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Written by JulieW
(4/5/2006 8:52 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, MC and introductions, penned by Heather L
He was acting as a good Master of Ceremonies ought;-)
I am lucky enough to have a copy of The Complete System of English Country Dancing by Thomas Wilson(c.1813)who was both a teacher of dancing and Director of dancing a the Kings Theatre Opera House.
In the Chapter entitledThe Etiquette of the Ballroom, it he gives detailed instructions for Masters of Ceremonies.
Perhaps it is an opportune time for us to recall that The main purposes of these balls was social interaction ; as people from different classes were often attending balls the Master of Ceremonies had to keep order by means of enforcing his rules and , I suspect, by force of personality;-)
Mr Wilson states, regarding introductions that:
Ladies and Gentlemen being without partners, should apply to the Master of Ceremonies , whose place it is, if possible, to provide them.
So, either Catherine, Henry or even Mrs Allen( on Catherine’s behalf) could apply to the Master of Ceremonies to ask for a partner. It was all quite proper and in order.
This is the joke in Chapter 2 : Mrs Allen could apply for Catherine to have a partner at the Upper Rooms by applying to the MC: instead they have a rather flat, miserable evening ,with no one to dance with Catherine, because Mrs Allen ought to have known what to do, but failed in her role of chaperone.
I linked an old post of mine which gives details of some of the different rules for behaviour that existed at Assembly Rooms around England during the 18th century, which may also help put things in context, Heather;-)
|Rules at Assembly Rooms|
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