The much-heralded fancy dress ball given by Mr.
and Mrs. Bradley Martin took place at the Hotel
Waldorf last night. Twelve hundred invitations had
been issued for the event, but little more than half
the number of those invited were in attendance. Of
those that came, also, quite a number left early.
Many seemed to have put in an appearance simply out
of curiosity, to witness the really superb
decorations of the ballroom and the unique spectacle
of a large number of persons, prominent in social
circles, arrayed in the picturesque costumes of two,
three, and four centuries ago.
Within half an hour after the beginning of the ball
guests began to leave the place, some for their
homes and others to wander about the hotel
corridors. That the visitors had a set purpose in
leaving early was manifest form the fact that fully
half the carriages were ordered for before the time
set for the cotillion.
Standing upon a velvet and rug covered dais at one
side of the smaller ballroom of the Waldorf Hotel
Hotel last night, against a background of rare
tapestries and under a canopy of velvet, Mrs. Martin
received the salutations of more than 600 men and
women, one and all members of the society worlds of
New York and other large American cities, and all in
their gorgeous robes and garbs personating those
Kings and Queens, nobles, knights, and courtiers
whose names and personalities take up pages of
history, and who, during the sixteenth, seventeenth,
and eighteenth centuries pervaded the different
countries of Europe.
Interest in the Entertainment
It is unnecessary to do more than allude this
morning to the excitement and interest which the
announcement of this ball and the preparations for
it have aroused. For three weeks past it has been
the universal and engrossing subject of interest and
discussion wherever the members of the gay world,
not only in New York, but in the other large Eastern
cities, have assembled; for weeks past an army of
costumers, perruquiers, milliners, dressmakers,
caterers, florists, and bootmakers have been busily
employed in the arrangemnts for the dressing and
reception of the guests, and for weeks past the
American public has been stirred by discussions as
to the ball and its object lessons, caused by the
criticisms of the hostess and her coming
entertainment made by a New York minister.
There is something in a fancy dress event of any
kind which makes it, as a rule, one of the most
popular forms of entertainment. The Latin races can
scarcely imagine any entertainment of note that is
not accompanied by fancy dress, and the carnival
spirit pervades all their diversions. Northern
peoples, while not as much addicted to the arraying
in costumes of other peoples, times and lands, still
feel impelled at intervals by a curious sense of
personal vanity to personate characters other than
their own, and to strut up and down in apparel that
present fashions and their more practical life could
never countenance except as a diversion.
Other Events Were Surpassed
It is said that there are few women who have not at
some time in their life felt convinced that if
arrayed in the costumes that history and fashion
have depicted Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth,
and the ill-fated Marie Antoinette, they would be an
improvement upon the fair originals. Even members of
the sterner sex have been flattered by being told
that they recalled in appearance especially, when so
attired, the pictures of the more famous Kings and
personages of English, French, and German history.
The desire to gratify this natural personal vanity
has led to the holding of fancy dress balls at
recurrent intervals of about ten years all through
this century in New York.
As the society of the metropolis has grown larger,
and wealth, luxury, and the knowledge of the art of
living have increased, these successive costume
balls have in every instance surpassed in elegance
of dress and in lavishness and perfection of
appointment their predecessors. It was a far cry
from the first fancy dress ball of which the history
of New York society gives any authentic record that
given by Mme. Brugiere in her old house, on the
Bowling Green, in 1829-to Mrs. Martin's ball at the
Waldorf last night, and which may truthfully be said
to have been the climax in this form of
entertainment thus far reached in the metropolis.
Arrival of the Guests
Ten of Capt. Chapman's tallest men flanked the
narrow passage from the curbstone to the draped
doorway of the Waldorf through which the guests
passed, and which was designated in the invitations
as No. 13 West Thirty-third Street.
Before the brown and gold portieres, under a group
of brilliant electric lights, stood two liveried
servants of the great hotel, whose duty it was to
draw back the curtain for the passage of the guests
and salute each one in turn. The portieres were
never allowed to remain open.
What brilliance there was within was for the knights
and noblemen and the jeweled ladies, who passed
through, and there was only an occasional glimpse
for the group outside of a brilliantly lighted hall,
with a broad stairway at the end.
Frank Johnson and his five assistants stood on guard
at the three openings in the long canvas which
covered the sidewalk, receiving the guests as they
stepped from their carriages. It is Mr. Johnson's
business to know everybody, and last night he did
not fail in a single instance to identify the guests
and give the proper instructions to the coachmen.
Arrival of the Hostess
Occasionally a guest of the Waldorf passing in or
out of the hotel presented himself at the side
openings, and was ushered through the procession
with but little delay. Only once was there an
argument. A little man with a gray beard found his
way under the awning, and stood for a moment
watching the passage of the guests. He was told to
move on. "Bradley Martin and I were schoolboys
together," said he. "Do you mean that I cannot stand
here and see his guests pass?" With this protest he
obeyed the police rule, and got outside the lines.
Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Martin were the first to
arrive. Their carriage stopped at the entrance at
10:15. When the carriage door was opened Mr. Martin
stepped lightly to the sidewalk and aided Mrs.
Martin to descend. At half-past 10 a group of
carriages arrived together, and before 11 o'clock
the stream of guests had become continuous.
Nearly all of the guests were cloaked in such a
manner as to conceal their costumes, but the cloaks
were in most cases appropriate to the period which
the costumes were designed to represent.
Many of the ladies passed in with heads uncovered
except for coiffures of varying size and fashion.
There were among them representations of nearly
every style of European head dress, with the high
powdered coiffure of the sixteenth century
Among the gentlemen there were many three-cornered
hats, richly plumed, and the hilts of swords
protruded from the cloaks of many cavaliers. It was
noticed that in ordering the return of their
carriages many of the guests set an early hour. Mr.
Johnson announced the cotillion at 3 o'clock to each
guest, and that supper would be served at any time
after 12 o'clock. More than half the guests ordered
their coachmen to return before 3 o'clock, and many
set the time at 1:30, 2, and 2:30 o'clock.
Saluting the Guests
When the guests had ascended to the corridors on the
second floor of the Waldorf they were ushered in by
liveried attendants, the men to the famous Astor
suite on the right of the corridor, the ladies to
the suite of eight rooms on the Thirty-third Street
side of the hotel, which include the noted state
These dressing rooms were not elaborately decorated,
but were fitted with every possible appliance for
the use and comfort of guests, and in each room were
ladies' maids and valets, respectively, to help the
guests off with their wraps, to fold the same, and
to give checks for them. One or more rooms on each
side were fitted up for the wig-makers and maker-up,
who put finishing touches to artificial complexions,
curled refractory locks, and generally looked over
the faces, coiffures, and wigs of the guests. On all
the mantelpieces, and here and there on tables and
bureaus in these rooms, were placed handsome vases
filled with a profusion of mixed roses.
When leaving the dressing rooms the guests passed
through the corridors on the second floor to the
lobby at the head of the staircase leading to the
entrance to the smaller ballroom. At the first turn
of this staircase there is a massive mirror, and
this was solidly framed in American Beauty roses.
The scene as the gorgeously costumed men and women
trooped down the white and gold-stairway in twos,
threes, and fours, was exceedingly pretty, and
recalled some old picture of a stately court
function in one of the capitals of Europe.
Receiving Her Guests
Arrived at the foot of the staircase, there was a
moment's pause, and then the guests either singly,
or, in the case of married couples, by twos,
proceeded through a lane formed by two rows of
liveried servants, to a position at the left of the
smaller ballroom and nearly in front of a dais at
that side of the room on which Mrs. Martin stood to
receive her guests.
This dais was covered with plush, while on the wall
behind there hung rare old tapestries garlanded with
roses. The small music balcony on the opposite side
of the room had been so arranged as to resemble a
huge floral box, with trailing vines of roses
extending to other right and left. Mr. Martin stood
at the right of his wife, just below the dais.
After a moment's halt, a lackey to whom the guests
had meanwhile whispered their names, the characters
they personated, or the period of fashion which
their costumes represented were announced in a loud
tone by name by this same lackey to Mrs. Martin, who
in each case curtsied as the men guests bowed and
the ladies curtsied to her in turn.
So the stream of guests flowed by, some after they
had made their salutations pausing to admire the
rich decorations of the room and to listen to the
music of the Hungarian Band, which played in the
gallery, or to watch their later fellows salute the
hostess in turn and to study their costumes.
From this salon through wide doorways the guests
passed through an intervening corridor, which was
made to resemble a woodland walk, completely covered
with green and lit by tiny electric lights, to the
main ballroom. The stream of guests poured by Mrs.
Martin for nearly one hour and a half, and it was
after midnight before she was able to descend from
the dais and enter the main ballroom to take her
place in the opening quadrille d'honneur.
Splendors of the Ballroom
The grand ballroom was quite a scene of splendor.
The eye scarcely knew where to look or what to
study, it was such a bewildering maze of gorgeous
dames and gentlemen on the floor, such a flood of
light from the ceiling, paneled in terra cotta and
gold, and such an entrancing picture of garlands
that hung everywhere in rich festoons.
The first impression on entering the room was that
some fairy god-mother, in a dream, had revived the
glories of the past for one's special enjoyment, and
that one was mingling with the dignitaries of
ancient regimes, so perfect was the illusion.
Then the strains of the dance began. Where did they
come from? On the South end of the ballroom one saw
nothing but a wild riot of flowers and vines. They
covered the balcony, which is divided into five
sections. But the only way to tell this was by
counting the superb displays of garlands that hung
from one section to another, interlaced and backed
with a solid bank of galax, that rich dark leaf
gathered in South Carolina from the hillsides.
Over this was a lacework of the long-stemmed pink
roses, intertwined with the most lavish abandon, and
forming a floral screen in front of the balcony.
Behind this were the musicians, a string band of
fifty pieces. The opposite side of the room was the
one of special splendor. Imbedded in the wall are
sixteen large mirrors. They were not hidden from
view__that would never do but from the walls above
them were hanging gorgeous interlaced festoons of
orchids and asparagus vines. They were mauve
orchids, those floral aristocrats of the orchid
family, chosen to grace this occasion because of
their acknowledged standing in the world of flowers.
With it was intertwined a royal asparagus vine.
Curious ornaments hung from the sixteen candelabra
on the north side of the room. They were made in
imitation of the pouches or huge reticules the
ladies used to wear in the days of Louis XVI.__large
pocket-like concerns of blue silk and alternately
filled with pink roses and orchids. As the guests
sauntered along that side of the room or sat and
chatted on the dainty Louis XV. chairs of white and
gold, these garlands of orchids and asparagus and
these pockets with the floral treasures hung over
them like a canopy, and gave a superb festal effect
to the glittering scene.
Like in a Floral Court
And the two ends of the ballroom were radiant with
the garlands of roses and vines. Artistic, also, was
the play of garlands on the mirrors and fairylike
effect thrown back. It doubled the splendor of the
display. The galleries, with their jutting sections,
gave a magnificent opportunity for the festoons, and
not a chance was missed. There were 5,000 roses and
3,000 orchids in the various groupings. Had the
floral scheme been more profuse and varied in color
effects, it would certainly have been thrown into
the shade by the wealth of hues on the floor. The
contrast was harmony and art.
It was long after midnight when the dazzling
spectacle was at its zenith. Imagine a ballroom with
this floral setting and 700 resplendent guests,
garbed in every tint-in silks, satins, and velvets,
and blazing with precious stones. In the centre of
the room is a charmed place set apart for the
dancers of honor quadrilles. They meet in their
gorgeous gowns, their court costumes of the past,
with lofty powdered coiffures of the ladies and
powdered wigs of the cavaliers, and then go through
the stately measures once in vogue. All is lovely
and dazzling and graceful.
It was a the same time a curious patchwork of color
and a curious historical composite in raiment. Here
could be seen a daughter of the ptolemics, in heavy,
embroidered garb of the Nile, in converse with a
frilled and jeweled courtier of the Court of Francis
I. Over in one corner was a motley group composed of
belles of the Louis XV. period, and a quaint
Pocahontas and several gentlemen picked from he
cavaliers of the First Empire and the days of the
Another group, equally motley, was Catherine of
Russia in deep green velvet and ermine, and crowned
with diamonds, chatting most amicably with a
Venetian of the time of the Doges, while a dainty
Priscilla smiled her sweetest in rich, clinging
garb, on one of those gaudy butterflies that
fluttered around the throne room of Louis the Grand.
The Exhibition Dances
A silk cord running through posts of brass enclosed
a space in the centre of the ballroom thirty-five
feet long by thirty feet wide. Here the participants
in the exhibition dances could tread their measures
secure from interference by the spectators. At one
end there was left an entrance, and to this, as the
fanfare of trumpets announced that the ball was to
be opened, all eyes were directed. Presently,
proceeding majestically as befitted people of the
most exalted rank for they were representing a King,
a Queen, and their Court appeared Mrs. Bradley
Martin and the fifteen of her guests who were to
open the ball with the danse d'honneur.
The hostess, in the person of the Queen, escorted by
Mr. Astor as the King, led the company. Mrs.
Stuyvesant Fish and Robert Van Cortlandt, the
Princess and prince, followed, and behind them came
Miss Gerry and Mr. J. Townsend Martin, Mrs. Whitney
Warren and Lispenard Stewart, Mrs. Orme Wilson and
Harry Lehr, Mrs. Lee Tailer with Craig Waqdsworth,
Miss Lena Morton with Mr. Center Hitchcock, and Miss
Madeline Cutting with Fernando Yznaga. Mr. Van Alen
was to dance with Miss Cutting, but, owing to the
death of a distant relative, he was forced to
Each cavalier uplifted with his right hand the
finger tips of his partner, and at intervals the
partners turned to look into each other's eyes.
Proceeding thus, they reached the centre of the
enclosure, bowed deliberately, and ranged themselves
in position for the dance.
The quadrille d'honneur, or the danse d'honneur, as
it is properly entitled, for there were no
quadrilles two hundred years ago, when the dance
originated, is designed to give particular
prominence to one couple, and this is because it was
the set in which the King and Queen mingled with
their courtiers. An ancient authority upon dancing
points out that when no royalties are at hand, the
most prominent lady and gentleman present may take
upon themselves the royal character. Mrs. Bradley
Martin, the hostess, properly received homage as
Queen, John J. Astor, her partner, received it as
Formed in Double Sets
The dancers formed in a double set. The head couples
were Mrs. martin with Mr. Astor, and Mrs. Fish with
Mr. Van Cortlandt. Opposite them were Miss Gerry,
Mr. Martin, Mrs. Warren, and Mr. Stewart. The other
couples placed themselves at the sides, Mrs. Wilson,
Mr. Lehr, Mrs. Lee, and Mr. Wadsworth upon the
right; Miss Morton, Mr. Hitchcock, Miss Cutting, and
Mr. Yznaga upon the left.
The first figure was intended to represent the
courtiers as they did reverence to the sovereigns.
Mrs. Fish and Mr. Van Cortlandt, the princess and
Prince, took their places behind the leaders, and
Mrs.. Whitney and Miss Gerry, the opposite ladies,
followed by their partners, advanced. The sides also
advanced and ranged themselves with the opposites in
two parallel lines, ladies forming one side,
gentlemen upon the other. Down this aisle their
majesties proceeded, while the courtiers did
obeisance, and when their turns came joined hands
couple by couple and followed. The leaders resumed
their places and the set fell into the first form.
In the second figure Mr. Astor led his partner to
the centre of the set, turned her about, and
received her bow by bending slightly, with his hand
above his heart. When they had returned to their
places, in turn each pair of opposites advanced and
bowed. The head couples then advanced; the gentlemen
conducted the ladies to the centre, bowed, and
retreated, followed by their partners. Then all
advanced to the centre and formed a circle, leaving
Mrs. Martin and Mr. Astor in the centre. Having done
reverence, they broke the circle and promenaded to
The last figure, in its essential feature, was a
repetition of the first. A double line was formed
with the ladies of the court upon one side and the
gentlemen on the other. The majesties proceeded down
the lane thus formed, receiving homage from either
hand. Their followers closed in behind them, and the
court promenaded out of the enclosure in the stately
manner wherewith it had entered. For this danse
d'honneur, the orchestra played the music composed
by Beethoven, and played at a court dance first in
Vienna ninety years ago.
To Dance the Minuet
Before the sensation caused by the splendid
appearance and grace of the dancers had ended, the
orchestra, with the opening bars of the most popular
of Chopin's polonaises, announced the approach of
Mrs. Edmund Baylies and her associates for the
minuet. The entrance of the polonaise was most
picturesque. This formal promenade began as a "march
past" before Henry of Anjou, enthroned in 1573, and
was intended to exhibit each dancer at his proudest.
The step was both graceful and impressive. The
couples, holding their hands high, as in the minuet,
advanced with rapid paces, paused, and with one shoe
tip described a small circle upon the floor, then
took up the three paces once more, and again paused
to make a circle with the other shoe. According to
the ancient convention, each gentleman looked as
fierce its possible and, from time to time, handled
his sword hilt, and the ladies bore themselves with
The twenty-four ladies and gentlemen who took part
in this were Mrs. Edmund Baylies, whose partner was
Winthrop Rutherfurd; Mrs. Ogden Mills, with
Worthington Whitehouse; Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt,
Jr., with H. D. Robbins; Mrs. J.F.D. Lanier and Fred
Watrous, Miss Evelyn Burden and Frank Bishop, Mrs.
Henry Sloan and Stanley Mortimer, Miss Edith Morton
and Creighton Webb, Miss Lena Morton and Alphonse
Navarro, Miss Van Rensselaer and E.A. Crowninshield,
Miss Alice Blight and James Eustis, and Miss Edith
Hall with Craig Wadsworth.
In the centre of the enclosure they halted, and
formed for the minuet, while the orchestra struck
into Mozart's dance music out of "Don Giovanni." The
formation was not the square usual in this country,
but two lines, as the dance is executed abroad.
One of the lines was led by Mrs. Baylies herself,
with Mr. Rutherford; the other by Mrs. Mills and
Worthington Whitehouse. After the preliminary bow
for the ladies very low, for the gentlemen
slight-the partners touched finger tips, and gazing
into each other's eyes, passed by each other,
turned, and passed back to place. In the next figure
occurred one of the most attractive of the pictures.
The figure began with a ladies' chain across from
one line to the other, and as it was about
completed, before the hands were dropped the dancers
paused, and each lady regarded, not her own partner,
but her opposite. The fan figure that followed was
graceful, too. A "visiting" figure came next. The
leaders and the opposite ends half faced about, so
as to confront each other, and meanwhile the second
and fourth couples in each line swung completely
around. The two lines were thus evolved into a
circle, arranged as in a Portland fancy, and the
couples saluted and "passed by" somewhat in the
manner of that dance, but with the bowings and
posing of the more graceful measure of older days.
At the end of the minuet the dancers took up the
polonaise once more and disappeared.
Dance of the Debutantes
The dance of the debutantes, as it was called,
because the participants were chiefly members of the
younger set, was an excellent foil to the slow and
dignified ceremonies that had preceded it. It was
livelier than the others, and undoubtedly the most
difficult of all. For the participants had not only
to remember figures, but also to execute them in
varied steps, none of which looked easy to do
gracefully. The members of this set, organized by
Mrs. Bronson, were Miss Bronson, Mr. E. Iselin, Miss
Davis, Mr. Rogers, Miss Babcock, Mr. Livingston,
Miss Spofford, Mr. Hoppin, Miss Wood, Mr. A.
Robbins, Miss Rogers, Mr. Harrison, Miss Josephine
Brooks, Mr. William Sloan, Mrs. Post, and Mr. Pelham
They danced a Hungarian Court quadrille, the
Kormagyar, to music arranged by Allen Dodworth from
that performed by the Court band of strings. The
quadrille has never before been performed in this
The entrance was a gavotte, for which also the music
was composed by Mr. Dodworth. The step is unlike the
polonaise in that it is rather graceful than
pretentious. It consists of three moderately long
paces and two short quick paces. "step, step, step,
and step," the teachers of dancing say. The
formation for the quadrille was the same as that of
an ordinary double set.
After the first salute the couples took hands,
except at the corners, and danced an odd little
slide to right and left, then faced slightly to the
left, rose upon their toes, and clicked their heels
together with a sharp noise. Then, with a wavy pace,
the head couples advanced and exchanged partners and
separated into the sides. They made a short slide
and hop combined to either side, and turned
partners. The two lines now advanced, and the head
couples returned to places and turned partners. This
maneuver was repeated for the sides.
There followed a short wait before the second
figure. The head couples passed their partners and
crossed with the graceful wavy step ending in the
balance on tip-toe and the clicked heels to the
other side of the set; the ladies passed between the
gentlemen. The gentlemen turned the corners passed
their partners, and the couples returned to place.
The most effective figure in this quadrille was the
one wherein the ladies formed a circle inside the
circle of the gentlemen, facing out , while their
partners faced in. The inner circle moved about,
each lady clicking her heels at each gentleman in
turn and turning him till she reached her place.
This quadrille ended the exhibition dances.
In the Supper Room
Between the grand ballroom and the cafe, used on
this occasion for the supper room, is a barricade of
windows, which were thrown open about 1 o'clock in
the morning, and the guests were then at liberty to
enjoy the delights of the cuisine. The menu was as
Consomme de Volaille,
Bouillion de Clovis,
Homard a la Newburg,
Huitres a la Viennoise.
Poularde farcie aux truffles.
Filet de Boeuf Jardiniere.
Terrapene desossee a la Baltimore.
Galantine a la Victoria.
Terrine de Foie Gras,
Cailles piquees a la Gelce.
Chaud-froid de Pluviers.
Jambon en Danier.
Mayonnaise de Volaille.
ENTREMETS DE DOUCEUR.
Gelee aux Fruits.
Gateaux Madeleine. Biscuits glaces,
Sorbet fin de Siecle.
Plombiere aux Marrons.
Glaces de Fantaisie.
Petits Fours. Fruits, Bonbons.
The supper room was ornamented florally in the same
graceful way as the rest of the apartments. It was
Mrs. Martin's order that nothing should be heavy,
and certainly nothing was. There were delicate and
graceful touches, here and there, where they would
show to the best effect. In the supper room, for
example the decorations were a tracery of clematis
vines around the large Dutch chimney pieces, banked
with yellow forsythia, which showed up in fine
effect against the dark oak surroundings, while the
tables were adorned with centre pieces of Beauty
That was all, and the effect was very artistic. The
tables seated about six persons each, and about 100
waiters were on hand to meet their wants.
Danced Wearing Swords
For the first time in the history of costume balls
in this city, since Colonial days, the gentlemen
danced the cotillion with swords at their sides.
A great deal of merriment was caused by the
awkwardness of many in handling so unfamiliar an
appendage of high dress; but all who were
masquerading as Princes, knights, and courtiers felt
that their swords were a part of the costume, and
took their lives in their hands as they paced
through the stately figures of the old Court dance.
Swords got tangled in gowns and laces, and courtiers
tripped over them, to the delight of the spectators
and the despair of the dancers. One or two of the
dancers tucked their swords under their arms or
gripped them tightly to their sides, to keep them
out of harm's way. Elisha Dyer, Jr., led the
cotillion. Only the ordinary figures were danced.
One of the dancers was observed with a Louis XV.
costume and modern eye-glasses.
Favors for the Dancers
In selecting the "favors" for her guests, Mrs.
Bradley Martin's first consideration was to have
them novel. She found it a difficult task, as almost
every article of jewelry or ornament had been used
for this purpose in former balls.
After long search she finally selected small silver
figures of appropriate design for gentlemen and
ladies. To these two sets a third "favor" was added
in the form of a staff, such as was carried by
heralds and courtiers in the days of the magnificent
courts of Versailles and Paris.
This consisted of a staff crowned by plumes and
other ornaments, and was in harmony with costumes of
a century and two centuries ago. The staves were a
little too heavy to be carried about by the guests,
and they were intended chiefly as souvenirs of the
ball. The "favors" were awarded by Elisha Dyer, Jr.,
as leader of the cotillion.