Felicity’s Journal – A Trip to the Dress Shoppe


January 12, 1863

With Michael formally asking me and the date set for the wedding (February 14 – Romantic!), we are getting things arranged. Abigail and Alice have shown me a menu for the brunch. They will close up shop and everyone can meet at Du Univers Melleur Café. They promise a menu of sweets and savories. Michael and I have sent off invitations. I think he and I both have severe writer’s cramp. The wedding isn’t that large but even thirty notes can be tiring.

Rachael, Eleanor, and Simone have been working hard on Rachael’s doorbell. Charles is documenting the amazing contraption. However, I need a dress and Millicent said she knew an excellent seamstress over by Hyde Park. So we five ladies made an excursion for new dresses over to the shop. Millicent had written ahead so we had the shop to ourselves. Jason and John are out of town so Liam is taking Michael out for a bit of “fun.” I dread to think what Liam views as fun.

We arrived at “Madame Stein’s Boutique” and wrestled Rachael into her chair. Rachael looked at the shop and said, “Oy vey. It can’t be her.” We all looked at her and she waved us away saying “Old family friend.” We entered into the shop. There dresses all around the shop and a wall of materials. Two woman attendants stood to the side waiting for our entry. Madame Stein greeted Millicent with a kiss on each cheek and said, “Did that strange leather outfit work? I do not see it on others.” Millicent laughed and said, “It worked wonderfully. I am afraid it is a bit bedraggled after one of my adventures.”
Madame Stein sounded firm and then said, “Then you bring it back and we fix. Now which of ladies is bride.” She looked around and then saw Rachael. I swear Rachael shrank into her chair. Madame Stein put her hands on her cheeks and then exclaimed, “Rachael. Rachael Weiz.” She immediately went over to Rachael and pinched her cheeks and began speaking in Russian to Rachael who responded. Millicent covered her mouth hiding a laugh. Millicent leaned over, “It seems that Madame Stein knows Rachael from her temple days. Also she is wondering where Mordechai has been these past few months. Rachael is doing admirably well with the language and the politics.” The attendants served tea while this was going on. Rachael pointed to me and Madame Stein said, “Ah yes, the bride. She must be beautiful. For Rachael’s friend, we spare nothing.” Madame Stein then inquired of my color choice.

I said, “Married in gray, you will go far away.”

Madame Stein then dramatically threw her hands up “Grey? Grey? Is dull color for one so beautiful. Blue sets off eyes. Contrasts with hair. Blue your mate be true.”

I had not expected this. Fortunately Millicent spoke up, “The girl said gray. Surely you have gray with blue accents?”

Madame Stein eyed her suspiciously, “I broke 4 needles on leather outfit for you…but you are right.” She clapped her hands and told the attendants to bring out the cloth. At that point, we looked at sleeves, bodices, bustles and hats. We each got a different color dress. Eleanor opted for pearl which pleased Madame Stein no end, “Dark skin and pearl is dramatic. We make low neck line. We add beading for texture.” Simone chose a dark brown or black and asked for similar cut and beading as Eleanor. Madame Stein eyed them for a moment, shrugged and said, “Contrast, matching. Makes for good relationship. “ Millicent asked for a dress in violet or blue. “You need light color with dark hair. I have light blue.” Rachael was, as expected, the most challenging. She asked for bloomers or breeches. Madame Stein initially protested. She said it was too boyish. But Rachael has her own way and Madame Stein relented.

Afterwards we all went for coffee drinks at Abigail’s and Alice’s café.

Thank you all for reading.

I do look forward to any questions.

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