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concert, ball, or other assemblage of articulately-speaking beings, during their residence in this country,
“That Lady Amelia Sorrel shall never venture to read in a wicked, improper, and never-to-be-sufficiently-condemned book, which is in most libraries, neatly bound and lettered, and called · Hume's History of England,'—
" That Miss Laura Fitz Eustace shall never again open the gilt-edged leaves of the Lalla Rookh' which we ourselves presented to her in pure love and red morocco, until she shall have given up dancing, and entered upon a certain age,'
" That all reviewers and revilers whose names are not here specified, shall remember constantly that · Knight's Quarterly Magazine' is under the protection and patronage of Lady Mary Vernon ;-that it is dangerous to trifle with reputations or play with edged tools ;-that Marmaduke Villars can split a bullet upon a penknife's blade at twelve paces ;—and that Vyvyan Joyeuse can indite a lampoon upon any distributor of defamation at a minute's warning.
“Given at this our Castle of Vernon, Sept. 1st, 1823. (Signed) • PereGRINE COURTENAY,
I HAVE resolved never again to dance ;-and yet this is a cruel resolution at two-and,thirty.
For ten years I have been a happy member of our social assemblies in the pleasant town of M- My subscription will be saved; but how shall I fill up the tedious winter months without the recollections of the past, and the anticipations of the coming ball? Delightful companions of the full moonblooming evenings of defiance to hail and frost-ye are gone, and my solitary hearth must be my solace.
I shall never forget the night when the seeds of your destruction were first sown. Louisa W. had to call, and I was her delighted partner. The eager hands were clapped, the dis
cordant strings were screwing up into tune, and we were de. bating with the venerable leader of our country band the relative merits of “the Honey-Moon” and “Speed the Plough.” With the most correct taste, Louisa had decided for “ right and left," a preference to “ la poussette,"-we were ready. At that instant a handsome officer of dragoons—the coxcombadvanced to Louisa, and in the most humble tone--the puppyventured to recommend a quadrille. Louisa's eyes consulted mine, and I boldly consulted the leader. I knew the range of his acquirements, and I was safe ;-we went down with the Honey Moon ;" but the evil was rooted.
Within a fortnight there was a special meeting of the subscribers to our assembly-room to discuss an important question. It was convened at the particular desire of a lady of fashion, who had become a temporary resident amongst us. I knew there was mischief brooding, and, as I was petulant, I staid away. Poor Kit the master of our band, and his faithful followers, were dismissed after thirty years' duteous sér. vice; and four fiddlers, from Paine's I think they said, came from London by the coach-fine-powdered fellows in silk stockings-but no more to compare with Kit's crew for strength and untiring execution than a jew's-harp to a hand organ. But they were wonderfully applauded ; and Louisa, seeing that I would not sanction them, recommended me to take lessons. I would as soon have learned to speak High Dutch.
They have now gone on for two years with their Quadrilles -but I have done with them. I hate their curtsies and their bows-their skipping in and their skipping out—their endless labyrinths—their barbarous nomenclature.
Departed visions of the dear country dances of my boyhood, to what foreign land are ye fled ? Even the shopkeepers of M-, who meet every Christmas at the Hoop and Griffin to ball and supper have banished
ye gone to thrust out waltzes from Germany, or fandangos from Spain—are ye departed to unnationalize other feet, like the detestable quadrilles have corrupted ours? Ah no--ye have not the subtlety of your hateful rival-like your unhappy countrymen, ye must give place to the cuckoo tribe, who drive you from your nests.
It is only twenty years since I learned to dance-ay, sirs, under a pupil of the celebrated Vestris--and my knowledge has become obsolete. To outlive one's old friends is the most painful feeling in earth's pilgrimage—and I have done this before I am grown grey:
" The Jolly Young Waterman," and “ Money Musk," and the “Devil among the Tailors," and
“Drops of Brandy," and“OffShe Goes," and " Mother Casey," and “ Molly put the Kettle on,” and “ Lady Montgomery,” are with the things before the flood—and “ I will weep for them.” But I will never abandon my early faith for “ La Poule," or " L'Eté,” or- Psha! I hate myself for knowing even these execrable names. I will practise,even with my own chairs, “ up the middle and down again, swing corners, hands four, and right and left,” till the gout overtakes me—but I will never prostitute myself to “ dos-à-dos, chassée en avant, balancer, tourner les dames, or chaine-An-glaise,”-no, not if I could secure myself an exemption from crutches till my eightieth winter. I have too much patriotism in my blood.
I am satisfied that my hatred to quadrilles is not a vain caprice, but is founded upon moral and philosophical principles. There is nothing kind, genial, manly, womanly, cheerfu ebullient, in the quadrille.
It is a formal and impertinent piece of personal display, from beginning to end. It is cold, repulsive, artificial ;-it requires practice and skill—it is altogether an affair of the feet and not of the heart. It is unsuited to our climate and our habits ;-it is for a people who would corrupt the unconstrained intercourse of our English dance into a matter of intrigue. But our country dance was made expressly for, if not by, our character. It requires no skill but what a good ear and good humour may supply ; it breaks down the usual cold intercourse of the sexes into an unpresuming and regulated familiarity ; it calls forth all the thousand graces of innocent hearts and unclouded spirits ; it creates an interchange of individual sentiments, in the midst of the most cordial sociality. No maiden ever went away less innocent in her freest thoughts from a country dance, though her fingers had once or twice replied to a scarcely perceptible pressure from those of her handsome partner. But the balancing and footing of the quadrillethe display of personal advantages upon the most approved system of studied grace-it is altogether an unnatural and constrained affair—and when the simplicity of the heart is fled, its innocence is knocking very hard to be let out.
A ball supplies the most exquisite pleasure to youthful and unsophisticated minds—and let such enjoy it, in the freshness and vivacity of their national dance. Quadrilles were made for prudes of forty and martinets of fifty. But I may live to see a re-action-Quadrilles have descended to the kitchen;and so Sir Roger de Coverley may again find his true place in the drawing-room.
In sooth it was a glorious day
For vassal and for lord, When Cour de Lion had the sway
In battle and at board. He was, indeed, a royal one,
A Prince of Paladins; Hero of triumph and of tun, Of noisy fray and noisy fun,
Broad shoulders, and broad grins. You might have looked from east to west,
And then from north to south, And never found an ampler breast,
Never an ampler mouth, A softer tone for lady's ear,
A daintier lip for syrup, Or a ruder grasp
spear, Or a firmer foot in stirrup.! A ponderous thing was Richard's can,
And so was Richard's boot,
Where'er he set his foot.
And murdering time and tune,
Half monarch, half buffoon, He turned away from feast to fray,
From quarrelling to quaffing,
And burst his sides for laughing!
At court the humour of a king
When Richard ruled the roast,
And beauty was the toast.
And lips and shrines were kist;
And lances in the list; And boys roamed out in sunny weather To weave a wreath and rhyme together; While dames, in silence, and in satin, Lay listening to the soft French-Latin, And flung their sashes and their sighs From odour-breathing balconies.
From those bright days of love and glory,