Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Flirtation at the Moultrie House >> Page 400

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
agreeably from the cotillion to the waltz, and from the waltz to the
polka. Many of the dancers were not simply prepared to walk
through the figures, but to enter with great enthusiasm into the full
spirit of the movement, with equal grace, taste, and propriety. But
let us not anticipate. We have described the scene; it is time that
we bestow our regards upon the actors. The orchestra pours forth
its most triumphant music; and the gentlemen guests begin to
appear; the gay gallants, the bachelors tired of their desolation, and
non-descripts of many sorts, all habited according to the most capri-
cious fancy. Grouped about the rooms, or promenading, they waited
with eager expectation for the coming of the ladies; nor had they
long to wait. A regal trumpet sounded from without, and a score
of gentlemen ushers, of the epoch of Philip of France, and of John
of England, suddenly entered, dividing on each hand, as they ap-
peared, and making way between their ranks, for one in whose
presence they were immediately forgotten. This was no less than
Queen Constance, personated by Mrs. G—m—ge, of Charleston.
She was accompanied by her son, Prince Arthur; the fair boy whose
fate was so fearful and so mysterious; the part, equally well dressed
and sustained, by Master J. McPh–s–n. Her confessor, rather a
juvenile keeper of a Queen's conscience, by the way, was represented
by Mr. F. W ; whom, we were rather shocked to see, atter
a while, forgetting his cloth and professional duties, carrying on a
series of bold flirtations, with a dozen different damsels, and fully
completing the circle of his offences, by engaging in the merits and
mysteries of the Polka. The whole group formed a very striking
dramatic spectacle. The Queen's dress was a rich embroidered muslin
train over white satin and point lace. Her crown and girdle were
composed of the most magnificent jewels, in which she literally
blazed; a veil of lace completed the costume.
Hardly had she entered, when she was closely followed by Mr.
H —r—t, as Richard the Third; and so closely did he seem to
follow in her train, that one might suppose he fancied her the very
Lady Anne on whom his heart was set. We remarked, however,
nothing sinister in his countenance; certainly, nothing of that mur-
derous occult purpose which Kean, in Richard, does not entirely
conceal from the audience, even when playing the lover to the
princess whom he had widowed. We were disposed to find fault