n't know a single thing about the game; do you MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. (With two small red spots coming into her cheeks.) Not the slightest. It 's finished I wonder who 's won ! THE SMART SET MRS. WM. LANE. (4rfter a long excited sigh.) I do n't know. I never can tell till I see them either taking up our chips, or else paying us ! MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. (Breathlessly.) If I lose, I shall go. MRS. WM. H. LANE. So shall I ! We've won! MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. Ah! - MRS. WM. H. LANE. (Looking at least ten years older than she did two minutes before.) No, we 've lost! MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. 0!-- 197 x98 THE SMART SET MRS. WM. H. LANE. I 'm not going. I shall try once more! MRS. HENRY B. GORDING. So shall I. MRS. WM. H. LANE. And I do n't believe the woman is that man's wife after all. If she had been we would n't have lost our dollars ! THE SMART SET IV MME. BORTE. (Leaning over a man's right shoulder for some gold on the table.) I beg pardon; that is my two louis ! MME. LAUTRE. (Leaning over the man's left shoulder.) But no, madame, it is mine! I put a louis down there ! MME. BORTE. No, no! That is where I put mine. Give me my louis! MME. LAUTRE. But you are wrong, madame; it is my louis, and I shall keep it ! MME. BORTE. But no, madame! 199 200 THE SMART SET MME. LAUTRE. But yes-! THREE WOMEN BESIDE MME. BORTE. Yes, madame is right. She certainly put a louis down there. THE SAME NUMBER OF WOMEN BESIDE MME. LAUTRE. No, it is the other madame who put the money down there. A MAN ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE TABLE. Ssss- UN MONSIEUR. Oh, the women! the women ! -always rowing ! CROUPIER. Make your plays, gentlemen! THE SMART SET 201 MME. LAUTRE AND MME. BORTE. (Together; each to her own coterie.) You know perfectly it is my louis; is n't it Oh, never in my life ! Never! never! (The game continues, and so does the dis- cussion.) This page in the original text is blank. PRINTED AT THE LAKESIDE PRESS, CHICAGO, FOR THE PUBLISHERS, HERBERT S. STONE CO. CHICAGO, U. S. A.