In “The Laws of Etiquette; Or, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society” written in 1836 in the US by a Gentleman there’s this paragraph:
If you accompany your wife to a dance, be careful not to dance with her. Such are some of the canons of the ball.
Does anyone know if it was the same in England in Austen’s times? Or if there was such a rule in reference to private balls, was it also valid for public assemblies?
I looked through Emma, and indeed, it seems that husbands and wives are not dancing with each other. When Frank plans the ball he says: “You [Emma] and Miss Smith, and Miss Fairfax, will be three, and the two Miss Coxes five, (…) And there will be the two Gilberts, young Cox, my father [Mr. Weston], and myself [Frank Churchill], besides Mr. Knightley.” Continue reading