Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Kensyngton Gardens with ye Bande Playinge there.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 14.

Kensyngton Gardens with ye Bande Playinge there.


Kensyngton Gardens with ye Bande Playinge there. [Friday, June 1, 1849.]

IN the Afternoon to Kenſington Gardens, where a Band of the Guards do play on this Day, and alſo on Monday throughout the Seaſon, and draw together a great Crowd of Faſhionable Folks. The Tunes played moſtly Polkas and Waltzes, though now and then a Piece of Muſique of a better Sort; but the Muſique little more than an Excuſe for a Number of People aſſembling to ſee and be ſeen. There all the World and his Wife; and me in all her Finery, and very well me looked. I did ſee gay Dreſſes and pretty Faces in greater Number than methinks I ever ſaw before at one Time. The Day very fair, and the Sun mining gloriouſly, and the bright coloured Silks and Muſlins at a Diſtance between the Trees, did make a mighty pleaſant Picture. But I not at all content with looking on at a Diſtance, but did get as near as I could to gaze upon the Beauties, and am afraid that I did look too hard at ſome; but they moſtly ſmiled, and I believe not any were offended; for methinks they do not trick themſelves out ſo bravely to diſcourage Obſervation. To ſee them pacing to and fro in ſuch ſmart Attire, with their ſhowy pink, and green, and Forget-me-not Blue Paraſols, I could fancy they were the London Faſhions for June come out a walking. But many on Seats with tall well looking Gallants polled beſide them, or bending down to converſe with them with vaſt Attention and Politeneſs, whereat they ſeeming mightily pleaſed. Others ſtanding in Groups here and there under the Shade, and a great Throng of them round about the Muſicians; but all walking to and fro between the Tunes to ſhow themſelves. Many of the Army among the Crowd, and ſtrange, to compare them and others of our Gentry, in Air and Manner, with one or two dingy Foreigners with their great Beards and ill-favoured Looks. The little faſhionable Children by the ſide of their Mammas elegant enough to ſee; but over-dreſſed in their Velvet and Plaid Tunics and Plumes of Feathers, and their Ways too mincing and dainty, and looking as though they had ſtepped from out a Band-Box. Methinks they do ſeem brought up to think too much of their Outſides, and to look on Diſplay and Show as the Buſineſs of their Lives, which is a ſilly Schooling. I did mark ſome of their Mothers, old enough to know better, bedizened like the young Beauties, but looking four and glum, and plainly ill at eaſe in their Pride and Vanity. But it divert me much to compare the delicate Children with ſome Charity-School Urchins on the other Side of the Wall that did anger the Park Keeper by mocking him. I doubt me that the young Leatherbreeches be not the happier as long as they can get a Bellyfull of Victuals. The Company doubtleſs enjoying themſelves after their Faſhion, but in general looking marvellous grave; and ſtrange to ſuit my Eyes between the Tunes and to hear Nothing but the Ruſtling of Dreſſes and a Murmur of Voices as they did walk up and down. It is wonderful how we Engliſh do go through our Amuſements after the Manner of a ſolemn Ceremony. Yet do the people of Faſhon in Kenſington Gardens make an exceeding rare Show; and I do only wiſh that there were no Reverſe of the Picture to be ſeen among us. But their Finery do afford Employment to Work-People, and I do thank them for parading themſelves for my Amuſement, and the Officers of the Guards for treating the Town to Muſique, and ſo giving Occaſion to ſuch a fine Spectacle.