I'm very excited that the first episode of Downton Abbey's season 3 starts tomorrow night! My friends and I (and I'm sure countless other Downton Abbey fans) have been waiting impatiently for months to find out if Mary will marry Matthew. Is Cora's mother really coming from America for a visit, and how will she get along with Violet? Will poor Edith ever find someone to love and will Mr. Bates get out of prison?
The following sketch and excerpt are from the
The World of Downton Abbey
The Cost Of Fashionable Entertaining
Consuelo Vanderbilt, the American heiress who married the Duke of Marlborough, described a shooting weekend in 1896 which was in itself unexceptional, aside from the fact that they had the Prince and Princess of Wales staying. At the time the duchess was a young bride of 19 who found the whole experience exhausting, not just because she was in charge of all the pleasures of her guests (there were 30, which meant 100 people were in the house, including servants) but because of the munificence of clothes that went with it:
'The number of changes of costume was in itself a waste of precious time. To begin with, even breakfast, which was served at 9:30 in the dining-room, demanded an elegant costume of velvet or silk. Having seen the men off to their sport, the ladies spent the morning round the fire reading the papers and gossiping. We next changed into tweeds to join the guns for luncheon, which was served in the High Lodge or in a tent. Afterwards we usually accompanied the guns and watched a drive or two before returning home. An elaborate tea gown was donned for tea, after which we played cards or listened to a Viennese band or to the organ until time to dress for dinner, when again we adorned ourselves in satin, or brocade, with a great display of jewels. All these changes necessitated a tremendous outlay, since one was not supposed to wear the same gown twice. That meant 16 dresses for four days.'