Journal: Jeanette Sperry

1895 (Wednesday) – This was a red letter day for me, I was quite a nervous girl with not too much confidence in myself, but I was so thrilled I scarcely slept at all that night. Mother (Caroline Webb) couldn’t imagine what had happened when I was out of bed so early in the morning, after a dance the night before when she spoke to me I went up to her and said “Mother, I am going to help a dancing Professor (Professor Pickering) introduce his dances tonight.” I told her that Father (Charles Henry Sperry) was going to take me up to the Opera House this afternoon and play the violin while he taught me the dances. Then I told her how Esther (Emily Esther Sperry) acted and she said “I am glad you got the chance to do it.” In the afternoon, I went through the dances. Father thought he should have gone through the dance once more, it was the Harvard Gavotte, but he said “Mr. Sperry, that daughter of yours is so light on her feet she could dance anything.”

In the evening, first a waltz was called and all there were invited to dance. He came up to me for the dance, he whispered in my ear, “I thought I would call a waltz so that we could get in step with each other”. Then the dances commenced, I distinctly remember the names of the two new ones, the Harvard Gavotte and the Wentworth. When he came and asked me for the Harvard Gavotte, Father leaned over, and in a loud whisper said “I don’t think she can remember that with only one practice, why don’t you get one of the Miss Foote’s?” I immediately sat down and the professor stepped back and waited. The music started and the professor came again and we danced it together. I always liked that dance even better than the others, but it never did become popular. There seemed to be so much grace and beauty in it.

During the dance he called the Polka, to give me a chance to rest, that was something I never did need at a dance. He danced with one of the Foote girls, but here came a young chap and asked for the dance, a town boy, he had never asked me for a dance before and he asked for the dance, we surely did dance from one end of the floor to the other. Afterwards we continued our dances and last of all he called the medley and danced with the other Miss Foote, while here came another boy from the side lines and asked me to dance with him. That was one time that I could say that I never missed a dance. In talking about it, my sister and some of her girlfriends tried to tease me, they said I looked so frightened as if to say “don’t whip me this time and I will never do it again.” I think it was plain jealousy on their part. Mr. Grover told me in one of the dances, when I had to waltz out from under his arm and on to meet him, I looked as if I were floating in the air, so I guess I did not do so bad after all, at least after then when I was at a dance, I never lacked for a dancing partner. It was the older boys who danced with me now. And they were the very best dancers in the town.

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