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THE GREAT RUSSIAN BALL.
744, and 745 we
publish illustrations of the event of last week, THE GREAT RUSSIAN BALL AT THE
ACADEMY OF MUSIC. It was undoubtedly the greatest ball ever given in this
country, without excepting the ball to the
Prince of Wales. Whether it was a
success or not appears to be a matter of some uncertainty. We condense from the
Herald report the following account of the decorations of
Inside the door a pleasant change
in the Academy was perceptible at the very first step. Instead of the ordinary
barrenness of the vestibule, it had the comfortable coziness of furniture about
it; and, instead of the usual bare floor, the foot fell softly on a carpet; and
as you turned to the right, delivered your ticket, and passed up stairs, a heavy
cloth of the rich Magenta color softened your footfall at every step of the way,
and when you landed in the upper lobby it was there also, giving, in the
brilliant light, a warm, rich glow to the whole place.
You were here at the door of the
foyer, where the lady leaves her cloak, and where the gentleman leaves the lady,
while he passes down to the end of this lobby and deposits his overcoat, cap,
etc. No cap-money to pay—no charges by the hair-dresser—no charges at all.
Returned to the foyer, the gentleman glances in on that scene of very orderly
confusion and noisy quiet, and mentally helps the lady to get ready. More help
is not necessary, as there is plenty there, and help with needle and thread,
too, in case of accidents. Art is every where, and in all parts of life, and,
just as men and women go to Italy to commune with the spirits of antiquity in
their master-pieces, so women come and wait all night to put a stitch here and
there, and feel amply repaid by the opportunity to study the dresses.
From the foyer you descend not as
you came, but down the stairs at the other side, up the south stairs, and down
the north. Not much of an idea that, one might say; and yet, simple as the idea
was, it was a very considerable contribution to order and ease. But we go down
the stairs still On our soft Magenta-colored cloth; we turn to the left, and we
stand on carpet, and are in the lobby.
Down the lobby, to the left, two
elegant little retiring rooms were thrown open, and further down was fitted up a
quiet little temple for the especial delectation of those addicted to "the cup
that cheers but not inebriates," whether the said cup be filled with a decoction
of the Arabian berry or the Chinese shrub. This is one of those excellent ideas
that need only to be suggested; and in future no ball will be perfect without
this very agreeable feature. It would be impossible to overpraise the quiet
taste with which this little place was arranged, or the excellence with which
its object was carried out by Delmonico.
We enter at the central door
between two bronze men at arms who bear flambeaus, and each of whom holds up his
flambeau bravely, and looks resolute, as if he meant to see it out. We pass down
the two or three steps that are there, and we are on the floor, and within that
rich circle of softened light drawn by the line of the boxes. To the right and
left are places of exit, marked by very beautiful vases of flowers, and in
front, shutting out all the paraphernalia of the theatre, and softening the
abrupt break that the circle of the auditorium necessarily makes, as it reaches
the line of the stage, was an immense hall, closed in at the further end by a
facade, beyond which was seen, as from an interior, a delicate landscape. Above
and at either side this hall was tapestried in white, the white tapestry
appearing to fall in graceful folds and to terminate at the floor in golden
fringe. On either side, at the centre, were suspended shields, which bore the
heraldic devices respectively of Russia and the United States.
Seen from the hall we have
described, the auditorium of the Academy presented the most fresh and brilliant
appearance. All the white had been repainted, all the gold regilt, and the
panel, on the front of the galleries that sustain the boxes, which were formerly
of a dingy red, had been recolored in delicate green. A continuous drop, painted
in festoons of flowers, masked the whole amphitheatre, and below the spaces
between the pillars in the family circle were festooned in reality; and at the
centre of each of these spaces were hung mammoth baskets of flowers, with
gracefully drooping tendrils, etc.
At each side two of the upper
proscenium boxes were draped in Russian and
American flags, and at the centre of
the first tier was suspended a perfect model in miniature of the ship General
Admiral, bearing at her mizzen the signs of the signal code which read "Welcome
Even before the doors were thrown
open crowds had assembled outside, and these, immediately upon the opening of
the doors. began to stream in incessantly, seriously, joyously; in earnest, in
haste—in all possible moods, manners, and ways—ladies in silks end satins, of
pink, pearl, white, blue, of all the possible varieties, following up the shade
from indigo till it melted into white; silks of green, crimson, purple, and
yellow; silks ornamented and silks plain. And silks were not all, for there were
ladies in velvet, and ladies in lace—ladies in cloaks, in furs, in shawls. and
in hoods—ladies in head-dresses, and ladies with their glorious little heads
left alone with their own beautiful hair. Every lady had diamonds on.
The order of dancing was as
The Herald reporter says:
Immediately after the Russians
arrived the dance began. We call it a dance out of respect to conventional and
popular prejudice. In truth it was a very wonderful and indescribable
phantasmagoria of humanity. The frantic few struggling against the determined
and desperate many. Had one chanced to know several persons present, it is
remotely possible that he might have been able to pick them out, but in the
absence of any such particular and personal knowledge, it was mere nonsense to
suppose that there was any particular person there. It was mere mass and mere
matter. As for a dance it was a mere sway of crude material, moved a little this
way, a little that, but not a dance.
Alas! for the Russians. It is
known, or should be, that these Sclavic heroes are not the very largest of the
human race—that they are small men in fact—and what is to become of small men in
such a jam? Early in the night—indeed, very soon after the dance began—we saw
several of them in the embrace of grand nebulous masses of muslin and crinoline,
whirled hither and thither as if in terrible torment, their eyes aglare, their
hair blown out, and all their persons expressive of the most desperate energy,
doubtless in the endeavor to escape. What became of them we can not tell.
The World reporter made a careful
survey of the ladies' toilets, and reports as follows:
Among the most beautiful and
striking costumes was a superb white moire antique, with border of scarlet
velvet, covered with black lace flounce. Ornaments, scarlet convolvulus, diamond
dew-drops, and humming-bird of green and gold.
Another was of black velvet, with
garniture of lace and diamonds, the lace forming a magnificent tunic, crossed
up, with diamond spray head-dress to correspond. A very full dress of white
illusion bouillonee was ornamented with a set of black lace, forming wide scarf,
border, and bow, and ends upon the skirt. Garniture of pomegranate blossoms,
composing half wreaths, and branches for the skirt and corsage.
A superb dress was of lavender
velvet, with ornaments of point lace, diamonds, and ostrich feathers.
A crimson velvet dress was also
very striking, with its garniture of point d'Angleterre, and silver wheat.
A charming dress consisted of
blue tarletan, in wide puffs, with an upper skirt of white moire antique,
bordered with black barbe lace; garniture of blue forget-me-nots and white
A very striking costume consisted
of white puffed illusion with a short dress of rose-colored silk, drawn up at
intervals with slender lace barbes; coiffure of narrow rose-colored ribbon, laid
like a barbe, and white camelias.
A rich white moire antique was
trimmed with deep black chenille fringe upon the skirt, body, and sleeves.
Another was very peculiar, with a
trimming composed of wide bows and ends, edged with black velvet and lace.
Head-dress of white queen roses and black lace barbes, with large green
glistening bug among the roses.
A magnificent white satin dress
was bordered with puffed illusion, and looped at intervals with bunches of
lilies of the valley over black velvet.
The upper part of a much-admired
black and white dress was composed of a black velvet tunic, and the lower part
of the skirt of white moire antique, covered with alternating puffings and
flounces of black lace, ornaments, roses, diamonds, and emeralds.
A robe of lavender moire antique
was ornamented with immense medallions, which extended the entire length of the
skirt, widening at the base, and studded with roses. A half wreath of the same
flowers, and a superb set of diamonds completed the garniture.
A rich dress of gold-colored
satin was completed by rich ornaments of black lace, a broad gold-comb in the
hair, and a golden butterfly.
A mauve moire antique was trimmed
across the sides with short volants of point lace, finished with dilar tassels;
coiffure consisted of white barbes and crimson camelia, with diamond ornaments.
A bride was lovely in a dress of
white corded silk, with an illusion over-dress, a white illusion veil, and
ornaments of white narcisse.
Two beautiful sisters attracted
attention in dresses of pink moire, with flounces of white point d'Angleterre
and garniture of pink flush roses, showered with diamond powder.
A leading actress was also
attired as usual in a rich robe of mauve satin, trimmed with a deep flounce of
point applique, looped up with a bunch of white feathers and diamond
cluster—cornelian set in violets, and diamond aigrette, ornamented her dark
Two very full dresses of white
illusion, trimmed with a profusion of ruches, were beautiful, with scarlet
empress sashes embroidered with gold, and bunches of white hyacinth and scarlet
A dress of rose-colored moire
antique was elegantly trimmed with point applique, brought up in squares upon
the skirt, the spaces occupied with bunches of white and crimson roses.
A beautiful blonde wore a dress
of dark maroon velvet, with an immense white lace wreath. Her fair hair was
simply ornamented with a bow and long ends of narrow velvet, the color of her
dress. and a splendid white Moselle rose high up over the ear; diamond
A rich dress of white corded silk
was ornamented with puffings of illusion over bands of rose-colored silk,
surmounted by silk rosettes. Empress scarf of rose-colored silk crossed low down
upon the back of the skirt, with aide bow and ends, and bunches of roses with
white narcisse completed the costume.
The empress scarf is a novelty,
and was strikingly exhibited in rich crimson velvet, edged with full illusion
ruches upon a magnificent dress of white moire antique head-dress of crimson
cactus and white blossoms.
Nearly all the jewels were
diamonds. We have never seen so magnificent a display except upon the occasion
of the Prince of Wales' ball.
The Herald reporter says:
A covered passage, which had been
erected in a few hours, led from the Academy of Music to Irving Hall, where
Delmonico had prepared the supper. This passage way was most beautifully
decorated. Flags were hung from the ceiling, while the sides were draped in
white muslin dotted with golden stars; flowers were profusely piled about, and
rich carpets covered the floors. The steps ascending into the Hall were also
richly carpeted. The entrance was beautifully decorated. Statues, lights, and
flowers were here arranged in the most tasteful manner, while through the opened
doors was seen the beautiful Hall brilliantly lighted and resplendent with
banners, escutcheons, and devices. Festoons were hung around the gallery. On the
walls were shields bearing the arms of Russia; also on each side of the Hall
were placed two broad Union shields. The effect produced was really magnificent,
and redounds to the credit of Mr. Harrison, the proprietor of Irving Hall, under
whose direction these decorations were made. At all times the place is
beautiful; it is spacious and highly ornamented with frescoes; but as arranged
last night it was resplendent.
The coup d'oeil from the gallery
was most effective. Long tables reached around the whole of the immense Hall.
These tables, under the charge of Delmonico, were set in the most attractive
manner. Fruits, rare at this season, were in abundance, while the bright
crystals and bouquets were distributed about in the most elegant and tasteful
manner. On the table fronting the entrance were placed the "pieces montees," or
grand works in confectionery. In temples of fame were to be seen Alexander II.
President Lincoln. On pedestals of variegated sugars were the statues of
Peter the Great and our immortal Washington. There were designs for fountains,
arches of triumph, the rotunda of Athens, cornucopias of plenty, devices rare
and ingenious, all sweetly worked out. In fact, the table was a triumphant proof
of the ability of our great caterer, and excelled all previous displays of the
kind. As for the qualities of the viands and the wines it is needless to say a
word of praise. The name of Delmonico is a guaratee for excellence in those
Throughout the evening the supper
rooms were thronged, and presented the most animated, most brilliant appearance.
The beautiful toilets of the
ladies, the glitter of their diamonds, the gay uniforms of the officers, all
blended into a harmonious ensemble, which but added to the magnificent
appearance of the Hall. Above the laughter of the guests and the loud popping of
the Widow Clicquot Champagne were heard the strains of music, the odor of
flowers and of the pates also mingled; and we must assert that if the Academy,
with its waltzes, its quadrilles and polkas, attracted the guests, Irving Hall,
with its splendid table and rich wines, was no less patronized. The covered
passage-way was constantly crowded, and we observed that more than a necessary
amount of care was taken by many, very many persons, to repeat their visits to
the Hall. We suppose its brilliant appearance was the attraction.
The bill of fare read as follows:
LE 5 NOVEMBER, 1863.
Huitres a la poulette: Huitres en
de gibier: Canapes de filets
Snit-mitch a la Russe.
Saumons au beurre de Montpellier:
Filets de boeuf a la Mazarin:
Galantine de cochon de lait garni
Jambons de Westphalie a la
Truites a la Regence:
Pates de canvas back ducks:
Pates de gibier sur socles:
Galantines de diodes aux truffes.
Salades de volaille a la Russe:
Cotelettes de pigeons en
Chaudfroid de filets de fausans:
Pain de gibier a la royale:
Terrines de nerac de pluviers.
Cannetons a la rouennaise:
Bordures d'escalopes de homards:
Aspics de filets de soles a la
Timbales a la renaissance:
Becassines a la Geoffroy.
Cailles aux feuilles de vigne: Becasses
Faisans piques: Grouses.
ENTREMETS, SUCRES ET DESSERT.
Savarins au Marasquin: Biscuits
Gateaux de mille-feuilles: Babas
glaces au rhum:
Charlottes Siberienne: Charlottes
Meringues panachees et Vanillees.
Gelees Macedoine au vin de
Gelees d'antzick Orientales:
Gelees de poires a la marechale:
Gelees au madere.
Pains d'abricots a la Beresina:
Blanc manger rubanes au chocolat:
Bavarois aux fraises:
Biscuits glaces a la rose.
Gateaux assortis: Petit-fours: Compotes: Fruits
PIECES MONTERS ET GLACES.
Pierre le Grand: Washington:
Alexander II. Lincoln:
Le berceau des palmiers: La
La fontaine moderne: L'ermitage
L'arc de triomphe: Cornes
Sultans a la parisienne: Le
pavilion des aigles.
L'aigle Americain: Le casque sur
Nesselrode: La lionne.
Colombus: Corbeille jardiniere: Les
Diane: Madeleines: Mousses aux
Bombes spongade: Ceylaus an cafe:
Chocolat: Citrons et Fraises.
Etc., Etc., Etc., Etc.
The World reporter gives the
following account of the edibles:
These viands and ornamental
pieces did not appear in their native state; their presence was connected with
combinations of jellies, sugar roses, winged doves, and pyramidal canopies. For
a slice of boned turkey you had to throttle an eagle, pluck a flower, raze some
evergreens, or remove an abutment or turret of congealed maple. Carving was thus
dispensed with, and the spoon superseded the knife. As the ovation and ball is
one which may leave its traces on centuries to come, we give, for the sake of
history, an account of the principal edibles used, viz.:
Twelve thousand oysters—10,000
poulette and 2000 pickled.
Twelve monster salmon—30 lbs.
Twelve hundred game birds.
Two hundred and fifty turkeys.
Four hundred chickens.
One thousand pounds of
One hundred pyramids of pastry.
One thousand large loaves.
Three thousand five hundred
bottles of wine.
FIRST TIME UNDER FIRE.
WHEN the President ordered the
army to be filled up by recruiting, drafting, or otherwise, and the peaceful
moneyed men of the North were roused to protect their persons by draining their
pockets, I was moved by love of country, of adventure, and three hundred
dollars, to offer myself as a recruit in the —
Cavalry Regiment. So, under the
protection of a strong body of infantry to preserve us from guerrillas, and to
keep us from yielding to a natural temptation to display our patriotism by going
home and again sacrificing our liberty on the altar of our country for a second
three hundred dollars, I and fifty others were first jolted forty miles on a
cattle car, then marched twenty-five miles to corps head-quarters, then fifteen
across country to our brigade-commander, and then back again near the place
whence we started to the camp of the regiment. After accompanying on foot the
movements of our mounted troops for the next three weeks, it suddenly occurred
to some member of the general's staff that we might perhaps be more efficient on
horseback; and so we were transported back on the cars to the Cavalry Depot at
Washington to be provided with horses. As we were all stout, active young
fellows, we only lost in these various movements fifteen men from disease,
desertion, and capture by guerrillas, and only five or six others got
disheartened, and escaped home on our passage through the city; so in three
weeks more thirty of us, well mounted, armed, and equipped, rejoined our
command, and were reported fit for duty.
About a fortnight after our thus
fairly joining the regiment the squadron to which I belonged was called in from
picket, and marched rapidly to where the regiment was engaged with the enemy. As
we drew near the firing became sharper and sharper, and suddenly the captain
commanding formed us in line, and carried us forward on a trot. The rapidity of
the movement, the jingling of the accoutrements, the pressure of the horses and
men on each side of me caused a sensation of excitement
rather pleasant than otherwise,
and I began to feel very brave and warlike.
"What is it?" asked I of the old
soldier beside me. "Are we going to charge them right off?"
I shall never forget the look of
contemptuous wonder with which he looked at me as be replied:
"I've been jest two years in this
here regiment, and you're the first man I ever met who thought he was going
a-charging without drawing sabres, We're a-going to be shot at, young feller.
That's all for the present."
There was something so
cold-blooded in the idea and the way in which it was communicated that my
enthusiasm was checked with a suddenness that caused me to shiver, and I asked
no more questions until we were halted behind a thin belt of woods, on the other
side of which active skirmishing was going on. Here I noticed the old soldiers
get their carbines in readiness, and snapping of caps to clear the tube; and the
consciousness of the deadly earnest in which the weapons were soon to be used
turned me for the moment sick and solemn, and made me think simultaneously of
home and of death. All the time there were curious sounds in the air above our
heads, as if a constant succession of large and viciously-disposed night-beetles
had mistaken us for lighted candles, and were whirring around us under that
delusion; but seeing no notice taken of them by the others I was timid of
alluding to the subject. At last, noticing the old soldier who before answered
me dodge down quickly as one of these sounds was heard close above him, I
ventured to inquire "what sort of bugs those were that made such a noise?"
Indignation blended with scorn was visible in his countenance as he satisfied my
"Bugs! Do you think that I am
such a skeery old woman as to be twisting myself in my saddle 'cause a bug was
flying at me? Them's pisen, them are! them's bullets!"
If he had told me they were
15-inch shell he couldn't have startled and astonished me more. Here I had been
in imminent danger for ten minutes, and I had not known any thing about it.
Instinctively I thought whether I could get out of the way without being
detected and disgraced, and the same impulse attracted my eyes toward my
Captain. There he sat as cool as a cucumber, reading a man a lecture as to the
proper method of advancing his carbine, forcing two or three others to dress
themselves more accurately upon the right sergeant, and all the while looking
straight at me. There was no use in my trying to dodge away then. Presently a
horse in front of me gave a half rear and dropped to the ground, and one or two
men on foot came straggling through the wood from the front. Then there came
slowly forth a mounted man leaning forward on his saddle, his hand pressed to
his side, and red with blood. Then a squad of ten or fifteen burst through the
branches, slinging their empty carbines, and rallying in a disorderly fashion
upon our flank; and with a deadlier fury the whirr of the bullets swept above
our line. "Steady there, men!" sang out the Captain. "Get your carbines ready,
boys!" An old infantry soldier, who was my front rank man, turned round to me,
and said, "I say, you take care to fire over my head, and don't blow my brains
out with your shooting, d'ye hear?" I was in the act of promising to pay the
most exact attention to his order, when I was startled by a burst of laughter
behind me. That ubiquitous Captain was there listening. "Fire over your head,
you goose," rejoined he. "I don't want him to bring down a star or a
turkey-buzzard. You keep your fire, Dan, until I tell you to shoot, and don't
let me see a man in the rear rank fire while I keep him standing there. Mind
that now." While he was talking I could tell from the shouts that our men had
repelled the rebel charge, and I was able to bear with composure the sight of a
dead officer carried sadly past us by some of his men; but all at once along the
whole enemy's line out poured a volley, the unseen weapons lightening up the
closing night with a glare of fire whose length startled and amazed me. Horses
fell on either side of me, and here and there a man's face would change, and he
would slide from his saddle or draw his horse back from the line. It became
perfectly dreadful sitting there inactive, waiting helplessly for death; and my
hand half-consciously drawing upon my rein, my horse fell back about a foot from
his place in line. At this instant the Captain cried out, "Attention, there!"
and looking round, I saw his eyes fixed on me again. Again he cried, "Attention!
Squadron into single rank, march!" and as I obeyed the order I saw our
skirmishers slowly falling back through the wood and forming line upon our
extreme left and in our rear. Then there was a pause. Presently I saw a movement
among the trees, and could discern a mass of men clustering together just upon
their edge. With a thrill, I knew that for the first time I saw the enemy; and
every sensation was merged in a frantic desire to shoot, while every nerve
within my body was shaking with excitement. Then the Captain's voice, steady and
cheerful, sounded along the line, with some sympathetic power calming my shaking
nerves and making every muscle as firm as iron, "Ready! Aim low! Front rank men,
fire!" A blaze of light ran along our line, there was a deafening explosion, and
a blinding smoke, through which I could hear the bullets of the enemy as they
whistled past. I could see nothing, but I heard the voice of the Captain from my
right command, "Rear rank men, fire!" and as our second volley belched forth,
came the order, "Load and fire at will." And now it was pop! pop! pop! as fast
as we could get the cartridges into our pieces, shouting and cheering as we did
so, in answer to the rebel outcries. At length our cries met no response, I
heard the officers command "Cease firing," the smoke swept away, and I found it
was black night, through which I could just discern that I was one of about
forty men, the remnant of the squadron; could hear a few slowly trotting back to
the rear; could notice others on foot crossing the hill-top beyond, and perceive
a mass of dead horses and one or two dead men still lying at my feet. (Next