Have always, and will continue to be fashionable and popular in the cities. By sociables it is sometimes substituted for one of their regular entertainments, all persons unmasking at supper-time. Masquerade parties are not popular in the rural towns, owing to the difficulty of procuring costumes.
Differ from the ball in the musical attractions, the first hour and a half being devoted to an instrumental concert. These are usually more dressy affairs than an ordinary ball, couples promenading during the execution of the music. Then follows dancing, with a somewhat abbreviated "order".
These are peculiar favorites among a very large class of the followers of Terpsichore, differing in some particulars from the ball and promenade. These entertainments are given at private residences, a few invitations generally being issued by members. The lady at whose house it is held, is not restricted in this particular, however, Music, furnished by members, is similar to that of other private parties, the hostess supplying refreshments. Six is the maximum number of sociables usually given during the season, though in exceptional cases, eight or ten. Hour of commencing is eight o'clock, refreshments being furnished in dining-room at eleven, party breaking up at one or half-past one.
Some sociables link parlor dramas, charades, and musical attractions with dancing, affording much profit as well as amusement.
The pleasure of your company is requested at a reunion of the above sociable to be held at-on-evening, - 186-. Compliments - As a guide, we append a copy of a programme du bal as suggesting the proper variety either for a public ball or private party.
Public balls are not much frequented by people of good society, except in watering-places and country towns. Even there a young lady should not be seen at more than two or three in the year. County-balls, race-balls, and hunt-balls, are generally better than common subscription-balls. Charity-balls are an abominable anomaly. At public balls there are generally either three or four stewards on duty, or a professional master of ceremonies. These gentlemen having made all the arrangements, order the dances, and have power to change them if desirable. They also undertake to present young men to ladies, but it must be understood that such an introduction is only available for one dance. It is better taste to ask the steward to introduce you simply to a partner, than to point out any lady in particular. He will probably then ask you if you have a choice, and if not, you may be ce tain he will take you to an established wall-flower. Public balls are scarcely enjoyable unless you have your own party.
As the great charm of a ball is its perfect accord and harmony, all altercations, loud talking, etc., are doubly ill-mannered in a ball-room. Very little suffices to disturb the peace of the whole company.The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook of Etiquette for Ladies and Gentleman; 1859, James Hogg (London)
|Dance||Influence of Dance||Guests|
|Music||French Terms||Order of Dances|
|Ladies Toilette||Gentlemen Guide||Refreshments|
|Round Dances||Spanish Dance||Square Dances|