On 14 February, Emma Hamilton cordially invites you to the National Maritime Museum for an evening of dancing, gaming, exquisite conversation and revelry. Illustrious fellow guest and expert dancer Mrs Bennet shares her excitement getting ready for the ball… 

My dear sister,

Here at Longbourn we are all agog at the prospect of a ball to recreate the Court at Naples in Greenwich and for Valentine's too!

Your hospitality in London for this event will be a delight to the girls. With five daughters to marry off one cannot miss the opportunity for them to meet young naval officers, of which we hope there will be many at the ball! After much persuading that it will be a good investment, Mr Bennet has agreed to purchase new dresses for all the girls. Though I think Mary might be satisfied with Jane’s dress from last season as she is not so concerned.

So my dear, if you could send me the latest fashion plates then I can instruct our little dressmaker here in Meryton to create something fitting for such an occasion! We must be able to bear scrutiny by the haut ton and persons of fame and fashion such as Emma Hamilton!

Of course, my dear Lydia is debating whether the dark blue of the naval uniform sets off a man’s features as well as does the red of the militia! I myself always favoured the militia as you may well remember from the days of our happy youth!

As for the dancing at the ball, I’ve heard that there is a good dancing mistress to assist on the night for those less familiar with the dances. My girls are going to the classes run by this good lady in Surbiton and Fulham, to practice their steps and ensure a dainty turn of foot to say nothing of their ankles!

We are all in such a state of anticipation! You will be pleased to know that my nerves are bearing up well. It is the prospect of such an elegant gathering and to meet you again.

Yours affectionate sister

Mrs Bennet

Mrs Bennet's dance class is part of our 'Seduction Late' event on Valentine's Day.

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