(notes edited by Roberta Baldi
and Alastair Wilson)
... recounts a mix-up at a fancy-dress ball after which a wife, either from a sense of gratitude or under a threat of blackmail, persuades her husband to promote the man she had mistaken for her lover. Later in the volume, in "Certain Maxims of Hafiz" (IV) Kipling produced a particularly cynical couplet:BackgroundThe temper of chums, the love of your wife, and a new piano's tune,
Which of the three will you trust at the end of an Indian June.
The custom of wearing a costume or disguise of some sort to celebrate special occasions has long been a part of cultures throughout the world. In 17th century Italy, the tradition of wearing masks and elaborate costumes during carnival was a direct influence upon the 18th century European craze for masquerades. The licentious behavior so often a part of the masquerade caused them to fall out of favor by the beginning of the 19th century. Masks were discarded, and the emphasis upon costume of an 'elevated' nature developed into the Fancy Dress balls of the Victorian age.
One of the most popular and enduring items of clothing for Fancy Dress was the Italian domino, a voluminous cloak. When fastened, a domino completely covered the wearer to the ankles, obscuring whatever might be worn underneath...Dominos were usually made of silk and often hooded. The most common colors were red or black for men, white, red, or blue for ladies. Ladies would often have their dominos made to match the costume underneath, although by the mid nineteenth century, the domino was beginning to fall out of favor.