« السابقةمتابعة »
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1867, by
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.
PREF A. C. E.
SoME friends have objected, in advance, to the title of this volume, on the ground that the term “queens,” as applied to the subjects, seems out of place in the society of a republic. But if we call to mind how continually and universally the expression is used in ordinary conversation, it must be conceded that no other would do as well. We are all accustomed to hear of any leading lady that she is “a perfect queen,” the “queen of society,” a “reigning belle,” the “queen of the occasion,” &c. The phrase is in every one's mouth, and no one is misled by it. The sway of Beauty and Fashion, too, is essentially royal ; there is nothing republican about it. Every belle, every leader of the ton, is despotic in proportion to her power; and the quality of imperial authority is absolutely inseparable from her state. I maintain, therefore, that no title is so just and appropriate to the women illustrated in this work, as that of “queens.”
It may be thought that too much space has been given to personal description and accounts of dress and entertainments. It should be borne in mind, that the subjects are the Flowers of the sex—choice and cultivated flowers—not representatives of womankind in general. To them especially and necessarily pertain the adornments of person and the luxury of surroundings; and in scenes of festal display they are the stars of attraction. To present them without the adjuncts and associations of dress and gayety would be fair neither to them nor the reader. There is significance, too, in the style of decoration and amusements, as well as that of daily living. The style prevalent in the early days of the republic differed widely from the present, as does that of the West and the South from ours in the metropolis and the Atlantic citles.