the Bradley Martin Ball

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  • Последнее сообщение 25 июня 2017 12:44
juha написал 02 августа 2007 10:55

The Bradley Martin Ball, which took place at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City on the night of February 10, 1897, was described in a newspaper as "the most splendid private entertainment ever given in this country. " Eight hundred socialites spent about $400,000 imitating kings and queens. At a midnight champagne supper they dined on twenty-eight courses--including "Sorbet Fin de Siecle."

The ball was both a triumph and a disaster. "It may not be surpassed in another hundred years," oozed one society reporter; "it was a gorgeous, superb, and wonderful spectacle." Yet a prominent Episcopalian rector warned that such an occasion in a time of depression and social tension was "ill advised." He was right. Newspapers condemned the Bradley Martins for their extravagance; clergymen preached sermons against them; college debating societies resolved their iniquity. And the New York Assessor doubled their taxes. The Bradley Martins permanently retreated to England after a final and characteristic gesture: a farewell dinner for eighty?six intimate friends which, the newspapers faithfully reported, cost $116.28 a plate.

Mrs. Bradley-Martin's sartorial kings and pseudo-queens, her dukes and DuBarrys, princes and Pompadours, have strutted their brief hour upon the mimic stage, disappearing at daybreak like foul night-birds or an unclean dream--have come and gone like the rank eructation of some crapulous Sodom, a malodor from the cloacae of ancient capitals, a breath blown from the festering lips of half-forgotten harlots, a stench from the sepulcher of centuries devoid of shame. Uncle Sam may now proceed to fumigate himself after his enforced association with royal bummers and brazen bawds; may comb the Bradley-Martin itch bacteria out of his beard, and consider, for the ten-thousandth time, the probable result of his strange commingling of royalty-worshiping millionaire and sansculottic mendicant--how best to put a ring in the nose of the golden calf ere it become a Phalaris bull and relegate him to its belly. Countless columns have been written, printed, possibly read, anent the Bradley-Martin ball--all the preachers and teachers, editors and other able idiots pouring forth voluminous opinions. A tidal wave of printer's ink has swept across the continent, churned to atrous foam by hurricanes of lawless gibberish and wild gusts of resounding gab. The empyrean has been ripped and the tympana of the too patient gods ravished with fulsome commendation and foolish curse, showers of Parthian arrows and wholesale consignments of soft-soap darkening the sun as they hurtled hither and yon through the shrinking atmosphere. A man dropping suddenly in from Mars with a Nicaraguan canal scheme for the consideration of Uncle Sam would have supposed this simian hubbub and anserine to-do meant nothing less than a new epocha for the universe, it being undecided whether it should be auriferous or argentiferous--an age of gold or a cycle of silver. Now that the costly "function" has funked itself into howling farce, an uncomfortable failure, and the infuscated revellers recovered somewhat from royal katzenjammer, we find that the majestic earth has not moved an inch out of its accustomed orbit, that the grass still grows and the cows yet calve that the law of gravitation remains unrepealed, and Omnipotence continues to bring forth Mazzaroth in his season and guide Arcturus with his sons. Perchance in time the American people may become ashamed of having been thrown into a panic by the painful effort of a pudgy parvenu to outdo even the Vanderbilts in ostentatious vulgarity. Rev. Billy Kersands Rainsford cannot save this country with his mouth, nor can Mrs. Bradley-Martin wreck it with her money. It is entirely too large to be permanently affected by the folly of any one fool. Preacher and parvenu were alike making a grandstand play. Now that the world has observed them, and not without interest, let us hope that they will subside for a little season.

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Игорь Назаров (ABBYY Lingvo) написал 09 августа 2007 08:38

Спасибо, предложим добавить в "Американу".

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