Harper's Weekly, May 2, 1857, P. 284
PRATTLE AND TATTLE.
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Aunt. "But I really don't understand why there's all this outcry about hoops in particular, when, for the last ten or twelve years, women have been extending their skirts to the utmost, by every known and unknown means. The look of the thing, if properly managed, is not much worse than the heaps of petticoats -- a dozen and fourteen at a time -- that you girls used to load yourselves down with. I've seen you try all sorts of things, one after another, and heard all sorts of grumbling about the skirts not being starched enough, until that poor laundry-maid has been worn out with you all. At one time the corded muslin was thought perfection. Then came the crinoline, in all its shades and varieties.
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"Then you were continually sewing buckram -- stiff buckram -- into the hems, and giving yourselves all sorts of agonies, to make the dress 'set out round the bottom.' The next thing I see is immense coils of stout rope, thick enough for the sumarine cable, lying about the house in all directions. . . .Well, of course, from thick rope and starched muslin, it's not very far to jump to whalebone and a hoop complete.
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Angelina. ". . . It requires practice and experience to wear them, I suppose; like every thing else, it has to be learned, or we shouldn't see the sights we have seen owing to the want of proper management. Look at some ladies entering a stage, where, of course, they naturally desire to occupy as little room as possible. They stumble in, all sail set, and plump down on a space not five inches wide. Of course the skirts and flounces fly right and left, and completely bury the gentlemen on either side. A bold man will venture, perhaps, to put out his hand, very gently though, and repel the overwhelming avalanche. The lady smooths down her gown. Out it bulges at the right, and irritates the gentleman on that side. She gives it a smart slap, and down it goes, only to send out the other hemisphere on the left, which bursts forth at last in the very centre . . . of the unsocial circle. All the gentlemen watch these proceedings. Some look on philosophically -- the married ones, no doubt; while the bachelors evince a keen and vivid interest, and the most polite cannot restrain a lurking smile.
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"But that's not the worst; see them at a ball. There's a pretty creature, with the most charming toilet, and face and manners to match, throwing herself, with nonchalant grace, on an inviting lounge after a panting waltz. Well; unfortunately the hoop is a complete circle, and will not allow one fold of her airy drapery to fall around her feet. No; there it stands up, bearing aloft the edge of her garments almost on a level with her own reclining head!"
George [the brother]. "Yes, it is so; and I can assure you, girls, the display afforded to the beholders opposite is interesting beyond description! There's another thing. I know exactly the most popular style of garter only from passing the high stoops at the moment the young ladies happen to be going up and down the numerous steps. Some of them are very steep indeed, you know.
". . . No, I needn't be quiet [to his Aunt]! I only want to caution them [his sisters] to all things in proper order, for there are no longer any 'mysteries of the toilet'; every thing is open to the severest inspection! We see at once the full allowance of trimming, and whether any thing wants mending! Now, there's Mrs. _________. Well, well; don't be cross. I only wish to tell you to be careful that the under-garments do cover you; because ther upper ones are so independent that they are no protection at all."