Ward McAllister was a gentlemen living in the mid-to-late 19th century; this is his commentary of the high society of the time, the parties and social gatherings of the elite in the USA and Europe.
Well-travelled and educated in the arts of speech and charming others, the author recounts his memories of fine occasions attended by the monied and well-connected. He describes the social habits, fashion trends, and ostentatious buying habits of the upper classes of society. In the 19th century, the upper strata of society had undergone a transformative change owing to the new prosperity and technology of the time - as McAllister testifies, it was a time of newfound, unprecedented extravagance.
New innovations in fine cuisine, more choice in fashionable tailored dress for men and women, and the enjoyment of sports and other pastimes are described in detail. The author appends menus especially designed for occasions as evidence of the superb dining enjoyed by guests. To accompany his narrative of each function, McAllister describes the more exquisite aspects of the countries he'd attended such sumptuous gatherings. The majesty and natural beauty of France, Germany, Britain, Portugal and the north and south of the USA are all related.