Monday 15 June 2015

Music and Dancing

On a private dance in the Field Lane (Irish) slums ...

In Red Lion-court and Blue-court, there is the most public and wanton desecration of the Sabbath. Two Missionaries recently visited Blue-court on the Sabbath evening, and found a large room in one house crowded with persons, who had been admitted at a charge of one penny each person. and who were assembled for music and dancing. About 100 yards from this spot, the door of another room stood open in Red Lion-court, and as they approached they heard the sounds of music and dancing here also. The Missionaries entered and found the company composed of young men and women of various ages, many of the latter not more than sixteen years of age. The females sat on forms around the room, while the men stood, leaving a space in the centre for the dance. At one end sat the fiddler, in full employ, and the dance proceeded. As soon as the fiddler rested, they approached the woman to whom the room belongs (who immediately recognised one of the Missionaries) and addressed her on the open violation of the Sabbath, which she both permitted and encouraged in her house. For a time silence prevailed, and the attention of the company was arrested. The blame was thrown by the woman upon her son, who was the fiddler. He excused himself by saying that he was out of work, and had no other way of getting his living. While he was speaking a general movement took place, the men attempted to crush the Missionaries against the wall. Some shouted, “Put them out;” others, “We are not of your religion;” and others called to the fiddler, “Play up, play up”, which was done. Many of them followed the Missionaries shouting and yelling after them into the street. About sixty persons were present in this one room.

London City Mission Magazine, January 1842, p.56

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