PARIS AND THE WEDDING
Friday morning, Alfonso and Leo were missed at the table, and during the day as guides. Early every day while in Paris, Alfonso had bouquets of fresh flowers sent to the rooms of his mother, sisters, and May Ingram. After his departure the flowers did not come, so Gertrude and May before breakfast walked down the boulevard to the flower show, near the Madeleine, where twice a week are gathered many flower carts in charge of courteous peasant women. The flowers of Paris are usually cheap. A franc, eighteen cents, buys a bunch of pansies, or roses in bud or full bloom, or marguerites. The latter are similar to the English ox-eyed daisy, a favorite flower with the French, also with Gertrude, who often pinned a bunch on May Ingram. In mid-winter Parisian gardeners delight in forcing thousands of white lilac blossoms, which are sold in European capitals for holiday gifts.
Gertrude and May hurried back to the hotel as happy as the birds in the trees of the boulevard. When Gertrude reached her mother, a telegram was given her from George which read:
City of Brussels.
We expect to arrive in Paris Saturday
evening 6 o’clock. Alfonso and
Leo here. All well. Grand trip. Love to all.
Mrs. Harris and her young ladies planned to give most of the day to the purchase of Gertrude’s trousseau and other needed articles. May Ingram thought it was “just lovely” to be with Gertrude in Paris, and help her select the wedding outfit. Earlier than usual on Friday morning the Harrises left the hotel. All four women were somewhat excited, as Mrs. Harris and Gertrude led the way, Lucille and May following, to M. Worth’s establishment, located at Rue de la Paix 7.
Lucille said, “It is strange indeed that, in view of the French ridicule made of the English on account of their lack of taste in dress, the best dressmakers in Paris should be Englishmen.”
Chief among all the Parisian dressmakers is Charles Frederick Worth, who was born in 1825, at Bourne, Lincolnshire. He came to Paris in 1858, and opened business with fifty employees combining the selling of fine dress material and the making of it. Worth now employs twelve hundred persons, and turns out annually over six thousand dresses and nearly four thousand cloaks; his sons ably assist him.
Rare fabrics and designs in silk and other choice material are woven, and artistic ornaments are made especially for M. Worth. Paris, as the center of fashion, is greatly indebted to him, who gained in his line world-wide fame, and for nearly half a century he has been universally recognized by his competitors and the fair sex as master of his art. Kingdoms, empires, republics, and cabinets in swift succession followed each other, but the establishment of M. Worth maintained its proud position against all changes and rivals. He was helped to the highest pedestal of dictator of fashions by Mme. de Pourtales and Princess Pauline Metternich, both of whom possessed a keen sense of the fitness of texture, color, and cut, and with delicate hands could tone and modify till perfection was reached. The former introduced M. Worth to Empress Eugenie, for whom, and for the ladies of whose court, he designed state, dinner, and fancy costumes.