From the Richmond Examiner, 2/3/1866, p. 3, c. 3
THE “LOYAL” “UNION” HOP AT THE SPOTSWOOD LAST NIGHT. – Yesterday, while debating within our own mind the approach of the grand “hop” of “the United States military officers” at the Spotswood; whilst we considered and weighed the propriety of our attendance, and turned over garment after garment in our wardrobe, vainly, in search of good and loyal colours – red, white and blue, or blue alone, with a stitching of lace; whilst we weighed our imperfections as a late “rebel,” with nothing “loyal,” if only in colour, to wear – the subjoined poetick missive, from a lady, delicately penned, floated into our hands, and put courage in our heart:
[INSCRIBED TO MR. POLLARD.]
Pollard, do be bright,
And say what is right
Of the hop to-night.
Will surely be there,
Its pleasure to share;
Will join in the dance,
Its beauties enhance,
And kind words advance;
And will manifest
A spirit you’d best
Just go and attest.
Very respectfully, A FRIEND.
Now, if we have a weakness that is greatest among our little weaknesses, it is a weakness for obeying orders, more especially when those orders emanate from a lady, even though it be to rescue her glove from the jaws of a lion, or attend the “loyal Union hop” at the Spotswood. But if, in obedience to the command, we did attend, it was but for a moment that we looked in upon the enchanted scene of fairy forms, moving under the escort of blue and lace, an undulating ocean, heaving to the cadence of the waltz, ebbing out and flowing in, fringed by the foam of snowy silks and muslin, and alabaster arms. Oh! it was a lovely scene.
“We saw it but a moment,
But methinks we see it now.”
There were mingled roses of every hue – the supercilious jessamine of New England, the wild prairie flower of the West, the creeping honey-suckle of the North, the hawthorn of the East, and holly-hock, twining about the poor little delay of Virginia, and the Southern rose, that “thrives most when trampled on,” and gives out its sweetest perfume beneath the iron heel. Poor, bleeding rose! Your garments are dyed in the blood of the slain.
There is a pause in the dance, and the promenade begins. The delightful musick of two full bands, playing alternately, give the key to the motion of the promenaders, and teaches them to “keep step to the musick of the Union.” See the bright uniforms, the glittering dress swords, (bloodless!) the resplendent brilliants, the lustrous silks, the bright eyes! Are there no dim eyes there? No, not one, but
“Bright eyes looked love to those that looked again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell.”
Above all and over all are extended the folds of that proud flag that never went down dimmed in the battle’s van, that never was disgraced by the pillage and vandalism of those that bore it in a mission of conquest through the South – before it a garden, behind it a desert. In all that gay throng of love and beauty is there no sad, sick heart; no aching brow, no trembling lip? Before the vision of one does there not pass a spirit form in grey, that, like the ghost in Hamlet, beckons her hence? Away! Thou grey phantom from the grave:
“Take thy beak from out my heart,
Take thy shadow from the floor!”
The promenade ends, the musick begins, and the throngs of blue uniforms, sandwiched between neative and exotick roses, are moving in the quadrille of the “Lancers.” How the musick inspires; how the feet twinkle and sound; how the golden spurs jingle; how the sheathed, harmless swords rattle in their scabbards; how the red sashes of the “U. S. A.” float in unison with the gay streamers of their partners, heavy and feathery feet beating in time. We are ready to clap our hands and shout, “Go it!” We are ready to “fall in,” and pair off with a New England jessamine; but, oh dear! our grey clothes! We would indeed be a spectre; an unbidden guest – one without a wedding garment at the intermarriage of the North and South after four years’ divorcement.
Now comes the final midnight whirl before supper –
“Endearing waltz, to they more melting tune
Bow Spanish – and ancient Rigadoon!
Scotch reel, avaunt! And Irish jig forego
They future claims to each fantastic toe.
Waltz, waltz alone; both legs and hands demands
Liberal of her legs and lavish of her hands -
Hands which may freely range in publick sight,
Where ne’er before – but pray put out the light!”
did infinite credit to the corps of French cooks attached to the Spotswood, and attested the unbounded liberality of Messrs. Corkery & Millward, the proprietors. The dishes and wines were abundant and excellent, and the tout ensemble of the table perfect to a paragon. Through the politeness and courtesy of the chief Sambo we were permitted, under guard, previous to the sitting down, to cast one glance upon the table groaning beneath their weight of rich viands, then with a bill of fare thrust into our hand we retired –
“And cast one longing, lingering look behind.”
BILL OF FARE.
Oysters. – Stewed, fried, broiled, raw.
Cold Entrees. – Gelantine Turkey, garnished with Aspic Jelly; Boned Chicken, ornamented with Calf’s Foot Jelly; Boar’s Head, ornamented with Aspic Jelly; Duffield Ham, glazed, English style; Smoked Ox Tongue, with Aspic Jelly; Goose, with Apple Jelly; Roast Turkey, with Currant Jelly.
Salads. – Fresh Lobster Salad, Boston style; Chicken Salad, New York style; Irish Potato Salad, Fenian style; Cold slaw, a la Segel.
Pastry. – Cream Cakes, Queen Cake, Pound Cake, Sponge, Lafayette Cake, Lady Fingers, Strawberry Tarts, Small Maringues, Apple Puffs, Cocoanut Kisses, Fruit Roll, Jumbles.
Jellies and Creams. – Italian Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, Blanc Lange, Pine Apple Jelly, Charlotte Russe, Rum Jelly.
Crackers and Cheese. – Soda, Butter, Water and Sugar Crackers, Cream Biscuits, Cheese.
Tea, Coffee, Chocolate.
The dishes were all warranted “loyal,” E Pluribus Unum, with ‘nary “rebel” ingredient.
The several committees of “U. S. A. O.,” under whose patronage the “hop” was inaugurated, did their duty well, and from a stray card of invitation, that we picked up on our way to the office with our notes, we copy their names and rank in full, in order that the omission may not be construes into new evidence of “disloyalty:”
Committee of Arrangements. – Brevet Major General E. W. Smith, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel T. H. Stanton, Captain G. Q. White, Brevet Colonel P. A. Davis, Brevet Major P. H. Clinton, Lieutenant M. L. Poland.
The Reception Committee. – Major General Alfred H. Terry, Brevet Brigadier General O. Brown, Brevet Colonel J. Simmonds, Brevet Major General John W. Turner, Colonel Alfred Ordway, Brevet Colonel Adrian Terry.
THE SUPPER OVER,
the guests, refreshed, streamed backward to the ball-room, and our poor Virginia daisy and crimson Southern rose were again whirling in the mazes of the dance, now lost in blue, now blooming out once more upon the silk and satin edges of the throng.
Like stars, a sudden seen, and lost within the milky way.
By arithmetical calculation we computed the number of ladies present at fifty – all exotick plants save one single lady, Miss ---, who was dressed in crimson, and, as an offset to the typical blood of the Southern martyrs, wore a white ribbon at her throat, lacking only the blue to make her colours national. Then, there were Mrs. G***** W*****, Miss C**** [Carrington], niece of the celebrated Union lady of Church Hill (Mrs. V** L** [Van Lew]), the Misses B**** [Botts], daughters of the Hon. J*** M**** B**** [John Minor Botts]. These were the ladies Richmond and Virginia lent to the occasion. The distinction of “belle of the ball” was unanimously awarded Miss G****, of Rochester, N. Y., who is a millionairess – worth a half million in gold – not greenbacks, remember. She was dressed in blue satin, and either she or her prospective pile was “the observed of all observers.”
WHO WERE THERE THAT WE KNEW.
Among the gentlemen who, in becoming colours, did honour to the occasion by their presence, and deported themselves perfectly at home in strange company, we noticed Mr. James W. Lewellen, editor and proprietor of the Republic newspaper, with his wife and niece, daughter of ex-Governour Pollock, of Pennsylvania. Horace (not Greely) Kent, great reconstructed “Union” gun of Richmond, James Morris, his son-in-law, Adolphus Morris, “original secessionist,” bookseller, Mr. Baldwin, hardware merchant; Elisha F. Keen, State Senator from Pittsylvania, and a “little more grape” man during the war; E. M. Ross, clerk at the Libby in bellum times, (with his eye on several of his former guests, when it was his turn); Ike Smith (for sort), with an honourable wound, received in battling for the “lost cause;” Samuel S. Carter, late of the firm of Carter & Montiero, with his wife, daughter of Mayor Saunders; Charles Kent; Francis J. Smith, “slippery creature,” and late State Treasurer; John Newton Van Lew, who “hopped” over to his partner across the Potomac in bellum days; B. Wardwell, “cool, icy man;” A. V. Bouis, formerly clerk in the Quartermaster’s Department, late C. S. A. Thomas Dudley, liquid merchanmt; Drs. Doetsch and Rust; “Governour” Pierpont, “so called”; J. C. Joplin, late clerk in Auditor’s Office, C. S. A.; Henry Bodeker, druggist, and others too numerous and too insignificant to notice.
When the last musick ripple broke in the ballroom; when the last gay couple paused in the waltz; when the last gas light flickered upon the wrecked Argosy of the supper table and debris of the ruins, the diligent hands upon the dial of the time piece were hastening towards the morning hours, and Aurora was painting the East in rosy colours of the dawn.