A colour mixed with white and red, or a gray-violet.--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850
The name of a colour, a pale purple or grey violet; sometimes, a pale red. Adaptation of French gris-de-lin, "grey of flax," flax-grey; Littré's French Dictionary (1877) explains it as "a colour partaking of white and red."--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1901
Feast Day of St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660),
patroness of widows and disappointing children. Manners and Rules of Good Society (1901) offered color tips for a widow's second wedding: "Formerly, widows considered it imperative to be married in 'widow's colours,' grey and mauve, and that white was forbidden wear ... [except when] a tinge of colour is introduced. The larger number still regard pale grey or pale heliotrope as more suitable on the occasion of a second marriage, and doubtless this is so when a widow is not in her full youth. A widow may not, of course, wear a bridal veil. She can have a bouqet, not of white flowers only, but mauve or pink or violets, according to choice."
I've been disappointing children for ages. Thanks, St. Louise!