Notes from the Nobility
To The Lords & Ladies of We Make History,
I thank you for your smiles, your beauty, your grace and many fond memories
from my recent Ball.
As our particular mission within The Kingdom continues we not only look
fondly back on years of joy in the accomplishment of so grand and lofty an endeavour
but also here in the present smile with warmth and satisfaction upon so
gracious, so lovely an assembly of noble souls even as we cast our vision
forward with faith, hope, love and great expectation of all the good that is
yet to come.
We Make History represents more than history and more than the arts - as
wonderfully important as these may be. We Make History represents nobility
and aspirations of the highest order, a desire to see people lifted up and
moving joyfully forward, good companions together on the high road of life
- The King's Highway.
Dominus Rex. Dominus Regnat. Dominus Vobiscum.
Your humble servant,
Her Majesty The Queen
Westmoreland: O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no dance today!
King Henry: What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are marked to DANCE we are anow
To do so with vigour; and at ye Royall Court Ball,
The fewer the men, the greater the share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires;
But if it be a sin to covet honourable dance,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not one man from England;
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
King Henry V, Act IV, iii, an
Greetings to Her Majesty and Lord Scott,
While the parallel drawn to the Bard's immortal words which prelude the
Battle of Agincourt is imperfect as those who were unable to join us on the
occasion of Her Majesty's Ball are always honoured and welcome, the
sentiment behind them holds true: our intimate assembly was perfect in it's
own right. As always, the ladies were lovely and graceful; the gentlemen
paragons of gallantry and decorum. I admire so very much the efforts put
forth by Her Most Fair Majesty and her guests to recreate the fashion and
manners of ages past; the Ball is truly an opportunity to lose one's self to
a more refined time.
At the conclusion of the evening, I found myself casting thoughts forward in
time merely a few weeks to the next opportunity we shall have to be
together. And though we cannot step in the same river twice, I am confident
the next occasion which celebrates His Excellency will be every bit as
Your devoted sister,
Lady Trudy of Scottsdale
We would like to thank you for another beautiful Ball. We so appreciate the
Balls. It has become a party we look forward to attending. It's not any
party, but a special one that we can't find anywhere else around, where
there is good atmosphere, beautiful clothing, awesome entertainment with
enjoyable music and dancing, and time for fellowship and refreshments. What
a beautiful tool to teach the young, and not so young, to be courteous and
polite, through uplifting entertainment.
The music was so pleasant, the dances so nice, where else are to be found so
many fine steps? Though we were so tired from a very, very busy day, we so
enjoyed every moment of it. We had the opportunity to make new friends and
fellowship with many.
May the Lord bless you and your family.
Lady de Lacy
PS What a cute idea this
Knights of the Golden
Horseshoe! Aren't you something?!
Your Majesty & Your Lordship,
Three days removed from Her Majesty's Ball, and still the afterglow of the
evening is in my heart. I do not exaggerate in saying that this ranks as my
favourite ball since my very first ball in Her Majesty's Realm three years
ago. I thank you most dearly -- with a courtly bow from afar -- for your
long labours to make such an evening possible. I feel Blessed beyond
measure, and surely others share the sentiment.
The reasons for my heightened joy are many, but I shall name two. Firstly,
after many years of not thinking myself worthy enough and wanting to dance
with as many guests as possible, I finally found the opportunity and courage
to ask for a dance with Her Majesty, which I received to great delight. As
I have said before, she is indeed The Dancing Queen!
Secondly, I also found opportunity to give advice and encouragement to a
family of newcomers who had questions about the ways of 18th Century Dance.
I fancy myself a dancing master one day, and I savored the opportunity to
share the techniques that have uplifted me. I do hope I was successful in
teaching the young ones to absorb themselves in the dance, to share joyous
expressions, to move with grace, to honour with
every step, and to peer into their partner's eyes. And I do not care what
other dancing masters think of such gestures, but if the ladies and
gentlemen should feel inclined to a raise a free hand in joy during a
turning or leading step, they should do so without hesitation or fear!
God Save The Queen!
God Bless We Make History!
In Christ, I Remain,
Your Humble Servant And Friend,
Viscount Christopher Francis
(on a diplomatic mission to the Spaniards in North America)
P.S.... Did that Indian sage mention any visions of a Cardinal flying from
the firepits of an enclave known as Pittsburgh? Or a Phoenix rising from
the ashes, perhaps?
Queen And Country
As taken from the journal of Viscount Christopher of Surrey, England on a
diplomatic mission to
Her Majesty's Ball, as presented by
We Make History.
17th January, The Year Of Our Lord 1709 --
I give praise to GOD for many wonderful things, among them the opportunities
to dance with Her Majesty's loyal subjects and friends from afar. As such, I
consulted my tailor for a suitable outfit that would capture the elegance
and joy of the evening in one fitting. Verily, I say, she succeeded beyond
all measure of reasonable expectation, as evidenced in the journey to the
ballroom. Another carriage pulled alongside, and its passenger, a roguish
sort, did notice my dressings and cocked hat. He conferred to me a low,
common, and yet complimentary greeting.
When I passed through the great door of the hall, the Royal Court artist did
immediately take note of my peach-coloured satin jacket and breeches trimmed
with lace and the festive ribbons protruding from my knees. I dare say I
caused a minor stir, for not five minutes after my arrival I found myself
suddenly standing before Her Majesty The Queen, in her trademark robe a la
francaise of gold and crimson, her smile as wide as the James River.
"Your Majesty!" I saluted, and with great haste I swept off my
three-cornered hat, fell back on one foot and bowed deeply to her, labouring
to hold my balance and give proper reverence to a beloved and merry Monarch.
She, as always, graciously welcomed me.
To her side, a lady bustled with excitement over my choice of attire. "You
look so awesome!" she said to me with giddy expectations. I did return the
compliment and made affectionate note of her gown, a joyous overflowing stew
of yellow and blue.
"I am the court jester," she explained to me. I detected a slight jingle in
her steps, so as they say, she truly had arrived with bells on. Foremost on
her mind, however, beyond her admiration of style, was her insistence that I
give her at least four dances.
"My lady," I explained to her, "I have promised many dances to many ladies!"
I say I did not bear false witness for one moment, for I have a reputation
within the Kingdom of seeking out as many different ladies as possible. I
consider it my mission, for Queen and Country. Yet I did not turn her down,
confident that I would somehow find a way to satisfy her longings. This ball
would be an intimate affair, with a small but select group of ladies and
gentlemen, including a courier for the Royal Court of Spain, a noblewoman of
Portugal, Le Comte et La Comtesse de la Rochelle of France, and a young
masqued boy rumoured to be the Scarlet Pimpernel.
I greeted His Lordship, who gave great praise to my dressings. As we
conversed, one of our players observed in jest to our Master of Ceremonies,
that this may be the only time he has been outdone in fashion.
I blushed. Outdo His Lordship? Oh, Heavens, no! The mere thought is
unfathomable! Still, the Royal Court artists and others did insist on
pictures, and at my request, I posed with several ladies of the realm.
Beauty, though, extends deep beyond any fabric, shall we not agree? Thus I
was humbled when a newcomer to Her Majesty's Realm, a lady of integrity and
purpose, consulted me for advice on the performance of courtly dances, both
for herself and her three young and beautiful daughters.
Eager to hone my aspirations as a dancing master, I gave them my most
sincere advice to absorb themselves in the joy of each figure and to move
with grace, happiness, and humility. I showed them a simple yet elegant
curtsy for those times of reverence.
"Uplift your partners," I said to the family. "Give your partner honour in
I demonstrated a graceful turn with one of the young ladies. "Look right
into your partner's eyes," I said. "Enjoy the music and your company."
The lady echoed my instructions. "Dignity and respect," she repeated to the
His Lordship assembled us and presented Her Majesty, The Queen, after which
he regaled us with a story from his recent travels to the colonies. An
Indian chief, he said, had seen an omen -- a vision of a cardinal swooping
down and plucking the feathers from an eagle. A curious vision, indeed.
Perhaps the matter was concerning another realm, a conflict far away, or
maybe some allusion to a great diversion involving a ball wrapped in
We had little time to ponder it as the grand promenade began. Seeing the
Royal Court Jester unaccompanied when so many had escorts, my heart nudged
me forward to act with kindness. We took hands and joined the stately
parade. As is custom, it wound about and around, ending in a circle where
His Lordship called out the various guests of the Realm.
I entertained her again for the first dance, a lively circle entitled
"Noel." The gentlemen and ladies skipped around in turn as a chorus, away
from and back to each other, then circling some more or turning their
partners as verses.
I note the gentlemen in their enthusiasm would often skip a great distance,
leaving the ladies more steps than they expected to catch up with their
partners, but all was well as everyone found each other in the end.
The call went out for "Christ
Church Bells," one of my favourites, and I spared
no moments bowing to a new lady.
"Do you have any objection to being head couple?" I inquired of her. She did
not, as we formed a new set. Although I laboured to dissuade any unease in
the lady, I must admit I missed one step as our dancing mistress explained
it, leaving me standing about awkwardly and producing a moment of humourous
"I am sorry," I said, noting the chuckles around me and the ladies who had
missed not a step.
My gracious partner faulted me not. The focus of my distraction, I should
note, was a lady diagonal from me as I subtly encouraged her to look at my
countenance, if not my eyes, as we turned each other around. Indeed, making
eye contact is a point of joyous manner I labour for others to learn.
My lessons of grace were not lost on the lady newcomer, whom I chose as my
"As long as it is not confusing," she said, worried for her skill.
"Do not worry," I said. "I shall make it as unconfusing as possible."
To my great delight, she danced with an elegant and courtly flourish,
holding my hand high in those figures where we turned each other. Even
through the unfamiliar steps, she remained determined to enjoy the time on
the floor and dance on, speaking to me often with inspiring words of
encouragement in the proper accent of my homeland.
"Dear sir, dear sir, how are you?"
To be truthful, I should tell you that both of us had moments where we were
found ourselves lost, either in the dance or in the figures.
"Thank you, my lady," I praised with a bow upon the conclusion of the
number, adding a compliment to her steadfastness and poise.
For many years I have not considered myself worthy enough to dance with Her
Majesty, but on this night, I summoned my courage and asked. Of course, the
gracious Monarch that she is, she accepted, and together we enjoyed
Sellinger's Round. I found opportunity to demonstrate my fancy steps,
skipping and hopping with precision and air of a learned gentlemen. One must
dance his best for the Queen!
Our players and our dancing mistress proceeded through a list of old
favourites: "Soldier's Joy," "The Queen's Jig,"
and "Jack's Maggot," where I took great
delight in dancing with Le Comtesse even though we found the "hey for
three" a most challenging figure. The serpentine movements sometimes
bewildered us, and we would have surely tried the patience our dancing
masters. So I found myself quite honoured and surprised when La Comtesse
remarked that she was glad to dance "with someone who knows what he is
I took advantage of a pause in the celebration for a moment of
improvisation, as our players performed a slow-tempo song. Spotting our
Court Jester, and knowing of her persistence if I did not engage her in
another dance, I bowed to her and took her hand. We invented a minuet on the
spot, although I admit I did most of the stepping while she followed along.
She thanked me once more.
"The Spaniard" is a lively dance that
involves much skipping and hopping. So is our beloved Cookie Dance, where
short sets left plenty of opportunities for the lords and ladies to leap
But where was our jester? I spotted her to the side, unengaged and quite
lonely as another dance was about to begin.
With nary a thought, I dashed all the way across the hall to her. "My lady,
I will not have you sitting here alone! Will you dance with me?"
She accepted, of course, and we enjoyed "Haste To The Wedding," just the way
a dancing master of Williamsburg taught it to me: turning right and left,
circling left and right, passing my partner back to back, clapping twice,
turning my partner, back-to-back with my neighbor, clapping twice, turning
my neighbor and starting once more.
It is inevitable that when one is consumed by pleasure, the clock should
accelerate. The time for the last waltz arrived, much as many us did not
wish the evening to end.
"I thought it went until midnight," the Court Jester puzzled.
"Unfortunately, it does not," I lamented to her, "even though I could dance
I invited her to share the waltz with me. Yet this time, instead of a simple
two-step, I had the longing and passion to dance another improvised minuet
or progression step. My gracious Jester indulged my request.
"Forward," I called softly to her, stepping with a slight dip in
three-quarter time, inside hands clasped and raised above us. "Around," I
directed, leading her daintily in another direction so that we could resume
our forward step without colliding with the other couples. Thus the
arrangement continued, I leading her all the way.
Occasionally we would turn to vary the figures -- "Left hand round," "Right
hand round," -- before stepping onward gracefully. She was not sure at times
what I had planned for her, but the Jester followed my every step, even if I
played the fool. Just as I taught the others, I felt she honoured me as I
honoured her, and when the waltz concluded, I fell into a low bow.
"God Bless You!" I whispered to her.
The warmth and beauty of the evening
lingered within me long after the carriage ride home, as I lie in rest, and
as I gave Praise to GOD at Church the following day. Even out of my
stockings and breeches and cocked hat, I still found myself saying, "My
Lady!" and bowing here and there. Dignity and respect -- and an unquenchable
love for all things elegant and courtly.
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