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ancestor carried a hod at the building of the Tower of Babel -who travels with you as courier, when you were introduced to a comfortable first-class carriage, well lighted, well warmed, and well carpeted, and rattled off again at express speed, as the French understand it, to Paris. Very different were the means by which Sir Charles and I were wont to reach the metropolis of the grande nation. In ’15 my papa and mamma travelled in their own carriage, and hired post-horses from stage to stage. In '39 we went in the coupé of the diligence, a lumbering old institution dragged by six horses with rope harness. We started from Calais at eight o'clock on a Tuesday morning, and reached Paris at noon on Wednesday ! And that was considered a vast acceleration of the usual rate of travelling
I shall wait with impatience for your promised account of my Lady Coseymore's grand new year ball. You say that Reginald Tapeleigh danced with a Russian princess, and that you waltzed with two ambassadors.
What have I or you to do with Mr. Reginald Tapeleigh's saltatory performances ? 'Tis only your partners who interest me. Stay, I find that at a later period of the evening, or rather at an earlier hour in the morning-indiscreet child !-you also danced with Reginald. I shall expect full particulars, and have written to Lady Coseymore for additional and confirmatory evidence. Heaven keep you !
LETTER THE TENTH.
ON THE ART OF DANCING, AND ON BALLS, PARTIES, AND
Louisa been bitten by a tarantula spider ? The inference would certainly seem to be borne out, for, to take the evidence of her last three letters to me, she has never left off dancing since Christmas. Everything has been “up the middle and down again; cross, poussette, courtesy to partners.” Ah! I forget that these are very old-world figures -choregraphic items that would be disdained by the young maidens of the present generation. The schoolmistress has been abroad as to dancing, as to all else; and goodness and modern science only know what elaborate fanteagues are now performed in the “ Ladies' Colleges” and “ Educational Institutes” which take the place of the old-fashioned places once called “ schools.” And yet I have heard that antiquated dances sometimes come into vogue again. Isn't there one called the “ Lancers ?” Was it not performed with brilliant éclat at kind Lady Coseymore's New Year's Fête ? Isn't it, or wasn't it a few months since at least, as fashionable and distinguée as a bunch of wheat-ears in the bonnet, sable. and-or ribbons, seal-skin mantles, or gloves of mauve plush ? Après nous, le déluge. Mr. Shillibeer, I am informed, will furnish mauve coffins and glacé shrouds for the quality, if desired. I think I can remember these same Lancers
ever so many years ago—in the days when the “ Tenth didn't dance,” and wore gold-lace straps to their pantaloons.
What has become of the Tenth, their gold straps, their wornout swallow tails with the big epaulettes, and their dandified perfumers' airs ? Some of the officers ride over from Stableford, where there is always a cavalry regiment in garrison, to Pumpwell. One or two are brought to lunch occasionally, and with wonder I regard their altered appearance. The Tenth have been to the wars. They have come home with beards and spatterdashes, and medals, and faces bronzed and scarred. Captain Bayard wears the cross of the Legion of Honour—a decoration for even thinking of which a member of the Tenth (or the Eleventh, or the Onetyonth) would have been blackballed, or expelled the mess, or cashiered, or done something dreadful to, years ago. They would be ashamed of their former millefleurs and carpet-knight ways now—these stern, business-like troopers. Even the young cornets, not yet emancipated from the riding-school and the troop sergeantmajor, affect a practical, rough-and-ready demeanour. The cornets have to pass an examination now, my dear, before they can get their commission. When your mamma was young, children's names used to be “down at the Horse Guards” for a "pair of colours" from their very first birthday ;
“ and infants in arms were often ensigns. It has been found essential, in this present era of advanced civilisation, that to kill people properly a lad should have an intimate acquaintance with French and the mathematics. Let us trust that the time is approaching when, the morning before a battle, the sergeants will go round and duly ascertain that every private has been vaccinated, and has the Church Catechism in his knapsack.
Meantime the “Lancers” have come back to us as a fashionable dance I have been so long out of the world that I may be well excused for asking what you dance at present
besides these same “ Lancers." We-they I mean—have been wild about the resuscitated dance at Pumpwell lately. Fanny Merrylegs was here yesterday-provoking little thing! —and for five-and-twenty minutes talked of nothing else. It must be admitted, nevertheless, that what was fashionable as Pumpwell yesterday may have been rococo in London the day before. So—what else, and else, in the dancing world? Is the famous Polka extinct? I well remember when it first took the town by storm, about sixteen years since. A species of teetotum Cracovienne at first; its performance confined to the stage; its complicated figures executed by a gentleman in a polygonal cap, a braided surtout, Hessians and tassels, and a lady likewise brave in braiding on her jacket and short cap, and otherwise accoutred in a lancer's shako, and boots with fur round the tops. Both dancers, at to their heels, were shod with brass; and their talons gave a pleasant clinking sound. The Polka, which drove people for months delightfully mad, had been invented, it was said, by a “Bohemian nobleman.” Who was he? When—why did he invent it? Was he driven to such an act by the tyranny of the Austrian Government over his unhappy country? Was the Polka originally a war dance, performed at the battle of Prague? Bohemia, it must be remembered, is, in dancing-masters' geography, a district situate somewhere between Warsaw and Cracow, bounded by Andalusia and the Neapolitan seaboard, and adjacent to the country of the Wilis, the Almè, the Zingari, and the Bayaderes. What does it matter so long as there is a pretty step, and a gay tune to dance to? Hasn't the greatest of dramatists told us of the seacoast of a country not far from Bohemia, and where there is no seacoast at all? At all events the Polka took a very firm root in this country, and from it sprang an infinity of ramifications : Schottisches-the