A gentleman should never attempt to step across a lady’s train. He should walk around it. If by any accident he should tread upon any portion of her dress, he must instantly beg her pardon, and if by greater carelessness he should tear it, he must pause in his course and offer to escort her to the dressing-room so that she may have it repaired.
If a lady asks any favor of a gentleman, such as to send a servant to her with a glass of water, to take her into the ball-room when she is without an escort, to inquire whether her carriage is in waiting, or any of the numerous services which ladies often require, no gentleman will, under any circumstances, refuse her request.
A really well-bred man will remember to ask the daughters of a house to dance, as it is his imperative duty to do so; and if the ball has been given for a lady who dances, he should include her in his attentions. If he wishes to be considered a thorough-bred gentleman, he will sacrifice himself occasionally to those who are unsought and neglected in the dance. The consciousness of having performed a kind and courteous action will be his reward.
When gentlemen, invited to a house on the occasion of an entertainment, are not acquainted with all the members of the family, their first duty, after speaking to their host and hostess, is to ask some common friend to introduce them to those members whom they do not know. The host and hostess are often too much occupied in receiving to be able to do this.
DUTIES OF AN ESCORT.
A lady’s escort should call for her and accompany her to the place of entertainment; go with her as far as the dressing-room, return to meet her there when she is prepared to go to the ball-room; enter the latter room with her and lead her to the hostess; dance the first dance with her; conduct her to the supper-room, and be ready to accompany her home whenever she wishes to go. He should watch during the evening to see that she is supplied with dancing partners. When he escorts her home she should not invite him to enter the house, and even if she does so, he should by all means decline the invitation. He should call upon her within the next two days.
GENERAL RULES FOR BALLS.
A young man who can dance, and will not dance, should stay away from a ball.
The lady with whom a gentleman dances last is the one he takes to supper. Therefore he can make no engagement to take out any other, unless his partner is already engaged.
Public balls are most enjoyable when you have your own party. The great charm of a ball is its perfect accord and harmony. All altercations, loud talking and noisy laughter are doubly ill-mannered in a ball-room. Very little suffices to disturb the whole party.
In leaving a ball, it is not deemed necessary to wish the lady of the house a good night. In leaving a small dance or party, it is civil to do so.