Pandemic in a Time of War

Today I’ve excerpted from the 1919 article “War’s Deadlier Rival, the Flu,” by Samuel Hopkins Adams. The article oddly begins on page 16 of Collier’s Weekly and is the fourth headline down on the cover. Please, please, please do not take the numbers or the science in this article as facts. The epidemic lasted until 1920, and there has been much subsequent scientific research into its origins and overall global devastation. I merely want to offer you a contemporary account of the epidemic, as well as some images.

Current with the world war, and culminating in a mortality far above it, runs another agency of death. The pandemic of influenza has been less sensational than the flaming scourge of war; but it has been vastly more destructive. Now that its second seasonal onset has passed in this country and presumably the great majority of those liable to it have been infected, it is possible to reckon up roughly the account for the United States.

National Archives

Conservatively speaking, for every American killed by the Germans, ten were killed by the flu. The total of those dying in battle or afterward from wounds is under fifty thousand. Nearly five hundred thousand had died of the epidemic up to the 1st of January. (The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, which has compiled the only detailed figures on a large scale, reckons, on the basis of its records, that the total influenza deaths for the nation up to January 1, 1919, were upward of 470,000.) Fifty thousand more is a very moderate estimate for this spring’s recurrence; twice that number is probably nearer the truth. Even reckoning the total human cost of the war, those dead from sickness and accident as well as from wounds, influenza’s mortality record is as six to one, compared to war’s.

Compared with other epidemics in America, the present visitation stands forth in still more startling relief. Though figures for the great grippe epidemic of 1889-90 (practically the same disease as the flu) are unreliable and fragmentary, it may be safely stated to have been less than half as deadly as the present onset. But parallel this flu with a pestilence of a more sensational character, the famous “yellow jack” of 1878 which centered in New Orleans and swept through the South spreading terror and paralyzing commerce. More people succumbed in a single week of flu in Philadelphia than died in the whole course of the 1878 pest in New Orleans; and the flu deaths of one week in New York and Philadelphia together exceeded the total yellow fever mortality of the entire nation in the “plague year.”

LOC – U.S. General Hospital #16, New Haven, Connecticut

After the pandemic of thirty years ago, influenza, while it still existed here as it did the world over, sank to a low level and stayed there until 1914. In that year the deaths from influenza rise to two typical, seasonal “peaks,” one in the early winter, another in the spring. In 1915 these “peaks” are somewhat more marked. The following year shows a still higher rise, and in 1917 there appears so decided an increase that the absence of expert medical commentary upon it is surprising. The spring of 1918 brought with it a definite epidemic in our camps. It was of a mild type and, at the time, unrecognized. So far as is now known there was no epidemic elsewhere in the world.

What happened then?

A curious but perfectly logical process. The germ which had been gathering power quite slowly in a robust and well-fed population—witness the very gradual rise of the mortality figures—was transferred to a soil far more suitable to its development, the war-harried, undernourished, abnormal peoples of Europe. It gathered momentum and virulence together.

France, where it was first introduced, did not suffer very severely in the early stages; nor did Spain, whither it was immediately transmitted, manifesting itself in May, 1918, very widely, though in mild form, and withholding its real power until the following September when it ravaged the whole kingdom. Probably through the taking of prisoners the infection crossed the French border into Germany, and here found, in the ill-fed civilian population, the ideal condition for its increase. By July its ravages were so destructive that the German medical authorities, despite the demands exercised by the war upon the medical fraternity, were holding “influenza congresses” to devise means of defense, military plans having been seriously deranged by the epidemic. By August the flu had reached its serious stage in France and all Europe became swiftly and formidably involved. There followed the return to America.

The influenza germ … , a comparatively unimportant agent of disease and death, impotent, up to that time, to raise our mortality rates to a point where any notice was attracted, came back surcharged with deadly power. It had acquired a malignity unequaled in the former history of the disease.

Loc “Precautions taken in Seattle, Wash., during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic would not permit anyone to ride on the street cars without wearing a mask. 260,000 of these were made by the Seattle Chapter of the Red Cross which consisted of 120 workers, in three days”

Before the unparalleled swiftness of its spread, methods of prevention collapsed. It could not be stopped. It could not even be checked. In one short week, the scourge swept like a driven flame across eastern Massachusetts and down into Rhode Island and Connecticut. Before the second week was over most of New England was ablaze with it, the infection was raging through eastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and there were far-spread, unaccountable, small plague spots in Alabama, Wisconsin, Illinois, Utah, Texas, and on the Pacific Coast. Within six weeks of the time when the epidemic nature of the disease was recognized, there was no State, there was hardly a county in the whole United States, unstricken. What could our public health system do against such an onset?

Washington newspapers carried display advertisements, calling for volunteer gravediggers, and a local sash and door factory was commandeered by the District authorities and set to turning out coffins at top speed. Three hundred dollars a week was offered in Albany for trained nurses, with no takers. In Alabama relief parties going out through the country found whole families dead in remote houses, so suddenly smitten that they had been unable to get help. This occurred also in the rural districts of western Pennsylvania, the worst stricken section of the country, where in the six weeks of the epidemic’s height 1 per cent of the population died of it, a figure unequaled in American mortality records. Starvation threatened in many cities owing to the crippling of local traffic and the helplessness of the sick; but here the local Red Cross organizations, happily keyed up to a war basis of efficiency, were able to save the situation by a system of central food supply and volunteer deliveries. In the opinion of the highest health authorities, the war emergency alone enabled the country to come through the flu emergency without far greater disaster; since we were organized physically to meet special conditions, and braced, mentally and psychologically, to endure the strain and resist the panic which might otherwise have beset us.

Mystery enshrouds various manifestations of the disease. Its greatest fatality was among those in the strongest years of life; between the ages of twenty and forty, when the human organism is supposed to exhibit the highest form of resistance. Why this should be so, science cannot tell. It was markedly more deadly to men than to women. For what reason? No reason which the experts can agree upon 

LOC “Members, St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps on duty on 5 ambulances. Influenza Epidemic”

What underlies this phenomenon? Something beyond present determination. The experience of the military camps shows, very broadly speaking, that, attacked by flu, the husky athlete died, the undervitalized indoor man recovered; the country boy succumbed, the city boy got well: just the reverse of what might be expected. The fact that very few people beyond the age of forty-five died suggested that this portion of the population had had the grippe in the great epidemic of 1889-90, and so were immunized. But if immunity is the explanation, why have deaths of children under fifteen, in the present epidemic, been so few, comparatively? Certainly they are not immunized by any former attack. Another phase of the mystery! The typical, and most formidable, phenomenon of the pestilence has been its “explosive” quality. In a great majority of the cities and smaller communities the infection, after entering, developed slowly for a brief period and then “exploded” into an appalling mortality for two or three weeks, when it swiftly subsided, an added feature being that the explosions were, generally speaking, nearly simultaneous over a great part of the country, taking place in mid-October and up through early November.

Susanna’s Note: World War I ended in November 1918.

Boston, at the height of the epidemic, showed a death rate about six times its normal; Philadelphia, ten times its normal; Baltimore, about eight and a half times its regular mortality, and Washington about the same. New Orleans, with a high regular death rate, multiplied that by more than six. Pittsburgh went to six times the standard rate. Albany rose to six times the normal, San Francisco to five times, New York to about the same, and Chicago to four times. But while this was typical, other cities exhibited no explosive phenomena whatever. Instead they showed a general level, markedly higher than the normal, but never shooting up to a decided “peak.” Herein was another peculiar feature. Why should New Orleans have blown its figures sky-high while Atlanta maintained a steady rate which hardly rose to one-quarter of the New Orleans high figure? What caused Chicago to explode, whereas the maximum at Grand Rapids never rose above double the normal rate, and Milwaukee kept her epidemic in hand almost as well? Why should Pittsburgh rise to six times its standard, and Columbus to only three times its normal? How explain the fact that Philadelphia’s high figure was two and a half times that of New York?

To one clue to the puzzle, thus far developed from any authoritative source, has been brought out by Dr. Raymond Pearl of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, working in collaboration with the United States Public Health Service. It is found that, almost invariably, the cities which showed the explosive flu rates have regularly an abnormal number of deaths from the common organic causes: that is, tuberculosis, heart disease, and kidney ailments.

Where the population is of weak organic constitution, the epidemic spreads and kills swiftly, as in Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Albany, New Orleans, and notably Philadelphia. Where the mortality from these standard causes is low the flu failed to make severe inroads, as in Birmingham, Grand Rapids, Columbus, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. It remains to be seen whether this showing, which appears quite definite and convincing in this country, is borne out by the reports (if they are ever forthcoming) from other parts of the world. General figures for the world epidemic are not yet available. Perhaps they never will be. The civilized world was too preoccupied with war to keep mortality records. In general, it is known that the destruction wrought by the pandemic varied in different countries only according as the people were strong or weak, for reasons of food supply, proper housing, and general condition, to resist it. One of the foremost of American hygienists, who has traveled in Europe studying conditions since the armistice, told me that in his opinion one year of flu and its sequelae killed more than four years of war in the combatant countries of Europe. Geographically there seems to have been no limit to the spread. Wherever  ships touched, there the influenza was disseminated.

Emergency hospital, Camp Funston, Kansas.

In British India five million victims died a heavier toll in few short weeks than the bubonic plague had taken in twenty years, all told. China reported a devastating onset shortly after. The South African’s went down before it as if it were cholera. It swept the European armies, both in camp and at the front. Even Switzerland’s well-fed, carefully housed troops developed it so generally that from 75 to 90 percent of the total fell ill. The contagion was shipped to Australia and New Zealand and thence was diffused throughout the South Sea Islands. In German Samoa between 80 and 90 percent of the populace was down at the same time and more than half the Government officials died. An infected steamship touched at Rio de Janeiro in October. Within a week there had developed from that one source between two and three hundred thousand cases. Within six weeks there were upward of 700,000 cases. The city was paralyzed. The whole medical, hospital, and burial machinery collapsed. Traffic stopped. There was no street-car service. Deliveries even of food were abandoned. A correspondent writes me that it was a common thing to see driverless cabs being drawn about the streets by starving horses in search of fodder! All South America was subsequently infected.

Barcelona, Spain, reported 1,200 deaths daily when the scourge was at its height. The medical expert of the London “Times” estimated that the twelve highest weeks of the pandemic represented a loss of 6,000,000 lives in all; but at the time of his reckoning many countries were still untouched or unreported. Not since the “black death” of the Middle Ages has there been anything to compare with the flu’s ravages.

Victorian Home Necessities

I’ve been organizing, provisioning, cooking, and trying to stay positive.  I need a break! I’m posting information concerning essential Victorian room furnishings and other domestic advice from this fabulous work:

emember that to govern a family well, you must first govern yourself.

If you wash Monday, bake Tuesday, iron Wednesday, clean Thursday, mend Friday, and bake Saturday. Of course you will be somewhat governed by the peculiar situation of the family; but it will be found to be a good plan to have a regular routine for each day. If you keep but one servant, it will be found more convenient to wash Tuesday, putting the clothes in soak Monday. There can then be a nice cold dinner prepared for washing day, and the same can be arranged for ironing day.

Henrik Olrik – Portrait of Caroline Charlotte Suhr

HINTS TO YOUNG HOUSEKEEPERS, IN SELECTING HOUSE AND FURNITURE.

In selecting a house choose one not only within your means, but with reference to the number of persons in your family.

A large, empty house is only a burden, especially when good servants are scarce, and means limited. If possible, obtain one with a good hall, the principal rooms opening from it: rooms interfering with others are a great annoyance to housekeepers, as it is impossible to keep a room tidy when used as a thoroughfare by members of the family without frequent use of broom and duster, which is a constant wear on carpet and patience. The dining-room ought either to open out of the kitchen, or be separated by a hall; each should have a closet opening from them; and the kitchen have a passage to the cellar, and an outside door. The parlor is the most pleasant facing north, and should be independent of the other part of the house. The nursery is most convenient on the principal floor. Small bedrooms are preferable with closets to large ones without. Spring and rain water should be near the kitchen. Furniture appears well in small, that would hardly be called respectable in large, rooms.

Furnish your house with uniformity; nothing looks more vulgar than a splendidly furnished parlor, while the remainder of the house is hardly decent.

Decide how much you can afford to spend on furniture ; commence in the kitchen, and go through the house, making a list of all necessary articles, with their prices. If, after this is done, you find the sum appropriated not expended, select the superfluities, being careful not to crowd the parlors.

NECESSARY KITCHEN FURNITURE.- Range, or stove, for cooking; pot and kettle with covers; two small kettles with oval bottoms; tin boiler with steamer; tea kettle and steeper; coffee pot and mill; dripping pan and spider ; gridiron and meat fork; preserving kettle and saucepan ; griddle and pancake turner; iron ladle and spoons; knives, with forks strong and large ; butcher and bread knife; dippers, quart and pint, colander and large skimmer; waffle irons with rings; butter ladle and potato pounder; bread board and rolling pins; sieve, cake pans, and grater; mixing and baking pans, for bread; milk pans and strainer; milk pail and small skimmer; pie plates and pudding bakers; pepper shaker and wooden salt dish; flour dredge and cooky or biscuit cutter; bowls of common ware and dishes; jars for soda, cream of tartar, and spices; canisters, or bottles, for tea and coffee; tin box for bread, and one for cake; jugs for molasses and vinegar; spring and rain water, cleaning, and swill pail; iron ash pail and firebox ; shovel, tongs, and match safe ; kitchen table and chairs; candlesticks and snuffers; broom, dust pan, and scrubbing brush ; bottle cleaner and stove brush ; boxes with handles for sugar, etc. ; wash-boiler, and wash-tubs; clothes line, washboard, and clothes pins ; flat irons, ironing blanket and sheet; skirt and bosom board; clothes basket; knife and spoon basket; market and chip basket; dish pans and towels.

With these necessary articles, the writer closes the list, although there are many conveniences not enumerated, which are pleasant to use.

Dining-Room.—Table and chairs according to family ; tea and dining set, full or not, as desired; knives and forks for dinner and tea; tea and table spoons; mats and waiter; carpet or oil-cloth on the floor; two high lamps, or candlesticks; small side table; tablecloths and napkins; tea and coffee pot with stands; covers for meats, of wire; castor, butter knife, and carver; fly broom, pitchers, and goblets.

Hall.—Oil-cloth, lamp, and hat-stand.

Almost all prices being fixed to these articles according to their beauty and value, the purchasers must be governed by their means and taste.

Family Bed-Room.—Bedstead, with furniture and crockery; bureau, washstand, washbowl, and pitcher; slop jar, soap dish, foot bath, and two pint mugs; rocker, and other chairs; footstool, stove, and window shades; looking-glass, and small table; carpet, broom, and dust brush.

Parlor.—Carpet, table, chairs, sofa, lamp, footstools, shades.

Library.—Book-case, with all conveniences for writing ; table, chairs, and oil-cloth or carpet.

Spare Chamber.—Bedstead and furniture; washstand and furniture; Foot bath, slop jar, teeth mugs, and towel rack; dressing bureau, or table with glass; small stand, stove, chairs, windowshades, and carpet.

Bed-room.—Carpet, bedstead and furniture; washstand, bowl, and pitcher; looking-glass, small table, and chairs; window-shades.

Servants’ Rooms.—Bedsteads, chairs, small stand, looking-glass.

Josephus Laurentius Dyckmans  – Grandmother’s Birthday

Every member of the family should have a bag for soiled clothes; where there are closets in the bed-rooms it is well to fasten them on the inside of the closet doors; take one yard and a quarter of dark drilling, fold it so as to make a bag a half-yard deep, with the quarter projecting beyond, bind it all around with strong colored tape, make loops in the corners to hang up by, and put them on the door with carpet tacks. good method is to have a bag for each variety of patch, cotton, woollen, silk, etc., and sew a square patch on each bag, to show what they contain ; for instance, on the calico patch bag sew a square of print, on the silk, a silk patch, etc.; we find this the most convenient method of designating them, as we often have help who cannot read sufficient English to bring a bag with the contents written or printed on it.

A bag made in the form of the old-fashioned needle-books, with pockets just deep enough to hold shoes, and one in the same form for combs and brushes, will be found convenient. A paper bag should hang in the kitchen, containing refuse paper for covering cake, etc., when baking. One with bits of woollen and cotton for holders and iron wipers; and one to contain the bits of twine which come around bundles.

We ourselves would not know how to keep house without these bags. Every spring they are assorted, and all superfluous patches put with carpet or paper rags, which keeps them in good order the year round, and saves much needless trouble in hunting patches, buttons, etc., from among quantities of rubbish.

John Everett Millais  –  Peace Concluded

Saleswomen Of New York City In 1899

I am oddly fascinated by the piece “Salesgirls in New York” by Grace H. Dodge found in What Women Can Earn: Occupations of Women and Their Compensation, published in 1899. I can imagine the first chapter of a historical novel set at the turn of the last century about a young woman who arrives by train to New York City, desperate for work and to leave something or someone behind.

An Occupation Which Is Already Crowded.
The Country Girl Advised to Stay Away From New York City.
If, However, She Must Come, Then What She Ought and Ought Not to Do.
Salaries.
The Factories.

THE advice given by Punch to those about to marry is such a hackneyed one that I am almost afraid to use it. And yet I find that “Don’t” just expresses what I want to say to country girls who think about coming to New York City for employment. All the great centres of population, Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and others, are crowded with women seeking for work, and the competition is so keen that inexperienced and friendless girls are overwhelmed by it, and they are beset with trials, disappointments and snares everywhere.

Library of Congress
Fifth Avenue, New York 1900

In all the great stores, and, indeed, in nearly every store, a city reference, as well as a city residence, is required, and those who have both are selected first. Girls who live in boarding and furnished-room houses are looked upon with disfavour, because the moral tone of the home is considered necessary to the welfare of young women. Furthermore, employers know well that their salesgirls cannot pay board and dress themselves on the wages they receive as beginners unless they live at home.

If the salesgirl is one of a family of wage earners she can pay a part of her salary into the general fund at home and retain part for dress, carfares and other petty expenses. But the girl without a city home has to depend solely on her small salary, and the consequent worry, to say nothing of her exposure to temptation, injures her commercial usefulness.

New York Public Library

Cashgirls, of whom few are employed in these latter days, receive at the good stores when they begin work $2 a week, stockgirls, $3 to $3.50, and salesgirls, $6. At the latter figure some experience is expected from the clerk, which may have been in the service as cash or stock girl in the same store or as salesgirl in another one. Pay is advanced with the usefulness of the girl to $8 and $9. Hours of attendance are from 8 A. M. to 6 P. M. with three-quarters of an hour for luncheon, and a half-holiday, one day each week, for two months of the year. Every good house pays its employees for overtime during the Christmas holidays, either in money, suppers, or “days off ” later.

In all the principal houses the girls dress in black in the winter and wear black skirts and shirtwaists in the summer.

Exceptionally bright girls usually become the “head of stock ’’ or are given some other place of responsibility, and have corresponding pay. Some stores employ women for buyers, and pay them from $2,000 to $5,000 a year, and it is significant that they have all risen from the ranks. They tell me in the stores that this must be so, and that no woman, no matter what her general education and ability may be, can hope to obtain such a place unless she has graduated from behind the counter, where she gained her practical experience.

Among the best paying stores the health of the employees is given special attention, but Wanamaker, I believe, stands alone in having a trained nurse constantly at the store to attend them. The dry-goods houses usually take care of their girls through the benefit funds started in the stores, the money for which is obtained from fines paid by the tardy workers and from the small sums they themselves pay in.

For a girl who is physically strong and intelligent there is a chance of employment in large cities in the factories. One such institution in New York City alone employs twenty-five hundred girls, and the conditions are usually good. I am not speaking of the “sweat-shops,” of course. Factory girls have one advantage—they are not obliged to spend their money for dress, nor are they exposed to the temptations caused by seeing money expended for frivolous things, which, after a while, actually look to the salesgirl as though they were necessities.

The earnings of a worker in the factories depend upon her own skill. Indeed, $10 and $12 a week is not at all unusual pay. It is true, however, that factories do not run steadily the whole year round. The earnings of feather curlers and artificial flower makers are better than those paid in some other industries, but I do not advise a girl to work as either, because those trades are apt to develop certain forms of disease. Most operatives are paid by the piece, so that earnings often run higher than the scale just mentioned

Ferris’s factory, in Newark, N. J., has an excellent luncheon-room for the girls, and provides overshoes and umbrellas for them, and similarly kind treatment is accorded in many of the New York City factories.

New York Public Library
New York Public Library

Every working girl should save some amount from her earnings every week. The Penny Provident Fund will accept the smallest sum, and some of the savings banks remain open until 7 or 7:30 P. M. for the especial convenience of working people. A girl might well avail herself also of some of the benefit societies which are so numerous in New York and other large cities. The New York Association of Working Girls’ Societies has a benefit fund, whereby a girl will receive during illness $8 a week for six consecutive weeks in any year, by paying into the fund 40 cents a month. For 25 cents she will receive $5 a week, and for 15 cents $3 weekly.

Library of Congress

By joining one of the clubs, either of this society or the Young Women’s Christian Association, or of similar organizations, the working girl will have a social life, not otherwise open to her, and an opportunity for mental and spiritual improvement.

If a country girl must come to New York, let her go to the women’s dressing-rooms of the railroad station when she arrives and read the addresses of Christian homes which she will find on the walls.

If she writes to the Manhattan East Side Mission, No. 416 East Twenty-sixth St., a woman will meet her, but if she does not do this, and she arrives in the city late, she would better spend the night in the waiting room, rather than go into the streets alone and ignorant of her way. In Philadelphia the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union looks after young travellers, and in Boston the Travellers’ Aid Society.

New York Public Library

A girl should not enter into conversation with any stranger, whether man or woman, and she would better avoid asking for information from hackmen. The policeman on duty inside of the station will always be willing to direct her.

The matron at St. Bartholomew’s Girls’ Club House, No. 136 East Forty-seventh St., and the Episcopal Sisters at the Shelter for Respectable Girls, No. 241 West Fourteenth St., will be glad to welcome strangers. The Women’s Lodging House at No. 6 Rivington St., is a cheap and respectable place, which may also safely be recommended. But, of course, these are only temporary stopping places. Permanent boarding places should be found as soon as possible. The best way is to apply at the board directory of the Young Women’s Christian Association, No. 7 East Fifteenth St.

Of course, our country girl must not come to town unless she has enough money to tide her over for at least two months. During that time, she can improve her acquaintance with the Christian women whom she will meet at the homes and clubs, and through them, and independent of them, but with their advice, she will seek for a place in the great workrooms of the city.

New York Public Library

I had a little difficulty finding images for this post. In desperation, I downloaded some images from Les Modes in 1901 from Gallica. In the end, I didn’t need them, but I’m posting them anyway because they make me smile 🙂 As usual, click to enlarge. Enjoy!

1860s French Fashions and English Ballroom Etiquette

I found some great images by French photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Wikimedia Commons. Rather than create a huge picture gallery, I’m adding an excerpt on ballroom etiquette found in Routledge’s Manual of Etiquette published in 1875 (although similar versions were around in the 1860s.) Click on an image to enlarge.

s the number of guests at a dinner-party is regulated by the size of the table, so should the number of invitations to a ball be limited by the proportions of the ball-room. A prudent hostess will always invite a few more guests than she really desires to entertain, in the certainty that there will be some deserters when the appointed evening comes round; but she will at the same time remember that to overcrowd her room is to spoil the pleasure of those who love dancing, and that a party of this kind when too numerously attended is as great a failure as one at which too few are present.

A room which is nearly square, yet a little longer than it is broad, will be found the most favourable for a ball. It admits of two quadrille parties, or two round dances, at the same time. In a perfectly square room this arrangement is not so practicable or pleasant. A very long and narrow room is obviously of the worst shape for the purpose of dancing, and is fit only for quadrilles and country dances.

The top of the ball-room is the part nearest the orchestra. In a private room, the top is where it would be if the room were a dining-room. It is generally at the farthest point from the door. Dancers should be careful to ascertain the top of the room before taking their places, as the top couples always lead the dances.

A good floor is of the last importance in a ball-room. In a private house. nothing can be better than a smooth, well-stretched holland, with the carpet beneath.

Abundance of light and free ventilation are indispensable to the spirits and comfort of the dancers.

Good music is as necessary to the prosperity of a ball as good wine to the excellence of a dinner. No hostess should tax her friends for this part of the entertainment. It is the most injudicious economy imaginable. Ladies who would prefer to dance are tied to the pianoforte; and as few amateurs have been trained in the art of playing dance music with that strict attention to time and accent which is absolutely necessary to the comfort of the dancers, a total and general discontent is sure to result. To play dance music thoroughly well is a branch of the art which requires considerable practice. It is as different from every other kind of playing as whale fishing is from fly fishing. Those who give private balls will do well ever to bear this in mind, and to provide skilled musicians for the evening. For a small party, a piano and cornopean make a very pleasant combination. Unless where several instruments are engaged, we do not recommend the introduction of the violin : although in some respects the finest of all solo instruments, it is apt to sound thin and shrill when employed on mere inexpressive dance tunes, and played by a mere dance player.

Invitations to a ball should be issued in the name of the lady of the house, and written on small note paper of the best quality. Elegant printed forms, some of them printed in gold or silver, are to be had at every stationer’s by those who prefer them. The paper may be gilt-edged, but not coloured. The sealing-wax used should be of some delicate hue. An invitation to a ball should be sent out at least ten days before the evening appointed. A fortnight, three weeks, and even a month may be allowed in the way of notice.

Not more than two or three days should be permitted to elapse before you reply to an invitation of this kind. The reply should always be addressed to the lady of the house, and should be couched in the same person as the invitation. The following are the forms generally in use :—

The old form of “presenting compliments” is now out of fashion.

The lady who gives a ball (It will be understood that we use the word “ball” to signify a private party, where there is dancing, as well as a public ball) should endeavour to secure an equal number of dancers of both sexes.  Many private parties are spoiled by the preponderance of young ladies, some of whom never get partners at all, unless they dance with each other.

A room should in all cases be provided for the accommodation of the ladies. In this room there ought to be several looking-glasses; attendants to assist the fair visitors in the arrangement of their hair and dress; and some place in which the cloaks and shawls can be laid in order, and found at a moment’s notice. It is well to affix tickets to the cloaks, giving a duplicate at the same time to each lady, as at the public theatres and concert-rooms. Needles and thread should also be at hand, to repair any little accident incurred in dancing.

Another room should be devoted to refreshments, and kept amply supplied with coffee, lemonade, ices, wine, and biscuits during the evening. Where this cannot be arranged, the refreshments should be handed round between the dances.

The question of supper is one which so entirely depends on the means of those who give a ball or evening party, that very little can be said upon it in a treatise of this description. Where money is no object, it is of course always preferable to have the whole supper, “with all appliances and means to boot,” sent in from some first-rate house. It spares all trouble whether to the entertainers or their servants, and relieves the hostess of every anxiety. Where circumstances render such a course imprudent, we would only observe that a home-provided supper, however simple, should be good of its kind, and abundant in quantity. Dancers are generally hungry people, and feel themselves much aggrieved if the supply of sandwiches proves unequal to the demand.

Great inconvenience is often experienced through the difficulty of procuring cabs at the close of an evening party. Gentlemen who have been dancing, and are unprepared for walking, object to go home on foot, or seek vehicles for their wives and daughters. Female servants who have been in attendance upon the visitors during a whole evening ought not to be sent out. If even men-servants are kept, they may find it difficult to procure as many cabs as are necessary. The best thing that the giver of a private ball can do under these circumstances, is to engage a policeman with a lanthorn to attend on the pavement during the evening, and to give notice during the morning at a neighbouring cab-stand, so as to ensure a sufficient number of vehicles at the time when they are likely to be required.

A ball generally begins about half-past nine or ten o’clock.

To attempt to dance without a knowledge of dancing is not only to make one’s self ridiculous, but one’s partner also. No lady has a right to place a partner in this absurd position.

Never forget a ball-room engagement. To do so is to commit an unpardonable offence against good breeding.

On entering the ball-room, the visitor should at once seek the lady of the house, and pay her respects to her. Having done this, she may exchange salutations with such friends and acquaintances as may be in the room.

No lady should accept an invitation to dance from a gentleman to whom she has not been introduced. In case any gentleman should commit the error of so inviting her, she should not excuse herself on the plea of a previous engagement, or of fatigue, as to do so would imply that she did not herself attach due importance to the necessary ceremony of introduction. Her best reply would be to the effect that she would have much pleasure in accepting his invitation, if he would procure an introduction to her. This observation may be taken as applying only to public balls. At a private party the host and hostess are sufficient guarantees for the respectability of their guests; and although a gentleman would show a singular want of knowledge of the laws of society in acting as we have supposed, the lady who should reply to him as if he were merely an impertinent stranger in a public assembly-room would be implying an affront to her entertainers. The mere fact of being assembled together under the roof of a mutual friend is in itself a kind of general introduction of the guests to each other.

An introduction given for the mere purpose of enabling a lady and gentleman to go through a dance together does not constitute an acquaintanceship. The lady is at liberty to pass the gentleman in the park the next day without recognition.

It is not necessary that a lady should be acquainted with the steps, in order to walk gracefully and easily through a quadrille. An easy carriage and a knowledge of the figure is all that is requisite. A round dance, however, should on no account be attempted without a thorough knowledge of the steps, and some previous practice. No person who has not a good ear for time and tune need hope to dance well.

No lady should accept refreshments from a stranger at a public ball; for she would thereby lay herself under a pecuniary obligation. For these she must rely on her father, brothers, or old friends.

Good taste forbids that a lady should dance too frequently with the same partner at either a public or private ball. Engaged persons should be careful not to commit this conspicuous solecism.

Engagements for one dance should not be made while the present dance is yet in progress.

Never attempt to take a place in a dance which has been previously engaged.

Withdraw from a private ball-room as quietly as possible, so that your departure may not be observed by others, and cause the party to break up. If you meet the lady of the house on your way out, take your leave of her in such a manner that her other guests may not suppose you are doing so ; but do not seek her out for that purpose.

Never be seen without gloves in a ball-room, though it were for only a few moments. Ladies who dance much and are particularly soigné in matters relating to the toilette, take a second pair of gloves to replace the first when soiled.

A thoughtful hostess will never introduce a bad dancer to a good one, because she has no right to punish one friend in order to oblige another.

It is not customary for married persons to dance together in society.