Masquerade Balls


Honestly, Amy, how many times have I told you that it's not a good idea to read a scary book late at night? What is it this time?

The Murders of the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe?
You found the book outside?
Okay, put in down for a minute and let me know if you've uncovered more information about the upcoming ball.

It's a masquerade ball? You've devised a plan so both you and Charlotte can go? 

I'm not sure how dumb you think I am, but I know for certain that Charlotte, the maid, will in no way be going to this masquerade ball.
A domestic servant in the 19th century would simply not be invited to a popular ball. 

Sounds to me like you’ve been reading Cinderella. Maybe you should stick with the scary stuff.

Okay, so you spoke with the lady of the house. You told her you would absolutely luuuv to go to the ball? You practically begged? And she finally agreed to hire a new maid temporarily so Charlotte will have the time to complete the gown for her ... and then sew a whole new ballgown for you?
Wow. I'm sure that took some pretty "creative"  persuasion.

And then you're planning on convincing the lady of the house that the new maid should stay permanently? Then, you're going to suggest that Charlotte become a Lady's Companion just for you? And the cat?

First of all, you're thinking way too far ahead - Charlotte can't possibly go to the ball. Yes, I realize she'll be wearing a mask so no one will even realize who she is. What's that? She'll be wearing gloves so no one will even notice she's missing two fingers on her left hand? You'll stuff something into the two finger shafts of the gloves? You have it all figured out? 

Ahuh. Maybe you should also figure out just how Charlotte will be able to afford buying the massive amount of material she will need to create her own gown - she's going to have to sew a gown for herself, right?

During the  middle ages, masquerade balls, or Carnival, began after the winter solstice, around January 1st, as part of the Feast of Fools, particularly in France.
In 17th century Italy, masquerade balls were elaborate affairs held for the upper classes, especially in Venice.
Masquerade balls existed in London, England, in the 18th century. but Carnival held in Paris in the 19th century formed the most amusing, and even political, celebrations of all. These balls had origins in the pagan festivities held in honour of the advent of spring planting season.

In the mid 1800s, when you currently exist, it is acceptable and expected during a masquerade ball for the guests to initiate a conversation with a statement such as, "Do you know me?" 

Here's something interesting for you to think about while you're stuck in the 19th century, Amy:
A prominent masquerade ball for the rich and famous will be held on November 28, 1996, beginning at 10:00 p.m., in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Hosted by the author Truman Capote, (Breakfast at Tiffany's, In Cold Blood) and planned by him, the lavish affair will be named The Black and White Ball. It will include a midnight meal for the 500 guests, including 450 bottles of champagne. Tables will be decorated with white candles secured in gold candelabras. Men will be required to wear tuxedos, and women will be required to wear either black or white formal dresses; all guests must wear masks until midnight. There will be, of course a live band. It will end in the wee hours of the next morning.