Miseries of a Ball Room: 1826


Lamentation 1. After repeating warnings to be at your place of rendezvous; prepared to glide gaily through the ‘mazy dance,’ at a remarkably early hour—to be obliged, through the tardiness of the managers in distributing the tickets, and the difficulty the company causing in to their numbers, to sit still two or three hours, filled with anxious and disappointed expectation.

  1. To be engaged to dance with a partner who blunders all the way down a country dance, after receiving ten or a dozen first rate invitations.
  2. The plague of that complicated revolution called “right and left,” for the awkwardness of some and the inattention of others.
  3. To have for your own partners, on your next neighbour, a gentleman with a frock coat.
  4. To have a new pair of gloves ruined on account of your partner’s neglecting to wear his; or in plain English, to have your neat white kids fall a sacrifice to his parsimony.
  5. Through the indifference of the company, to have a continuation of mistakes, while dancing your favorite figure.
  6. While in the act of taking your very much admired balance, to be tripped up with your untied shoe string.
  7. While going down the middle, with quick music, to be delighted with the sight of your comb upon the floor, and your hair flowing upon your shoulders.
  8. Dancing half the night with a pair of shoes far too tight in length and breadth—unmentionables on every toe.

Jemima Sensitive.

Additional misery, by a gentleman.

A venerable invitation given in so equivocal manner, that you find yourself on the appointed evening, waiting on a friend who had no thought of seeing you.

Washington Whig [Bridgeton, NJ] 11 November 1826: p. 1

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil does not dance, but recognises the offenders (and they offend serially) from peeps round the corner at various balls. All can surely sympathise with the loss of neat, white kids.  And even a non-terpsichorean recoils from a man in a frock coat at an evening rout.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.



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