Friday, August 7, 2009
Setting the Scene
Like many other of her generation and older, Yours Truly grew up watching that particular phenomenon of Southern Identity, Gone with the Wind. Although the pivotal panoramic of the train depot with thousands of wounded soldiers always causes Miss Elodie to choke up, her Favorite scene takes place at the charity bazaar dance in which Miss Scarlett refutes Dr. Meade's assertion that as a widow, she won't dance. "Oh Yes I Will!" she cries as she heads out onto the dance floor to lead the Virginia Reel in her trailing ebony weeds.
Miss Elodie has had the great pleasure of opening the Virginia Reel on several occasions, sometimes even dressed in black. However, this past month she not only danced her favorite dance in this flattering shade, but she did so in a ballroom decorated not unlike the charity bazaar from the aforementioned Epic Motion Picture.
In Chapter 9 of her novel, Margaret Mitchell described the scene:
“...[E]verywhere amid the greenery, on flags and bunting, blazed the bright stars of the Confederacy on their background of red and blue...At the other end of the hall from the platform, the ladies had eclipsed themselves. On this wall hung large pictures of President Davis and Georgia’s own “Little Alec” Stephens, Vice–President of the Confederacy. Above them was an enormous flag...The two faces looked down on the scene, two faces as different as could be possible in two men at the helm of so momentous an undertaking: Davis with the flat cheeks and cold eyes of an ascetic, his thin proud lips set firmly; Stephens with dark burning eyes deep socketed in a face that had known nothing but sickness and pain and had triumphed over them with humor and with fire—two faces that were greatly loved."
While Miss Elodie does not have any great insight into the accuracy of Miss Mitchell's descriptions of the characters of the Confederate states executive officers, those folk who labored to decorate the ballroom at the Arlington Hotel did a bang-up job and portraits of these two famous men were given prominent display. Alas, her photographs do not really do justice to the setting as they were taken while the dance attendees were partaking of well-needed refreshments.
As for Your Truly, she was, indeed, attired in black, though not in widows weeds but in tribute to her Francophone ancestry. Miss Elodie dressed rather more in the style of Ingres' portrait of Mme. Moitessier than Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton therefore she was able to grace the dance floor and lead the Virginia Reel with far less scandal and perhaps even more delight than her more famous literary counterpart!