Tuesday, 20 June 2017

1884 - Masquerade Ball

          On March 20, 1884, the Alpha Division of the local Knights of Pythia held their annual masquerade ball in the Pythian Armory, which was located in the Alexandra Hall :
“The costumes were elegant, and handsome, the crowd was large and orderly, the floor was in splendid condition, the music was divine and there was nothing more to wish for.
“Upwards of 150 couples stood up in the grand march, and many there were who sat around the side of the room and watched the gaily and fantastically-dressed people threading their winding way athwart the floor.
“It was about 9 o’clock when the dancing commenced, and it continued without intermission until a few minutes after 12, when, in loud voice, someone exclaimed: ‘Ladies and gentlemen will please unmask.’
“Cries of ‘Oh!, Oh1’ went around, little feminine shrieks and ejaculations were heard, and everyone commenced to look curiously at his or her neighbor and wonder who he or she might be.
“Then the masks came off, and people went around shaking hands and saying : ‘Why, I didn’t know you,’ just as if anybody imagined that they did. But it was before the unmasking commenced that the fun was, and flirtations were as thick as speculations on the result of the Toronto bribery case.
“Gypsy queens told fortunes for courtiers and peasants without asking fees from either; other queens descended from their thrones and talked with the common clay; Spanish beauties flashed glances sharp as daggers from eyes as black as night that shone shone and glittered underneath the clinging grace of the dainty mantilla, whirled in the languid waltz and chatted alike with vagabonds and peers; Patience and Grosvenor rehearsed their love scene with charming effect; Scotch lassies flirted with Chinese mandarins and threw languishing glances at vagabond negroes; the starry heavens glistened in all their glory upon the scene and lovers basked in the rare, pale light of many moons that formed the crown for many a charming, graceful head.
“Every nation, almost, under the sun was represented, and the costumes were remarkably true. Taking it all in all, it was one of, if not the, most successful masquerade balls ever given in the city.”1
1 The Pythian Knights : Hold Their Masquerade Ball in the Armory”
Hamilton Spectator.    March 20, 1884.

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