Miss Mercy James was the only child of a wealthy merchant family in post-civil war New Orleans. She was a true southern belle of great beauty and striking charisma, and she had an infinite number of proposals and lovers, even into her twenties, which was considered quite old for the times. But as fate would have it, she fell in love with her first cousin Reginald James, who happened to be a happily wed father of three. He thwarted her scandalous advances at a number of New Orleans social occasions. Mercy, distraught, visited a very powerful voodoo witch doctor, who prescribed a potent love potion that involved Mercy cutting off the tip of her pinky finger. After administering the love potion, Reginald became another one of Mercy’s obsessed paramours. It wasn’t very long until she grew quite bored with his antics. After he hung himself on the grounds of her family estate when she refused to see him, Mercy fled to Paris to avoid total disgrace. She lived there in total seclusion until her death, with the exception of the publication of several pornographic memoirs, written under a pseudonym.
Mercy’s gown consists of a single square shift and a large billowing skirt trimmed with a scarlet duchess satin sash and ruffle. The black, pink, and beige floral printed cotton was sourced from the Philippines. The front of the skirt is a series of over two-dozen hand gathered pleats. Her feathered cap, and black kanekalon wig are hand made.
*Mercy’s gown is replicated from a daguerreotype from her debutante ball.