Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/An "At Home." Ye Polka.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849 No. 1.

An "At Home." Ye Polka.


An "At Home." Ye Polka.

[Wednesday, March 21ſt, 1849.]

TO-NIGHT to an Evening Party with my Wife, to Sir Hilary Jinks's, whereunto we had been bidden to come at 10 of the Clock; for Sir Hilary and her Ladyſhip have taken to keeping rare Hours. Thereat was a goodly Company of about an hundred, and the Women all very fine, my Wife being in her laſt Year's Gown, which I am tired of, and do hate to ſee. We did fall to dancing Quadrilles, wherein I made one, and had for my Partner a pretty little black Damſel, whom after the Dance was ended, did hand to a Sofa, and thereon ſit me by her Side; but ſeeing my Wife looking hard at us, did preſently make my Bow, and ſo away. Then to look on while ſome did dance the Polka, which did pleaſe me not much, for had beheld it better danced at the Caſino, and do think it more ſuitable to ſuch a Place than to a Drawing Room. The Young Fellows did take their Partners by the Waiſt, and theſe did lean upon the others' Shoulders, and with one Arm ſtretched out, and holding Hand in Hand, they did ſpin round the Room together. But, Lack! to ſee the kicking up of Heels and ſtamping of them on the Ground, which did mightily remind me of Jim Crow. In truth, I am told that the Polka is but a Peaſant's Hop, from Hungary, and now to think of Perſons of Quality cutting ſuch Capers! Sir Hilary to his Taſte; but a Minuet for me at Home, with Gentlewomen, and a Polka with Milkmaids at a Maying or in a Booth. Meanwhile the Servants did hand round Glaſſes of Negus, which was poor Stuff; and thoſe who lifted to Supper when they choſe, in a ſide Room, off wretched Sandwiches of the Size of the Triangles in Euclid his Geometry, which did think ſhabby. Home in a Cab, at Two in the Morning, much wearied and little pleaſed; and on our Way Home, ſpying a Tavern open, did go and get me a Pint of Beer, and the ſame to my Wife; for we were both athirſt, and ſhe in an ill Humour about the Beauty I had danced with, and I becauſe of the bad Supper; and ſo very ill-contented to Bed.