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temptation-like other good things abused. Still, grimness will never effect the cure of sinful frivolity; and until the right people begin to do the right things in the best manner, and in the right spirit, the world will go on from bad to worse, and the “salt” will be good for nothing but to be “cast out and trodden under foot of men.”—ED.]

Mr. Contra. Advocate dancing, Mr. Pro! Has it really come to such a pass with you as that? You—a staunch Nonconformist a father of a family-an elder of a Christian church, to become an advocate of such a profitless, yea, most ungodly amusement ! Never; I cannot credit it.

Mr. Pro. It is true, nevertheless. Let us sit down and discuss the matter fairly, for you are not of the foolish ones who dislike a thing merely because they have been brought up to dislike it (and a large proportion of those who disapprove of dancing, do so on no better ground); I don't despair of winning you over to my side, or, at least, of greatly mitigating your prejudice against it.

Contra. Never, my friend. The mere sound of the word dancing" is associated with late hours, undue excitement, extravagant if not immodest dress, and a host of concomitant evils of which the after lassitude of mind and body, the envyings and jealousies, and the impure atmosphere, are not the worst.

Pro. We are misunderstanding one another at the outset. Let me say most distinctly that to balls, to dancing parties which involve late hours and over dress, I object in toto : these evils are adjuncts of dancing when that amusement is carried to excess; but since they are not inseparable from it, I consider it most unfair to condemn dancing on that account. When used as a pleasant and genial recreation in the home circle, none of these “concomitant evils ” exist; why therefore should it be excluded from our Christian families any more than other pursuits which, when unduly followed,

prove injurious ? Imagine eight or ten young people, impelled by the joyous spirit natural to their age, standing up to dance in their ordinary evening dress, at a reasonable hour, with father aud mother looking on (if the latter be not playing the accompaniment); and, unless the God-given exuberance of their nature be a sin, I cannot see where you will discover harm.

Contra. In the sad waste of time, to begin with. Just fancy a number of Christian men and women, who are met together for recreation which shall fit them for more vigorous work, finding no better way of passing an evening than in jumping about to a set tune and form, like a number of marionettes. How undignified ! how utterly puerile! Surely Christians can meet for social intercourse and relaxation, and enjoy both, without being glad to “get up a dance," as it is called. Pro. Not always. At least my experience has not so taught


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me. My impressions of the “quiet evening parties,” which are the usual channels of friendly entertainment among religious people, are the dreariest possible; yet I belong to a large and prosperous *Church,” which numbers many intelligent and well-to-do members among its community, and have had opportunity enough for seeing how the religious tea parties worked. I call them, as a rule, more wearisome than the hardest work; nor am I singular in thus describing them. If the entertainer and the entertained would speak honestly, a large proportion would bear similar testimony, and confess to a feeling of relief when the “ party” was over. I have often been amused at noticing that the most cheerful moments were those in which the last farewells were being uttered. A strong family resemblance pervaded all these meetings. After tea had been handed round, the ladies collected in groups to talk over their family affairs and benevolent enterprises ; the gentlemen, also in separate groups, discussed Church members and finances and sermons, or stood about looking not dignified, my friend, but miserably foolish and awkward, as if they didn't know what to do with themselves, and wondered how they came there. Many a time have I wished that I were a musician, and could dash off a set of quadrilles, if by any means I might put a little life into them. After some rather lengthy pauses, à spirited individual would, perhaps, in a half-frightened voice, propose a round game," by way of mixing the ladies and gentlemen together,"—the “ Three Kingdoms," or

Twenty Questions” being usually the favourite—or, perhaps a little singing and playing would help to get through the evening as one lady expressed it, till the grand event the supper hourarrived. Now, calling to mind the scandal I have heard at these meetings, the paltry jealousies I have witnessed, and, withal, the utter childishness of the whole concern, I maintain that a cheerful impromptu dance would have done the younger ones more good, and given a pleasanter turn to the thoughts of the grown-up lookers-on.

Contra. Granting, for the sake of argument, that your description of a social evening among godly men and women is a fair oneand I do not think that it is—I would answer you thus : Weariness is the worst result of a religious tea party. Had you put a little life into the young people by the introduction of a quadrille, you might have had graver fault to find. It's not alone the silly waste of time which dancing involves that causes my strong disapprobation of it under any form—that is, to some extent, a negative evil only—but the positive harm resulting from it, which is partly occasioned by the very exuberance of spirits that you refer to 80 approvingly.

Pro. I don't understand you.

Contra. To speak more plainly, then—my second objection to dancing arises from the over-free intercourse it permits between

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the young people of opposite sexes, and the encouragement it thereby gives to what, for want of a better word, I must call by its own name—"flirting.”

Pro. As if young people of opposite sexes would not seek one another's society—aye, and “Airt "too—though never a dance were indulged in again! My dear Sir, they were intended to enjoy each other's company, and to be influenced and improved one by the other; and dancing, in discretion, is one of the legitimate means of forwarding this end.

Contra. You mistake me. It is not the friendly intercourse or companionship that I object to the quietest of sober games might bring that about, but the familiarity which the very nature of dancing almost compels, the love of admiration which it excites, thereby transforming a young woman into a flirt or a coquette, and the unrestrained tone of intercourse which it engenders between those who, before the dance, were all but strangers. It is neither desirable nor seemly that these things should be consented to in our families.

Pro. The same line of argument might be used against many really good things. One of our best and oldest members forbids his daughters to teach in the Sunday-schools—he calls them the "dissenting equivalent for balls and dancing-partien.” And it is quite true that matches are made up, and a great deal of most objectionable flirtation goes on among the young people thus engaged ; yet no one in their senses would condemn Sunday-school teaching on that account. One of our teachers kept our young people in a state of excitement far from salutary for two or three years, and Miss Y.'s flirtations, conquests, and semi-engagements to first one fellow-teacher and then another, were a constant source of foolish, idle talk-yet she, I know, looked on dancing as a sin, and denounced its adrocates as “ carnal !"

Contra. I call that an exceptional case, in nowise affecting my position. Dancing permits a degree of familiarity which no other pursuit or amusement can ; and for that cause I condemn it as the most objectionable of amusements. The “ contact of touch inseparable from it; the voluptuous motion (which is to many its chief beauty); the excited passions

Pro. Stay, my friend; you are running on too fast. “ Contact of touch” sounds very dreadful, knowing as I do all you would imply by it; but there is less of it in dancing than many suppose. I will not allude to waltzing, or “round dances” (held up to opprobrium by Lord Byron himself*), because they are generally regarded suspiciously, and rarely introduced in quiet parties; but in all other dances the merest touch of the hand, no more or even less than

* Lord Byron's poem on The Waltz.


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would be accorded in greeting an acquaintance, is sufficient; in fact, good dancing strictly prohibits romping in its mildest form, or a bold, over-familiar manner. In a Handbook on Dancing I find such a passage as this :—"The great point is to carry yourself uprightly, and to avoid the slightest approach to boisterousness, without being too formal ; even if ignorant of the figure, you may acquit yourself well by a calm, graceful carriage.” To the pure all things are pure; only to the worldling and the sensualist will dancing be the occasion of unholy feelings. Neither the beauty of motion which the dance exhibits, nor a friendly touch even of a feminine hand, will arouse impure thoughts, if the mind be not impure before.

Contra. I beg leave to differ. With young women it is different I have great faith in their purity, and believe that they are ignorant of the feelings which they are the innocent means of exciting: it is otherwise with their partners. Dancing is essentially sensuous, and its indulgence cannot but be detrimental to their spiritual advancement. For the sake of our religious young men, I would forbid it.

Pro. Religious young men should be able to take care of them selves. The fact is, many of them are miserably weak-little better than “muffs" who can only keep “good” by assuming an unnatural soberness of demeanour (which bears no resemblance to the calmness of strength) in order to conceal the moral cowardice which makes them fear to trust themselves to be what their Creator intended. They are afraid it is wrong to do this, and hurtful to their souls to indulge in that, till one wonders what degree of silliness and narrowness they will come to at last. I believe that the poor estimate formed of our Christian young men by the world (so poor, that the majority of business men are not over-anxious to employ them, and often do so only as a last resource) has been not a little occasioned by the needless restrictions, the more than puritanical strictness with which they have been brought up.

Contra. Ah! what would our grand old Puritan forefathers have said to such a subject being advocated by Christian men? In what light did they view dancing ?

Pro. The circumstances of their lives were totally different from ours. They had to protest against the licentious pastimes of a disreputable king and court ; dancing in their day was as unlike the dancing practised now, as was the Court of Charles II. dissimilar to that of our pure-hearted Queen-an additional proof to me that the evil influences attributed to dancing are not necessary, but accidental to it, and are produced just in proportion to the impurity of those who engage in it; therefore the better the people who dance, the less danger of its injuring them. Many truly pious people consider that religion consists essentially in abstaining; they will not wear gay colours, nor adorn their homes with beautiful

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works of art, and look with a half protest at a rose or a rainbow, as though to rejoice in harmonious colour were a sin-Paul speaks of them in the fourth chapter of his Epistle to Timothy-whereas I take it that the religion of Christianity consists in an active life of holiness, and love, and joy-a life of confidence in the love of God, and in His desire for our happiness.

Contra. True : but we are not to be conformed to this world. We are to come out—to be separate from unbelievers; their pursuits are not to be our pursuits, nor their amusements ours.

Pro. Which would effectually knock on the head all cricketing, boating, drilling-every manly exercise under the sun. Clearly that is not the way to uphold religion or to commend it before men. On this same principle a worthy precentor imagines that he bonours Dissent by never joining the hymn—“Lo ! He comes, with clouds descending,” to its own most appropriate and beautiful tune, “Helmsley,” but studiously puts it to another, because “ Church of England people sing it to Helmsley,' and he is a Nonconformist !” Oh! the littleness of human nature ! Neither Dissent nor religion will be commended to the world by narrow-minded bigotry. Besides, dancing is not only an amusement, but a part of education-no less. It improves the ear for "time;" it gives ease of carriage, and imparts grace to the figure ; the calisthenic exercises which now always form part of the dancing lesson, pand the chest and strengthen the spine. Few girls who have not learned to dance can walk with any degree of grace, and the more difficult feat of standing elegantly is almost out of the question with them.

Contra. You rather astonish me, inasmuch as I had an oldfashioned notion that the most graceful women, whether in walking, standing, or running, were those belonging to the Indian tribes in North America, and I never heard that they owed it to a dancingmaster.

Pro. I suppose not: and if our bairns could lead the wild free life of the Indian maiden they would attain the same light tread, and elegant, because natural, carriage. Seeing that we live in an artificial state to a large extent, we need to call in the aid of education to impart the grace of movement which in our civilization we have partially lost. And, to take a higher ground, you can point me to no passage of Scripture in which dancing is condemned.

Contra. Perhaps not in express words. I believe the spirit of its teaching is against you. I know they danced in Old Testament times, and that David speaks of it as a part of worship, but it was very different. They danced one by one, as an expression of jubilant feelings; there was no contact of touch, no unholy passions aroused, for the sexes were quite separate.

Pro. And yet-pardon the interruption—if you turn to Jere

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