He draws the line at a fancy ball, declining to costume himself for that purpose; and he writes that he never dances, but in other respects spends his evenings after his own inclination.
Two years later, however, he mentions his purpose of going to a subscription ball ‘for the purpose of dancing with elderly ladies,’ who are, he thinks, ‘much more grateful for slight attentions than younger ones.’
It is curious to find the fact made prominent by all contemporary critics, in their references to the young professor, that he was at this time not only neat in person, but with a standard of costume which made him rather exceptional.
To those accustomed to the average dress of instructors in many colleges up to this day, this spirit of criticism may afford no surprise.
His brother tells us that ‘good Mrs. Craigie
thought he had somewhat too gay a look,’ and ‘had a fondness for colors in coats, waistcoats, and neckties.’
It will be remembered that in ‘Hyperion’ he makes the Baron
say to Paul Flemming
, ‘The ladies already begin to call you Wilhelm Meister
, and they say that your gloves are a shade too light for a strictly virtuous man.’
He wrote also to Sumner
when in Europe
: ‘If you have any tendency to curl your hair and wear gloves like Edgar
,” do it before your return.’
It is a curious fact that he wrote of himself