Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/312

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
292
DANCING

The ladies having retired, decanters of port and madeira were put upon the table, and the guests helped themselves for the most part liberally. "It was the custom of Squire Western every afternoon, as soon as he was drunk, to hear his daughter play upon the harpsichord … he never wished any music but what was light and airy; indeed, his favourite tunes were 'Old Sir Simon the King,' 'St. George he was for England,' 'Bobbing Joan,' and others." " Bobbing Joan" was a country dance, and other familiar and favourite tunes of the day were "The Whirligig," "The Grasshopper," "The Dumps," "Sweet Kate and Blouzy Bella." A dinner party in the country usually ended with dancing. The hornpipe, cotillon, reel, country dances, and stately minuet were performed by a mixed assembly to the "scraping of a fiddle or the tinkling of the harpsichord," and in this connection it is interesting to note that there was no frequent change of partner, as there is to-day, but a lady was obliged to dance the whole evening through with the same man. Each lady placed her fan on the table, and danced with the partner who selected her fan from the many.

It was distinctly a merrier England than is the