Howe’s Masquerade

Howe’s Masquerade In U.S. history and folklore of the Revolution, a masked ball held by the British general Sir William Howe (1729– 1814), commander-in-chief of the British army in the American Revolution, while Boston lay under siege by colonial forces in 1776. To show his contempt for the colonials, Howe asked some of his guests to dress in costumes representing Washington and his generals. But as the party progressed, a funeral dirge was heard outside, and a procession passed through the ballroom. It consisted of figures from the colonial past and last of all a tall man whose face was cloaked. Howe, furious at the interruption of his ball, ran toward the cloaked figure, only to discover it was a caricature of him as the last royal governor. Hawthorne’s short story “Howe’s Masquerade,” included in his Twice Told Tales, deals with the legend. According to tradition, the grim procession appears each year.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante