Victorian Summer Party

"A Summer Floral Fête" from The Art Interchange, August 2, 1890



A "floral fete", or summer party, given by a resident of a famous watering place recently was a notable event, resulting in delight to the participants. A large number of people were invited to rendezvous at a farm belonging to the host, a mile or two back in the country, and as all had been notified to deck their vehicles for a floral parade, the display all through was most satisfactory, and in some instances really marvelous. Everything was, of course beflowered, wheels, harness, carriage body, shafts and whip, and masses of loose flowers were provided, which the occupants threw at each other in friendly warfare.

Bicycles and tricycles were mingled with carts, buckboards, phaetons, victorias and drags. A vehicle of striking beauty was a victoria decked entirely with white flowers; wreaths of white roses were festooned about the body of the carriage and carried along the pole; white clematis covered the harness and whip, and white geraniums, daisies and carnations were made up into little bunches and sprays, all ready to be used as missiles. Behind this carriage came a village cart gay with scarlet poppies, corn flowers and wheat, and following this a phaeton almost covered with pink geraniums. Water-lilies and pads decorated a tub and trimmed the harness of the pony. A drag was resplendent with all kinds of gay garden flowers, and the bicycles, one and all, had the spokes of their wheels hidden under ropes of bright blossoms. "


"Those who arrived first at the barn turned back a little to meet the coming guests, whom they pelted with fragrant ammunition until there were no more flowers left. The fete after this took on the character of an encampment. Tents made of gay blankets stretched over poles were erected in the pine woods on the farm. Rugs, cushions and straw seats were arranged in them, and there were one or two tables in each, where some of the elders could lunch in their ease. The younger portion of the guests, however, broke up into small parties and established themselves in cozy nooks among the trees or gathered around the camp-fires, where the attendants were busy preparing the excellent luncheon which had been provided. Some of the guests took possession of one of the fires, and roasted potatoes in the wood ashes, baked oaten cakes and made coffee. A dance in a large empty barn, which had been hung with pink cambric and decorated with green vines, ended this delightful day. Very simple gowns of gingham and other summer stuffs were worn on this occasion by the women, the men being generally in flannel suits and straw hats."