Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Flirtation at the Moultrie House >> Page 399

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Page 399

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
At an early hour on the appointed evening, a goodly show of
costumes began to be seen, in the grand passages of the buildings;
and curious eyes began to peer in at the doors and windows of the
several rooms assigned as the theatre of performances, long before
the committee was prepared to throw them open. When, at length,
the doors were unclosed, a most magnificent and faery-like prospect
was unfolded to the view. The decorations, which were confided to
Mr. Bell, were such as to do him great credit, and to satisfy all
the anticipations of the assembly. Five of the largest rooms in the
house, opening by folding doors into each other, were draped in
the richest and most beautiful style, with festoons of blue, white and
crimson, ornamented with rosettes and bouquets, and stars of gold
and silver. In the centre, a raised dais allotted to the orchestra, was
magnificently clothed in a drapery which fell in heavy but graceful
folds, the chief loop in the midst, forming a wave of white, bearing,
in crimson letters, the name of "Moultrie." The drapery of doors
and windows was fashioned after the same model, with the same
materials; and the extended area of five apartments was equally
various and unique in its attractions. The chandeliers consisted of
variegated lanterns, the lights gleaming in stars from above; while,
along the walls, similarly disposed they added to the golden richness
of the drapery, in the intervals of which they were displayed. In
front, the central section of the immense piazza, more than a hundred
feet in length, and sixteen in breadth, was enclosed with canvass and
well-lighted for the promenaders. The supper room, one hundred
by thirty-eight feet, with its three immense tables, the whole length
of the room, was brilliant in its display; being decorated in a style
no less superb than that of the ball rooms; every window wreathed
in flowing and falling robes, and the great blue, white and crimson
festoons embracing the columns and binding them together in the
most graceful manner. By a judicious arrangement, the committee
succeeded in separating the appartments assigned to the ball entirely
from the rest of the house. There was no clamour, no confusion,
except such as the uninitiated might suppose to exist in the fanciful
evolutions of the foreign dances.
These were numerous, we may say in this place, and were con-
tinued, with little intermission, from 9 o'clock, P. M., to 2, A. M.;
allowing only the proper intervals for the supper. They alternated