Routledge's Manual of Etiquette
Part 3 out of 6
Begin with the _grand rond_ or great round; that is, the whole
quadrille; first and second couples and sides join hands all round,
advance four steps, and retreat ditto. _L'Ete_ is now sometimes
introduced, the _grand rond_ being repeated between each division of
the figure. But it gives a greater variety and _brio_ to the quadrille
if, after the first _grand rond_, the following figure be performed,
the _galop_ step being used throughout. Each gentleman (at top and
bottom couples) takes his lady round the waist, as for the _galop_;
advance four steps, retreat ditto, advance again, cross to opposite
places; advance, retreat, re-cross to own places. Ladies chain; half
promenade across; half right and left to places; _grand rond_. Side
couples repeat figure. _Grand rond_ between each division and at the
conclusion. Bow to your partners, and conduct your lady to seat.
* * * * *
This quadrille has, within the last few years become more fashionable
than formerly. But it is not so frequently danced as the Lancers,
still less as the First Set of Quadrilles. Each set can consist only
of eight couples, differing in this respect from the simple quadrille,
which admits of an indefinite number of couples.
_1st Figure_.--Top and opposite couples hands across; then back again;
_balancez_ and turn partners; _chaine des dames_; half promenade
across; half right and left to places.
_2nd Figure_.--Top gentleman advances and retreats twice. _Balancez_
to corners and turn, each lady passing to her next neighbour's place.
Having changed your partner, all promenade quite round. Second, third,
and fourth gentleman repeat same figure; thus all have regained their
_3rd Figure_.--Top lady and _vis-a-vis_ gentleman advance and retreat
Top couple join hands and cross over; opposite couple cross likewise,
separately, allowing top couple to pass between them; then top couple
re-cross to places separately, leaving the second couple (who re-cross
with joined hands) inside.
_Balancez_ to corners and turn your neighbour's partner; back to
places. All four couples, joining hands in circle, advance and retreat
twice. Same figure repeated by second and side couples.
_4th Figure_.--Top lady and _vis-a-vis_ gentleman advance four steps;
second lady and her _vis-a-vis_ then do the same; each couple turns
partner back to places. Ladies in all four couples move four steps to
the right, each taking her neighbour's place; gentlemen then move four
steps to the left, each into next neighbour's place. Ladies again to
the right; gentlemen again to the left. Promenade round, turn partners
to places. Second and side couples repeat in succession.
_5th Figure_.--First couple promenade round inside the quadrille. Four
ladies advance, courtesy to each other, and retire; four gentlemen
advance, bow, and retire. _Balancez_ and turn partners. Grand chain
half way round. All promenade to places, and turn partners. All
_chassez croisez_, ladies right, gentlemen left (behind their
partners), and back again to places. Second and side couples repeat as
before. Promenade all round for _finale_.
* * * * *
The Lancers Quadrille is perhaps the most graceful and animated of
any. Within the last few years it has become a great favourite in
fashionable circles, probably owing to its revival at the state balls
of Her Majesty. It admits of much skill and elegance in executing
its quick and varied figures, a correct acquaintance with which is
absolutely requisite to all who take part in it. Unlike the common
quadrille, the Lancers must be danced by four couples only in each
set; though of course there can be many sets dancing at the same time.
The number being so limited, one awkward or ignorant person confuses
the whole set; therefore, it is indispensable that every one who
dances in this quadrille should have a thorough mastery of its
graceful intricacies. We have observed that of late it has become the
fashion to substitute new tunes for the old well-known music of the
Lancers Quadrille. We cannot consider this an improvement. The
old simple melodies are peculiarly fitted to the sprightly, joyous
character of the dance; which is more than can be said for any of the
modern substitutes. When these are used, the Lancers, in our opinion,
loses its individuality and spirit, becoming almost like a common
quadrille. We should be heartily glad to see the old tunes restored
once for all to their rightful supremacy.
The sets of four couples, top, opposite and sides, having been
arranged, the dance begins as follows:--_1st Figure_.--First lady and
opposite gentleman advance and retreat; advance again, joining their
hands; pass round each other and back to places. (1st eight bars.)
Top couple join hands, and cross, opposite couple crossing at the same
time, separately, outside them; the same reversed, back to places.
(2nd eight bars.) All the couples _balancez_ to corners; each
gentleman turns his neighbour's partner back to places. (3rd eight
bars.) Second couple repeat figure from beginning; after them side
couples, those who stand to the right of top couple having always the
priority, as in the common quadrille.
_2nd Figure_.--First couple advance and retreat, gentleman holding
lady's left hand; advance again; gentleman leaves his partner in
the centre of the quadrille, and retires to place. (1st eight bars.)
_Balancez_ to each other and turn to places. (2nd eight bars.) Side
couples join first and second couples, forming a line of four on
either side. Each line advances four steps, retreats ditto; then
advances again, each gentleman reclaiming his partner, and all turn to
places. Second and side couples repeat figure in succession.
_3rd Figure_.--First lady advances four steps alone, and stops;
_vis-a-vis_ gentleman does the same; first lady retires, facing
gentleman, to whom she makes a slow profound courtesy. (The courtesy
must occupy a bar or two of the music; and as, if made with grace and
dignity, it is most effective, we would recommend ladies to practise
it carefully beforehand.) The gentleman at the same time bows and
retires. (1st eight bars.) All four ladies advance to centre, give
right hands across to each other (which is called the _double chain_),
and left hand to _vis-a-vis_ gentleman; then back again, left hands
across in the middle, and right hands to partners, back to places.
(2nd eight bars.) Second and side couples repeat figure from
A more recent fashion for dancing this figure is as follows:--Instead
of one lady advancing at first, all four advance, and courtesy to
each other; then turn and courtesy to their partners. Ladies do the
_moulinet_ in the centre; that is, give right hands across to each
other, and half round; left hands back again, and return to places.
Gentlemen meantime all move round outside the ladies, till each has
regained his place. Figure, as usual, repeated four times; but the
second and fourth time the gentlemen advance instead of the ladies,
and bow, first to each other, then to their partners; continuing as
before through the rest of the figure.
_4th Figure_.--Top gentleman, taking partner's left hand, leads her
to the couple on their right, to whom they bow and courtesy (which
civility must be met with the like acknowledgment), then cross quickly
to fourth couple, and do the same, (1st eight bars.) All four couples
_chassez croisez_ right and left (gentleman invariably passing behind
his partner) then turn hands (_tour des mains_) back to places. (2nd
eight bars.) First and opposite couples right and left across and back
again to places. (3rd eight bars.) Second and sides repeat as usual.
_5th Figure_.--This figure commences with the music. Each couple
should stand ready, the gentleman facing his partner, his right hand
holding hers. If every one does not start directly the music begins,
and does not observe strict time throughout, this somewhat intricate
figure becomes hopelessly embarrassed; but, when well danced, it is
the prettiest of the set. It commences with the _grande chaine_
all round; each gentleman giving his right hand to his partner at
starting, his left to the next lady, then his right again, and so all
round, till all have returned to their places. (This occupies sixteen
bars of the music.) First couple promenade inside figure, returning to
places with their backs turned to opposite couple. The side couple
on their right falls in immediately behind them; the fourth couple
follows, the second couple remaining in their places. A double line is
thus formed--ladies on one side and gentlemen on the other. (3rd eight
bars.) All _chassez croisez_, ladies left, gentlemen right, behind
partners. First lady leads off, turning sharply round to the right;
first gentleman does the same to the left, meeting at the bottom of
the quadrille, and promenade back to places. All the ladies follow
first lady; all the gentlemen follow first gentleman; and as each
meets his partner at the bottom of the figure, they touch hands,
then fall back in two lines--ladies on one side, gentlemen on the
other--facing each other. (4th eight bars.) Four ladies join hands,
advance and retreat; four gentlemen ditto at the same time; then each
turns his partner to places. (5th eight bars.) _Grande chaine_ again.
Second and side couples repeat the whole figure in succession, each
couple taking its turn to lead off, as the first had done. _Grande
chaine_ between each figure and in conclusion.
* * * * *
VII.--THE LANCERS FOR SIXTEEN, OR DOUBLE LANCERS.
_1st figure_.--Two first ladies and _vis-a-vis_ gentlemen begin at
the same moment, and go through the figure as in Single Lancers. All
_balancez_ to corners; in other words, each lady sets to gentleman at
her right, who turns her to her place. Second couples and sides repeat
_2nd Figure_.--First couples advance, retreat, advance again, leaving
ladies in centre; set to partners and turn to places. Two side couples
nearest first couples join them; two side couples nearest second
couples do the same, thus forming eight in each line. They all advance
and retreat, holding hands, then turn partners to places. Repeated by
second and side couples as usual.
_3rd Figure_.--First ladies advance and stop; _vis-a-vis_ gentlemen
ditto; courtesy profoundly, bow, and back to places. Ladies do the
_moulinet_, gentlemen go round outside, and back to places. Or, ladies
advance and courtesy to each other and then to partners; gentlemen,
doing the same when the second and fourth couples begin the figure, as
in Single Lancers.
_4th Figure_.--First couples advance to couples on their right; bow
and courtesy; cross to opposite side, bow and courtesy, _chassez
croisez_, and return to places. Right and left to opposite places, and
back again. Second couples and sides repeat figure.
_5th Figure_.--_Grande chaine_ all round, pausing at the end of every
eight bars to bow and courtesy; continue _chaine_ back to places,
which will occupy altogether thirty-two bars of the music. Figure
almost the same as in Single Lancers. Both first couples lead round,
side couples falling in behind, thus forming four sets of lines.
Figure repeated by second and side couples; _grande chaine_ between
each figure and at the conclusion.
* * * * *
VIII.--COULON'S DOUBLE QUADRILLE.
This quadrille contains the same figures as the common quadrille, but
so arranged that they are danced by four instead of two couples. All
quadrille music suits it; and it occupies just half the time of the
old quadrille. It makes an agreeable variety in the movements of the
dance, and is easily learnt. It requires four couples.
First and second couples right and left, whilst side couples dance the
_chaine Anglaise_ outside them. All four couples set to partners and
turn them. Four ladies form ladies' chain, or hands across in the
middle of the figure, giving first right hands, and then left, back to
places. Half promenade, first and second couples do _chaine Anglaise_,
while side couples do _grand chaine_ round them. This leaves all in
their right places, and ends figure.
First lady, and lady on her right hand, perform the figure with their
_vis-a-vis_ gentlemen, as in common _L'Ete_; taking care, when they
cross, to make a semicircle to the left. Second couple and second side
couple repeat figure, as in common. _L'Ete_.
Third Figure.--La Poule.
Top lady and _vis-a-vis_ gentleman, lady at her right, and her
opposite gentleman, perform figure at the same time, setting to each
other in two cross lines. Other couples follow as usual.
Fourth Figure.--La Pastorale.
The first and opposite couples dance the figure, not with each other,
but with the couples to their right. The latter do the same with first
and second couples.
Galopade all round. Top and opposite couples galopade forwards, and
retreat. As they retreat side couples advance; and, as they retreat
in their turn, first and second couples galopade to each others place.
Side couples the same. First and second couples advance again; side
couples the same as the others retreat; first and second back to
places as side couples retreat. Side couples back to places. Double
_chaine des dames_, and galopade all round. Then side couples repeat
figure as usual, and _galop_ all round in conclusion.
It is requisite to keep correct time and step in this quadrille, which
would otherwise become much confused.
* * * * *
The origin of this once celebrated dance is difficult to ascertain. It
is believed by some to be of great antiquity, and to have been brought
into Germany from the East. Others affirm that its origin is of more
recent date, and its birthplace considerably nearer home. An authority
on these matters remarks; "In spite of what those professors say who
proclaim themselves to have learnt the Polka in Germany, or as being
indebted for it to a Hungarian nobleman, we are far from placing
confidence in their assertions. In our opinion Paris is its
birthplace, and its true author, undoubtedly, the now far-famed
Monsieur Cellarius, for whom this offspring of his genius has gained a
Whatever we may be inclined to believe with regard to this disputed
question, there can be no doubt of the wide-spread popularity which
for many years was enjoyed by the Polka. When first introduced, in
1843, it was received with enthusiasm by every capital in Europe; and
it effected a complete revolution in the style of dancing which had
prevailed up to that period. A brisk, lively character was imparted
even to the steady-going quadrille; the old _Valse a Trois Temps_ was
pronounced insufferably "slow;" and its brilliant rival, the _Valse a
Deux Temps_, which had been recently introduced, at once established
the supremacy which it has ever since maintained. The _galop_, which
had been until this period only an occasional dance, now assumed
a prominent post in every ball-room, dividing the honours with the
But all these dances, though modified in character by the introduction
of the Polka, were for a time thrown into the shade by this new
claimant upon public favour. Its popularity was unrivalled in the
annals of dancing. Rich and poor, young and old, grave and gay, all
were alike smitten by the universal Polka mania. All flocked to take
lessons in this new and fascinating dance; and the professors of its
mysteries fairly divided public attention with the members of the
Anti-Corn-Law League, then holding their meetings at Drury Lane
Theatre. We will even go so far as to say that Messrs. Bright and
Cobden were scarcely more anxious to destroy the vexatious Corn Laws
than were these worthy Polka-maniacs to create _corn_ laws of their
own, which, if more innocent, were equally undesirable.
For many years the Polka maintained its position as the universal
favourite; but, during the last five or six seasons, its popularity
has slowly but surely declined. It is never danced now in the
ball-rooms of the aristocracy, but the middle classes have not yet
quite discarded their old friend, though even amongst their programmes
its name rarely occurs.
Perhaps no dance affords greater facilities for the display of
ignorance or skill, elegance or vulgarity, than the Polka. The step
is simple and easily acquired, but the method of dancing it varies _ad
infinitum_. Some persons race and romp through the dance in a manner
fatiguing to themselves and dangerous to their fellow-dancers. Others
(though this is more rare) drag their partner listlessly along, with
a sovereign contempt alike for the requirements of the time and the
spirit of the music. Some gentlemen hold their partner so tight
that she is half suffocated; others hold her so loosely that she
continually slips away from them. All these extremes are equally
objectionable, and defeat the graceful intention of the dance. It
should be performed quietly, but with spirit, and _always in strict
time_. The head and shoulders should be kept still, not jerked and
turned at every step, as is the manner of some. The feet should glide
swiftly along the floor--not hopping or jumping as if the boards were
You should clasp your partner lightly but firmly round the waist with
your right arm.
Your left hand takes her right hand; but beware of elevating your arm
and hers in the air, or holding them out straight, which suggests the
idea of windmills.
Above all, never place your left hand on your hip or behind you. In
the first place, you thus drag your partner too much forward, which
makes her look ungraceful; in the next, this attitude is _never used_
except in casinos, and it is almost an insult to introduce it in a
Let the hand which clasps your partner's fall easily by your side in a
natural position, and keep it there. Your partner's left hand rests on
your right shoulder; her right arm is thrown a little forward towards
The Polka is danced in 2/4 time. There are three steps in each bar;
the fourth beat is always a rest. The rhythm of the dance may be thus
the three steps being performed on the three first beats of every bar.
It is next to impossible to describe in words the step of the Polka,
or of any circular dance: nothing but example can correctly teach
it; and, although we shall do our best to be as clear as possible, we
would earnestly recommend those of our readers who desire to excel,
whether in this or the following dances, to take a few lessons from
some competent instructor.
The gentleman starts with his left foot, the lady with her right.
We shall describe the step as danced by the gentleman: the same
directions, reversing the order of the feet, will apply to the lady.
_1st beat_.--Spring slightly on right foot, at the same time slide
left foot forward.
_2nd beat_.--Bring right foot forward by _glissade_, at the same time
rising left foot.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot slightly forward and _fall_ upon it,
leaving right foot raised, and the knee slightly bent, ready to begin
the step at the first beat of the next bar.
_4th beat_.--Remain on left foot. Begin next bar with the right foot,
and repeat the step to end of third beat. Begin the following bar
with left foot; and so on; commencing each bar with right or left foot
The Polka is danced with a circular movement, like the Valse; in each
bar you half turn, so that, by the end of the second bar, you have
brought your partner completely round.
It was at first customary to promenade your partner round the room,
doing a kind of _balancez_ to each other in the Polka step before
commencing the valse figure. But this fashion soon became antiquated,
and has fallen into complete disuse.
The circular movement of the Polka admits of two directions--from
right or left or from left to right. The ordinary direction is from
right to left. The opposite one is known as the _reverse_ step. It
is more difficult to execute, but is a pleasant change for skilled
dancers, if they have become giddy from turning too long in one
In dancing the Polka, or any circular dance where a large number of
couples are performing at the same time, the gentleman must be careful
to steer his fair burden safely through the mazes of the crowded
ball-room. A little watchfulness can almost always avoid collisions,
and a good dancer would consider himself disgraced if any mishap
occurred to a lady under his care. Keep a sharp look out, and avoid
crowded corners. Should so many couples be dancing as to render such
caution impossible, stop at once, and do not go on until the room has
become somewhat cleared. In a few minutes others will have paused to
rest, and you can then continue. Your partner will be grateful that
your consideration has preserved her from the dismal plight in which
we have seen some ladies emerge from this dance--their _coiffeurs_
disordered, their dresses torn, and their cheeks crimson with fatigue
and mortification, while their indignant glances plainly showed the
anger they did not care to express in words, and which their reckless
partner had fully deserved. A torn dress is sometimes not the heaviest
penalty incurred: we have known more than one instance where ladies
have been lamed for weeks through the culpable carelessness of their
partners, their tender feet having been half crushed beneath some
heavy boot in one of these awkward collisions. This is a severe price
to pay for an evening's amusement, and gentlemen are bound to be
cautious how they inflict it, or anything approaching to it, upon
their fair companions. Ladies, on the other hand, will do well to
remember that by leaning heavily upon their partner's shoulder,
dragging back from his encircling arm or otherwise impeding the
freedom of his movements, they materially add to his labour and take
from his pleasure in the dance. They should endeavour to lean as
lightly, and give as little trouble, as possible; for, however
flattering to the vanity of the nobler sex may be the idea of feminine
dependence, we question whether the reality, in the shape of a dead
weight upon their aching arms throughout a Polka or Valse of twenty
minutes' duration, would be acceptable to even the most chivalrous
We have been thus minute in our instructions, because they not only
apply to the Polka, but equally to all circular dances where a great
number stand up to dance at the same time.
We now pass on to the
* * * * *
Sometimes called the Mazourka, though generally best known by the name
of its inventor, M. Cellarius, of Paris. It was imported to England in
1845, two years after the introduction of the Polka; and, although
it never attained so great a popularity as its predecessor, it was
favourably received, and much danced in the best circles. Still it
failed to achieve the decided success which might have been reasonably
expected from its elegance and beauty. Perhaps one reason of this
disappointing result was that many inefficient performers attempted
to dance it before they had mastered its somewhat difficult step, and
brought it into disrepute by their ungraceful exhibitions. But
the grand secret of its partial failure lay in the mania for rapid
whirling dances, introduced by the Polka. While the rage for "fast
dancing" continued, the measured grace of the Cellarius stood no
chance. Now that it has at last happily abated, people are better
prepared to appreciate the refined and quiet charm of this really
beautiful valse. To dance it well requires some practice; and
particular attention must be paid to the carriage and position of
the figure, since no dance is more thoroughly spoiled by an awkward,
stiff, or stooping attitude.
We proceed to describe the step, so far as it may be possible to do
so in words; but we have an uneasy consciousness that all such
descriptions bear a close resemblance to those contained in certain
little volumes designed to instruct our fair readers in the mysteries
of knitting, netting, and crochet. "Slip two, miss one, bring one
forward," &c., may convey to the mind of the initiated a distinct idea
of the pattern of a collar; but are hardly satisfactory guides to the
step of a valse. We must, however, do our best; though again we would
impress upon the reader the necessity of seeking further instruction
from a professor or experienced friend.
The time of the Cellarius Valse is 3/4, like the common valse; but it
should be played much more slowly; if danced quickly, it becomes an
unmeaning succession of hops, and its graceful character is destroyed.
We describe the step as danced by the lady; for the gentleman it will
be the same, with the feet reversed; that is, for right foot read
left, and so on.
_1st and 2nd beat_.--Spring on left foot, sliding forward right foot
at the same time, and immediately let your weight rest on the forward
foot. This occupies two beats.
_3rd beat_.--Spring on right foot; this ends the bar.
_2nd bar, 1st and 2nd beat_.--Spring again on right foot, and slide
forward left at same time. Rest on it a moment as before during second
beat; at third beat spring on it; which ends second bar. Continue same
step throughout. You will perceive that, at the first and third beat
of the time, you hop slightly, resting, during the second beat, on the
_1st beat_.--Spring on left foot, slightly striking both heels
_2nd beat_.--Slide right foot to the right, bending the knee.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot up to right foot with a slight spring,
raising right foot; which ends the first bar.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Spring again on left foot, striking it with heel
_2nd beat_.--Slide right foot to the right.
_3rd beat_.--Fall on right foot, raising left foot behind it, which
ends the second bar. Reverse the step by springing first on the right
foot, and sliding the left, &c. The music generally indicates that
this step should be repeated three times to the right, which occupies
three bars; then _rest_, during the fourth bar, and return with
reverse step to the left during the three bars which follow, resting
again at the eighth bar.
_1st beat_.--Spring on left foot, and slide right foot to the right.
_2nd beat_.--Rest on right foot.
_3rd beat_.--Spring on right foot, bringing left up behind it.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Spring on right foot, sliding left foot to the
_2nd beat_.--Rest on left foot.
_3rd beat_.--Hop on left foot, bringing right behind it as before.
Continue at pleasure.
The first of these three steps is most commonly used in the valse; but
the second is an agreeable change for those who may have grown giddy
or weary in doing the _figure en tournant_ (circular movement).
Be careful not to exaggerate the slight hop at the first and third
beats of each bar; and to _slide_ the foot gracefully forward, not
merely to make a step, as some bad dancers do.
* * * * *
XI.--THE MAZOURKA QUADRILLE.
Those who have mastered the steps of the Cellarius will find little
trouble in dancing this elegant quadrille. It has five figures, and
can be performed by any even number of couples.
The music, like the step, is that of the Mazourka. The couples are
arranged as in the ordinary quadrille.
Join hands all round; _grand rond_ to the left (four bars), then back
again to the right (four bars), employing the _second_ step of the
Cellarius. Each couple does the _petit tour_ forwards, and backwards,
still using the second step, and repeating it three times to the
right--then resting a bar; three times to the left--then resting
another bar; which occupies eight bars of the music. These figures
may be considered as preliminary. We find the quadrille itself so well
described in the work of a contemporary, that we cannot do better than
extract the account in full, for the benefit of our readers.
_1st Figure_.--Top and bottom couples right and left (eight bars),
with Redowa steps;[A] then they advance, the ladies cross over, the
gentleman meanwhile pass quickly round each other, and return to own
places (four bars); _petit tour_ forward with opposite ladies (four
bars); right and left (eight bars); advance again; the ladies return
to own places, and the gentlemen pass again round each other to
their own ladies (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars). Side
couples do likewise.
_2nd Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top and bottom couples advance and
retire, hands joined (four bars). All cross over into opposite places,
each going to each other's left (four bars); _petit tour_ forward
(four bars); advance and retire (four bars), and return to places
(four bars); _petit tour_ (four bars). Side couples do likewise.
_3rd Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top and bottom ladies cross over
into opposite places (four bars); return, presenting left hands to
each other, and right hands to partners, as in _La Poule_ (four bars);
pass round with partners into opposite places (four bars); _petit
tour_ backward (four bars); _vis-a-vis_ couples hands across, round
(six bars); retire (two bars); top and bottom ladies cross over (four
bars); ladies cross again, giving each other left hands, and right to
partners (four bars). All pass round to own places (four bars); _petit
tour_ backward (four bars).
_4th Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top couple lead round inside the
figure (eight bars); _petit tour_ forward and backward (eight bars);
advance to opposite couple; the gentleman turns half round without
quitting his partner, and gives his left hand to opposite lady; the
two ladies join hands behind gentleman (four bars); in this position
the three advance and retire (eight bars). The gentleman passes under
the ladies' arms; all three pass round to the left, with second step
of Cellarius, the opposite lady finishing in her own place (four
bars). The top couple return to places (four bars); _petit tour_
forward (four bars). Opposite couple and side couples do likewise.
_5th Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top and bottom couples half right
and left (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars); half right
and left to places (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars);
_vis-a-vis_ couples hands round to opposite places (four bars); _petit
tour_ forward (four bars); hands round to own places (four bars);
_petit tour_ (four bars); right and left (eight bars).
Side couples do likewise.
_Finale_. Grand round all to the left, and then to the right (sixteen
bars); grand chain, as in the Lancers, with first step of Cellarius
(sixteen bars). But if there are more than eight in the quadrille, the
music must be continued until all have regained their places.
N.B.--Music continues during rest.
[Footnote A: This step will be found farther on in the book, under the
head of the Redowa Valse.]
* * * * *
XII.--THE POLKA MAZOURKA.
The step of this dance is, as its implies, a mixture of the steps
of the Polka and the Mazourka. It is a favourite dance with the
Parisians, but has never been very popular in England, probably from
the same reasons which prevented the success of the Cellarius. Yet it
is a pretty dance, and the step is easily acquired. We recommend it to
the attention of our readers. The time is 3/8, and quicker than that
of the Cellarius.
Gentleman takes his partner as in the valse. _Figure en tournant_.
We describe the steps for the gentleman; the lady simply reverses the
order of the feet, using left foot for right throughout.
_1st beat_.--Rest on right foot, with left foot a little raised
behind, and slide left foot to the left.
_2nd beat_.--Spring on the right foot, bringing it up to where the
left foot is, and raising the latter in front.
_3rd beat_.--Spring once more on right foot, passing left foot behind
without touching the ground with it; this ends first bar.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Slide left foot to the left, as before.
_2nd beat_.--Spring on right foot, as before, and bring it up to the
place of left foot, raising latter at same moment.
_3rd beat_.--Fall on the left foot, and raise the right foot behind;
end of second bar.
Begin third bar with right foot, and continue as before. You turn half
round in the first three beats, and complete the circle in the second
* * * * *
XIII.--THE REDOWA, OR REDOVA.
The step of this valse somewhat resembles that of the Cellarius, and
is used, as we have seen, in dancing the Mazourka Quadrille. It is an
elegant valse, not so lively as the Polka Mazourka, but, if danced in
correct time, not too slowly, is very graceful and pleasing. The step
is not so difficult as that of the Cellarius; it is almost a _Pas
de Basque_, with the addition of the hop. In all these dances,
which partake of the nature of the Mazourka, it is requisite to mark
distinctly the first and third beats of every bar, otherwise the
peculiar character of the movement is completely lost. We describe the
step for the lady as it is employed in the forward movement.
_1st beat_.--Stand with right foot slightly forward; spring upon it,
bringing it behind left foot, which is raised at same moment.
_2nd beat_.--Slide your left foot forward, bending the knee.
_3rd beat_.--Bring your right foot, with a slight hop, up behind your
left foot, raising the latter and keeping it in front. (One bar.)
_1st beat_.--Spring Upon your left foot, passing it behind your right,
and raising latter.
_2nd beat_.--Slide right foot forward, bending the knee.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot up to right, with slight hop, and raise
right foot at same moment, keeping it in front as before.
When the _figure en tournant_ (circular movement) is employed, the
lady begins by sliding the left foot forward, and the right foot
backward. Gentleman always does the same, with order of feet reversed.
This dance has been very popular in Paris; in England it is now seldom
* * * * *
The Schottische was introduced amongst us about the same time as the
Polka Mazourka, but it received a much more cordial welcome, and has
always been popular in England. Its origin is as uncertain as that of
the Polka, and it is believed to be a very ancient national dance. It
is a great favourite with the German peasantry; and although its name,
_Schottische_, would seem to imply that it came from Scotland, there
is no doubt that it is essentially German alike in character and in
The step, although easy to learn, requires great precision. We would
recommend our readers to adhere throughout to the circular movement.
Some dancers begin by four steps to the right, then back again, not
turning until they commence the second half of the figure. But when
many couples are dancing this practice involves a risk of collisions,
and it is safer to begin at once with the _figure en tournant_. The
second part of the step consists of a series of slight hops, which
must be made exactly at the same moment by both parties, otherwise
a break-down is inevitable. They should be executed as quickly as
possible, so as to avoid the _jigging_ effect which bad dancers impart
to the Schottische. When well performed it is a very animated and
elegant dance, forming an agreeable variety to the Polka and Valse.
The time is 2/4; it should be played a good deal slower than the
Polka; when hurried it becomes ungraceful and vulgar. The first and
third beat in each bar should be slightly marked.
We proceed to describe the step as danced by the gentleman.
Slide the left foot forward; bring right foot close up behind left
foot. Slide left foot forward a second time. Spring upon left foot.
Then do the same with right foot.
Having completed four steps, first with the left foot, and then with
the right, you come to the second part, which consists of a series of
double hops, two on each foot alternately. Hop twice on the left foot
(one hop for each beat of the time), and half turn round; then twice
on the right, completing the circular movement. Repeat the same
through another four beats; then resume first step through the next
two bars, and continue to alternate them every second bar. You can
also vary the dance at pleasure, by continuing the first step
without changing it for the hops; or you can likewise continue these
throughout several bars in succession; taking care, of course, to
apprise your partner of your intention. Even when well and quietly
danced, there is something undignified in the hopping movement of the
second step; and we have observed with satisfaction that for some time
past it has been replaced by the step of the _Valse a Deux Temps_,
which is now generally used instead of the double hops.
* * * * *
This is a round dance for two, which, like the Polka Mazourka, is
a combination of the steps of one or two other dances. Since the
introduction of the Polka and the Cellarius, several dances have
been invented which partake largely of the character of both. La
Varsovienne is very graceful, and was popular in England a few years
ago. It is not often danced now.
Take your partner as for the Valse. Count three in each bar. Time much
the same as in Polka Mazourka. The music is generally divided into
parts of sixteen bars each. The steps for the gentleman is as follows
in the first part:--
Slide left foot to the left; slightly spring forward with right foot,
twice, leaving the left foot raised behind, in readiness for next
step, (1st bar.) Repeat the same. (2nd bar.) One polka step, during
which turn. (3rd bar.) Bring your right foot to the second position,
and wait a whole bar. (4th bar.) Resume first step with right foot,
and repeat throughout, reversing order of feet. Lady, as usual, begins
with her right foot, doing the same step.
_Second step in second part. 1st bar_.--Gentleman, beginning with his
left foot, does one polka step to the left, turning partner.
_2nd bar_.--Bring right foot to the second position, and bend towards
it; wait a whole bar.
_3rd bar_.--One polka step with right foot to the right, turning
_4th bar_.--Left foot to second position; bend towards it, and wait as
_Third part_.--Take three polka steps to the left. (This occupies
three bars.) Bring right foot to second position, and wait one bar.
Repeat the same, beginning with right foot to the right.
* * * * *
This is a Polish round dance for two, which was brought over to London
from Paris in 1851. Like the Varsovienne, it is now seldom seen
beyond the walls of the dancing academy. Perhaps one reason of its
short-lived popularity is to be found in the fact that it is rather
troublesome to learn, the steps being changed continually. The time is
the same as that of the Schottische, but not quite so quick. Take your
position as for the Polka.
_1st bar_.--One polka step to the left, beginning with left foot, and
turning half round.
_2nd bar_.--Slide your right foot to right, bring left foot up close
behind it, as in the fifth position; make a _glissade_ with your right
foot, ending with your left in front.
_3rd bar_.--Spring on your right foot, raising your left in front.
Fall on your left foot, passing it behind your right foot. _Glissade_
to right with right foot, ending with left in front.
_4th bar_.--Again spring on right foot, raising left in front. Fall
on left foot, passing it behind right. _Glissade_ to right, with your
right foot; end with same foot in front. Then repeat from beginning
during the next four bars, but the second time be careful to end with
the left foot in front. During the last two bars you turn round, but
do not move forward.
The step for the lady is the same, with the order of the feet, as
usual, reversed; except, however, in the last two bars of this figure,
which both begin with the same foot.
The Gorlitza, like the preceding dance, is divided into parts. The
first part occupies eight bars of the music; the second, sixteen bars.
The step for the second part is as follows:--
_1st four bars_.--Commence with Polka Mazurka step, with left foot to
the left, and turn half round. Then do the step of the Cellarius to
the right, beginning with the right foot; fall on left foot, keeping
it behind right foot; _glissade_ with right foot, and end with same in
_2nd four bars_.--Polka Mazurka, with right foot to the right, and
turn half round. Cellarius step, with left foot to the left. Fall on
right foot, keeping it behind; _glissade_ with left foot, bringing it
Repeat from beginning, which completes the sixteen bars of second half
of the figure.
Lady does the same steps, with order of feet reversed.
* * * * *
XVII.--THE VALSE A TROIS TEMPS
Twenty years ago, the Valse (or, as it was then pronounced, _Waltz_)
was a stately measure, danced with gravity and deliberation. Each
couple wheeled round and round with dignified composure, never
interrupting the monotony of the dance by any movements forward or
backward. They consequently soon became giddy, although the music was
not played above half as fast as the valse music of our day. We are
bound to admit that this stately fashion of waltzing was infinitely
more graceful than the style which has superseded it. But, having
confessed so much, we may venture to add that the Valse, as danced
by the present generation, possesses a spirit, lightness, and variety
quite unknown to its stately predecessor.
The old Waltz was introduced into this country from Germany, where
it has always been the favourite dance of the people in all ranks and
conditions. But, although we adopted the step of their national waltz,
we so entirely altered the time, that it became in our hands a totally
different dance, which the Germans themselves would have found it
difficult to recognize. At that period, "fast dancing" was unknown in
England, and would have been regarded as highly indecorous.
At its first introduction, the Waltz was received with great mistrust
by the older portion of the community. If it was to be tolerated at
all in correct society, it must at least be danced in a deliberate
manner, consonant with the dignity of the English character. It was,
therefore, taken at half its original _temps_; it ceased to be the
giddy, intoxicating whirl in which the Germans delight, and subsided
into the comparatively insipid and spiritless affair known thirty
years ago as the "German Waltz."
We have already seen how complete was the revolution effected by the
Polka in these old-fashioned ideas. But, although we cannot regret the
introduction of a more animated style of dancing, we are sorry that
the old Waltz has been so entirely given up. When restored to its
original _temps_, the _Valse a Trois Temps_ is nearly as spirited
as the _Valse a Deux_; and twice as graceful. It has the additional
advantage over the latter, that it contains in each bar three steps
to three beats of the time; whereas the _Deux Temps_, as its name
implies, numbers only two steps in a bar of three notes; and is thus
incorrect in time. We venture to predict that the old Waltz will, at
no distant day, be restored to public favour. We shall be heartily
glad to welcome it once more, but on the condition that it shall be
danced in the only manner which does justice to all its attractions;
that is, as it is danced by the German peasants under the
wide-spreading oaks of its own fatherland. We proceed to describe the
step for the gentleman: the same, beginning with right foot instead of
left, will apply to the lady.
Gentleman takes his partner round the waist with his right arm; his
left hand holds hers, as in the Polka. Lady places left hand on his
shoulder, and right hand in his left hand. Begin at once with the
_figure en tournant_. Time 3/4; one step to each beat. First beat in
each bar should be slightly marked by the dancers.
_1st beat_.--Slide left foot backwards, towards the left.
_2nd beat_.--Slide your right foot past your left in same direction,
keeping right foot behind left, and turning slightly to the right.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot up behind right (one bar).
_1st beat_.--Slide right foot forward towards the right.
_2nd beat_.--Slide left foot forward, still turning towards right.
_3rd beat_.--Bring right foot up to right, turning on both feet, so as
to complete the circle (two bars). Remember to finish with right foot
in front. Repeat from first beat of first bar. Gentleman always turns
from left to right; lady from right to left.
The step of the old Waltz is simple enough; nevertheless some practice
is required to dance it really well. Remember always to _slide_,
not to _step_, forward; for the beauty of this valse consists in its
gliding motion. It is not at first easy to dance swiftly and quietly
at the same time; but a little patience will soon enable you to
conquer that difficulty, and to do full justice to what is, in our
opinion, the most perfectly graceful of all the round dances, without
a single exception.
* * * * *
XVIII.--THE VALSE A DEUX TEMPS.
We are indebted to the mirth-loving capital of Austria for this
brilliant Valse, which was, as we have observed elsewhere, introduced
to our notice shortly before the Polka appeared in England, and owed
its popularity to the revolution in public taste effected by that
Although the Polka has gone out of fashion, the _Valse a Deux Temps_
still reigns supreme; but within the last two years a dangerous rival
has arisen, which may perhaps drive it in its turn from the prominent
position which, for more than twenty seasons, it has maintained. This
rival is the New Valse, of which we shall speak in its place; but we
must now describe the step of the _Valse a Deux Temps_.
We have already remarked that this Valse is incorrect in time. Two
steps can never properly be made to occupy the space of three beats
in the music. The ear requires that each beat shall have its step;
unless, as in the Cellarius, an express pause be made on one beat.
This inaccuracy in the measure has exposed the _Valse a Deux Temps_
to the just censure of musicians, but has never interfered with its
success among dancers. We must caution our readers, however, against
one mistake often made by the inexperienced. They imagine that it
is unnecessary to observe any rule of time in this dance, and are
perfectly careless whether they begin the step at the beginning,
end, or middle of the bar. This is quite inadmissible. Every bar must
contain within its three beats two steps. These steps must begin
and end strictly with the beginning and end of each bar; otherwise a
hopeless confusion of the measure will ensue. Precision in this matter
is the more requisite, because of the peculiarity in the measure. If
the first step in each bar be not strongly marked, the valse measure
has no chance of making itself apparent; and the dance becomes a
The step contains two movements, a _glissade_ and a _chassez_,
following each other quickly in the same direction. Gentleman begins
as usual with his left foot; lady with her right.
_1st beat_.--_Glissade_ to the left with left foot.
_2nd and 3rd beats_.--_Chassez_ in the same direction with right foot;
do not turn in this first bar.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Slide right foot backwards, turning half round.
_2nd and 3rd beat_.--Pass left foot behind right, and _chassez_
forward with it, turning half round to complete the _figure en
tournant_. Finish with right foot in front, and begin over again with
There is no variation in this step; but you can vary the movement by
going backwards or forwards at pleasure, instead of continuing the
rotatory motion. The _Valse a Deux Temps_, like the Polka, admits of
a reverse step; but it is difficult, and looks awkward unless executed
to perfection. The first requisite in this Valse is to avoid all
jumping movements. The feet must glide smoothly and swiftly over the
floor, and be raised from it as little as possible. Being so very
quick a dance, it must be performed quietly, otherwise it is liable to
become ungraceful and vulgar. The steps should be short, and the knees
As the movement is necessarily very rapid, the danger of collisions is
proportionately increased; and gentlemen will do well to remember and
act upon the cautions contained in the previous pages of this book,
under the head of "The Polka".
They should also be scrupulous not to attempt to conduct a lady
through this Valse until they have thoroughly mastered the step and
well practised the _figure en tournant_. Awkwardness or inexperience
doubles the risks of a collision; which, in this extremely rapid
dance, might be attended with serious consequences.
The _Deux Temps_ is a somewhat fatiguing valse, and after two or three
turns round the room, the gentleman should pause to allow his partner
to rest. He should be careful to select a lady whose height does not
present too striking a contrast to his own; for it looks ridiculous
to see a tall man dancing with a short woman, or _vice versa_. This
observation applies to all round dances, but especially to the valse,
in any of its forms.
* * * * *
XIX.--THE NEW VALSE.
This graceful variation of the valse movement has not long been
introduced into England, and is not yet so universally popular as it
promises to become. It was, however, much danced in London last year,
and there is reason to believe that it will be the favourite dance
this season. It is more elegant than the _Valse a Deux Temps_, and
more spirited than the Cellarius. The _tempo_ is slower than that of
the ordinary valse. The step is extremely simple.
Gentleman takes his partner as for the _Valse a Deux Temps_. Fall
on the left foot, and make two _glissades_ with the right (1st bar).
Repeat, reversing order of feet (2nd bar). Lady begins with her right
foot as usual. The step is the same throughout. _Figure en tournant_.
The peculiarity of this Valse lies in its accent, which cannot be
properly explained in words, but must be seen to be understood. We
recommend our readers to lose no time in acquiring a correct knowledge
of the New Valse. It is unquestionably the most easy and most graceful
dance which has appeared of late years, and we are told on first-rate
authority that it is destined to a long career of triumphs.
* * * * *
The Galop, as its name implies, is the quintessence of all the "fast"
dances. At the time of the Polka mania it was very much in vogue,
and was almost as great a favourite as the _Deux Temps_. Although its
popularity has greatly declined of late, it generally occurs twice or
thrice in the programme of every ball-room; and the music of the Galop
is, like the dance itself, so gay and spirited, that we should regret
to see it wholly laid aside. The step is similar to that of the _Deux
Temps_ Valse, but the time is 2/4, and as quick as possible. Two
_chassez_ steps are made in each bar. The figure can be varied by
taking four or eight steps in the same direction, or by turning with
every two steps, as in the _Deux Temps_. Like all round dances, it
admits of an unlimited number of couples. Being, perhaps, the most
easy of any, every one takes part in it, and the room is generally
crowded during its continuance. A special amount of care is therefore
necessary on the part of the gentleman to protect his partner from
We have now described all the round dances at present in vogue.
* * * * *
The Cotillon is rarely seen in English ball-rooms, but on the
Continent, especially in Italy, it is a great favourite. It occupies
a somewhat similar position to our own Sir Roger de Coverley, being
generally the concluding dance of the evening, in which every one
joins. It can be prolonged at pleasure by the introduction of more
figures, for it has no definite beginning or end. It is, in fact, more
like a long game performed to the accompaniment of valse music than a
We shall describe the Cotillon as we have seen it in the palaces
of Italy, where it is danced with enthusiasm, and diversified by an
innumerable variety of figures, only a few of which we can undertake
to remember. It is never commenced till towards the close of the ball,
at so advanced an hour that all the sober portion of the assembly have
retired, and only the real lovers of dancing remain, who sometimes
prolong this their favourite amusement till a late hour in the
It is customary for gentlemen to select their partners for the
Cotillon early in the evening, while the other dances are in progress;
for, as it lasts so long a time, it is necessary to know beforehand
how many ladies feel inclined to remain during its continuance.
A circle of chairs is arranged round the room, the centre being left
clear; the spectators stand behind the chairs, so as not to interfere
with the dancers. Each gentleman leads his partner to a seat, taking
another beside her. To these same seats they return after every
figure, it being the etiquette of the dance that no couple should
appropriate any chairs but their own, taken at the commencement. When
the dancers are arranged round the room, the orchestra strikes up the
spirited music of the Cotillon, which consists of a long series of
valse movements at the usual _tempo_ of the _Deux Temps_. There
are generally several leaders of the Cotillon, who decide upon the
succession of the figures. If there are many couples dancing, one
leader attends upon a group of six or eight couples, to ensure that
all shall take part. We are aware of no fixed rule for the succession
of the figures, which depends upon the caprice of the leaders. A good
leader will invent new combinations, or diversify old figures; thus
securing an almost endless variety. One of the most popular is the
Several gentlemen assume the names of flowers or plants, such as the
honeysuckle, woodbine, ivy, &c. A lady is then requested to name her
favourite flower; and the fortunate swain who bears its name springs
forward and valses off with her in triumph. It is usual to make one,
or at most two, turns round the room, and then restore the lady to her
own partner, who in the meantime has perhaps been the chosen one of
another lady. All having regained their places, each gentleman valses
with his own partner once round the room, or remains sitting by her
side, as she may feel inclined.
Baskets filled with small bouquets are brought in. Each gentleman
provides himself with a bouquet, and presents it to the lady with whom
he wishes to valse.
Sometimes a light pole or staff is introduced, to the top of which are
attached long streamers of different coloured ribbons. A lady takes
one of these to several of her fair companions in turn, each of whom
chooses a ribbon, and, holding it firmly in her hand, follows the
leading lady to the room. Here they are met by an equal number of
gentlemen, likewise grouped around a leader who carries the pole,
while each holds a streamer of his favourite colour, or that which
he imagines would be selected by the _dame de ses pensees_. The merry
groups compare notes: those who possess streamers of the same colour
pair off in couples, and valse gaily round the room, returning to
places as before.
Six or eight ladies and the same number of gentlemen form in two
lines, facing each other. The leading lady throws a soft worsted ball
of bright colours at the gentleman with whom she wishes to dance. He
catches it, throws it back to the fair group, and valses off with his
partner. Whoever catches the returning ball, has the right to throw
next; and the same ceremony is repeated until all have chosen their
partners, with whom they valse round the room, returning to places as
usual. Sometimes a handkerchief is substituted for the ball; but the
latter is better, being more easily thrown and caught.
Six or eight chairs are placed in a circle, the backs turned inwards.
Ladies seat themselves in the chairs, gentlemen move slowly round in
front of them. Each lady throws her handkerchief or bouquet at the
gentleman with whom she wishes to dance as he passes before her. Valse
round as usual and return to places.
Sometimes a gentleman is blindfolded, and placed in a chair. Two
ladies take a seat on either side of him; and he is bound to make his
selection without seeing the face of his partner. Having done so, he
pulls the covering from his eyes, and valses off with her. It is a
curious circumstance that mistakes seldom occur, the gentleman being
generally sufficiently _clairvoyant_ to secure the partner he desires.
We have here described a few of the most striking figures of the
Cotillon. We might multiply them to an extent which would equally tax
the patience of our readers and our own powers of remembrance; but
we forbear. Enough has been told to show the graceful, coquettish
character of the dance, which adapts itself admirably to the Italian
nature, and is as much beloved by them as the Valse by the Germans or
the Cachucha by the dark-eyed maidens of Spain. We should rejoice to
see this charming stranger naturalised in English ball-rooms. It is
especially adapted to sociable gatherings, where most of the guests
are friends or acquaintances.
* * * * *
XXII.--THE SPANISH DANCE.
This pretty though now somewhat old-fashioned dance was, before the
introduction of the _Deux Temps_ and Polka, a principal feature in
every ball-room. It is danced with the step and music of the Old
_Valse a Trois Temps_, played slower than the music of the _Deux
Sometimes the couples stand in two long parallel lines, as in a
country dance; sometimes they are arranged in a circle. The leading
gentleman must be on the ladies' side, and his partner on the
gentleman's side. Every fourth lady and gentleman exchange places, to
avoid the necessity of keeping the other couples waiting. The whole
set can thus begin at the same moment.
Leading gentleman and _second_ lady advance and retreat with Valse
step, and change places. Leading lady and second gentleman do the same
at the same time.
Leading gentleman and his partner advance and retreat, and change
places. Second lady and gentleman do the same at same time. Leading
gentleman and second lady repeat this figure; first lady and second
gentleman likewise, at same time.
Leading gentleman and first lady repeat same figure; second gentleman
and lady repeat at same time.
All four, joining hands, advance to centre, and retreat. Ladies pass
to the left. Repeat three times. Each gentleman takes his partner, and
the two couples valse round each other once or twice at pleasure; the
second lady and gentleman being left at the top of the figure, as in
a country dance. Leading gentleman and partner repeat same figure with
succeeding couple to end of dance.
It is obvious that there must be an equal number of couples; and
that they must be arranged in sets of four, eight, sixteen, twenty,
twenty-four, and so on.
* * * * *
La Tempete was brought over to this country from Paris some years
ago. It speedily became a favourite, and for several seasons was much
danced in London and the provinces. It unites the cheerfulness of
the quadrille with the sociability of the country dance; and when
its lively figures are correctly performed, it is both amusing and
It is divided into parties of four couples, like the quadrille; but
their arrangement is different. Two couples stand side by side, facing
their respective _vis-a-vis_; there are not any side couples. As
many sets of four couples can be thus arranged as the room will
accommodate. Each new set turns its back upon the second line of the
preceding set. Thus the dance can be the whole length of the room, but
is only the breadth of two couples. The figure is as follows:--
Place two couples side by side, the lady standing at the right hand
of the gentleman. Place two other couples as their _vis-a-vis_.
Next place two couples with their backs turned to the first set; two
couples opposite them for their _vis-a-vis_; and continue arranging
more sets of four couples according to the number of the dancers and
the size of the room.
_First part_.--All the couples begin at the same moment, by advancing
and retreating twice, with joined hands. First couples (that is,
all whose backs are turned to the top of the room) cross, with hands
joined, to the places of their _vis-a-vis_. The latter cross at the
same time, but, separating, pass outside top couples to the top,
where they join hands, return to own places, and back again to the top
without separating; the top couples crossing separately at the same
time outside the second couples. Top couples then join hands, and all
return to their own places, second couples separating to allow the
others to pass between them.
Lady and gentleman in the centre of each line join hands, giving their
disengaged hands to their two _vis-a-vis_. All four half round to the
left, then half round back again to places. Meantime, the outside
lady and gentleman perform the same with their respective _vis-a-vis_,
making a circle of two instead of four. Circle of four give hands
across round; change hands; round once more, and back to places.
Outside couples perform same figure in twos. All the sets perform the
figure at the same moment.
_Second part_.--All advance, retreat, and advance again; all the top
couples passing the second couples into the next line, where they
re-commence the same figure, their former _vis-a-vis_ having passed to
the top, and turned round to wait for a fresh _vis-a-vis_; gentleman
always keeping lady at his right hand. An entire change of places is
thus effected, which is continued throughout this figure, until all
the top lines have passed to the bottom, the bottom lines at the same
time passing to the top; and then turning round, all go back again
by the same method reversed, till all have regained their original
places. The dance may terminate here, or the last figure may be
repeated, at pleasure. When the first exchange of _vis-a-vis_ takes
place, the new lines at the top and bottom find themselves for a
moment without a _vis-a-vis_; but, at the next move forward, they are
provided, and can continue the figure as above described. We extract
from a contemporary the following graceful variation in the first
half of this dance:--"All advance and retire twice (hands joined).
All _vis-a-vis_ couples _chassez croisez en double_, each gentleman
retaining his partner's left hand; eight _galop_ steps (four bars);
_dechassez_ eight steps (four steps), the couple on the right of the
top line passing in front of the couple on the left the first time,
returning to place, passing behind. Thus, two couples are moving to
the right, and two to the left. This is repeated. The _vis-a-vis_
couples do likewise at the same time. This of course applies to all
the couples, as all commence at the same time."
La Tempete is danced to quick music, in 2/4 time. The steps are the
same as in quadrilles; varied sometimes by the introduction of the
_galop_ step, when the couples cross to each others' places or advance
into the lines of the next set.
* * * * *
XXIV.--SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.
We conclude our account of the dances now most in vogue with an
old-fashioned favourite, whose popularity dates from a bygone age,
and bids fair to survive the present one. Long may its cheerful rustic
strains be heard in our ball-rooms, and prove we have not grown too
fine or too foolish to take pleasure in the simple dances of our
ancestors. Sir Roger de Coverley is always introduced at the end of
the evening; and no dance could be so well fitted to send the guests
home in good humour with each other and with their hosts. We describe
it as it is danced in the present day, slightly modernised to suit
the taste of our time. Like the quadrille, it can be danced with equal
propriety by old or young; and is so easy, that the most inexperienced
dancer may fearlessly venture to take part in it.
Form in two parallel lines; ladies on the left, gentlemen on the
right, facing their partners. All advance; retreat (which occupies the
first four bars); cross to opposite places (four bars more); advance
and retreat (four bars); re-cross to places (four bars).
The lady who stands at the top, and the gentleman who stands at the
bottom, of each line, advance towards each other, courtesy and bow,
and retire to places. The gentleman at the top and the lady at the
bottom do the same. Lady at top and gentleman at bottom advance again,
give right hands, and swing quickly round each other back to places.
Gentleman at top and lady at bottom do the same. Top lady advances,
gives right hand to partner opposite, and passes behind the two
gentlemen standing next to him. Then through the line and across it,
giving left hand to partner, who meets her half way between the two
lines, having in the meantime passed behind the two ladies who stood
next his partner. Lady then passes behind the two ladies next lowest;
gentleman at same time behind the two gentlemen next lowest; and so on
all down the line. At the bottom, lady gives left hand to her partner,
and they promenade back to places at the top of the line. (This figure
is frequently omitted.) Top couple advance, courtesy and bow, then
lady turns off to the right, gentleman to the left, each followed by
the rest of her or his line. Top couple meet at the bottom of figure,
join hands, and, raising their arms, let all the other couples pass
under them towards the top of the line, till all reach their own
places, except the top, who have now become the bottom couple. Figure
is repeated from the beginning, until the top couple have once more
worked their way back to their original places at the top of the line.
* * * * *
Throughout the Ball-room Guide we have endeavoured to avoid as much as
possible the rise of French words, and to give our directions in
the plain mother tongue. Nevertheless there must always be certain
technical terms, such as _chassez croisez, glissade_, &c., &c., for
which it would be difficult to find good English equivalents. We
therefore subjoin a Glossary of all such words and expressions as have
long since been universally accepted as the accredited phraseology of
* * * * *
A vos places, _back to your own places_.
A la fin, _at the end_.
A droite, _to the right_.
A gauche, _to the left_.
Balancez, _set to your partners_.
Balancez aux coins, _set to the corners_.
Balancez quatre en ligne, _four dancers set in a line, joining hands,
as in La Poule_.
Balancez en moulinet, _gentlemen and their partners give each other
right hands across, and_ balancez _in the form of a cross_.
Balancez et tour des mains, _all set to partners, and turn to places.
(See_ Tour des mains.)
Ballotez, _do the same step four times without changing your place_.
Chaine Anglaise, _opposite couples right and left_.
Chaine des dames, _ladies' chain_.
Chaine Anglaise double, _double right and left_.
Chaine des dames double, _all the ladies perform the ladies' chain at
the same time_.
Chassez croisez, _do the_ chasse _step from left to right, or right to
left, the lady passing before the gentleman in the opposite direction,
that is, moving right if he moves left, and vice versa_.
Chassez croisez et dechassez, _change places with partners, ladies
passing in front, first to the right, then to the left, back to
places. It may be either_ a quatre _four couples--or_ les huit--_eight
Chassez a droite--a gauche, _move to the right--to the left_.
Le cavalier seul, _gentleman advances alone_.
Les cavaliers seuls deux fois, _gentlemen advance and retire twice
without their partners_.
Changez vos dames, _change partners_.
Contre partie pour les autres, _the other dancers do the same figure_.
Demi promenade, _half promenade_.
Demi chaine Anglaise, _half right and left_.
Demi moulinet, _ladies all advance to centre, right hands across, and
back to places_.
Demi tour a quatre, _four hands half round_.
Dos-a-dos, _lady and opposite gentleman advance, pass round each other
back to back, and return to places_.
Les dames en moulinet, _ladies give right hands across to each other,
half round, and back again with left hands_.
Les dames donnent la main droite--gauche--a leurs cavaliers, _ladies
give the right--left--hands to partners_.
En avant deux et en arriere; _first lady and_ vis-a-vis _gentleman
advance and retire. To secure brevity_, en avant _is always understood
to imply_ en arriere _when the latter is not expressed_.
En avant deux fois, _advance and retreat twice_.
En avant quatre, _first couple and their_ vis-a-vis _advance and
En avant trois, _three advance and retire, as in La Pastorale_.
Figurez devant, _dance before_.
Figurez a droite--a gauche, _dance to the right--to the left_.
La grande tour de rond, _all join hands and dance, completely round
the figure in a circle back to places_.
Le grand rond, _all join hands, and advance and retreat twice, as in
Le grand quatre, _all eight couples form into squares_.
La grande chaine, _all the couples move quite round the figure, giving
alternately the right and left hand to each in succession, beginning
with the right, until all have regained their places, as in last
figure of the Lancers_.
La grande promenade, _all eight (or more) couples promenade all round
the figure back to places_.
La main, _the hand_.
La meme pour les cavaliers, _gentlemen do the same_.
Le moulinet, _hands across. The figure will explain whether it is the
gentlemen, or the ladies, or both, who are to perform it_.
Pas d'Allemande, _the gentleman turns his partner under each arm in
Pas de Basque, _a kind of sliding step forward, performed with both
feet alternately in quick succession. Used in the Redowa and other
dances. Comes from the South of France_.
Glissade, _a sliding step_.
Le Tiroir, _first couple cross with hands joined to opposite couple's
place, opposite couple crossing separately outside them; then cross
back to places, same figure reversed_.
Tour des mains, _give both hands to partner, and turn her round
without quitting your places_.
Tour sur place, _the same_.
Tournez vos dames, _the same_.
Tour aux coins, _turn at the corners, as in the Caledonians, each
gentleman turning the lady who stands nearest his left hand, and
immediately returning to his own place_.
Traversez, _cross over to opposite place_
Retraversez, _cross back again_.
Traversez deux, en dormant la main droite, _lady and_ vis-a-vis
_gentleman cross, giving right hand, as in La Poule_.
Figure en tournant, _circular figure_.
Etiquette of Courtship and Matrimony
* * * * *
I.--FIRST STEPS IN COURTSHIP.
It would be out of place in these pages to grapple with a subject so
large as that of Love in its varied phases: a theme that must be left
to poets, novelists, and moralists to dilate upon. It is sufficient
for our purpose to recognize the existence of this the most
universal--the most powerful--of human passions, when venturing to
offer our counsel and guidance to those of both sexes who, under its
promptings, have resolved to become votaries of Hymen, but who, from
imperfect knowledge of conventional usages, are naturally apprehensive
that at every step they take, they may render themselves liable to
misconception, ridicule, or censure.
We will take it for granted, then, that a gentleman has in one way
or another become fascinated by a fair lady--possibly a recent
acquaintance--whom he is most anxious to know more particularly. His
heart already feels "the inly touch of love," and his most ardent wish
is to have that love returned.
At this point we venture to give him a word of serious advice. We urge
him, before he ventures to take any step towards the pursuit of this
object, to consider well his position and prospects in life, and
reflect whether they are such as to justify him in deliberately
seeking to win the young lady's affections, with the view of making
her his wife at no distant period. Should he after such a review of
his affairs feel satisfied that he can proceed honourably, he may then
use fair opportunities to ascertain the estimation in which the
young lady, as well as her family, is held by friends. It is perhaps
needless to add, that all possible delicacy and caution must be
observed in making such inquiries, so as to avoid compromising the
lady herself in the slightest degree. When he has satisfied himself on
this head, and found no insurmountable impediment in his way, his
next endeavour will be, through the mediation of a common friend, to
procure an introduction to the lady's family. Those who undertake such
an office incur no slight responsibility, and are, of course, expected
to be scrupulously careful in performing it, and to communicate all
they happen to know affecting the character and circumstances of the
individual they introduce.
We will now reverse the picture, and see how matters stand on the fair
First let us hope that the inclination is mutual; at all events, that
the lady views her admirer with preference, that she deems him
not unworthy of her favourable regard, and that his attentions are
agreeable to her. It is true her heart may not yet be won: she has to
be wooed; and what fair daughter of Eve has not hailed with rapture
that brightest day in the springtide of her life? She has probably
first met the gentleman at a ball, or other festive occasion, where
the excitement of the scene has reflected on every object around a
roseate tint. We are to suppose, of course, that in looks, manner,
and address, her incipient admirer is not below her ideal standard
in gentlemanly attributes. His respectful approaches to her--in
soliciting her hand as a partner in the dance, &c.--have first
awakened on her part a slight feeling of interest towards him. This
mutual feeling of interest, once established, soon "grows by what it
feeds on." The exaltation of the whole scene favours its development,
and it can hardly be wondered at if both parties leave judgment "out
in the cold" while enjoying each other's society, and possibly already
pleasantly occupied in building "castles in the air." Whatever may
eventually come of it, the fair one is conscious for the nonce of
being unusually happy. This emotion is not likely to be diminished
when she finds herself the object of general attention--accompanied,
it may be, by the display of a little envy among rival beauties--owing
to the assiduous homage of her admirer. At length, prudence whispers
that he is to her, as yet, but a comparative stranger; and with a
modest reserve she endeavours to retire from his observation, so
as not to seem to encourage his attentions. The gentleman's ardour,
however, is not to be thus checked; he again solicits her to be his
partner in a dance. She finds it hard, very hard, to refuse him; and
both, yielding at last to the alluring influences by which they
are surrounded, discover at the moment of parting that a new and
delightful sensation has been awakened in their hearts.
At a juncture so critical in the life of a young inexperienced woman
as that when she begins to form an attachment for one of the opposite
sex--at a moment when she needs the very best advice accompanied
with a considerate regard for her overwrought feelings--the very best
course she can take is to confide the secret of her heart to that
truest and most loving of friends--her mother. Fortunate is the
daughter who has not been deprived of that wisest and tenderest of
counsellors--whose experience of life, whose prudence and sagacity,
whose anxious care and appreciation of her child's sentiments, and
whose awakened recollections of her own trysting days, qualify and
entitle her above all other beings to counsel and comfort her trusting
child, and to claim her confidence. Let the timid girl then pour
forth into her mother's ear the flood of her pent-up feelings. Let her
endeavour to distrust her own judgment, and seek hope, guidance, and
support from one who, she well knows, will not deceive or mislead
her. The confidence thus established will be productive of the most
beneficial results--by securing the daughter's obedience to her
parent's advice, and her willing adoption of the observances
prescribed by etiquette, which, as the courtship progresses, that
parent will not fail to recommend as strictly essential in this phase
of life. Where a young woman has had the misfortune to be deprived
of her mother, she should at such a period endeavour to find her next
best counsellor in some female relative, or other trustworthy friend.
We are to suppose that favourable opportunities for meeting have
occurred, until, by-and-by, both the lady and her admirer have come to
regard each other with such warm feelings of inclination as to have
a constant craving for each other's society. Other eyes have in the
meantime not failed to notice the symptoms of a growing attachment;
and some "kind friends" have, no doubt, even set them down as already
The admirer of the fair one is, indeed, so much enamoured as to be
unable longer to retain his secret within his own breast; and, not
being without hope that his attachment is reciprocated, resolves on
seeking an introduction to the lady's family preparatory to his making
a formal declaration of love.
It is possible, however, that the lover's endeavours to procure the
desired introduction may fail of success, although, where no material
difference of social position exists, this difficulty will be found
to occur less frequently than might at first be supposed. He must then
discreetly adopt measures to bring himself in some degree under the
fair one's notice: such, for instance, as attending the place of
worship which she frequents, meeting her, so often as to be manifestly
for the purpose, in the course of her promenades, &c. He will thus
soon be able to judge--even without speaking to the lady--whether his
further attentions will be distasteful to her. The signs of this on
the lady's part, though of the most trifling nature, and in no way
compromising her, will be unmistakeable; for, as the poet tells us in
speaking of the sex:--
"He gave them but one tongue to say us 'Nay,'
And two fond eyes to grant!"
Should her demeanour be decidedly discouraging, any perseverance on
his part would be ungentlemanly and highly indecorous. But, on the
other hand, should a timid blush intimate doubt, or a gentle smile
lurking in the half-dropped eye give pleasing challenge to further
parley when possible, he may venture to write--not to the lady--that
would be the opening of a clandestine correspondence, an unworthy
course where every act should be open and straightforward, as tending
to manly and honourable ends--but, to the father or guardian, through
the agency of a common friend where feasible; or, in some instances,
to the party at whose residence the lady may be staying. In his letter
he ought first to state his position in life and prospects, as well
as mention his family connections; and then to request permission to
visit the family, as a preliminary step to paying his addresses to the
object of his admiration.
By this course he in nowise compromises either himself or the lady;
but leaves open to both, at any future period, an opportunity of
retiring from the position of courtship taken up on the one side, and
of receiving addresses on the other, without laying either party open
to the accusation of fickleness or jilting.
* * * * *
II.--ETIQUETTE OF COURTSHIP.
In whatever way the attachment may have originated, whether resulting
from old association or from a recent acquaintanceship between the
lovers, we will assume that the courtship is so far in a favourable
train that the lady's admirer has succeeded in obtaining an
introduction to her family, and that he is about to be received in
their domestic circle on the footing of a welcome visitor, if not yet
in the light of a probationary suitor.
In the first case, matters will in all probability be found to amble
on so calmly, that the enamoured pair may seldom find it needful to
consult the rules of etiquette; but in the latter, its rules must be
attentively observed, or "the course of true love" will assuredly not
If the gentleman be a person of good breeding and right feeling, he
will need no caution from us to remember that, when he is admitted
into the heart of a family as the suitor of a daughter, he is
receiving one of the greatest possible favours that can be conferred
on him, whatever may be his own superiority of social rank or worldly
circumstances; and that, therefore, his conduct should be marked by a
delicate respect towards the parents of his lady-love. By this means
he will propitiate them in his favour, and induce them to regard him
as worthy of the trust they have placed in him.
Young people are naturally prone to seek the company of those they
love; and as their impulses are often at such times impatient of
control, etiquette prescribes cautionary rules for the purpose of
averting the mischief that unchecked intercourse and incautious
familiarity might give rise to. For instance, a couple known to be
attached to each other should never, unless when old acquaintances, be
left alone for any length of time, nor be allowed to meet in any other
place than the lady's home--particularly at balls, concerts, and other
public places--except in the presence of a third party. This, as a
general rule, should be carefully observed, although exceptions may
occasionally occur under special circumstances; but even then the
full consent of the lady's nearest relatives or guardians should be
_What the Lady should observe during Courtship_.
A lady should be particular during the early days of courtship--while
still retaining some clearness of mental vision--to observe the manner
in which her suitor comports himself to other ladies. If he behave
with ease and courtesy, without freedom or the slightest approach to
licence in manner or conversation; if he never speak slightingly
of the sex, and be ever ready to honour its virtues and defend its
weakness; she may continue to incline towards him a willing ear. His
habits and his conduct must awaken her vigilant attention before it
be too late. Should he come to visit her at irregular hours; should
he exhibit a vague or wandering attention--give proofs of a want
of punctuality--show disrespect for age--sneer at things sacred, or
absent himself from regular attendance at divine service--or evince
an inclination to expensive pleasures beyond his means, or to low and
vulgar amusements; should he be foppish, eccentric, or very slovenly
in his dress; or display a frivolity of mind, and an absence of
well-directed energy in his worldly pursuits; let the young lady, we
say, while there is yet time, eschew that gentleman's acquaintance,
and allow it gently to drop. The effort, at whatever cost to her
feelings, must be made, if she have any regard for her future
happiness and self-respect. The proper course then to take is to
intimate her distaste, and the causes that have given rise to it, to
her parents or guardian, who will be pretty sure to sympathise with
her, and to take measures for facilitating the retirement of the
gentleman from his pretensions.
_What the Gentleman should observe during Courtship_.
It would be well also for the suitor, on his part, during the first
few weeks of courtship, carefully to observe the conduct of the young
lady in her own family, and the degree of estimation in which she
is held by them, as well as amongst her intimate friends. If she be
attentive to her duties; respectful and affectionate to her parents;
kind and forbearing to her brothers and sisters; not easily ruffled
in temper; if her mind be prone to cheerfulness and to hopeful
aspiration, instead of to the display of a morbid anxiety and dread
of coming evil; if her pleasures and enjoyments be those which
chiefly centre in home; if her words be characterised by benevolence,
goodwill, and charity: then we say, let him not hesitate, but hasten
to enshrine so precious a gem in the casket of his affections. But if,
on the other hand, he should find that he has been attracted by the
tricksome affectation and heartless allurements of a flirt, ready
to bestow smiles on all, but with a heart for none; if she who has
succeeded for a time in fascinating him be of uneven temper, easily
provoked, and slow to be appeased; fond of showy dress, and eager for
admiration; ecstatic about trifles, frivolous in her tastes, and weak
and wavering in performing her duties; if her religious observances
are merely the formality of lip service; if she be petulant to her
friends, pert and disrespectful to her parents, overbearing to her
inferiors; if pride, vanity, and affectation be her characteristics;
if she be inconstant in her friendships; gaudy and slovenly, rather
than neat and scrupulously clean, in attire and personal habits: then
we counsel the gentleman to retire as speedily but as politely
as possible from the pursuit of an object quite unworthy of his
admiration and love; nor dread that the lady's friends--who must know
her better than he can do--will call him to account for withdrawing
from the field.
But we will take it for granted that all goes on well; that the
parties are, on sufficient acquaintance, pleased with each other, and
that the gentleman is eager to prove the sincerity of his affectionate
regard by giving some substantial token of his love and homage to the
fair one. This brings us to the question of
a point on which certain observances of etiquette must not be
disregarded. A lady, for instance, cannot with propriety accept
presents from a gentleman _previously_ to his having made proposals
of marriage. She would by so doing incur an obligation at once
embarrassing and unbecoming. Should, however, the gentleman insist
on making her a present--as of some trifling article of jewellery,
&c.,--there must be no secret about it. Let the young lady take an
early opportunity of saying to her admirer, in the presence of her
father or mother, "I am much obliged to you for that ring (or other
trinket, as the case may be) which you kindly offered me the other
day, and which I shall be most happy to accept, if my parents do not
object;" and let her say this in a manner which, while it increases
the obligation, will divest it altogether of impropriety, from having
been conferred under the sanction of her parents.
We have now reached that stage, in the progress of the courtship where
budding affection, having developed into mature growth, encourages the
lover to make
When about to take this step, the suitor's first difficulty is how to
get a favourable opportunity; and next, having got the chance, how to
screw his courage up to give utterance to the "declaration." We have
heard of a young lover who carried on a courtship for four months ere
he could obtain a private interview with his lady-love. In the house,
as might be expected, they were never left alone; and in a walk a
third party always accompanied them. In such a dilemma, ought he
to have unburdened his heart of its secret through the medium of
a letter? We say not. A declaration in writing should certainly be
avoided where the lover can by any possibility get at the lady's ear.
But there are cases where this is so difficult that an impatient lover
cannot be restrained from adopting the agency of a _billet-doux_ in
declaring his passion.
The lady, before proposal, is generally prepared for it. It is seldom
that such an avowal comes without some previous indications of look
and manner on the part of the admirer, which can hardly fail of
being understood. She may not, indeed, consider herself engaged; and,
although nearly certain of the conquest she has made, may yet have her
misgivings. Some gentlemen dread to ask, lest they should be refused.
Many pause just at the point, and refrain from anything like ardour
in their professions of attachment until they feel confident that
they may be spared the mortification and ridicule that is supposed
to attach to being rejected, in addition to the pain of disappointed
hope. This hesitation when the mind is made up is wrong; but it does
often occur, and we suppose ever will do so, with persons of great
timidity of character. By it both parties are kept needlessly on the
fret, until the long-looked-for opportunity unexpectedly arrives, when
the flood-gates of feeling are loosened, and the full tide of
mutual affection gushes forth uncontrolled. It is, however, at this
moment--the agony-point to the embarrassed lover, who "doats yet
doubts"--whose suppressed feelings render him morbidly sensitive--that
a lady should be especially careful lest any show of either prudery
or coquetry on her part should lose to her for ever the object of her
choice. True love is generally delicate and timid, and may easily be
scared by affected indifference, through feelings of wounded pride.
A lover needs very little to assure him of the reciprocation of his
attachment: a glance, a single pressure of hand, a whispered syllable
on the part of the loved one, will suffice to confirm his hopes.
_Refusal by the Young Lady_.
When a lady rejects the proposal of a gentleman, her behaviour should
be characterised by the most delicate feeling towards one who, in
offering her his hand, has proved his desire to confer upon her, by
this implied preference for her above all other women, the greatest
honour it is in his power to offer. Therefore, if she have no love for
him, she ought at least to evince a tender regard for his feelings;
and, in the event of her being previously engaged, should at once
acquaint him with the fact. No right-minded man would desire to
persist in a suit when he well knew that the object of his admiration
has already disposed of her heart.
When a gentleman makes an offer of his hand by letter, the letter
must be answered, and certainly not returned, should the answer be a
refusal; unless, indeed, when, from a previous repulse, or some other
particular and special circumstances, such an offer may be regarded
by the lady or her relatives as presumptuous and intrusive. Under such
circumstances, the letter may be placed by the lady in the hands of
her parents or guardian, to be dealt with by them as they may deem
No woman of proper feeling would regard her rejection of an offer of
marriage from a worthy man as a matter of triumph: her feeling on such
an occasion should be one of regretful sympathy with him for the pain
she is unavoidably compelled to inflict. Nor should such, a rejection
be unaccompanied with some degree of self examination on her part, to
discern whether any lightness of demeanour or tendency to flirtation
may have given rise to a false hope of her favouring his suit. At all
events, no lady should ever treat the man who has so honoured her with
the slightest disrespect or frivolous disregard, nor ever unfeelingly
parade a more favoured suitor before one whom she has refused.
_Conduct of the Gentleman when his Addresses are rejected_.
The conduct of the gentleman under such distressing circumstances
should be characterised by extreme delicacy and a chivalrous resolve
to avoid occasioning any possible annoyance or uneasiness to the fair
author of his pain. If, however, he should have reason to suppose that
his rejection has resulted from mere indifference to his suit, he need
not altogether retire from the field, but may endeavour to kindle
a feeling of regard and sympathy for the patient endurance of his
disappointment, and for his continued but respectful endeavours to
please the lukewarm fair one. But in the case of avowed or evident
preference for another, it becomes imperative upon him, as a
gentleman, to withdraw at once, and so relieve the lady of any
obstacle that his presence or pretensions may occasion to the
furtherance of her obvious wishes. A pertinacious continuance of his
attentions, on the part of one who has been distinctly rejected, is an
insult deserving of the severest reprobation. Although the weakness of
her sex, which ought to be her protection, frequently prevents a woman
from forcibly breaking off an acquaintance thus annoyingly forced upon
her, she rarely fails to resent such impertinence by that sharpest of
woman's weapons, a keen-edged but courteous ridicule, which few men
can bear up against.
_Refusal by the Lady's Parents or Guardians_.
It may happen that both the lady and her suitor are willing; but that
the parents or guardians of the former, on being referred to, deem
the connection unfitting, and refuse their consent. In this state of
matters, the first thing a man of sense, proper feeling, and candour
should do, is to endeavour to learn the objections of the parents, to
see whether they cannot be removed. If they are based on his present
insufficiency of means, a lover of a persevering spirit may effect
much in removing apprehension on that score, by cheerfully submitting
to a reasonable time of probation, in the hope of amelioration in
his worldly circumstances. Happiness delayed will be none the less
precious when love has stood the test of constancy and the trial
of time. Should the objection be founded on inequality of social
position, the parties, if young, may wait until matured age shall
ripen their judgment and place the future more at their own disposal.
A clandestine marriage should be peremptorily declined. In too many
cases it is a fraud committed by an elder and more experienced party
upon one whose ignorance of the world's ways and whose confiding
tenderness appeal to him for protection even against himself. In
nearly all the instances we have known of such marriages, the results
proved the step to have been ill-judged, imprudent, and highly
injurious to the reputation of one party, and in the long run
detrimental to the happiness of both.
* * * * *
III--ETIQUETTE OF AN ENGAGEMENT.
We will now regard the pair of lovers as formally engaged, and bound
together in that state of approximation to marriage which was in the
ancient Christian Church, and indeed is still in many countries of
Europe, considered in a very sacred light, little inferior to, and, in
fact, regarded as a part of, marriage itself--the Betrothment.
_Conduct of the Engaged Couple_.
The conduct of the bridegroom-elect should be marked by a gallant and
affectionate assiduity towards his lady-love--a _devouement_ easily
felt and understood, but not so easy to define. That of the lady
towards him should manifest delicacy, tenderness, and confidence;
while looking for his thorough devotion to herself, she should not
captiously take offence and show airs at his showing the same kind of
attention to other ladies as she, in her turn, would not hesitate to
receive from the other sex.
In the behaviour of a gentleman towards his betrothed in public,
little difference should be perceptible from his demeanour to other
ladies, except in those minute attentions which none but those who
love can properly understand or appreciate.
In private, the slightest approach to indecorous familiarity must be
avoided; indeed, it is pretty certain to be resented by every woman
who deserves to be a bride. The lady's honour is now in her lover's
hands, and he should never forget in his demeanour to and before her
that that lady is to be his future wife.
It is the privilege of the betrothed lover, as it is also his duty, to
give advice to the fair one who now implicitly confides in him. Should
he detect a fault, should he observe failings which he would
wish removed or amended, let him avail himself of this season, so
favourable for the frank interchange of thought between the betrothed
pair, to urge their correction. He will find a ready listener; and
any judicious counsel offered to her by him will now be gratefully
received and remembered in after life. After marriage it may be too
late; for advice on trivial points of conduct may then not improbably
be resented by the wife as an unnecessary interference: now, the fair
and loving creature is disposed like pliant wax in his hands to mould
herself to his reasonable wishes in all things.
_Conduct of the Lady during her Betrothal_.
A lady is not expected to keep aloof from society on her engagement,
nor to debar herself from the customary attentions and courtesies of
her male acquaintances generally; but she should, while accepting them
cheerfully, maintain such a prudent reserve, as to intimate that they
are viewed by her as mere acts of ordinary courtesy and friendship. In
all places of public amusement--at balls, the opera, &c.--for a lady
to be seen with any other cavalier than her avowed lover in close
attendance upon her would expose her to the imputation of flirtation.
She will naturally take pains at such a period to observe the taste of
her lover in regard to her costume, and strive carefully to follow
it, for all men desire to have their taste and wishes on such apparent
trifles gratified. She should at the same time observe much delicacy
in regard to dress, and be careful to avoid any unseemly display of
her charms: lovers are naturally jealous of observation under such
circumstances. It is a mistake not seldom made by women, to suppose
their suitors will be pleased by the glowing admiration expressed
by other men for the object of _their_ passion. Most lovers, on
the contrary, we believe, would prefer to withdraw their prize
from general observation until the happy moment for their union has
_Conduct of the Gentleman towards the Family of his Betrothed_.
The lover, having now secured his position, should use discretion and
tact in his intercourse with the lady's family, and take care that his
visits be not deemed too frequent--so as to be really inconvenient
to them. He should accommodate himself as much as possible to their
habits and ways, and be ever ready and attentive to consult their
wishes. Marked attention, and in most cases affectionate kindness,
to the lady's mother ought to be shown: such respectful homage will
secure for him many advantages in his present position. He must not,
however, presume to take his stand yet as a member of the family, nor
exhibit an obtrusive familiarity in manner and conversation. Should a
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