Mrs. Perkin's Ball, by William Makepeace Thackeray

The Ball-Room Door.

The Ball-room door

A hundred of knocks follow Frederick Minchin’s: in half an hour Messrs. Spoff, Pinch, and Clapperton have begun their music, and Mulligan, with one of the Miss Bacons, is dancing majestically in the first quadrille. My young friends Giles and Tom prefer the landing-place to the drawing-rooms, where they stop all night, robbing the refreshment-trays as they come up or down. Giles has eaten fourteen ices: he will have a dreadful stomach-ache tomorrow. Tom has eaten twelve, but he has had four more glasses of negus than Giles. Grundsell, the occasional waiter, from whom Master Tom buys quantities of ginger-beer, can of course deny him nothing. That is Grundsell, in the tights, with the tray. Meanwhile direct your attention to the three gentlemen at the door: they are conversing.

1st Gent. — Who’s the man of the house — the bald man?

2nd Gent. — Of course. The man of the house is always bald. He’s a stockbroker, I believe. Snooks brought me.

1st Gent. — Have you been to the tea-room? There’s a pretty girl in the tea-room; blue eyes, pink ribbons, that kind of thing.

2nd Gent. — Who the deuce is that girl with those tremendous shoulders? Gad! I do wish somebody would smack ’em.

3rd Gent. — Sir — that young lady is my niece, sir — my niece — my name is Blades, sir.

2nd Gent. — Well, Blades! smack your niece’s shoulders: she deserves it, begad! she does. Come in, Jinks, present me to the Perkinses. — Hullo! here’s an old country acquaintance — Lady Bacon, as I live! with all the piglings; she never goes out without the whole litter. (Exeunt 1st and 2nd Gents.)

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00