The Minute Book
Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Military Ball (Fredericton 1888)
Topic: The RCR

The Military Ball (Fredericton 1888)

The Beauty, Chivalry, and Aristocracy of the Capital Entertained by the Officers of the Infantry School Corps and Their Ladies—The Drill Hall Gorgeously Decorated—Who Formed the Quadrille h'Honneur—The Names of Those Invited, and the Guests Present

The Capital, Fredericton, N.B., 11 February 1888

Although the invitation card merely contained the words:

The Commandant Royal School of Infantry,
Officers "A" Company, Infantry School Corps,
Thursday Evening, 9th February, 1888,
at 8.30 o'clock.
Dancing—Drill Hall. An answer is requested to Mess Secretary.

The affair, on Thursday evening, in every respect, was a ball, an unequaled success, and a most enjoyable one to all who had the good fortune to be present.

The Drill Hall was so completely metamorphosed by the gay decorations as to be almost unrecognizable. From a large, plain raftered hall, designed only for the winter parades of the Infantry School Corps and instructional purposes for the Officers, N.C.O. and men attached from time to time, and for the 71st Battalion, the rare good taste of Adj't Young, Lieut. Hemming, Quarter Master Sergt. Walker, Mess Sergt. Boutelier, and Sergt. Kearney, ably assisted by numbers of the rank and file of the infantrymen, who declared their determination that the decorations of this ball of their officers should surpass all previous affairs in the history of the Permanent Corps,—the Drill Hall was changed into a really magnificent Ball Room.

The decorations were in harmony with the traditions of the imperial troops. Dazzling stars, made of bayonets and crossed swords and rifles, adorned the walls in every direction, while evergreens, bunting in profusion, and beautiful pictures and photographs were utilized with the most charming effect.

The Commandant's orderly room, on the ground floor, on the right-hand side of the entrance to the Drill Hall, was transformed into a pretty drawing room; while the opposite orderly room, on the left-hand side of the entrance, was used as the Ladies' Dressing Room. Up-stairs, overhead, the Recreation Rooms thus did duty:—No. 1 Room as a Gentlemen's Dressing Room, and No. 2 Room as a Card Room. The Band, under the baton of Bandmaster Hayes, occupied the Gallery over the inside front entrance to the Hall. On the upper end, adjoining the Band Room and Orderly Room of the 71st Battalion, the Supper Room was partitioned off, the tables being plentifully supplied, during the whole evening, with the choicest dainties prepared under the special directions of that eminent caterer, mess Sergt. Boutelier, and which was an attractive quarter during the entire evening.

The Band Gallery was very beautifully ornamented with caribou heads, bayonet stars, bunting, and evergreens; while from the centre was suspended the Colors of the Corps.

On the left-hand side of the Ball Room, bayonet stars, crossed rifles, and crossed swords were arranged with grand effect. At intervals, all along this side, pictures in various colors and gilded frames lit up by the sombre tint of the greening.

Occupying conspicuous places on the walls, were pictures of the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise, General Middleton, and a group of officers in full uniform, consisting of Col. Turnbull, Commandant of the Cavalry School, Quebec; Col. Maunsell, D.A.G, Commandant of "A" School, Fredericton: Col. D'Orsonnens, Commandant of "B" School, St Jean's Que.; and Col. Otter, D.A.G., Commandant of "C" School, Toronto. There were also pictures of groups of officers comprising the various Permanent Corps in the Dominion, and several groups of officers who have been attached to the Fredericton School. The right-hand side, or that nearest the river, was profusely decorated with flags, evergreens, stars of burnished swords, bayonets, etc., while a handsomely designed monogram of the Corps—"Pro Patria"—added to the embellishment.

On entering the Ball Room, the eye was dazzled with an Italian garden scene, with feudal castle in the background, and lake and forest scenery, at the opposite end. By a skillful use of the theatrical scenery of the Corps, this gorgeous effect was produced. Behind this was the Sapper Room. Overhead, the rafters were entwined with evergreens, and suspended from them were many-colored Chinese lanterns, gold and silver balls, and brilliant chandeliers, which threw a blaze of light over the fairy like scene.

In the upper right-hand corner of the room there was a very picturesque log-cabin. In it, by a subdued, tranquilizing light, many a tete-a-tete was had by those preferring to "sit out a dance."

Opposite this was a small blanket wig-wam, while near the entrance, a bell-tent was pitched, carpeted with furs, the trophies of Col. Maunsell's rifle.

Although 8.30 was the hour named on the card, it was after nine before any considerable number of guests arrived—the fear of being the first-comers, no doubt, causing the delay. They were received most cordially by the wives of the officers of the Corps, viz.:—

  • Mrs. Maunsell,
  • Mrs. Brown,
  • Mrs Douglas Young,
  • Mrs. Hemming.

The absence of Mrs. Gordon (owing to her being on a visit to Kingston) was universally regretted.

The gusts were announced by Staff-Sergeant Polkinghorn, in full uniform.

Outside the Officers of the I.S.C. (who wore shell jackets), the three arms of the service were represented by officers in the full uniform of their respective Corps; vis., by Capt. Campbell, 8th Cavalry; Capt. George Seely, Garrison Artillery; and by several Officers of the 71st Infantry.

At 9.30 the programme was commenced. The quadrille d'honneur was composed of:—

Col. MaunsellMiss Temple
Judge FraserMrs. Maunsell
Surgeon BrownMrs. Hilyard
Thomas Temple, MPMrs. Douglas Young
Att'y General BlairMrs. T.C. Allen
Adj't Douglas YoungMrs. Chas. W. Beckworth
Hon. B.R. StevensonMrs. Brown
Sheriff SterlingMrs. Geo. N. Babbitt
Lieut. HemmingMrs. O'Malley
Mayor HazenMrs. Hemming

The following was the programme:—

2Bouquet of Valses Ar'd Hayes
4LanciersHit and MissAr'd Hayes
5ValseFern HillCol. Maunsell
8QuadrilleEscapadeAr'd Hayes
9ValseGerman Love SongsStrauss
10MazurkaAnnaCol. Maunsell
11PolkaBon BouchaWaldtenfeld
13ValseSpirit of LoveHartmann
14ValseMy DreamWaldtenfeld
16ValseSoldiers' SongsGungi
17PolkaJubileeCol. Maunsell
18LanciersBric a BracHayes
19ValseLove's DreamlandRoeder
20GalopGay and HappyRipley
God Save the Queen.

Dancing was kept up until 3 o'clock in the morning, the excellence of the music attracting the notice of all present, and being the subject of universal praise.

(The orginally published article concludes with a list of the invited gusts, which is annotated to show who attended the ball.)

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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