Category Archives: Balls

A time for everything

“My dear Catherine, I am afraid you are growing quite a fine lady. . . . Your head runs too much upon Bath; but there is a time for
everything — a time for balls and plays, and a time for work. You have had a long run of amusement, and now you must try to be useful.”

More sensible advice from Catherine’s mother
Northanger Abbey, volume 2, chapter 15

Today I am going to try to be useful.  😉


Filed under Balls, Bath, Catherine Morland, Contentment (or not), Mrs. Morland, Northanger Abbey

How to be particular

“Mr. H. began with Elizabeth, and afterwards danced with her again; but they do not know how to be particular.  I flatter myself, however, that they will profit by the three successive lessons which I have given them.”

letter to Cassandra
January 9, 1796

Jane was joking about dancing three times with Tom Lefroy at the ball the night before.  I believe dancing with anyone more than twice would provoke talk.

This is Jane’s first surviving letter.

Comments Off on How to be particular

Filed under Balls, Jane Austen's love interests, Letters, Neighbors, Tom Lefroy

More fun in the Upper Rooms

“Mrs Badcock & two young Women were of the same party, except when Mrs Badcock thought herself obliged to leave them, to run round the room after her drunken Husband.–His avoidance, & her pursuit, with the probable intoxication of both, was an amusing scene.”

letter to Cassandra
May 12, 1801 [36]

Comments Off on More fun in the Upper Rooms

Filed under Balls, Drink, Humor, Letters, Neighbors

Eye at an Adultress

“I am proud to say that I have a very good eye at an Adultress, for tho’ repeatedly assured that another in the same party was the She, I fixed upon the right one from the first. . . . her face has the same defect of baldness as her sister’s, & her features not so handsome;–she was highly rouged, & looked rather quietly & contentedly silly than anything else.”

letter to Cassandra
May 12, 1801 [36]

The adulteress in question, observed in the upper rooms at Bath, was the Hon. Mary Cassandra Twisleton, who was a relation of the Austen’s somehow through the Leigh side (through Mrs. Austen’s family).  Her father had committed suicide when she was just fourteen, because he had some kind of disease that gave him terrible pain in his head, which the doctors told him was incurable.  Mary Cassandra eloped at sixteen with her first husband, then scandalously divorced after an affair with an MP when she was twenty-three.  So much for quiet life in the English country!

Comments Off on Eye at an Adultress

Filed under Balls, Beauty, Letters, Morality

The power of refusal

“Man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal.”

Henry Tilney, comparing dancing and marriage
Northanger Abbey, volume 1, chapter 10

Comments Off on The power of refusal

Filed under Balls, Henry Tilney, Marriage, Northanger Abbey

A scarcity of men

“There was a scarcity of Men in general, & a still greater scarcity of any that were good for much.”

letter to Cassandra, about a ball two evenings prior
November 1, 1800 [24]

Comments Off on A scarcity of men

Filed under Balls, Letters, Men

A very pleasant evening

“Our ball was chiefly made up of Jervoises and Terrys, the former of whom were apt to be vulgar, the latter to be noisy. . . . I had a very pleasant evening, however, though you will probably find out that there was no particular reason for it; but I do not think it worth while to wait for enjoyment until there is some real opportunity for it.

letter to Cassandra
January 21, 1799 [18], emphasis mine

Comments Off on A very pleasant evening

Filed under Balls, Happiness, Letters, Neighbors

He’s just not that into you…

“I do not think I was very much in request–.People were rather apt not to ask me till they could not help it;–One’s consequence you know varies so much at times without any particular reason–.  There was one Gentleman, an officer of the Cheshire, a very good looking young Man, who I was told wanted very much to be introduced to me;–but as he did not want it quite enough to take much trouble in effecting it, We never could bring it about.”

letter to Cassandra, about a ball of the previous evening
January 9, 1799 [17], emphasis mine

Comments Off on He’s just not that into you…

Filed under Balls, Letters, Men, Popularity

A good ball

“There were more Dancers than the Room could conveniently hold, which is enough to constitute a good Ball at any time.”

letter to Cassandra
January 9, 1799 [17]

Comments Off on A good ball

Filed under Balls, Letters

I could have danced all night

“There were twenty Dances & I danced them all, & without any fatigue. . . . I fancy I could just as well dance for a week together as for half an hour.”

letter to Cassandra
December 24, 1798 [15]

Comments Off on I could have danced all night

Filed under Balls, Letters