Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Revolutionary War Wedding



September is almost as popular as June for weddings nowadays.
Here's the story of a wedding  that took place just before Christmas
in a country deep in it's first civil war.


 
 

"....The wedding took place in the yellow parlor in front of a crackling hearth. The Dutch Reformed minister performed the ceremony and everyone who was anyone for miles around attended. The room was packed with patriot gentry, all turned out in their finest wigs and lace. The young men present were almost universally in blue and buff.
Hamilton had gone to the expense of outfitting himself anew before the trip north and today he looked resplendent in a crisp new uniform. The epaulets of Lieutenant Colonel gleamed on his shoulders; his chest was crossed by the green sash worn by the aides de camp of a commanding general. His hair had been powdered, but not quite enough to extinguish a gingery glitter. Everyone agreed; he looked overwhelmingly handsome.
“If Mama hadn’t had all these months to prepare, I’m afraid my little sister would look like a hen pheasant beside that beautiful fellow.” Angelica whispered waspishly to the only woman present she considered her peer, tall blonde Arietta van Corlear. Diamond earrings flashed against creamy necks as the belles approvingly surveyed the lithe figure of the groom.
Still, few others present would have agreed. For the ceremony, Betsy had been transformed into a perfect, fashion plate angel. She had submitted to wearing a wig (sent through enemy lines from Philadelphia), which provided her with a tumble of snowy curls. Beneath this, her olive skin, black eyes, and long dark lashes made a magnificent contrast. Mama had insisted upon applying a delicate lamb’s wool brush of rouge to her high cheekbones, which hollowed the Dutch fullness. Her dress was a cream-colored sacque trimmed with lace and white satin bows.
When she entered the room upon the arm of her father, a number of Hudson valley cousins suffered unanticipated pangs of regret. Was this radiant bride really their own sweet, plain “Little Saint Bess”?
“They make a lovely couple.” Peggy sighed and slipped an arm around the waist of her younger cousin, Eliza van Rensselaer. Peggy had earlier confided to Miss van R. that she herself was secretly “a little in love with that rascal Alexander.”
The hordes of tow-headed children were cautioned, and the fire in Mrs. Schuyler’s eyes was sufficient to convince the most rambunctious that she meant business.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a plain gold band, an heirloom from long ago Amsterdam, was slipped onto the bride’s delicate finger. The old-fashioned lace veil that had belonged to Grandmother Angelica Livingston Van Rensselaer was turned back, and Colonel Hamilton, in his blue and buff uniform, gave his lovely blacked-eyed Betsy a worshipful kiss.
Mrs. Schuyler leaned on her husband’s arm. She, too, was radiant. Within, the baby she carried stirred restlessly, awakened by the triumphant emotion which coursed through her mother like the Hudson in full flood. To see a beloved daughter handed properly from father to husband, married in the midst of this sea of relations, was a supreme moment...."
~~ Juliet Waldron




A MASTER PASSION
Find more at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eiAeiAVA98





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