the servants from Mr. Northcote's, and those from Sir George Preston's--two leading county families. A great number of servants had come from West Brighton, and Lancing, and Worthing--altogether between two and three hundred. 'Evening dress is indispensable' was printed on the cards. The butlers, footmen, cooks, ladies'-maids, housemaids, and housekeepers hoped by this notification to keep the ball select. But the restriction seemed to condemn Esther to play again the part of Cinderella.
A GROUP of men turned from the circular buffet when Esther entered. Miss Mary had given her a white muslin dress, a square-cut bodice with sleeves reaching to the elbows, and a blue sash tied round the waist. The remarks as she passed were, 'A nice, pretty girl.' William was waiting, and she went away with him on the hop of a vigorous polka.
Many of the dancers had gone to get cool in the gardens but a few couples had begun to whirl, the women borne along by force, the men poising their legs into curious geometrical positions.
Mr. Leopold was very busy dragging men away from the circular buffet--they must dance whether they knew how or not. 'The Gaffer has told me partic'lar to see that the "gals" all had partners, and just look down that 'ere room; 'alf of that lot 'aven't been on their legs yet. 'Ere's a partner for you,' and the butler pulled a young gamekeeper towards a young girl who had just arrived. She entered slowly, her hands clasped across her bosom, her eyes fixed on the ground, and the strangeness of the spectacle caused Mr. Leopold to pause. It was whispered that she had never worn a low dress before, and Grover came to the rescue of her modesty with a pocket-handkerchief.