" In 1779," writes G. Lenotre, "we catch a glimpse of Marie Antoinette at the opera ball. She had been once before with the King, who encouraged her to go again in strict incognita. The Queen accordingly left Versailles without any of her suite in attendance, and at the barrier hastened into a hired carriage to avoid recognition. Unfortunately, the conveyance thus honoured was very old, and extremely ramshackle. Having gone quite a short distance, it broke down while still some way from the Opera House. The Queen, with the solitary lady who accompanied her, was forced to retire into the nearest house, which happened to be a silk mercer's shop.
"Here she waited for some time, without unmasking, so the inmates never knew the identity of their visitor. It was discovered that the carriage was past mending, so the first hackney coach that came by was hailed, and Marie Antoinette arrived at the ball in this humble equipage. There she found several of her household, who had come on separately, and remained the whole evening masked, dancing several gavottes in the delicate and charming manner for which she was justly famous."
In England the gavotte was never quite so popular as the minuet, but was greatly danced at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. At Bath, Beau Nash presided in the Pump Room over many gavottes danced by the youth, beauty, and fashion of the day. Most of its French piquancy and charm remained in the dance, as seen in England ; it seemed impossible for anybody to rob it of the quaint, elusive charm so essentially its own.
The gavotte requires the tinkling notes of a mellow old spinet, the rustling of brocade, the twisting of powdered heads. In many ballrooms it had a great vogue, and was seen in the theatres, danced, as a solo, by some of the greatest artistes of the day, even by Vestris herself.
other, each looking towards her partner
Fig. 5. Step 5. The corner step. From opposite corners, the dancers approach and pass each the assemble
In Germany the gavotte holds a prominent place at Court balls, and the dances given by those in the Court circle. There it is danced, even now, with a great deal of skill and charm.
For children, the gavotte forms a delightful fancy dance, in which two girls, or a girl and a boy, can figure equally well. The steps are not particularly difficult, and the slow, swaying grace of the dance forms an admirable contrast to the livelier measures of most other dances, and proves ex-cellent practice. The gavotte step should be practised straight up the room before attempting a complete gavotte. It is almost like a polka step - without the spring. Starting with the right foot, it continues as follows : Right foot forward, left foot drawn behind, right foot forward, assemble with left foot. An assemble is a step done in the air, the foot being cut inwards, towards the opposite knee, then outwards, while the dancer raises herself on the toe of the stationary foot.
Step i. Fig. i. Gavotte step, forward. The start of the step, lady's right and gentleman's left foot extended.
Step 2. Fig. 2. Mirror step. Starting apart, the dancers take a step forward, both using the right foot, and join their right hands, raising them above their heads. They lift their left feet on to the toe at the back, and lean forward, looking into each other's faces, as if into a mirror, under their raised hands.
Step 3. Fig. 3. Mirror step, continued. They next step back on their left feet, and point their right, extending their arms and looking at each other over their shoulders. Afterwards they walk round slowly, and repeat the step from opposite places.
Step 4. Fig. 4. Back to back. Moving in a circle, and back to back, the dancers bend, both feet together ; step out and point left foot, bending back to look at each other. This is repeated four times in a circle.
Step 5. Fig. 5. Corner step. From opposite corners, they approach and pass each other, stepping forward on one foot and sharply pointing the other, looking towards their partners all the time.
Step 6. Fig. 6. Gavotte step, turning.
Fig. 7. Step 7. The final position. The dancers curtsey and bow respectively. This occurs but once in the gavotte, at the end
By Elizabeth Stennett
The tendency of this age, so far as children are concerned, is to impart knowledge in an interesting and pleasurable way.
The Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements have done a great deal to bring forward the truth that useful knowledge can be acquired by children in their hours of recreation. By pageant games, we teach history and the great facts of English literature. And there is no doubt that children will learn almost any subject if it is put before them in the right way.
Great interest is taken in first aid and sick nursing. Young people eagerly attend lectures and drills, and learn a great deal that will be useful to them in after life. Even the younger children, too young for ambulance teaching proper, can learn perfectly well a good deal about first aid in emergency if it is taught them as a "game."