The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield
[A group of friends going to a wedding] March 1st … Start directly after lunch, Robert and Mary’s husband appearing in a highly unnatural state of shiny smartness with a top-hat apiece. Effect of this splendour greatly mitigated, when they don the top-hats, by screams of unaffected amusement from children. We drive off, leaving them leaning against Mademoiselle, apparently helpless with mirth…
Mary wears blue with admirable diamond ornament and looks nice. I wear red and think regretfully of great-aunt’s diamond ring, still reposing in back street of Plymouth, under care of old friend the pawnbroker. (Note: Financial situation very low indeed, and must positively take steps to send assortment of old clothes to second-hand dealer for disposal. Am struck by false air of opulence with which I don fur coat, white gloves, and new shoes – one very painful – and get into the car. Irony of life thus exemplified.)
Charming wedding, Rosemary H looks lovely, bridesmaids highly picturesque. One of them has bright red hair, and am completely paralysed by devastating enquiry from Mary’s husband, who hisses at me through his teeth: Is that the colour yours was when you dyed it?
This follows on from blog entry here, which describes the trip to the pawnbroker, and the disastrous attempt to enhance hair.
The picture, though gorgeous, was chosen to be in the spirit of the entry, but could not actually ever be posh British men going to a wedding. In the 1930s (or in fact right up to very recent times) it would be completely impossible, etiquette-wise, for them to wear evening dress (black suit, white shirt, bow-tie) – they would most certainly have been in morning dress: striped trousers, cutaway jacket. Now in films of the 1930s – can’t speak for real life - Americans certainly get married in their houses and gardens and in the evening and in evening dress. None of this would have been at all possible in the UK back then.
The feel of going to a wedding to enjoy yourself with friends seems to be the same then as now. There is a nice description of old Lady Dufford at the wedding who is full of stories of other recent weddings that have come to grief – ‘she concludes with observation that it is rather heartrending to see the two young things setting out together.’ Reminiscent of the Mitfords' great friend, Mrs Hammersly, who on hearing that some unlikely pairing had turned out well, would say, in a disappointed tone, ‘oh – one had half-hoped…’
The picture, an advert for Dodge cars, is from George Eastman House, and is featured on Flickr.