First Krewe of Comus Royal Court

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Miss Mildred Childe Lee, daughter of General Robert E. Lee

First Queen of Comus in 1884

This narrative below is from The Mistick Krewe (1931) by Perry Young:

For the Comus ball of 1884 the entire parquette, baignoires, loges, decouvertes, secondes, and even the trosiemes of the opera were occupied by ladies in their most brilliant costumes de bal. Gentlemen in their sober garb were no part of the prospect. They sat, if at all, in the rear and topmost spaces. The right-hand proscenium box was exquisitely decorated in garlands and wrought figures of flowers in honor of the special guests of Comus, the daughters of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and D. H . Hill. On the right of the box was suspeneded a bugle of yellow chrysanthemums, violets, and verbenas, and on its red ribbon were the words, "To Stonewall Jackson's Daughter." On the center of the box was a sword of yellow chrysanthemums, camelias, and begonia vemista, with belt of silk Confederate colors and diamond buckle, ribbon inscribed, "To Miss Mildred Lee." Arranged within the box were two other floral tributes. A floral cup and cornucopia of jasrmines, hyacinths, camelias, and pansies, was inscribed, "To the President's Daughter." A pyramid basket of flowers, jasmines, hyacinths, lilies of the valley, rosebuds, camelias, and smilax was, "To Miss Nannie E Hill." There was a design also for Miss Mary Lee, but description is lacking.

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Miss Varina Davis, daughter of President Jefferson Davis

Maid in Comus Court in 1884

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Miss Julia Jackson, daughter of General Stonewall Jackson

Maid in Comus Court in 1884

Seated in this box were Misses Mary and Mildred Lee; Mr. Jeferson Davis with his daughters, Mrs. Hays of Memphis and Miss Winnie Davis; Mrs. Stonewall Jackson and Miss Julia Jackson; Miss Nannie: daughter of General D. H. Hill; Mrs. A. H. May, Miss McIlhenny and Miss Avery of St. Mary Parish; Colonel William Preston Johnston, son of Albert Sidney Johnston, and Admiral Cooper of the U.S.S. "Tennessee." When the honored guests arrived, the "Spanish Students" who were rendering special music, played Schubert's Serenade to the of the immense audience.

At the close of the tableaux, representing scenes in the history of Ireland, "Comus himself took out Miss Lee," escorting her to the dancing floor, "while the members of his court each selected Miss Mary Lee, Miss Julia Jackson, Miss Varina Davis, and Miss Nannie Hill as their partners in the first quadrille." By these courtiers each of the young ladies was presented with an elegant souvenir of the occasion.

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Exterior of Krewe of Comus 1884 Dance Card

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Interior of Krewe of Comus 1884 Dance Card

While the royal quadrille was dancing, the King of the Carnival arrived, with his consort and court, and was received with distinguished honors, as the orchestra played the march from Tannhauser. This party entered the left-hand proscenium box, which had been reserved and decorated for them, notably attractive by the floral tribute to the Queen of Carnival-an Irish harp, four feet high, in violets, bouvardia, and camelias, intertwined with smilax, and bearing the inscription, "From Comus to the Queen." 

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Miss Mary Lee, daughter of General Robert E. Lee

Maid in Comus Court in 1884

From this date, from the five daughters of the Confederacy, begins the dynasty of Comus queens, yet these ladies were not dubbed queens or maids of honor at the time. They were given the highest honor of participating in the first quadrille, danced with Comus and his court, and were the first ever chosen by the organization. Those who had been asked to honor Comus and his courtiers in the first dance of former years had been the personal choice of the maskers wearing the dignity of those roles. [1]

[1] Young, Perry (1931). The Mistick Krewe : Chronicles of Comus and his Kin. Carnival Press.

First Krewe of Comus Royal Court