And with much haste I took my departure from the Capitol of the State of Harpeth to Twin Oaks in the car of my Uncle, the General Robert, for I knew that upon this evening I must make a new and terrible toilet and I would require much time thereto.
The good old Nannette and my Governess Madam Fournet have always taught me that the art of a lovely woman’s toilet could not be performed in less than two hours, and I felt that I had better begin in the way to which I was accustomed and go as far as I could in that direction, then finish in the manly manner which would now be of a necessity to me.
The good Bonbon, whom I now know is called Sam, had laid out my evening apparel, from the queer dancing shoes with flat heels to a very stiff and high collar, upon a couch in the huge room, and after my bath I began to put them upon me with as much rapidity as was possible to me. For a few moments all went well, even up to having tucked the fine and very stiff white linen shirt garment into the silky black cloth trousers, but a trouble arose when I put upon myself the beautiful long coat that is in the shape of a raven, which the American gentleman wears for evening toilet. My shoulders were sufficiently broad to hold it nicely in place and it fell with a gracefulness upon my hips, but at my waist it collapsed on account of a slimness in that locality. The fit of the tweed, which had been like to that of a bag, had been very correct and had not revealed the curve of waist, but now it was manifest.
“What is it that you must do, Roberta, to disguise your roundness of a young woman? All is lost!” I said to myself in despair. Then a thought came to me. I had never been habited in a corset in my life on account of a prejudice entertained to that garment by my Nannette, but I bethought me to remove that shirt and also the silk one underneath and swath about me one of the heavy towels of the bath. Immediately I did so and fastened it in place with a needle and thread from the gentleman’s traveling case that I found in the pocket of my bag. Over it I then drew the silk undershirt and then that of fine linen, before again putting myself into the black raven’s dress. Behold, all roundness and slimness had disappeared and when the collar was added I could see that I was as beautifully habited as either Mr. Peter Scudder or that Mr. Saint Louis of the boat.
“Roberta of Grez and Bye,” I said to myself as I looked into the tall mirror, “it is indeed a sorrow to you that you cannot make your courtesy to that Gouverneur Faulkner habited in the white lace and tulle garment that is in those trunks which you have lost in that New York, with your throat that your Russian Cossack has said was like a lily at the blush of dawn, bare to his eyes, but you are a nice, clean, upstanding American boy who can be his friend. You must be and you must play the game.”
And in the language of that Mr. Willie Saint Louis, it was “some game.”