Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex, an electronic edition

by Hannah Woolley [Woolley, Hannah, fl. 1670]

date: 1675
source publisher: Printed by A. Maxwell for Edward Thomas
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century

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Rules for a Gentlewomans behaviour at a Ball

| | 73 Ladies, it is presumed you know the grounds of Dancing, else your resort to a Ball amongst well-accomplisht Gentlewomen, would not only be improper but very much hazard your repute and good esteem among them; and as you can dance, so I would have you understand the rules and formalities of dancing, which are practised in that place.

If you are skilful in this faculty, be not difficulty perswaded to make a demonstration of your art. A fault is found in many of whom if you request a Dance or Song, they will be dear to all your importunities; but may be when you are out of humour, and have left them to their own liberty, will dance so long till they have tired themselves and the Spectators; and Sing till they have neither voice, nor their Auditors ears.

I say, if you have skill, be not over-conceited thereof, lest it lead you into the error of engaging in some Dance you do not understand; or but imperfectly.

If you are perswaded to Dance, and though you alledg, a great many Apologies to the contrary, yet when you find your self obliged thereunto, by no means refuse. For it is much better to expose your self to some little disorder in being complacent, than be suspected of pride.

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