“Come, Darcy,” said he, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”
~ Charles Bingley to Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3, Volume 1
Dancing provided one of the few socially acceptable ways for men and women to closely interact in Regency England. Hands brushed as they moved through the steps. Bits of conversation could be murmured as partners met passing through the figures of a dance. Someone had to teach both gentlemen and ladies how to get down with their demure selves.
Caper Merchant (noun)
A dancing master. FRENCH TERM: marchand des capriolles. To cut papers; to leap or jump in dancing. Also known as HOP MERCHANT.
- Slang term taken from 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
- Learn more about dancing masters and dancing during the Regency at Jane Austen’s World.
- To find out more about the dances of the Regency period and how they figured in society, head over to Regency Dances Org.
- To learn about Regency dances, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, read dancing master Thomas Wilson’s five tomes on the subject, to be found at The Online Books Page.