I was searching for various clothing to be worn while swimming in the 19th century, particularly the 1870's and stumbled on this great little excerpt from John Spicer on Clothes. This recitation is in the book Delsarte Recitation Book ©1893 I'm sharing this hoping you too get a smile on your face when reading it. Not to mention it gives fodder to some possible character's insight of the time period.
IT is very good fun to take off your clothes and go in swimming. Clothes are the things that you wear. They have arms and legs to them, and ever so many buttonholes and buttons, and have pockets. Pockets are the best part of your clothes. We have two kinds of clothes, best ones and old ones. We hang up the best ones and wear the old ones. When you wear your best ones every day you most always get something on them. Once I hitched the picket of a picket-fence into the leg of some best clothes and pitched over head first, and the picket went through, and then I had to take that pair for every-day ones. Gudgeon grease that you get off of wheels will not come off very well. I do not mean it will not come off the wheels very well, but off your clothes. Ink spots stay on, but you can get paint off, if you can get anything to take it off with. Mud brushes off when it gets dry, and your mother doesn't say anything when vou get mud on your every-day ones, but she does on your best ones.
One time when I was a little fellow, when I was going to a party with two little fellows about as big as I was, and we had on our best clothes, we climbed up a tree to see if some birds' eggs had hatched out, and a dry twig on a branch tore a hole on one side of one of my trousers' legs, and I did not want to go back home because that pair was all the best pair of trousers I had. A big fellow—he was not very big, but he was bigger than we little fellows—he told me to go to the party and keep my hand down over the hole, and I did, and somebody that was at the party asked me if my arm was lame, and I said, "No, ma'am;" but when the ice-cream came round, I forgot and took away my hand to take the saucer in it, and that same one looked at it, and laughed some, and she said: "Oh, now I see what the matter was with your arm!" and I laughed a little when she did, and she told me not to think any more about the hole then, but to have a good time and to think about the hole afterward, and I did. She told me a funny story about a hole that was torn. I will tell it: "Once there was a very small boy named Gussie, and he tore his clothes most every day, and his mother had mended them after he had gone to bed and he did not see her do it, and he thought the holes grew up of themselves in the night. And one day when his little cousin Susie tore her dress her mother told her not to tear, and cried, Gussie told her not to cry, for that hole would grow up again in the night, just as holes did in his clothes. And when Susie went to bed she put her dress over a chair to have the holes grow up, and first thing in the morning she went in her night-gown to look, and her mother found her standing there crying, and when her mother asked her what she was crying for, she said, 'Because that hole did not grow together in the night. I thought it would grow up in the night.'"
Once I had some mittens put away in some winter clothes. Mittens are clothes to wear on your hands, and hats are clothes to wear on your head. Once my aunt told me a hat riddle. I will say it: "Two poor little brothers they had but one hat, And both wore the same one, can you guess how was that?