Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown.

60

INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.

were the solemn figures of the stately cotillion executed
with care and precision, the grave balancing
steps, the dos-a-dos, and others to test the nimbleness
and grace of dancers.
" Gen. Houston, the President, was of course the
hero of the day, and his dress on this occasion was
unique and somewhat striking. His ruffled shirt,
scarlet cassimere waistcoat and suit of black silk
velvet, corded with gold, was admirably adapted
to set off his fine, tall figure; his boots, with short,
red tops, were laced and folded down in such a
way as to reach but little above the ankles, and
were finished at the heels with silver spurs. The
spurs were, of course, quite a useless adornment,
but they were in those days so commonly worn as
to seem almost a part of the boots. The weakness
of Gen. Houston's ankle, resulting from the wound,
was his reason for substituting boots for the slippers,
then universally worn by gentlemen for dancing.
"Mrs. Baker's dress of white satin, with black
lace overdress, corresponded in elegance with that
of her escort, and the dresses of most of the other
ladies were likewise rich and tasteful. Some wore
white mull, with satin trimmings; others were
dressed in white and colored satins, but naturally
in so large an assembly, gathered from many different
places, there was great variety in the quality of
costumes. All, however, wore their dresses short,
cut low in the neck, sleeves generally short, and all
wore ornaments or flowers or feathers in their hair,
some flowers of Mexican manufacture being particularly
noticeable, on account of their beauty and
rarety.
"But one event occurred to mar the happiness of
the evening. Whilst all were dancing merrily, the
sad news arrived that the brother of the Misses
Cooper, who were at the time on the floor, had been
killed by Indians at some point on the Colorado
river. Although the young ladies were strangers to
most of those present, earnest expressions of sympathy
were heard on all sides, and the pleasure of
theirsimmediate friends was of course destroyed.
"At about midnight the signal for supper was
given, and the dancers marched over to the hotel of
Capt. Ben Fort Smith, which stood near the middle
of the block now occupied by the Hutchins House.
This building consisted of two very large rooms,

built of pine poles, laid up like a log house, with a
long shed extending the full length of the rooms.
Under this shed, quite innocent of floor or carpet,
the supper was spread; the tempting turkeys, venison,
cakes, etc., displayed in rich profusion; the
excellent coffee and sparkling wines invited all to
partake freely, and soon the witty toast and hearty
laugh went round.
"Returning to the ball room, dancing was resumed
with renewed zest, and continued until the
energy.of the musicians began to flag, and the
prompter failed to call out the figures with his accustomed
gusto; then the cotillion gave place to
the time-honored Virginia reel, and by the time
each couple had enjoyed the privilege of "going
down the middle," daylight began to dawn, parting
salutations were exchanged, and the throng of dancers
separated, many of them never to meet again.
" Ere long the memory of San Jacinto's first ball
was laid away among the mementos of the dead,
which, being withdrawn from their obscurity only
on each recurring anniversary, continue to retain
their freshness even after fifty years have flown.
" Of all the merry company who participated in
that festival, only a few are known to be living at
the present day. They are ex-Governor Lubbock,
Mrs. Wynns, Mrs. Mary J. Briscoe and Mrs.
Fannie Darden."
ADDENDA. In January, 1886, the following ancient
item in a Nashville paper, announcing the
death of Noah W. Ludlow, the old theatrical manager,
appeared, viz.: "In
July, 1818, in Nashville, an amateur performance
of Home's tragedy of Douglas was given,
in which Mr. Ludlow appeared as Old Norval.
There were remarkable men in that performance.
The manager of the amateur club was Gen. Jno. H.
Eaton, afterward Secretary of War during Gen.
Jackson's presidential term. Lieut. Sam. Houston,
afterward Gen. Sam Houston, of San Jacinto fame,
played Glenalvon; Wm. S. Fulton, afterward Governor
of Arkansas, was the young Norval; E. H.
Foster, later United States Senator from Tennessee,
was a member of the club, and the part of Lord
Randolph was taken by W. C. Dunlap, who, in 1839,
was a member of Congress from Tennessee. Gen.
Andrew Jackson was an honorary member of the
same dramatic club."

Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown.. Austin, Tex.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/. Accessed August 22, 2014.