Monday, July 02, 2007

Fiery Plumes at the Washingtons...

Here's a funny side note from early American history. Betsey Hamilton (wife of Alexander Hamilton) once described a memorable evening at George and Martha Washington's temporary presidential residence in New York:

"Ostrich plumes, waving high overhead, formed a part of the evening head-dress of a fashionable belle at that time. Miss McEvers...had plumes unusually high. The ceiling of the drawing room of the president's house near Franklin Square was rather low, and Miss McEvers' plumes were ignited by the flames of the chandelier Major Jackson, Washington's aide-de-camp, sprang to the rescue of the young lady and extinguished the fire by smothering it with his hand." (By Betsey Hamilton, as recorded in Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts).

Finishing School Rule #1: If you are ever invited to dine at the White House, leave the ostrich feathers at home!



Mrs. U said...

I LOVE these neat little tidbits of history!

Mrs. U

Elizabeth said...

I'm glad you're enjoying them.

Can you imagine wearing a headdress tall enough to catch fire by a chandelier?